Sunday, June 17, 2012

Kilim Geoforest Park

Kilim Geoforest Park
The day started with the main agenda was to prepare ourselves to be at the jetty at 10am. The night before, the boat operator had contacted me regarding the timing of our trip due to the overwhelming crowd during this peak season.
Getting the kids ready on time was indeed a big effort. Though most of us were already up by 7 in the morning, we only left the place two and a half hours later.
The jetty was on the opposite end of the island where we were staying. We arrived late, which by then, the boat operator was already concerned because there was already a huge crowd gathered at the jetty.
Without any further unnecessary delay, we boarded the 10m boat and once we were all on board, the boat quickly left, to free up the space at the jetty. There were many boats around, getting their ways in and out of the jetty. Once we're in the clear of the heavy water traffic, the boat operator passed the life jacket to each of us. It's a huge relief that the water authority is enforcing a strict safety regulation. I had a big concern over my family safety because if there were any mishaps in the water, there's very little I can do.
At first, the boat gently cruised along the narrow river. However, few boats sped past our boat with their huge waves causing our boat to rock sideways. Our boat operator probably noticing some worrying faces among us, has decided to also speed off, with what I understood from his words was to teach the other boats a lesson. Apparently our boat had a powerful engine and though in no time we easily bypassed the other boat, the action also has caused a sudden caution for all of us.
All that apart, the scenery was beautiful. Personally, it is very rare for me to enjoy the scenery apart from what I normally experienced from my driving seat point of view. Experiencing the nature in this way was quite refreshing.
After cruising past few bends, we came across a big split. The one in the left was full with anchored sailboats while the other seemed leading to the open sea on its end.
We took the one on the left and we cruised slowly past these sailboats. The boat operator informed us that these sailboats came from all around the world. Immediately, I was having this vision picturing these sailboats sailing in rough waters out in the open sea, just like what I watched in the YouTube clips. From my understanding, mostly these boats are operated by a couple or a family. If that fact was true, then it had me thinking that how amazing for them to enjoy the world this way, comparing with myself being a man with a partner, and with a family as well -  just like them. I wish one day, I'll get to go on an adventure like this with my wife.
After we've passed the stretch full of sailboats, we took a turn somewhere and headed to a cave called 'Gua Buaya', or 'Crocodile Cave' in English. It was told that once, the cave was a nest for the crocs. Even at the entrance, there's a rock formation that resembles a crocodile jaw. We were told when the crocs were still around, its sizes were small and though now it's none to be seen, they believe that either it has extinct, or the remaining are in the hiding. He said, those surviving crocodiles in the hiding, if any, surely has grown in size over time. That was a fact best not to be thought over at that particular time and place.
We got out at the other end of the cave and it led us back to the stretch full of sailboats and we stopped by at the floating deck of caged fish. The place was crowded with visitors from other boats and the scorching afternoon heat added up to my loss of interest with the offerings.
Once we're back on board, we headed to a place where the eagle fed. There were already few boats around and at the centre was the main show - around eight to ten eagles, encircling in what appeared to be its target before it dove down in a sharp and precise aim, snatching the food out of the water using its claws. The way the eagles spread its wing encircling the area and aiming at the target before taking the dive - further accentuates the impression I had on them as the most handsome species of bird.
After that, we headed out to the open sea, following the river on the right at the big split. We stopped before passing through the river mouth into the open sea. We were shown of silhouettes from the rock formation at the river mouth. The first was a silhouette of a baby face on the right and then what appeared to look like the face of an Apache. Initially, we were briefed of what to expect throughout the journey. When I first heard of seeing those faces, I thought it was just another marketing gimmick but seeing it with my eyes, the silhouettes were distinct.
Then it was time to hit the open sea where we were shown of an island, that again, from that particular point of view resembles the form of a shoe. Hence, it's called 'Pulau Kasut' or 'Shoe Island'. We went around the island, then stop before a huge signboard of 'KILIM GEOFOREST PARK' installed on one of the prominent cliff for a memorable group photo session on board.
We were then returned into the river back to the jetty. However we didn't stop at the jetty and went past through it to our last stop which was the 'Gua Kelawar' or 'Bat Cave'. We had to experience this journey on foot. There's a ticketing counter at the jetty and at first we thought we had fallen into another marketing trap. However, the charge was for foreign tourist. I lauded this effort by our tourism authority to promote tourism among the locals as I've seen this at other tourism spots in the country as well.
We were given a torch light to navigate through the dark cave. It was a good and worthy experience because at that time, the ceiling of the cave was full with bats. Finally, I got the chance to visit a natural habitat that actually still lived up to its name.
All in all, I think it was a good and refreshing experience. I've been to Langkawi for few times but never had the chance to experience this side of the island. The journey took 2 hours but for the price we paid in relative with the size of our group, it was worth it to get to see what the nature has to offer.
In few hours, it's the time to explore new places, so I better get enough sleep for another day in Langkawi.