Rewind to several years ago, when we made a trip to the land of Malaysia- truly Asia, as their tourism campaign rings true.
In the air
After a brief stay in the capital Kuala Lumpur, we headed on a short and heart racing turbulent flight to the island of Langkawi.
I have heard of beautiful green islands in story tales, but this was the first time I set my eye on one and I gasped at the views as the clouds cleared and we descended to our landing.
Our feet on the ground
Our spirits rose as we were greeted by a fresh breeze of air from the surrounding mountains, as we disembarked the plane. A few short steps from the aircraft and we stepped into an unconventionally small but functional airport for a quick and breezy immigration.
After a brief drive to the other side of the island, we were warmly welcomed at a beautiful resort and accompanied to our cottage.
There are plenty of options for staying on the island, but the Frangipani resort, named after a sacred flower is highly recommended by many. This green and the lush resort is committed to creating a low environmental impact and has initiated over 300 green practices and implemented a commendable zero-waste water system.
The Langkawi Island has several activities for the solo travelers, adventurous travelers and even families with children. Some of the activities on the island include – hiking, underwater activities, kayaking, parasailing, boating, cable car amongst others.
The Mangrove Boat Ride
The highlight of my stay on the island, however, was the impulsive boat ride booked through one of the insistent tourism operators present there. Hesitantly I boarded the rocky boat, as threatening dark clouds loomed overhead.
A young Malay local steered our boat away from the jetty and onto the dark waters as we set off.
After sailing a few hundred meters, the loud buzz of the motor softened as we waited eagerly to get a glimpse of the famous dark eagles.
It is not surprising, therefore, that one of the translations in Malay for ‘Langkawi’ is a reddish-brown eagle.
As we progressed along the river, dark green mangroves surrounded us with an occasional curious monkey perched on their tree roots.
I have always been very impressed with the mangrove forests, and feel that their ecological importance has often been neglected or dismissed.
According to WWF, they are one of the most productive ecosystems-
• offering habitats for marine life
• their extensive root system trap sediments and protect against erosion and floods
• their wood is useful for timber and wood products as it’s resistant to insects and rot
• used for tourism (such as the case here)
What’s more, research has indicated that these resilient trees have even reduced the devastating 2004 Tsunami effects by absorbing 70-90% of the wave’s energy.
As we neared a rocky cave, we were greeted by thunder and soon heavy rain started pouring down on us.
After a quick stroll through the cave and bat spotting, I hopped back onto the boat so I could continue admiring the mangrove forests with a wide grin on my face.
It’s been years since the boat ride but the sights of the dark green mangroves and tangled root systems with the lush mountains in the backdrop, still remains clear in my mind.