Dry season has started now and this means a lot of sunny
days and hardly any rain. For me the beauty of Langkawi is
at its best during these weeks. At the end of the rainy season
it is so beautiful and green and that is exactly what I personally
like about this island. We have been very busy preparing ourselves
for the coming season. We have trained some new staff, we
bought some extra kayaks and produced some new promotion material.
We would like to introduce you to Hafizan and Selva, two very
passionate guides and real nature lovers. Hafizan teamed up
with us last month after working free lance for many years.
He is experienced in all sorts of nature trips and you might
meet him on one of our trips. You might meet Selva during
a boat trip in the mangroves or during a walk and he will
be able to entertain you endlessly about all the nature treasures
of the mangroves.
Our guides experienced some very rare things during the last
months and I would like to share this with you.
During the kayak trip one of the stops is the bat cave. When
Mandy and Hafizan were walking around at the bat cave they
saw a python hanging on a branch. It was at a safe distance
and all the guests were watching this beautiful snake of about
1.5 metres. Suddenly a young male monkey came out and he jumped
on the same branch as the python was sleeping on and he started
to jump on that branch. He was really intentionally trying
to annoy the snake and of course he succeeded in this. The
snake woke up and started to move, which was a sign for the
monkey to run off as soon as possible and for our group to
move on as well. It was an incredible view to see how nasty
the monkeys can be and what smart ways they use without being
Another incident was during one of my evening walks. The
chance of spotting flying lemurs during these walks is 100%
and most of the time we also see the flying squirrels, be
it the red giant or the pygmy. The pygmy flying squirrel is
quite difficult to spot as they will be hiding directly after
landing on a tree. This evening it was one of the rare moments
that the whole group could see the pygmy flying squirrel gliding
and landing on a tree. A few seconds after landing, the squirrel
was picked up by a collared scops owl flying by. The owl took
the squirrel in his mouth, smashed it against the tree and
swallowed it in 2 times while really enjoying his dinner.
You will not be surprised to hear that all our guests (including
me!) were watching this with open mouth!!
We often are having trouble how to determine the differences
between a flying Brahminy Kite and Black Kite and most of
the time we were not too sure what it would be. Our friend
Tom Reynolds has managed to make a photo of both birds chasing
after each other and please note the differences between the
birds. They have a different tail shape which you can see
very well on this photo.
Black Kites -
photo by Tom Reynolds
It is a few days before Christmas while I am writing this
last column of 2008. It is always a good time to make up the
balance of what has happened last year and to make plans how
to proceed the next year. We would like to express our gratitude
to everybody for supporting us in many ways, for sending us
animal photos, for exchanging thoughts about nature with us
through mail, phone and of course during the trips. As much
as you have expressed your gratitude towards us for giving
you an unforgettable nature experience, all our team members
would like to thank for you for everything that we have been
able to learn from you. On behalf of Aida, Hafizan, Mandy,
Selva and Anne-Marie I wish you a prosperous new year 2009
in good health and with a lot of good nature experiences.
Red collared dove
- photo by Tom Reynolds
We are almost at the end of the rainy season
and you can already feel and see the changes as the migratory
birds are coming in. The last weeks we have spotted some birds
that are rarely spotted on Langkawi like the Common Hoopoe
and the Red Collared Dove.
The Purple Swamphen is breeding very well
on Langkawi and couples with their chicks can be spotted on
various places. We have added some beautiful new bird photos
in the photo gallery, so please have a look there.
We are very ex cited about the fact that
one of our friends, Ian Roberts, has left a camera trap after
his last visit to Langkawi in September. This will give us
the opportunity to check on certain areas in the jungle and
to look for animals that are normally hard to spot. As working
with this equipment is new for us, we are still trying to
find the best location and position and hopefully we can get
back to you in our next columns with more information about
what we have experienced. So far the long-tailed macaques
seem to be everywhere and the camera made already a lot of
photos of them.
few weeks ago a dead dugong (see cow) has been found in the
Kilim area, possibly injured by one of the boats. We know
about their existence in this part of Malaysia, but it is
always good to hear that there is any proof of their existence.
During trips we often get the question if monkeys are able
to swim. Of the four existing monkeys on Langkawi (Dusky Leaf
Langur, Slow Loris, Colugo and Long-tailed Macaques), only
the long-tailed macaques are able to swim. They are also called
crab-eating macaques as under normal circumstances crabs will
be their staple diet. Unfortunately a lot of these macaques
are completely depending on what tourists are feeding them
and they will eat now anything they can get.
with baby. Photo by Per Hartvig-Denmark
We are also compiling photos of snakes and we hope to add
some new photos soon in the photo gallery. Langkawi has more
than 40 species of snakes which are mostly living up in the
trees and most of them are nocturnal. There might be a chance
of spotting a snake during one of our trips (especially in
the mangroves) but we will always keep a safe distance with
the boat or the kayak, so there is nothing to worry about.
With the dry season (and the busy season) for Langkawi ahead
of us we hope you will be able to visit our beautiful island
(again) and to join of our eco-friendly trips. Our team is
ready to give you an unforgettable nature experience and we
hope to see you soon!
We will get back to you next month.
One of the most fascinating animals on Langkawi is definitely
the flying lemur (colugo). Langkawi has many of them and it
is easy to spot them in certain areas of the island after
sunset. I would like to dedicate this column to this beautiful
The flying lemurs are arboreal gliding mammals found in
South-east Asia. Their most distinctive feature is the membrane
of skin that extends between their limbs and gives them the
ability to glide long distances between trees. They are clumsy
climbers and they will grip onto the bark of trees with their
small and sharp claws and they are as comfortable hanging
underneath a branch as sitting on top of it. They are not
strong at all on the ground as their weak hind legs are not
able to hold up the animal on the ground. Another distinctive
feature is their pair of large forward-facing eyes, required
to gather sufficient light for interpreting its surroundings,
being a creature of the night.
They are territorial, quite shy and generally solitary,
except for mothers nursing young. They are certainly herbivores,
eating mostly leaves, shoots, flowers and sap and fruit as
Flying lemurs are marsupial-like in their breeding habits.
The young are born after a gestation period of 60 days in
a tiny and undeveloped form and spend their first six months
of life clinging to the mother’s belly. Breeding is
fairly slow as the young do not reach full size until they
are two or three years old.
Flying lemur in
(Photo coutesy of Per Hartvig - Denmark)
The males are mostly brown with white spots; the females
are greyish with white spots.
They can glide as far as 70 metres.
If you would like to see this animal we highly recommend
you to book our jungle trek / evening walk combination, starting
late afternoon (about 5pm). The first two hours you will spend
in the jungle, following a nice (and leech-free!!) trail with
a lot of interesting information given by one of our naturalists.
The last part of this trip you will experience the shift change
of day to nocturnal animals which is fascinating. The chance
of spotting this flying lemur is 100%.
I will be back next month with general information about
If we would have the time we would write a column every week
as so many things are happening in the nature of Langkawi
that we would like to share with you. And even after being
almost 20 years on the island I am very happy to discover
for me new animals. Last month we did teambuilding with various
groups. The kayak trip in the mangroves is a great teambuilding
activity and one of the groups requested for some extra caving
during the kayak trip. In preparation on this activity we
thoroughly inspected the cave ourselves and we saw 2 amazing
animals. The first was the tailless whip scorpion. This animal
may range from 5 to 40mm and their very thin modified legs
can extend several times the length of body. This non venomous
scorpion is often moving sideways. I was breathless seeing
this scorpion for the first time.
Another insect that we encountered in the same cave was the
cave cricket with its very long hind legs and long slender
antennae. Their long hind legs allow them to jump high and
far and although they can appear a bit intimidating they are
basically harmless to humans.
As we are working on a promotional DVD we hosted
a film crew from the UK during a few weeks to shoot our trips
and the wildlife that you might encounter during those trips.
It was a pleasure working with them and it brought us to many
unique situations and locations and they have managed to make
shots of a lot of animals that are living on Langkawi. We
will definitely come back to this subject in one of the next
We need some help by identifying some frogs and a spider.
The orange colored frog and the spider we saw during one
of our jungle trekkings in the cable car area. The other frog
we saw during a trip in the mangroves. We are not very well
known with frogs and spiders and we would really appreciate
if somebody could give us more information about these animals.
Whenever we get more information we will update you in one
of the next columns.
Birdwatching on Langkawi is a bit more challenging at the
moment as most of the migratory birds are not on the island.
But some birds of which we thought that they were migratory
are still here and that makes us doubt if these birds should
not be called resident birds. Examples are the grey wagtail,
the black-shouldered kite, the cattle egrets and the orange-breasted
trogon. In fact our bird list is never updated 100% as the
situation is changing all the time, but we do our best to
give you always the most updated version.
We have some busy months behind us and we have met so many
different nationalities during our trips. Our naturalists
are really enjoying it taking them on a trip and let them
experience the beautiful nature of Langkawi. We also appreciate
the many reactions we get through e-mail, mailbox and in other
ways. This is really encouraging for us and a proof that we
are on the right track.
We will be back to you in September and please do not hesitate
to contact us for anything ( firstname.lastname@example.org
); we will be pleased to exchange thoughts with you.
Saving lives has been the order of the last weeks; lives
of animals, lives of trees and even lives of human beings.
It started a few weeks ago with the commonly heard but very
hard to spot blue-winged pitta. This beautifully colored bird
is one of Langkawi's residents and lives in the forest. The
bird did not see the window of the building I was in and crashed
into the window, completely dazed. After a few minutes the
bird was ok and could go on and the dizzy minutes gave me
the opportunity to make a photo of this bird.
Blue Winged Pitta
Then we got a call that on one of the resorts a colugo (flying
lemur) had died and that she has left a baby of a few weeks
old. The volunteer of the resort has been taking care of the
baby by feeding it, by trying to keep it warm, but unfortunately
we did not manage to save the life of this little one. The
colugo is one of the monkey species found on Langkawi and
this nocturnal animal is active during the night. The colugo
will climb up the trees and can glide from one tree to another.
The babies are born alive and are carried by the mother on
their belly until the moment they can be on their own, which
can take up to three months.
baby - this photo is courtesy of Tom Reynolds
We have also been involved in saving some bigger turtles
that were caught in fishing nets (in the mangroves) and we
are regularly involved in monkey cases. Mostly it is to catch
monkeys to give them treatment for their injuries or diseases
but it is very difficult to give them the right treatment
as there are no professionals on the island to assist in cases
like this. The only thing that we can do is our utmost to
help the animal and sometimes the best decision is to put
it down to avoid unnecessary suffering, but this is always
the last option.
There have been quite some cases last month of people getting
lost in the jungle and the worst case even led to a 48 hours
stay of 2 persons in the jungle (including 2 nights). The
jungles of Langkawi are really beautiful and absolutely worthwhile
to visit. There are certain trails that you can follow and
there are a lot of areas without any trail. We highly recommend
everybody who is not well known in a certain area, not to
leave a trail while trekking on your own, better still to
hire a guide to bring you to certain areas. The guides will
know the beautiful spots and will also know the possible dangers.
If you still want to go on your own, inform your resort or
guesthouse always about your plans and take always enough
water and a mobile phone with you. Do not bring yourself (and
others that are looking for you!) into unnecessarily dangerous
70% of Langkawi is still rainforest and this is one of the
biggest assets of the island. We would like to share our worries
about the preservation of the jungle. More and more trees
are being cut down to make space for new buildings and healthy
trees are just cut down without reason. If we hear about certain
plans for cutting trees we always try our best to save what
can be saved, especially when it is on a resort located in
the middle of the jungle where a lot of animals are living
in, up and around trees. They still need a place to live and
that is why we all should do our best to avoid any kind of
After a few weeks of a bit less business, it is picking up
again. We are looking forward to the next months with a lot
of visitors to be expected on the island to spend their holidays
on Langkawi and we are really keen on showing them the most
beautiful natural parts of the island.
We will be back to you in our next column.
In the last weeks we have been extremely busy designing new
walks on an island south of Langkawi. Many things are involved
in designing a walk, e.g. safety aspects, inventory of animals,
mainly birds, studying the flora in the area, etc. But this
new challenge is exciting and we hope to succeed in highlighting
the environmental aspects here.
More and more requests are coming through Internet and our
website which means that our website is well received by a
lot of people. We also experience that people tend more to
be on an eco-based trip instead of the more commercialized
trips. Being in nature and learning more about
it, seems to be more popular and that is exactly what our
company is providing. All our guides are real nature lovers
and we realize that they are a very big asset to our company
and a very important factor for our guests to make the trips
a success. As we have been growing quite fast in the last
months, we are now working with more team members and I would
like to take the opportunity to introduce all of them in this
Hairun has been working with us since November last year
and he is the youngest in our team. His never ending enthusiasm
and passion about nature will make even the non-eco tourist
aware of the beauty of the nature on Langkawi. He is specialized
in handling snakes (his nickname is Cobra) and he is able
to give you more information about nature in a couple of hours
than you have heard in your life so far. With his Geopark
certificate, Hairun is very versatile and you might meet him
on any of our trips.
Mandy has been an Outdoor Instructor and Facilitator before
she joined our company. Besides running an activity desk in
a resort, she is one of our guides for the mangrove kayak
trip. She is a great kayaker and in 2005, she was a member
of the Women's Doubles Team in the Island-to-Island Kayak
Race during the Langkawi Water Festival. She recently completed
a four-week expedition to Borneo with World Challenge Australia
and has received training in Wilderness First Aid. The mangroves
are her 'second home' and we are sure you will never get lost
with your kayak with Mandy around you.
Aida is an outdoor adventure enthusiast who is very keen
on nature. Now a registered 'green batch' guide with the Ministry
of Tourism, Aida is also a member of MNS (Malaysian Nature
Society) and an alumnus of Raleigh International expeditions.
She is a well rounded, well traveled person and has a passion
for the skies. Aida has done many hours paragliding. She is
running a recreation desk together with Mandy and on the other
days you might meet her on a mangrove trip, during a jungle
trekking or on a walk.
Last but not least: Anne-Marie is my business partner and
she is the one that made this company start. She is running
the daily business by handling the bookings, making the planning
and the necessary preparation for the trips and the accounting.
With her extensive experience in different fields she is the
anchor of our company. She is a good wildlife spotter and
keen on birdwatching and you might meet her during one of
the birdwatching trips or an evening walk.
A few weeks ago I spotted a slow loris, one of the four monkey
species on Langkawi (besides the long-tailed macaque, the
dusky leaf langur and the colugo/flying lemur). It was walking
on a wire in the evening and I could not manage to make a
clear photo of this very difficult to spot animal. During
one of the boat trips we saw plenty of dolphins around us,
at least 30-40 were playing around and the guests of that
trip thoroughly enjoyed this spectacle and they were lucky
as during the same trip we also spotted the always cute otters.
We have added some new photos in the photo gallery. Please
feel free to send us a mail if you feel like talking about
nature of Langkawi or somewhere else. We are always keen on
new and interesting facts in the amazing world of nature.
Keep in touch and we will come back to you in our next column.
Time is flying, even on Langkawi and the year 2008 brought
us already some good and interesting things. We have been
very busy since Christmas and actually it is still going on.
We have people from all over the world on our trips which
makes it very interesting for us as we are learning a lot
from each other. We also had journalists from Germany and
Japan on our trips with the intention to write about our company
as well as some Russian and local travel agents that were
very enthusiastic about our trips and especially our mangrove
kayak trip. We were also visited by an Australian nature guide
and it was a real pleasure to have him on a few of our trips.
We have learned a lot from each other and we will definitely
be working together with each other in the future. We also
did a very nice island safari with some teambuilding activities
for an international group which was successful. All our teambuilding
activities are nature based and can be adjusted with any activity
on request and this seems to be a good combination especially
for companies that have a full indoor program for the participants.
With our company they get the opportunity to explore parts
of Langkawi's nature while working together in a team.
As more and more guests are booking more than 1 of our trips
we have made special eco-packages. All the eco-packages are
combinations of our day (or half-day) trips and the total
price will give you a discount. So you will pay less for booking
more trips at the same time and still benefit from the high
quality nature trips that we are offering. For bigger groups
we have special group discounts and please contact us for
more information about this. The eco-packages can be found
on the page of our trips.
| Orange-breasted trogon - photo by Tom Reynolds
We are still very excited about the fact that we now regularly
can spot the orange-breasted trogon. What a beauty of a bird
is that! Our good friend and great photographer Tom Reynolds
made a photo of this bird. We also spotted the plain-backed
sparrow in the last birdwatching trips. Every birdwatching
trip will start at the Gunung Raya and after 2.5 hours we
mostly have already about 20 birds on our list. We have spotted
the intermediate egret on Langkawi too. This bird can be distinguished
from the great egret by the black spot at the end of his beak.
As we did not spot this bird on Langkawi the last years we
would really be happy to hear if others have spotted this
As one of the most important factors for making a successful
trip is the quality and knowledge of our staff we are re-arranging
the pages about us at this moment. We would like to introduce
you on this website to our staff with some background information
and a photo of them. We are very proud of having real nature
lovers as naturalists working for our company and meeting
each other is always full of exchanging information about
the latest nature developments (which is never ending..).
We are always looking for new ideas for trips and we regularly
are trying out some different things. As we really had in
mind to make a boat trip in the southern part of Langkawi
(including a few islands to visit) we have made various boat
trips. The trips were nice and the scenery was beautiful but
to our opinion there was not enough wildlife and nature to
talk about to make a trip out of it that will be high quality
enough to add to our current trips. So we will keep on looking
further and any suggestion for something new will be welcome!
Keep in touch and we will come back to you in our next column.
December 2007/January 2008
After two very busy weeks there is finally some time left
to keep you updated about the nature of things on nature in
Langkawi. The weather is perfect with 32 degrees, a lot of
sun and no rain at all so a lot of guests enjoyed their stay
on Langkawi and joined one of our trips. In the last weeks
we spotted some really nice new birds like the orange-breasted
trogon and even the oriental scops owl in the mangroves. The
oriental scops owl was on its migratory route and the bird
could be seen in the same tree for about one week. We are
very happy with the photo one of the guests has sent to us
and after checking literature and Internet this is definitely
the subspecies Otus sunia malayanus. To give you an idea what
birds to expect on Langkawi we have put the bird list on our
website; we divided the list in migratory and resident birds
which is about 50/50. Most of the migratory birds are coming
to Langkawi during the dry season (November – April).
Last month we was curiously surprised although not shocked
by seeing a very big, almost pig-tailed macaque size, long-tailed
macaque in Belanga Pecah (next to the mangroves). There was
a man in the nearby village who kept a male pig-tailed macaque
and an adult female long-tailed macaque. Could this be the
offspring of the two? Any remarks or answers to this matter
are highly appreciated as this is quite a rare phenomenon.
Pig-tailed macaques are frequently brought into the island
to help with coconut-picking, but we have seen two pig-tailed
macaques loose, 1 in Berlanga Pecah and the other up Gunung
Raya. In the pictures below notice how straight the hind legs
are, also the facial color, being slightly lighter colored.
Also notice it has a bigger jawline. Also take note the upturn
tail connected to the abdomen. This monkey was living in a
troop of long-tailed macaques and was twice the size of the
Another rare animal to spot is a frog in the mangroves. We
know there is one specie of frog that lives in mangroves,
but we do not know the scientific name. If anyone could kindly
enlighten us after seeing the photo below, please feel free
to contact us. It was the first time we saw a frog in the
mangroves and we did not see it again the last months.
As the dry season has started, there is a lack of water and
the deciduous trees on the limestone outcrops have begun to
drop their leaves. Also the spathoglottis hardiginia started
flowering last month and this wild orchid is only found on
Langkawi (see a photo of this flower in the photo gallery).
We really hope to get some feedback from our readers on
the monkey and the frog matters mentioned above and we hope
to be able to give you some more information about it in our