MalaysiaLangkawi $$$$$ All Year Outdoor
Geopark

Kilim Karst Geoforest Park

One of the 3 main sections of Langkawi's UNESCO-listed geopark, Kilim Geoforest Park is home to some of the island's most exquisite and geologically significant landscapes, with Setul rock formations dating back 490 million years.

The park centers around the mangrove-lined Kilim River, home to diverse lifeforms from ancient and rare Cycad trees to colorful kingfishers and hornbills. At the river's mouth, the landscape dramatically shifts from muddy mangroves to idyllic beaches and towering limestone islands.

Covering 100sq kilometers, Kilim Geoforest Park is best explored by boat. Local tour operators ferry tourists from 2 points to a selection of 14 attractions covering caves, islands, beaches, and a floating fish farm.

The most popular stops include Gua Kelawar or "bat cave" home to 3,000 bats and shell clusters revealing water levels from 5,000 years ago; Tanjung Rhu beach with its white beach sands and calm waters; Gua Cherita, or "Cave of Legends" where a Chinese princess is said to have been held captive by the Phoenix in a local fable; the floating fish farm for a tour or seafood lunch; and wild eagle spotting from the boat.

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Price

Two - hour tour: RM350 per boat ($84.40), three - hour tour: RM450 per boat ($108.51), four - hour tour: RM500 per boat ($120.57)

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Time Spent

2-4hours

Fitness level: Some effort

Hours

9am-5pm7 days

Look Around

Boat captainBoat captain
Sailing along the river, near Bat CaveSailing along the river, near Bat Cave
Kilim River & mangrove forestKilim River & mangrove forest
Kilim River & Mangrove forest
Aerial view of Kilim River
Path from boatPath from boat
Stairs down to the cave - watch your head!Stairs down to the cave - watch your head!
Sleeping batsSleeping bats
Stalactites & stalagmitesStalactites & stalagmites
Cave exit and path through mangrove forestCave exit and path through mangrove forest
Cheeky macaque monkeysCheeky macaque monkeys
Gua Kelawar (Bat Cave)
Aerial view of fish farmAerial view of fish farm
Fish farm entranceFish farm entrance
Ponds for different fish varieties like barramundi Ponds for different fish varieties like barramundi
Owner & guide, Pak SuOwner & guide, Pak Su
Pak Su showing a horseshoe crabPak Su showing a horseshoe crab
Floating fish farm
A Brahminy kite soaringA Brahminy kite soaring
Eagle swooping down for fishEagle swooping down for fish
A Brahminy kite mid-flightA Brahminy kite mid-flight
Gorilla PeakGorilla Peak
Crocodile caveCrocodile cave
Eagle watching & Crocodile Cave
Beach accessBeach access
Rocks said to have been the princess' bedRocks said to have been the princess' bed
Steep steps to the caveSteep steps to the cave
Gua Cherita (Cave of Legends)
Mangrove entrance from the Andaman SeaMangrove entrance from the Andaman Sea
Limestone stacks near Tanjung RhuLimestone stacks near Tanjung Rhu
Limestone cliff at river mouthLimestone cliff at river mouth
Islands in the Andaman Sea
Meeting point of the Andaman Sea & Kilim River

Who Will Like Kilim Karst Geoforest Park

Nature Lover

Soak up the variety of natural landscapes and diverse flora and fauna in both coastal and mangrove habitats. Keep an eye out for 22 species of butterflies as well as monkeys and birdlife including the brown kingfisher, Oriental pied hornbill, Brahminy kite, and white-bellied eagle. Try to spot the difference between 2 main mangrove species, Bakau Kurap and Bakau Minyak.

Photography Whiz

Bring an extra memory card for the sheer quantity of natural beauty awaiting you. Capture vertical cliffs, dreamy beaches, rare plant species, fascinating rock formations, and if you're lucky, Langkawi's iconic sea eagle. The islands are a drone pilot's dream.

Culture Buff

Discover the geological significance of Langkawi's UNESCO World Geopark status as you walk through limestone caves where 500-million-year-old fossils were discovered. Hear stories from local mythology at Gua Cerita, and glimpse into Langkawi's fishing history at the floating fish farm.

Fun Expert

Spend a day in nature with your family and friends. Play in the refreshing waters of Tanjung Rhu beach, touch a stingray at the floating fish farm, and watch eagles swoop down to catch fish thrown from the boat.

Mystery Hunter

Visit Gua Cerita's ancient cave paintings. Do you believe the local legend of the Phoenix, or did something else create these markings?

Insider Tips For Kilim Karst Geoforest Park

  • Visit the Geopark Discovery Centre, located near the carpark, before taking the boat tour. This will enable you to better understand the significance of the mangrove forest and rock formations within the park.
  • Mangrove boat tours are available from the main Kilim Geoforest Park entrance and also from Tanjung Rhu Beach.
  • Private boats can be booked online or at the ticket desk. Tours include a river cruise and 4 main stops: the bat cave, crocodile cave, floating fish farm, and eagle watching plus a selection of additional stops depending on the duration of your tour. 2-hour tours have 4 stops, 3-hour tours have 5 stops, and 4-hour tours have 6 stops.
  • Join-in tours are available for a lower cost but departure times are dependent on passenger numbers. These tours can be requested at the ticket desk.
  • Some stops require an additional entrance fee. Gua Kelawar (bat cave) costs RM2 (USD$0.48) for adults and RM1 (USD$0.24) for children aged 4-12.
  • Boats can carry up to 10 adults + 2 children and include life jackets for all passengers.
  • Speak to your boat driver about stopping at a seafood restaurant attached to the floating fish farm for lunch.
  • Don't take water bottles, plastic bags, or food out of the boat as the monkeys will try to steal them and become aggressive.
  • Make use of the toilets near the jetty before departure as none are available within the park.
  • Try to spot shapes in the unique rock formations like "Gorilla Peak", a limestone mountain shaped like King Kong.
  • The Kilim River may look familiar as the filming location for the 1999 movie Anna and the King.
Private boat

Video

Where Is It

Mukim Kilim River Tourism Jetty, Kampung Kilim, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia

Open map...

How To Get There

Car

Free • Large parking lot available near the jetty with overflow parking closer to the main road.

Driving directions... Map for car...

Motorbike

Free parking for scooters and motorbikes near the jetty.

Rideshare

Drivers pick up and drop off in the main parking lot.

Entrance to ticket counter & jetty Entrance to ticket counter & jetty
Boat waiting areaBoat waiting area
JettyJetty
Jetty entrance

What To Bring

Do:
  • Enclosed toe rubber shoes suitable for getting wet and also protecting feet from sharp rocks.
  • Waterproof bag to protect your belongings.
  • Reusable water bottle. Avoid plastic to protect from monkeys.
  • Cash for entry fees.
  • Camera with zoom lens to capture wildlife.
  • Mosquito repellent. Reapply before entering caves.
Don't:
  • Visible soft drink or food. Hide these as monkeys may attack the boat to steal from you.

Tech & Photography

Wifi

Public wifi access: None

Photography

Photography allowed: Yesflash is not encouraged

Tripod allowed: Yes

Selfie sticks allowed: Yes

Best time to shoot: Late Morning

Tips: Flash is not allowed inside Gua Kelawar (bat cave) as it will disturb the bats. When shooting fast-moving, use a telephoto zoom lens (of at least 200mm) with a shutter speed of at least 1/1000 sec (bright daylight).

Drones

Drones allowed: Yes (subject to national/regional rules)

Tips: Ask your boat captain to pause on the river while you take a drone flight near Gorilla Peak, then restart the boat to capture it in motion.

Bags

Backpacks allowed: Yes

Secured bag lockers available: No

Food & Drink

  • Food Court - Local-style food court near the parking lot, with several cafes selling meals like seafood, laksa, and nasi lemak. Some stalls also sell Western food like burgers and fries.

Backstory

Kilim Karst Geoforest Park is one of 3 main geoparks accredited within Langkawi's UNESCO World Geopark status. The others are Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest Park and Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park. Kilim is the only place in Langkawi where coastal karst and mangrove ecosystems coexist side by side.

Kilim Geoforest Park is home to the region's oldest carbonate rock, Setul formation, formed 490-370 million years ago. The age of sections within the park can be determined by the presence of fossils including trilobites, ancestors of modern insects; gastropods, snails and slugs; and brachiopods, lamp shells. These fossils date between 505 and 286 million years old.

Etiquette

Do:
  • Wear a life jacket whenever you're in the boat.
  • Be quiet in the caves.
  • Be respectful to locals and guides.
  • Use your cellphone as a flashlight in dark caves but don't point it at the bats.
Don't:
  • Feed monkeys or any other animals.
  • Smoke in the caves.
  • Make plastic bottles or bags visible inside or outside the boat as monkeys may try to steal them.

Scorecard

Best Parts:
  • Geological and historical significance of the land formations.
  • Natural beauty of the coastal and mangrove landscapes.
  • Opportunity to see sea eagles and Brahminy kites.
  • Variety of attractions to explore like caves, beaches, and mangrove forests.
Could Be Better:
  • Ethical implications of feeding wild eagles.
  • Pollution in the ocean and on some islands, more prominent during the wet season.
  • Difficult to understand the park's significance without a guide or having visited the Geopark Discovery Centre.
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