Kilim River is also a great place for some bird watching during the
migratory seasons in September and March.
The best way is to take the sights here is to take the Kilim Nature Park Tour. You would picked up from your hotel and taken to the Sungai Kilim mangrove reserve where you would board a boat. These brackish mangroves protect the coastline from erosion and provide a suitable nursery for the teeming marine life within the Kilim estuary. Go for a closer look at the protruding adventitious roots of the Soneratia sp. and Rhizophora sp., two most commonly found mangrove species, and to view the shrimp and fish larvae scurrying in and out through the labyrinth of mangrove roots, seeking food as well as protection from predators.
One of the area's interesting attractions is Gua Kelawar or Bat Cave. Visitors have to disembark at a jetty and walk a short distance to the cave entrance. Gua Kelawar consists of two caves. The smaller western cave has a low roof (one to three metres) extending northeast by southwest. Ancient seashells can be seen stuck to the roof and walls, testimony that this was originally the sandy bottom of an ancient river. Studies have revealed that the sea level about 5,000 years ago was two metres higher that that of present day.
The second cave is bigger, has a 10-metre high roof. This cave takes the shape of a long tunnel of approximately 60 metres long, with both north and south openings. It is so named because of its inhabitants — both fruit and insectivorous bats. Malaysia has a high species diversity of bats with 117 species (20 species of fruit bats and 97 species of insect bats). Three species of insectivorous bats, the great round leaf bat (Hipposideros armiger), the intermediate round leaf bat (Hipposideros larvatus) and the Southeast Asian bent-winged bat (Miniopterus medius) make their home in the cave.
A wooden platform runs right through the cave, allowing visitors easy and safe access but a powerful torch is recommended if you want to view the cave's natural treasures which include breathtaking stalactites and stalagmites.
As the boat venture out towards the open sea, you can view various types of wildlife indigenous to the area such as white belly sea eagles, brahminy kites, kingfishers, monitor lizards, small clawed otters and on very rare occasions, even dolphins which sometimes love to play tag by following the bow-wave of the boat.
Home of a growing number of eagles for the past 40 years, the river is partially protected from the strong wind blowing from the open sea by the islands of Pulau Anak Kilim and Pulau Tanggok and the coastal mangrove swamps Found in great numbers here, the eagles here include the white-bellied fish eagle, brahminy kite and the gigantic sea eagles. The actual feeding takes place near the river estuary, Sungai Banjar. The airborne predators hover over the tall mangrove trees, fix their eyes on the boat, wait silently and prepare to swoop in on the food. Boat operators leave small amounts of chicken gut on the water surface for the predatory birds. they turn up the boat engines as a signal to the birds, and almost on cue, flocks of carnivorous birds like white belly sea eagles and brahminy kites swoop down from the cliffs. They take turns to snatch the food with amazing agility. With wingspans of over a metre they are indeed a majestic sight.
For the best time to watch eagle feeding, avoid the last quarter of the year until March as breeding and nesting occur during that period. The eagle population in Kilim has grown over the years. Initially there were an estimated 15 pairs some 30 years ago and has since grown to number over 400. These wild predators have grown used to humans and boats and are not easily frightened by the sounds of engines and humans.
After feeding the eagles, the boats will move downstream and soon the Andaman Sea, located in the northern coast, comes into view as they exit the Kilim River through "The Hole in the Wall". This is a famous passage so named after a narrow opening between formidable walls of limestone cliffs that connect the river to the open sea.
This narrow gap provides a sheltered area for a thriving fish farm and mooring for yachts. The fish farm provides an insight into Langkawi's rich aquatic life. The farm adopts a very hands-on approach. You can have a closer looked of different kind of marine life such as Moray Eels, Horse Shoe Crabs, Mantis Prawns, Sting Rays, Trevallys, Sea Bass and Ornamental Fishes. Fish feeding is one of the activities at the fish-breeding farm. You'd be shown how to feed a sting ray by hand.
Visitors can choose their own lunch or dinner directly from the 50-odd cages and have it cooked the way they like at the floating restaurant. With an extensive menu, here they try to accommodate to their customers tastes as their chefs can cook seafood in a wide variety of ways.