Langkawi: the island of giants

Waterfall on Langkawi

We’re always posting saltwater images, so here’s something different: freshwater. It’s a waterfall on the Malaysian island of Langkawi, which is where Dunia Baru is at the moment.

Langkawi is an island known more for its idyllic beaches than its natural history, but it’s a fascinating place to explore on foot. In fact Gunung Machinchang, the sandstone peak that rises to the highest point on the island, is one of the oldest in all of South East Asia.

Locals will tell you that Machinchang has been at battle with its nemesis, Gunung Raya, for millennia. They’ll tell you stories about colossal feuds between two giants, where battles were fought and the landscape gauged in fury as one giant sliced immense cuts into the other with his axe.

The version that geologists tell is no less dramatic. Once part of mighty Gondwanaland, Machinchang broke away from the super-continent about 220 million years ago. As the continent tore apart and Machinchang rose from what is now the Andaman Sea, it collided with a mound of hot magma, pushing it up and up and forming the mountain called Gunung Raya, which now stands in the very middle of Langkawi. Then, over millions of years and long before Langkawi’s rainforest established itself, torrential rains wore down at the island’s jagged peaks, eroding where there had once been cracks and forming the deep cuts and valleys that exist today. Both mountains now define the landscape of Langkawi, which is one of 99 islands (104, if you count at low tide) that belong to the Langkawi Geopark off the northwest coast of Malaysia, close to the border of Thailand.

From Langkawi Dunia Baru is off to Phuket in Phang Nga Bay. A beautiful voyage where every day is an adventure.

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