Why walk? When you can ….FLY! But let’s start with the ground, first…..
A walk through the Malaysian rainforest is a rewarding and exciting experience. From the lofty heights of the tree canopy, alive with the wailing cry of gibbons and the distinctive calls of hornbills; to the forest floor, with its rich concentration of plant and animal life forms, there is much to see and explore.
Peninsular Malaysia possesses the most ancient rainforests in the world, having evolved over 130 million years. Their form and composition is largely dependent on the elevation of the land and characteristics of the soil. An entire spectrum of forest comes under the category of “rainforest” which includes not just the tall trees with their leafy crowns, but also smaller trees, shrubs and herbs growing on the forest floor from the coast to the highlands.
The Malaysian rainforest is largely composed of trees of the Dipterocarp family, which can grow as high as 65 meters (213 feet). The trees are recognizable by their tall trunks and lofty spreading crowns; they frequently have large buttressed roots. Clothed with vines, creepers and epiphytes (plant which grow on other plants), such as orchids and ferns, these trees are what gives the forest its aura of romantic mystique.
The rainforest is at its most enchanting in the early morning and after rain. After rain, for instance, birds, insects and larger animals come to life. Tree ferns, palms, lianas (woody climbing plants), epiphytes and the giant trees transform the forest into liquid emerald green.
19th century English traveler, Isabella Bird must have felt this magic too. In her book, Golden Chersonese, published in 1883, she describes the steamy jungle as “this new wonder-world, so enchanting, tantalizing, intoxicating.”
In Langkawi, this wonder-world comprises the Matchinchang rainforest rich with a lush ecosystem of verdant greenery and vibrant fauna. When you glide on the Umgawa ziplines (12 in all, offering different experiences), this highest layer of the rainforest (called the emergent layer) is usually seen as a few tall giant trees sticking out amidst the crown of leaves canopy beneath it.
This is the residence of predator bird life – hawks, buzzards, kites – as they soar the skies and perch n branches of tall trees. As you go on your ziplining adventure, enjoying a birds-eye view of Nature,
see if you can spot the following: a flying fox gliding from tree to tree – a large fruit bat actually; a kite, buzzard or hawk on an emergent branch “outpost” – as you whiz past; monkeys; butterflies (albeit a bit tiny for spotting); the flame of the forest tree with its brilliant orange flowers.ding from tree to tree – a large fruit bat actually; a kite, buzzard or hawk on an emergent branch “outpost” – as you whiz past; monkeys; butterflies (albeit a bit tiny for spotting); the flame of the forest tree with its brilliant orange flowers.