Rainforest Dwelling

January 2014

Article by Sawubona Magazine


From deep within the rainforests of Langkawi, a peak of sandstone rises that’s one of the oldest in South-
East Asia. It’s called Gunung Machinchang and is a mountain that’s been at battle with its nemesis,
Gunung Raya, for millennia. Locals on this tropical Malaysian island will tell you stories about colossal
feuds between two giants, where furious battles were fought and the landscape changed as one giant
sliced immense cuts into the other with an axe. The version geologists tell is no less dramatic. Once part of
mighty Gondwanaland, Machinchang broke away from the super-continent about 220 million years ago. As it rose from what’s now the Andaman Sea, it collided with a mound of hot
magma, pushing it up to form Gunung Raya, which now stands in the very centre of Langkawi. Over millions of years – long before the rainforest was established – torrential rains battered the island’s jagged peaks, eroding them 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 north-west coast of Malaysia, close to the border of Thailand. You might know Langkawi as a haven of languid beaches and idyllic, lazy, tropical holidays; I did too. But after leaving the luxurious sanctuary of The Datai Hotel and spending three exhilarating days climbing the mountains and walking among the
regal trees around Machinchang, I now also know the island for its tangled, rarely explored rainforests, the stillness of nights slept between towering ironwoods and the intricate balance of life in
this ancient landscape. When we set off, it was raining: the kind of hard, bucketing.

Read More at 2014_01_Sawubona_Langkawi feature(1)