Everyone is talking about Langkawi as a Geopark. Everywhere in this tropical island, there are large signboards of Langkawi Geopark. There is even a hotel that quickly changed it’s name to Geopark Hotel. So… what is Geopark anyway?
Geopark is short for Geological Park. According to UNESCO, a geopark is a territory encompassing one or more sites of scientific importance, not only for geological reasons but also by virtue of the archaeological, ecological or cultural value.
That is really a demanding definition. But, it can be shorten to:
Geopark is not just about rocks, it is also about people.
The Sky Bridge — Machinchang Mountain
Thus, any area could be designated as geopark as long as they posses several geoheritage features and outstanding geological landscape and components of conservation, local community and ecotourism.
The 52nd World Geopark
On 19th Sept. 2006, LADA and the National University of Malaysia (UKM) jointly presented the concept papers on Langkawi Geopark at the 2nd UNESCO Conference on Geoparks in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Following this, a UNESCO evaluation delegation visited Langkawi within the year and the islands’ UNESCO listing would be accorded by the 1st half of 2007.
Langkawi, a cluster of 99 tropical islands covering an area of 10,000 hectares, has been declared a geopark by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) on June 1st, 2007.
With the recognition, Langkawi island joined the Global Geoparks network of 52 geoparks worldwide.
This tropical island was officially declared a Geopark on 31st May 2006 by the Kedah Government. With the declaration, all the unique natural make-up of the 99 islands, including the flora, fauna, geological and landscapes now fall under the purview of of the islands’ geopark status.
Langkawi tropical islands have been especially identified for the geological, archaeological and ecological heritage, including the 400 million-year-old rock formation and mangrove forests.
3 Geoforest Parks Within Langkawi Geopark
So, what’s interesting in Langkawi Geopark?
There are various kind of rocks and rocks formations. Huge species of plants (biodiversity – flora and fauna, sea and land) and wildlifes. And, beautiful beaches coastlines and tropical island karsts.
There are three Geoforest Parks within Langkawi Geopark:
Machinchang Geoforest Park
- Cambria age — 450 to 550 million years old.
- oldest rocks and historical proof that is the birth place of Malaysia and South East Asia.
Kilim Geoforest Park
- tropical island Karst landscape (lime stone), unique and amongst the most beautiful in the world.
- formed from erosions, weathering and climatic changes.
Dayang Bunting Marble
- showcasing the most marvelous marbles formation, the finest in the world. Dayang Bunting Lake started off as a cave, a doline formation.
Tasik Dayang Bunting — The Lake of Pregnant Maiden
Langkawi has the right package to be a well known world class Geopark.
- First geopark with a duty free status
- First geopark that encompasses of 99 beautiful islands
- Birthplace of Malaysia and South East Asia, 550 million years ago, the Machinchang Cambrian
- Wholesome nature package, geology and biodiversity – unique and prominet
- Permanent forest reserves already exist in Langkawi, elements of conservation are already in place
- More than 90 geosites has been identified to have high heritage place
- Prominent Karst geomorphology landscape, sea arches, sea stacks, fossils, glacial dropstones, waterfalls, ancient seabed, etc
- Legends and myths add mystery and colors to the local culture, which is also an added important feature of Langkawo Geopark
- Culture and the socioeconomy represent added attractions in Langkawi Geopark.
You can find more information about Langkawi as a geopark at the Langkawi Geopark Information Centre in Oriental Village.