Butterfly Discovery Tour, Langkawi
If you love butterflies, then Langkawi can be a paradise for you. There are over 500 species of such gorgeous creatures discovered in Langkawi and many more awaiting discovery. There are organized butterfly discovery walks that are offered by nature tour operators in the island.
The tour is accompanied by a well experienced butterfly guide or Lepidopterist. There are numerous habitats for butterflies in Langkawi including the lush blooming rainforests, the coastal forests, mangroves, the large and wide spreading limestone outcrops and lot more that are home to myriad of butterflies.
You will be surprised to know that this tiny island has more number of butterfly species than even Australia and Singapore. You can even find some butterflies here like the Banded Peacocks which are rare to be found in Malaysia or elsewhere but can be seen in Langkawi.
One of the popular areas to see butterflies is Lubuk Semilang or the Book Village area which is located at the base of Gunung Raya. There is a tarred road that divides the beautiful rainforest and offers a walkway to discover many butterflies in the area. While there is never a guarantee that you can see a particular species on a specific day, but with some little luck, you can even see the Banded Peacock here.
Other ones that you can expect to see includes the black & white Helens, and also the gorgeous Golden Birdwings that are usually seen flying high near the top of the trees, but can occasionally come down offering you a rare close look at them.
Another great butterfly here is the Tiger which is so known because of its tiger-like striations. Although their flight seems quite lazy, they are one of the most poisonous ones for birds and other creatures attempting to eat them. In fact they have toxic chemicals which they acquire from their caterpillar stage while feeding on toxic plants. Otherwise they are as harmless as any others.
Your guide will also show you other types that look similar but are not the poisonous ones. Another species which is quite common to notice during the warm season is the Crow butterflies which are not that common in other parts of Malaysia.
Some of the other butterflies that can be seen in Lubuk Semilag and other rainforest areas includes Grass Yellows, Blue Bottles, Albatross, Oak Blues, Pansies, Banded Swallowtail, Great Mormon, Common Mormon, Swordtails, Sailors, Commanders, Knights, Barons, Common Palmfly, lime Butterfly, Common Rose, Bush Browns, Zebras etc.
Other than just spotting the beautiful butterflies, appreciating their attractive looks & flights and knowing about their natural history, you can also observe the world they live in through close observations. Here are some of the great activities your guide may be able to show you with some luck:
How they are predated, attacked and consumed by their natural predators like the birds, dragonflies, reptiles and other creatures.
Watch how the male butterflies get into territorial fights with each other trying to protect and retain claims to their own areas
Butterflies feeding on nectars, minerals etc
Communal gathering of the butterflies in places like sandbanks
Watch butterflies in love
If you are lucky, you can even get to see their larva and eggs
Best time to see butterflies in Langkawi
Butterflies are cold blooded and need to get warmed up before they can fly. In fact they need a temperature of around 25 to 30 degree Celsius to take a flight. So your best chances of spotting butterflies would be after 9am in the morning till noon. Once it gets too hot, the butterflies tend to move towards the top of the trees and sit under the leaves to conserve energy for their next flights. You can however still see butterflies in flight in the afternoon.
While it is possible to see butterflies in Langkawi all through the year, the best season is between December to May when the rainforests are lush and in full bloom. It is also possible to see them during monsoon time but preferably when it is sunny as they need the minimum temperature to take a flight and come out of their hiding.
I would recommend that you wear a cotton T-shirt, a hat, comfortable walking shoes, shorts and use good sun protection lotion. There are designated pathways through the forests for watching the butterflies. You are expected to stay on course and not wander about in the forest as that can cause serious safety issues.
Top Butterfly Tours & Operators
JungleWalla offers a butterfly discovery tour with an experienced guide. They will drive you to a select habitat. The walk lasts for 1.5 to 2 hours. Another relatively new operator Darulaman Sanctuary offers a great 2.5 - 3hour butterfly walk at Lubuk Semilang (at the base of Gunung Raya).
Check out Top Nature Tour Operators
to get information about them, their full offerings and contacts for inquiry & booking the trips.
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