You don’t have to travel far before the hotels of Malaysia’s “honeymoon island” are supplanted with the colourful low-rise farmhouses of the verdant interior. This is rural Langkawi at its most bucolic; the domain of swamp buffalo gently grazing in company of their faithful companions, the cattle egret. Heading north-west, the lowlands give way to the jagged ridges of Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest Park, a 500-million-year-old product of geological activity now carpeted by lush rainforest.
Some of the holiday island’s elite properties are sandwiched between this rainforest and the north coast. Though these resorts are usually only open to guests, my guide, French primatologist and passionate conservationist Priscillia Miard, has forged relationships with the resident naturalists and we were granted access to wander through the grounds of The Andaman Resort unsupervised.
“They’ve constructed paths through the rainforest, which makes perfect ground for spotting night mammals,” Miard explained with an Attenborough-esque tone of barely supressed excitement.