Unesco geoparks may become one

|     Arnold Loh     |

MALAYSIA and Thailand may soon share the honour of caring for two 550-million-year-old assets joined as one.

The Langkawi Development Authority (Lada) will discuss with Satun province to merge the Unesco Global Geoparks (UGG) on both sides into one.

“As the first transnational UGG in Asia, tourists exploring this natural wonder will be able to move between Langkawi and Satun with the least hassle,” said Lada Chief Executive Officer Dr Hezri Adnan.

He said he has passed this request to Unesco, adding that he will meet the Satun governor next month on the matter.

There are only four transnational UGGs in the world, spanning across the borders of Austria and Slovenia; Hungary and Slovakia, and the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

Langkawi won its UGG status in 2007 while Satun got it just last year.

Dr Hezri said both geoparks were actually formed at the same time, during a massive tectonic event that split apart the old supercontinent Pangea 550 million years ago.

Visitors can view one of the massive granitic boulders that was once a part of Pangea at the newly-opened Langkawi Garden of Rainbows and Butterflies near Telaga HarbourPark.

A single boulder measuring over 45m across was partly unearthed and is now a feature of the garden.

“Geologically speaking, the Satun and Langkawi geoparks are one and the same.

“Our lands share the same ancient history,” he added.

By merging, he said both sides will share the duties of conservation, managed development and promotion.

He said the cross-border attraction will significantly boost Langkawi’s tourism industry and that tourists from around the world will be able to immerse themselves in the natural wonders and cultures of both places with minimum immigration hassle.

Travel time by ferry between Langkawi and Satun geoparks are one and a half hours. – The Star