Langkawi, Malaysia: The island of leeches?

When planning my travel itinerary in London, Nico and I had contemplated paying an adventurous visit to Borneo… in an attempt to tour the deep jungle and do some diving in Sipidan…to our own discontent, we decided against it… mainly in consideration of time and cost.

Had we gone to Borneo, we would have certainly invested in leech socks… as leeches love human’s blood in the depths of the jungle… but as we planned neither to camp in the jungly rainforests of Borneo or of Teman Negara in East Malaysia… we didn’t plan for them.

At the summit of our 2 hour 7 wells trek in Langkawi, Gustav noticed a blood-sucking creature on his foot. I looked at it… was convinced it was a tick… and thought to myself: thank God that’s not me… as I’d be screaming and pooing myself…

Seconds later, Gustav points at another blood-sucking creature on my foot… this time… it’s small, sluggish texture convinced me it was in fact a leech.

Nico and Jonathon put their survival hats on and reasoned about what to do. They had a calm, Swedish Gustav on the one hand – feeling more worried at the prospect of a tick than of a leech… and a not-so-calm, drama queen on the other… feeling worried at the reality that a leech was sucking the blood out of her foot.

Jonathon took out his new and beloved Zippo lighter and applied fire to both Gustav and I’s ailments. The leeches responded by shrivelling up and falling onto the grassy terrain.

Both Gustav and I were left with – in all fairness – a small puncture on our feet…a puncture – I must say – that just wouldn’t stop bleeding!

But now, lessons learnt… ย not only am I able to admit to having an experience with a leech, but I can also share a picture of my ‘mini-wound’ with you… I might hunt down a photo of a leech (though, not the leech, from the web) to upload into my blog. (Just a bit of gross-factor on this post). ๐Ÿ™‚

Fat Leech

Fat Leech

Lina and Gustav's leech bites in 7 Wells, Langkawi, Malaysia

Lina and Gustav's leech bites in 7 Wells, Langkawi, Malaysia

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8 thoughts on “Langkawi, Malaysia: The island of leeches?

  1. Just returned today from Langkawi me and my freind completed the same walk on Friday and got at the summit noticed we both had several leechs attached to our feet! We were both on flip flops but then neither of us knew of the leeches! Wasn’t to pleasant at first but after removing the first few more would be attached with in a 100m (there was allot of them and you could see them walking towards you when u stopped!) highly recommend shoes for the walk other wise it was beautiful and the swimming holes below the walk are fantastic!

    • Wow – great feedback, and crazy that you saw loads of them hanging out. Sorry to hear that you guys were their next target! Hopefully they were small leeches like ours – I can’t believe it wasn’t just a one-off! That’s madness! Thanks so much for sharing. You’re right. Maybe flip flops aren’t the best location in that part of Langkawi!

  2. Lina, you are a drama queen at times. I think Gustav and Nico must have been a good influence in providing balance. Leeches aren’t pleasant to look at, particularly if they’re sucking your blood, I’m sure. We had similar looking ones in the neighborhood creeks/ditches in Milwaukee growing up. However, they were generally much longer (an inch or two) and darker in color. Never had one cling to me as we never stepped into the murky waters without shoes or boots. But we would catch them some times, mess with them simply because they were blood suckers, or throw them out onto the paved road nearby to see how well they can walk (Not!).

    Seeing the photo of your and Gustav’s leech wounds, I immediately wondered how the leeches could get at your feet if you were hiking. Local (Phoenix, AZ) desert hiking came to mind over packed dirt and rocks wearing hiking boots. It took a moment to reposition my brain into a jungle environment (which I’ve never truly experienced) with possible swampy areas. Or maybe the leeches are crawling on the plants in the open, for all I know. Or maybe you guys took your shoes off in certain locations. I can’t imagine you were barefoot or wearing flip flops. Maybe you can elaborate some on what you were wearing and where you likely picked up the unwanted guests.

    • It’s funny you’ve had experiences of leeches! I had never seen one before. It was tiny – and they’re said to be much larger in Borneo. Believe it or not, I was wearing flip flops! ๐Ÿ˜› That’s why it was quite an easy target for the leeches. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Regarding the photos – some are Nico’s and some are mine… hehe… I’ll clarify in the future! hehe. Nico hasn’t set his photo blog up yet – as internet is rare and costly… but I’ll allocate him some time on my computer to set it up as I’ve kinda monopolised it as a result of being slightly behind on my blog. He does take lovely photos though… and he’s teaching me! ๐Ÿ™‚ muaaa hope you’re well!

      • Nico is a great photographer. Have a photo of you with whitewashed town on Santorini in the background as my computer wallpaper at home. Love that photo. You’re well-tanned/sunburn, looking downward but it all works wonderfully.

      • Wow! I’m not sure I even remember which photo you’re referring to… hmmm… white-washed photo from Santorini? Really not sure. But you’re right… Nico’s a great photographer. I’m learning things from him.

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