Promising A Wondrous Sight!

by Audrey Lim, Oct 17, 2001 | Destinations: Malaysia / Selangor
Silvered Langur and its young...

Silvered Langur and its young...

Silvered Langur and its young...

If you do not have much time but would still like to have some fun while in Kuala Lumpur, you might want to pop over to Kuala Selangor for the day! Located just 75 kilometers northwest of Kuala Lumpur near the mouth of the Selangor River, Kuala Selangor promises loads of fun for a day trip.

Its strategic location (not too far off from civilization yet not too near to the hectic city life), Kuala Selangor has all the charms of a small town with lots of nearby attractions for nature lovers. Here, you will be able to find the Kuala Selangor Nature Park and the famed colonies of fireflies that call the Selangor River their home.

Managed by the Malaysian Nature Society, the Kuala Selangor Nature Park is a joint effort between the said society and the Selangor State Government. Some time back, before the facelift, Kuala Selangor was overwhelmed by mangroves? and more mangroves! However, with time and thanks to the construction of coastal bunds, you will only find a small strip of the remaining mangroves. Surrounding it are lakes, ponds and forest. Inhabitants of such ecological areas are mudskippers, mud lobsters and also the Malayan Water Monitor.

The Kuala Selangor Nature Park faces a "migration season" during the months of September and March. This is the time where lakes and ponds are swarmed by flocks of birds such as the plovers, Greenshank, Redshank and many other species of sandpiper. These birds travel the well-used East-Asian route! Along the way, the birds will most likely pay a visit to Singapore before heading further south to Australia. There is also a special species of bird here - the Milky Stork. Research findings showed that there are currently less than 100 specimens of the Milky Stork left in the world, therefore, the Kuala Selangor Nature Park together with the National Zoo (Zoo Negara) have started a breeding program in an effort to protect this endangered species. There is a special aviary located next to the main lake where visitors can view the birds nesting within in. They are, however, not allowed to enter the aviary. Over in time, the project aims to release the storks and hope that these birds will settle well at the nearby areas of Kuala Selangor.

As of current, the Kuala Selangor Nature Park has about 200-hectares of immature secondary forest therefore those looking for an easy hike can use the well-trodden paths. It is a lovely sight when the sunlight breaks through the canopy. Along the trail you will be able to see some lizards, woodpeckers, bulbuls, sunbirds and also the Common Sun Skink. One interesting forest character that is quite hard to miss (thanks to its highly vocal traits) is the Silvered Leaf Monkey. It is also known as the Silvered Langur. These large, grayish-blackish and long-tailed monkeys can be seen "joy-riding" through the trees and scaring the birds! The naughty baby langurs have a different shade of color - in a startling bright orange color to match their mischievous personalities! These langurs have been caught red-handedly stealing fruits in the gardens of the folks who lived at the foot of the Melawati Hill (Bukit Melawati).

Of all the wonderful nature sceneries and activities to be seen and enjoyed by visitors to Kuala Selangor, there is one you must not miss! The Kelip-kelip, the Pteroptyx tener or the fireflies, in layman's term. Whatever names you want to call it, the lovely "show" put on by these fireflies are a sight to behold!

As you move away from the Nature Park towards the Selangor River, you will come to a series of narrow tributaries. Lining both sides of the tributaries are the Beremban (Sonneratia Caseolaris). Characteristics of these mangroves include symmetric leaves and cone-like aerial roots. Although the mangroves looked totally boring and dull in the day time, you will be surprised at how beautiful it can be once dusk falls. The flowers will open up and each carries up to 100 red-white stamens. It is also here that the fireflies call it home.

During the day, you will see kingfishers and bee-eaters but by nightfall, owls and nightjars and of course, the fireflies will dominate the area. These fireflies are capable of putting on a marvelous light show for the visitors. Come and watch as thousands of these insects light up the area, flashing on and off a few times every second! Some of them move around, some stay put to a spot. At other trees, you can sometimes see an entire colony flashing their fluorescent lights in unison, not unlike a Christmas tree. These fireflies that flashes in unison are the males - in an attempt to attract a mate!

Do pay the fireflies a visit should you ever make a trip to Kuala Selangor. This is an experience you must not miss. You will be able to charter a boat to view this wonderful creation of God! Just take a short ride from Kuala Selangor town to Kampung Kuantan and/or Kampung Bukit Belimbing. Both of these places have suitable facilities for visitors. I still remembered my first visit to the fireflies' colony. It was a romantic moment - surrounded by thousands of blinking lights, the gentle lull of the rocking boat, and the quiet splashes of the oars against the river water as the boatman guides the boat along. However, things are a lot more modernized these days. Instead of old sampans, visitors will now get to choose from a fleet of modern fiberglass boats that are electrically powered. These boats ensure absolutely no air and noise pollution.

So, come Christmas, if you are looking for something different to do, you may want to consider paying these world famous fireflies a visit. Not unlike lights on a Christmas tree, the fireflies will definitely light up your night in a different manner! This, in itself, is truly an experience to cherish for life.

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Visitor Information

Getting There: You can get to Kuala Selangor by taking Route 54 from Kuala Lumpur. Alternatively, take Route 5 from Klang. The journey will take about an hour. The Kuala Selangor Nature Park is mere walking distance from the town center. If you wish to catch the fireflies in action, take a 15-minute cab ride to either Kampung Kuantan or Kampung Bukit Belimbing from the Kuala Selangor town center.

Fees for fireflies tour:
RM10 (for adults); RM6 (for children)
Operation hours: 7.30 pm - 12 am

For more information with regards to the fireflies, you may check out this website.