Kuala Selangor and Fireflies ~ Places to Visit from Kuala Lumpur
KL Visitors Guide


Kuala Selangor is notably most famous for the fireflies which are found on the mangroves alongside the Selangor River. Also here are remnants of the old Fort Atlingsburg on top of Malawati Hill that offers a panoramic view of its beautiful coastline and the antics of the free roaming The ‘Silver-Leaf’ monkeys.

There are pretty good riverside seafood restaurants at Kuala Selangor
and seafood doesn't come fresher than the ones sold there.

Kuala Selangor is a small town situated at the estuary of the Selangor River is about 75km northwest of Kuala Lumpur.

Situated about 75km about 1.5 hours drive away, it is a pleasant drive out away from the city, winding through old rubber and palm oil plantations, a few shanty-looking towns and several Malay villages …peering into a way of life that perhaps seemed all too familiar to the British planters who used to own large tracks of lands out here at the turn of the 19th century.

Bukit Melawati
One of the first places you would visit is Bukit Melawati or Melawati Hill. At the lookout point on this landscaped hill, offers a panoramic view of the beautiful coastline of Selangor and the Straits of Malacca.

In its early years, the hill provided a vantage point for monitoring ships entering and leaving this part of the Straits.

This hill which some refer to as Bukit Selangor is well known in the late 1700s, when the second Sultan of Selangor state had this fort built on top of the hill to protect the state from the invading Dutch, who had already conquered Melaka just down the coastline.

Nevertheless in an attempt to snatch the tin trade, the Dutch later captured the fort during their 1784 invasion. Thry then reinforced ithe fortifications by building a European-style castle fort and placing better Dutch made cannons. The fort was fought over repeatedly by the Dutch, Sultanate of Selangor and later the British, until all that remains today are the scattered ruins you see today.

On reaching the top of Bukit Melawati, you will be greeted by a beautiful lighthouse called Altingsburg Lighthouse. Built in 1907 and named after the then Dutch Governor, the lighthouse is still in use till today.
Also nearby is the legendary Poisoned Well. The well was used to execute traitors. Filled with a poisonous mixture of latex and juice from the bamboo shoots, these unfortunates, met their doom by being slowly lowered in this well.

The star attractions at the Melawati Hill, however are the monkeys that loiter around the area seeking food from the visitors.

Visitors will be delighted to watch two species of free roaming monkeys that have made this hill their home. The ‘Silver-Leaf’ monkeys are the shy ones, more reticent than the ‘Kera’ (the mischievous long tailed macaques), which grabs not just food, but would snatch bags and cameras off unsuspecting hands.

The Silverleaf babies have orange fur as compared with the adults. While observing these monkeys. You can purchase drinks and snacks as well as bananas, peanuts, biscuits/bread types to feed the monkeys from the vendors here. Be wary though as these are wild and unpredictable animals.

Seafood Dinner

If you are taking the tour, the next you would go for is for the seafood dinner at the riverside restaurant. Seafood restaurants are located in a small fishing town called Pasir Penambang after the bridge spanning the Selangor River.

Here you can savour freshly cooked seafood while watching a river view sunset.

Over years the place has become more touristy and popular with most Malaysians due to its freshly served seafood and its pork free status. The prices seemed to have increased but reasonable and the food/ambiance is still the same which is pleasing.

Some of the noted dishes served are - Sweet and Sour Crabs / Stir-fried Baby Kailan with garlic / Fried Mee Hoon with crab / Kam Heong Lala / Steamed Scallop with garlic / Steamed Prawn with special dipping sauce / Fried Rice / Siamese-Style Steam Fish / Fried Fresh Butter Prawn

If one is not comfortable here and want a Malay halal seafood serving, then try Medan Ikan Bakar Pantai Jeram — seafood restaurant at Pantai Jeram located about 18km south of Kuala Selangor town, along the coastal road to Klang. The food here is great and for about RM100 you get Chili Crab, Grilled Fish, Grilled Squid, Mixed Vegetables, Tomyam Soup, rice and drinks.

After a sumptuous dinner, it is time to visit the main event of your tour here. Just outside Kuala Selangor, the place called Kampung Kuantan, which is quite well known, both locally and internationally, for its unique heritage of the twinkling fireflies.

‘Kelip-kelip’ as they are known in Malay, means 'to twinkle'. The fireflies aren't flies but are in fact tiny 6mm long beetles, the species found here is known as Pteroptye tener.

Here visitors can board a river boat to witness one of nature’s wonders - The fireflies dancing to the beat only known to them, producing a rhythmic whistling sound.

The entire riverside is lit with pulsating lights, the bushes over the flat surface of the river appearing like Christmas lights.The tiny lights shining from their equally tiny butts is reflected brightly from the river’s brown surface.

The night’s illumination represents the culmination of the bugs’ lives: mating. For this purpose, they choose only young Berembang trees; hence their massive concentrations in these select bushes arising from the muddy bottom of the tidal river.

Residing only in mangrove areas; during the day, they retreat into the tall grasses just behind the mangroves. As night falls, they move to the mangrove trees lining the banks of the river, to feed on nectar from the leaves and to attract mates with their synchronised flashing.

Needing a damp and swampy environment to live, the "Berembang Tree" or known by its scientific name 'Sonneratia Caselaris' grows wildly along the banks of Sungai Selangor.

The chemical reaction in the thorax of the insect produces a cool green glow that is controlled to flash at a rate of 3 flashes per second. The males flash within 1/30th of a second of each other whilst the females do not flash as frequently nor as flamboyantly as the males.

Each tree has different groups of families and sometimes the synchronisation of flashes on one tree falls out of synch with the neighbouring tree. However, for optimum effect, it is best to visit the place just after nightfall and not later than 11.00pm, after which time the kelip-kelip would have found mates or mated, and subsequently the flashing would stop.

Best Way to Visit - City / Monkeys & Fireflies Tour

The tour takes in some of the sights of KL city before going to Batu Caves and onwards to Bukit Melawati, a seafood dinner and then to witness the fireflies



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