Kuala Selangor is probably a destination you’ve never heard of. Normal, as there isn’t even much information on the web about this destination despite being less than 2 hours away by car from Kuala Lumpur, the great capital of Malaysia.
Nor did I know of such a destination if it wasn’t my interest in fireflies. That’s when Kuala Selangor turned into a must-visit place: when I found out that Malaysia has one of the largest colonies of fireflies in the world. The photos from the professional cameras look incredible and are enough to convince me to visit this city. It was one of the things I wanted to do for a long time, seeing a place full of fireflies. How incredible should it be? I ended up discovering that Kuala Selangor has more to offer than fireflies: a very unique landscape similar to the salt desert in Bolivia.
Kuala Selangor firefly park
One day is enough to explore Kuala Selangor because there is not much going on. I don’t think it’s a great destination for solo travelers, or doing solo things is going to get expensive, as it happened to me.
I haven’t even seen a Western tourist here. There are no hostels, only hotels. I decided to see the fireflies alone, which turned out to be an expensive experience because sharing a boat would be cheap, but when I went there there was no one else to share the boat, so I had to pay for it myself. Besides that, the transport to Kuala Selangor firefly park was made by Grab car that waited for me to leave the park or else I would not be able to return to the city. If I tried to call another Grab car at Kuala Selangor firefly park, it wouldn’t be possible because there is no Grab service near the firefly park. Of course, you need to watch the fireflies by night so there is no bus.
I went to Kuala Selangor firefly park on a new moon night, the best for firefly observation since there is not so much light in the sky. The experience consists of about 30 minutes in a rowing boat that takes me along the banks. WOOOOOW there are so many fireflies as I have never seen in my life. They are just like Christmas lights in the trees, with the fascination of knowing that they are animals trying to mate by emitting lights that fascinate me. The fireflies get together in a specific tree: the mangrove. There are so many of them together that make my jaw drop. It is fascinating to see. The insects are perched on the trees, glistening, they don’t fly around me, as maybe it would happen in an experience on land. All you do in these minutes of silence is to admire the sparkle of thousands of insects. This is definitely an experience and for that reason, it’s hard to describe how it feels. It is not even possible to show it in a picture as my phone can’t capture the firefly’s lights. However, the professional photos I’ve seen on the web are able to show the size of this colony of fascinating insects.
To be a cheaper experience, I advise you to book a tour and this way share all the expenses.
Sky Mirror Malaysia, Kuala Selangor
The next day early in the morning, I go on a tour to the Sky Mirror. You can only visit this place on a tour. It is a beach in the middle of the sea, which can only be revealed in certain phases of the moon, so you have to check the lunar calendar if it is possible to visit or not.
There is only one official tour operator and you must book this tour in advance. I booked my ticket through WhatsApp.
It is amazing how in the middle of the ocean there is a pile of sand that has a very low water level and that causes this mirror effect in the photographs. Basically, people come here to take pictures, and in fact, there is nothing else to do other than to enjoy the thousands of hermit crabs that move in the shallow waters. There are so many !!! I’ve never seen such a thing! They even walk over my feet. I confess that I was delighted and spent a lot of time admiring them fighting each other for the best shells, that is, the best house. The tour includes photos taken by the guide that requires all the preparation that only he knows. He brings several objects with him to make the best spot to take those photos with 100% reflection. All the guides do the same, smooth the sand, push water to the right place and create a wall for the hermit crabs not to enter the scene of the photo, as they ruin the effect. However, I see the guide having to remove several hermit crabs from the photo angle many times. We take alone and group photos. There is another guide giving some posing instructions. The guides also take with them several colorful toys and accessories to turn the pictures even more special but you can also take yours. The more colorful they are the better they look. About two and a half hours are spent here and that’s enough. Basically, we are just having fun taking pictures and nothing else because around you can only see water and more water, but there is an islet in the background. People wear colorful clothes and accessories too, to contrast the scenery. It is one of a kind place and many one of a kind pictures can be taken here.
How to take a professional picture:
But Kuala Selangor still has even more to offer. On a hill very close to where I stayed – Bukit Melawati – there are families and families of monkeys. I don’t tend to be a fan of monkeys, but I like these ones a lot. They are silver leaf monkeys and I love them. Unlike their long-tailed related monkeys, they are lovely, adorable, docile and so cute !!! I even saw people petting the monkeys as if it was normal.
To get to the top of the hill you can either walk or wait for a shared bus that departs from the bottom. The hill is not that high so I walked there and what a pleasant walk it was. The place is very quiet and beautiful too. Before reaching the very top there is some kind of a cemetery, I guess, and a huge tree filled with silver leaf monkeys. I have never seen so many of these monkeys and I didn’t know they were so pacific. They walk close to my feet and are not disturbed by my movements. They don’t make a fuss and it doesn’t look like they’re going to bite anyone, unlike their cousins.
Even more charming is the fact that their young are born with orange fur that changes color after a few weeks. They are so sweet and obviously stand out on their parents’ laps. I really enjoyed seeing these little monkeys that are also in a charming place with a view of the mangrove forest that spreads throughout the area. There are many people here coming to feed the monkeys and there is a stall where you can buy food to give them.
Bukit Melawati offers the best view in Kuala Selangor for sunset watching.
Kuala Selangor Nature Park
On this same day, I still had time to walk in the forest. Kuala Selangor is overall a very quiet and empty place but incredibly, there are a few more people walking around here as well. The forest is not that remote and in just over 1 hour of walking, you can visit it. I went slowly and took longer to do the loop, and as I got used to it, it started to rain. At least this time it was little and did not leave me soaked as usual…
In this forest, there are some observation towers and a trail that crosses the mangrove forest. I saw very large mudfish crawling and jumping from side to side. I saw several crabs and countless holes of others that are not visible. There are monkeys roaming and I even saw a large eagle resting on a tree. I also saw a huge bird taking flight. Impressive. This forest is definitely a place to watch some wildlife.
Walking among the mangroves is a nice and relaxing walk as silence reigns. Any noise that is heard is leaves falling from trees or mudfish that hide as soon as they saw me. Here I saw a different type of forest I have never been to before. I loved it! A walk in the Mangrove Boardwalk is the most exciting thing to do at the park.
It is possible to sleep in the park.
In Kuala Selangor, it is also possible to visit the Blue Tears, which are luminescent algae that emit a blue hue when agitated. It was one of the things I had planned to do but which unfortunately did not happen. This also looks like one of a kind experience and that I was willing to witness for a long time.
I also had time to roam around the streets of Kuala Selangor and feel the chilled vibe. Kuala Selangor is definitely a city that is worth a visit as it has very different things to offer from other destinations. However, not much is happening here. It is a very calm place and it looks very safe.
Here’s a video of my stay there: