Bukit Melawati (Fort Altisburg)

If you are heading to Bukit Melawati, you need to make it an afternoon and evening affair. Why? Because you want to include the Fireflies as well. And you want a rest during the day so that you have the energy to truly enjoy it.


Our last guaranteed chance to see some monkeys, and the boys revelled in it!

Bukit Melawati is an historical hill in Kuala Selangor (outside KL). It was once home to a mighty fortress built by the Sultan around the 17th Century.

It has now been taken over by the resident silver leaf monkey – who have become quite accustomed to the tourists they pull in. Has a very “King Louis from Jungle Book” kind of feel. A little too accustomed, one might say.

Not only were they brazen enough to take the beans right out of our hands, they also showed extremely aggressive behaviour towards one of the babies who was gaining a lot of tourist-attention. It was enough to make B and I feel very nervous and sadly we chose to move on.


While the kids did enjoy seeing the monkeys, I would not recommend this place to any animal lover. The monkeys seemed to have developed bad behaviour based on their dependency on tourists to come and feed them. Lesson learnt by us.

Moving on from the Fort, CK took us to a lovely seafood restaurant for dinner. We sat watching the sun set over the jungle, and embraced the deep conversation about the impact our travel adventures have on the wildlife. Even the most natural environments and minimal interaction will still effect the animals. We still talk about now, as it is something that should be considered in every adventure.

This ended up being a perfect lead into our next destination: Kampung Kuantan River Jetty and the Firefly Sanctuary.

The River Jetty offers rides in a traditional sampan to see the fireflies (or kelip-kelip). We have no photos of this adventure; partly due to lack of opportunity with lighting and positioning; partly due to respect for the protected sanctuary they are striving to maintain.

It is the second largest firefly sanctuary in the world (the other is in South America). All four of us load into a small sampan, with our boat driver paddling first up and then back down the river. It is only a short trip, but the whole experience is tranquil and breath-taking.

They look like little fairy lights hanging in the trees, briefly flitting here and there as we approach.

At one point, our guide carefully catches one and hands it down to N to hold. He quickly and deftly catches another for S, and both boys sit in wonder at this small treasure they hold. Both of them were so careful and gentle in their wonder. We so wish we could have capture this moment in a photo.

Instead we locked away inside our hearts, warming us like a little light all the way back to our Hotel. Even typing this, I still recall the soft glow of light on their little smiles as they silently watch this little creature. Then, again gently, they return the fireflies to the trees as we float back down the river.

A truly magical night. I cannot recommend it any more than that.



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