Day 342… For me, first half of the day is my own so I head out to the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park in an area called the Lake Gardens. These serene and scenic Lake Gardens (60-hectares) were established in 1888 and form part of the green belt of Kuala Lumpur. Inside i get to stroll through the park along a maze of walkways, amidst the greenery of the bird habitats. The KL Bird Park itself was established in 1991 and was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen of Malaysia, Tunku Bainun. The park gives me a great opportunity to see a hornbill in real life in these first days of my stay in Kuala Lumpur. The Bird Park is “The World’s Largest Covered Bird Park” or “The World’s largest Free Flight Aviary” where the huge support pylons keep the mesh cage roof intact so the beautiful flittering creatures don’t escape.
The Bird Park houses more than 3,000 birds and 200 species from all over the world and it truly makes for a wonderful day watching the colourful sights and hearing the melodic sound of birds perching and winging about freely while enjoying the natural and beautifully landscaped surroundings.The park is a bit old fashioned, but it’s cosy and the people are very friendly. The park is divided in 4 zones to prevent the birds chasing at each other so I have to plunge through several chain-curtained and locked gates. Apart feom seeing all the usual suspects in here, including home grown emus hanging out with monkeys, I also take the opportunity to have a photo taken covered in 8 separate birds, including the hugely beaked hornbill. This is the highlight of the park.
Some of the Birds:Flamingos, Hornbills, Waterhens, Parrots, Cockatoos, Storks, Pheasants, Mynahs Pigeons, Macaws, Ducks… and they come from: Malaysia, Australia, Africa, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Indonesia, Tanzania, China, Holland, South America and other countries in South East Asia.
After that I return to the hotel to discover it is still blacked out from this morning, so I escape the busy city life of Kuala Lumpur with my trip to the hamlet town of Kuala Selangor, situated northwest of Kuala Lumpur, joined by one of the girls I met on my day tour yesterday. Here I get to see Fort Altingsburg, built by the second sultan of Selangor in the 18th century to defend the city against foreign invasion as well as the 3 Tombs of the Sultanatelocated at the foot of the fort, where I find here the mysterious silvered leaf monkeys. A primate descended from the lineage of Old World monkeys, and they are so much nicer than the macaque monkeys. Peaceful and gentle, i buy a sack of monkey food (bananas, leaves, sweet potato slices) and begin handing them out to the gentle monkeys… and as usual 1 enterprising youngster chambers up me like a tree to perch on my shoulder for 10 mins while i feed him and his mates around me. Nice.
After that we continue your trip with a boat ride along the mangrove swamps and drive alongtheriverbanksofKampungKuantantoseethecoloniesoffirefliesproducingmagnificenttwinklinglights before we arrive atmyeveningdinneratalocalseafoodrestaurant. From here, we board small outrigger row boats to watch the bioluminescent fireflies flashing and producing glimmering lights in synchronized rhythm. The mangrove trees they call home are called “berembang trees”and grow along the riverbanks of Kuala Selangor river. These are the trees where the fireflies (or “kelip kelip” in the local language)live and feed on its leaves. During the day, they retreat to the grasses near the mangrove trees.
As night falls, the fireflies feed on the nectar of the leaves and attract mates with their gorgeous synchronised flashing green-yellow lights. Interestingly, the thorax of the insects produce a glow that flashes at a frequency of 1/3 Hz, or 3 flashes in one second. Each of the berembang trees has different groups of fireflies and each group has flashes that are uniquely synchronised.