Places to See Fireflies in Malaysia

Firefly Places in Malaysia

For the firefly lover, here is a list of Places to see Fireflies in Malaysia, compiled based on states and dated January 2016. Over the years, many tourist and even locals have been going to see fireflies (kelip-kelip) all over Malaysia and some of the most popular places are in Kuala Selangor and also around Sabah.

This list gives you the general information needed if you plane to go and see these beautiful insects which are also called Kunang Kunang in the Malay language or Lightning Bug as some call them. Another interesting fact is that the firefly belongs to the beetle family.

Best Places to See Fireflies in Malaysia

  • Kampung Kuantan Firefly Park, Kuala Selangor
  • Firefly Park Resort Bukit Belimbing, Kuala Selangor
  • Kampung Pasir Penambang, Kuala Selangor
  • Weston Wetland Park, Sabah
  • Kota Belud, Sabah
  • Gerama River, Sabah
  • Klias River, Sabah
  • Kampung Cherating, Pahang
  • Kuching Wetlands, Sarawak
  • Kampung Sibuti, Sarawak

The above are some of the best places to see fireflies in Malaysia, but read on to see the full detailed list and additional information.

Here is an important tip before going as fireflies are best enjoyed on a moonless night, in simple terms, when there is no moon. If the moonlight is weak or a new moon, it is still considered a good time too.

But on a full moon, you will least see them in full effect. Another tip is that after rain, the fireflies seem to be more active too. However, you should consult with your tour agent about where to see fireflies in Malaysia too. Now, we move on to the massive list where can you see fireflies in Malaysia.

What a firefly looks like
Fireflies in Selangor

Firefly Park Resort in Kuala Selangor
Selangor is probably the best known area for firefly watching since the 1980's and there are currently four jetties in Kuala Selangor that cater to this tourism activity in four different locations here.

Most of the tours are conducted via travel agents who package a day trip here to see historical Kuala Selangor, the fireflies and end with a local seafood dinner. The journey to Kuala Selangor from Kuala Lumpur takes about two hours one way.

Kuala Selangor Fireflies

Most general tourist would visit Kuala Selangor to see the fireflies and this has been the top place to do so for many years.

However, with the surge of tourism and development in the area, the number of fireflies have got lesser over the years. But you can still see them and there are four main places to see fireflies and the places are listed below.

Kampung Kuantan Firefly tours use rowing boats in order not to disturb the environment 
Kampung Kuantan Firefly Park

The most popular spot which operates eco friendly fireflies tours. Price is RM53.00 a boat for 2-4 people only. However, the method here they use is via rowing and the time spent in the river is only around 15-20 minutes.

A lot of people feel cheated due to the shot time here after a long journey. Best to double check with your tour operator about which jetty you are going. Contact: +603 3289 1439 / +603 3289 1549. Best option to book a tour, alternatively you can also self drive here as road signs are good.

Chalets at the Firefly Park in Bukit Belimbing, Kuala Selangor
Firefly Park Resort Bukit Belimbing

Another popular spot, this one comes with a resort, complete with some water chalets which are very very basic and standard. According to TripAdvisor, many recommend not staying here, so it is your call.

Seems that you can request the time for your firefly tours here and the general tour is around 20 minutes (RM15.00 per person tickets), but upon request, you can experience a longer one, up to 60 minutes, which is best done on weekdays only. For details, contact: +6 03 3260 1208  

Kampung Pasir Penambang Fireflies

This spot is located closer to the town of Kuala Selangor and is less visited. The fireflies here are located along the Selangor River where you take a boat from the jetty which costs RM18.00 per person. The full experience takes about 60 minutes with 20 minutes of boat travel.

Alternatively if you come early (before 3.00 pm), you can do some Eagle Feeding at Kuala Selangor too, at a price of RM25.00 per person. Pasir Penambang is also well known for the seafood restaurants along the Kuala Selangor river. Contact D Tour Kuala Selangor: +6 019-263 9123 / +6 017-639 5017.

Sungai Pakeh Fireflies at Sungai Panjang Bernam Selangor 

This is one of the more remote places to see fireflies in Selangor and I am unsure if the local villagers still run these tours. Seems the fireflies are seen along 3 kilometers along the river here too and this place is also a naturalist haven as there is also a Hornbill Conservation Area at Sungai Panjang which means, bird watching is also one of the activities here.

The Sungai Panjang Kelip Kelip place has not much information therefore, I am only listing this for the local tourist to explore. The place also goes by the local name of Konservasi Kelip-Kelip, Sungai Pakeh, Sungai Panjang Sabak Bernam. Address: Sungai Pakeh, Belia 1, Parit 16, Sungai Panjang, Selangor. 

For additional information, here is a good review on the Fireflies in Kuala Selangor by KJ from Atravelicious. 

Weston Wetlands Park in Sabah
Fireflies in Sabah 

Sabah has been one of the top places in Malaysia to see fireflies and over the years, many tourist, especially from Japan, Korea and China have flocked to Sabah Borneo to see this miracle of nature found at many locations all over Sabah.

Most of the popular places are only two hours drive from the city of Kota Kinabalu, making it easy to do a day trip while the rest are located on the east coast of Sabah. The best option to see fireflies in Sabah is booking a tour from any of the local tour companies in KK city.

The price per person is around RM120 to RM200 and usually includes pick up from hotel, transfers, boat cruise and a dinner. Tours also are anywhere from six to eight hours long. 

Weston Fireflies in Kota Kinabalu

Weston is known as the largest and most popular spots for firefly watching in Sabah and is also called the Weston Wetland Park (WWP) which is about 125 km from KK city.

There are daily trips to Weston organised by many tour operators all over Kota Kinabalu, some even at counters in the shopping malls here. Apart from the fireflies here, your package will include the wildlife tour of the mangrove and chances to see the Proboscis Monkey and Salt Water Crocodiles are high here.

Kota Belud Fireflies

This is the number two spot to see these beautiful creatures and it is slightly nearer to Kota Kinabalu town than Weston. Apart from seeing the fireflies, you can also see some of the unique Sabah wildlife that are found around the Kawa Kawa and Nanamun River which is 20 minutes from Kota Belud.

Tours from Kota Kinabalu start at about 2.30 pm where you will be taken to the Kota Belud Wetlands.

At this place, chances are on a clear day, you can also see the majestic Mount Kinabalu too. Same as Weston, tours take you for a mangrove wildlife cruise before the fireflies.

This place is also known as Little Kinabatangan due to the abundance of wildlife found here in the west coast of Sabah.

Sabah Fireflies Places
Cruising down the Tamau River

Gerama River Fireflies

Another up and coming place near Kota Kinabalu is the Gerama River Fireflies which is also near the Klias River. Located about 130 km from KK and about two hours drive, there are also basic accommodations available here. Tours include wildlife watching along the mangrove.

This river is also much smaller than the other rivers therefore, the experience is quite different. Gerama is also well known for the local water buffalo's bathing in the river here and also the bird life as there are many species of birds to be spotted here. 

Klias River Fireflies

Klias used to be one of the popular places to see fireflies and many tour companies sell these packages which include a mangrove river cruise to see the wildlife before having dinner and then going for your firefly tour.

There are a number of jetties here and each jetty is operated by different companies and over the years, this place has been getting quite crowded. It takes about 90 minutes from Kota Kinabalu to get here too.

Tamau River Fireflies

Another river near Kota Belud is called the Tamau River and here, firefly tours are also available through some tour agents in Kota Kinabalu.

A six hour tour package, you will visit Tamau Village before departing on your wildlife and firefly tour that ends with a traditional Malay dinner.

Teratak River Fireflies

Known mostly to the locals and also for research is the fireflies at Teratak River which is part of the Gerama River Wetlands in the Beaufort district, south of Kota Kinabalu.

Cruising along the mangrove watching wildlife before the sun goes down
Fireflies in Sandakan

Over on the east coast of Sabah lies Sandakan, the nature capital of Sabah and your gateway to the Kinabatangan River, Sepilok Otangutan Rehabilitation Center, Borneo Sun Bear Sanctuary, Labuk Bay and also Gomantang Caves.

Here, there are two main places to see fireflies and the best way to see them is to go through a tour agent from Sandakan town. Other popular things to do here is the Kinabatangan River Cruise for those wanting to experience the whole package.

Tanjung Aru Island Fireflies

This is a unique tour where you will take a boat to one of the islands off Sandakan called Pulau Tanjung Aru and here, you will pass picturesque fishing village scenes, natural mangroves and wildlife before seeing the fireflies when the sun goes down.

Abai River Fireflies

Kampung Abai as it is locally called is the closest place to experience nature and is accessed by boats from Sandakan town. There are a number of beautiful nature lodges and resorts here for the amazing wildlife experiences of the Kinabatangan River.

While staying here, guests have the option to go on the firefly night cruise to see this nature phenomena. To see the Abai River Fireflies, you need to book a 2D/1N package from any of the tour agents in Sandakan or Kota Kinabalu.

Sungai Pegagau and Sungai Buaya in Sandakan
Fireflies in Semporna

Many may think that Semporna only serves as the gateway to beautiful islands like Mabul Island and Sipadan Island, but in fact, you can also do nature activities here in Semporna.

From the main town, you will take a 20 minute drive to Kampung Tunggulangan where the main jetty is. You will take an hour-long cruise along Sungai Buaya and Sungai Pegagau to see the fireflies here.

Among the other wildlife, you will see Proboscis Monkeys, Long Tail Macaque, Pig Tail Macaque, Giant Fruit Bats, Crocodiles and a variety of birds.

This package is sold as the Semporna Proboscis River Cruise. Contact +6 08 978 5088 for details.

Sungai Cherating Jetty where you start the firefly tours
Fireflies in Pahang

Cherating is one of the best places in Pahang to see fireflies and something special about this place is when the tour operator does a magical experience of calling the fireflies to the boat. Truly one of a kind and simply mesmerising for any firefly lover.

Kampung Cherating was once famous for their beach and resorts, still manages to pull in some tourist after all these years, more locals than foreigners but if you want a non commercialised getaway, this is the place to spend a couple of days.

Kampung Cherating Fireflies

If you visit Cherating, a three to four hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, you can look up Mr.Hafiz who runs many activities here including the firefly tours in Cherating where he brings you to a few places before ending the tour with an amazing firefly display.

Watch in amazement as Hafiz calls the fireflies with his special torch lights. Contact Hafiz Cherating Activities +6 0 17 978 9256 GPS Coords are 4°07'37.7"N 103°23'28.5"E

Firefly tours in Malaysia, what it generally looks like
Fireflies in Sarawak

Sarawak is also another ideal place to see fireflies as there are a number of commercial places you can do this at. From Kuching to Miri, there are nature tours that offer visitors an experience to spot fireflies here.

Most of these packages can be arranged through tour companies operating in each city and is best booked thought them. Sarawak is also one of the up and coming places to see fireflies in Malaysia too. 

Kuching Wetlands National Park Fireflies

To reach this reserved park in Sarawak, visitors will need to take a 3 hours boat ride, passing through forests before the sunsets.

On the way you will see the rare Irrawaddy dolphins, various kinds of monkeys and all kinds of birds that lives in Sarawak. When dusk starts to kick in, you will be able to see what you've come for, the fireflies!

Kampung Santubong Fireflies Kuching

This tour is a package where you will also get a chance to see the famous Irrawaddy dolphins, Proboscis monkeys, crocodiles, other mangrove wildlife and the fireflies while you experience the Santubong river cruise package.

A 2-person minimum is required for this tour and you can book this from any tour agent in Kuching, Sarawak.

Fireflies in the dark
Fireflies in Miri

Miri is Sarawak's Resort City and your main gateway to many world class national parks like Mulu National Park, Niah National Park, Loagan Bunut National Park and Lambir Hills National Park. At the city, there are tours that take you to a couple of places to see fireflies too. 

Kampung Sibuti Fireflies in Miri

Many tour companies offer this as a commercial tour package with prices starting from RM200 to RM300 per person with transportation, boat and dinner included. You can book a tour from any of the travel agents in Miri for this. 

Sungai Raan Fireflies Miri

Fireflies at Sungai Raan is located two kilometers southeast of Miri and operated by local kampung people here. There is no contact information but you can ask around in Miri about this tour which is very niche. 

Fireflies in Johor

Many may not know, but just across the border from Singapore, you can see fireflies at the Kota Tinggi Firefly Park area and also at the Desaru area here in Johor.

There is also one spot at Sungai Muar, which is at the Muar district. So, if you are up for it, you can now see fireflies in Johor too. The places are;

Kota Tinggi Firefly Park in Johor
Kota Tinggi Firefly Park Johor

The most commercial firefly tour in Johor, there Kota Tinggi Firefly Park does daily tours with prices of RM20 per person. The overall tour takes about 60 minutes, but half of it is spent on the journey to and from the main jetty.

The number of fireflies here are quite a lot and well worth the experience, if you want to see these beautiful insects. Location of the park is about 3 kilometres from the junction of the Kota Tinggi Bypass and the road heading to Kota Tinggi Town. Address: Jalan Kota Tinggi, 81900 Kota Tinggi, Johor. Contact: +6 017 460 7775.

Sungai Muar Fireflies

Sabak Awor Resort does firefly tours but you should check with them if they run this regularly or only on full boats. Not much information is available for this place but the resort provides huge prawn fishing, mangrove tours and accommodations.

Contact Sabak Avor Resort +6 06 954 1345. Price around RM70 for firefly tour and a dinner. Alternatively, you can also tr to contact Hj Rahmat bin Idris +6 06 971 1150 or +6 013 680 2265 for a firefly tour in Muar.

Bujang River firefly tours
Bujang Firefly River Cruise Desaru

Located in the Desaru area, the Restoran Terapung Seafood Bujang Firefly offers tours apart from having your seafood dinner here at Bujang Lebam. The translation means Floating Seafood Restaurant and Chinese seafood is served by the Malay owner so the food is halal here.

After dinner, the firefly tours are priced at RM20 per person which departs from the floating seafood restaurant. Prepare mosquito repellent, lots of it. A great experience for those heading to Desaru, Johor. Usually locals drive here for the experience. Google Map Coordinates - 1°33'42.8"N 104°10'58.5"E

Kota Tinggi Fireflies Tours

This is a private operator that does special trips only at the Kota Tinggi River area. You should contact them to see if they are still running these tours that take about 30-40 minutes. Contact Ah Fook / Ah Seng +60 13 778 5999.

Fireflies in Perak

There are a few places to see fireflies in Perak but one of them is the most popular, which is located at the Kuala Sepetang area near Taiping.

This is also part of the Kuala Sepetang National Park area which is rich in mangrove life. Another place is at the Kuala Gula Sanctuary Resort which is just very simple and not commercialised.

Kampung Dew sign
Kampung Dew Fireflies in Taiping

Located in Kuala Sepetang, Kampung Dew is one of the largest firefly breeding and watching places in Malaysia, some say one of the best places too. Here, there are over 130 trees that are home to the fireflies in Kampung Dew.

This place is also under the Matang Mangrove Forest area which is rich in biodiversity. Contact Khairul +6 012 5145 023 for any bookings. Small and big boats are available and price is around RM35 per person. Coordinates: 4°50'5"N  100°37'37"E.

Fireflies in Penang

Penang Island is also home to some beautiful nature and ecotourism if you look beyond George Town and Batu Feringgi.

Did you also know that Penang is home to the Smallest National Park in the World? See, there is a lot more to do in Penang and firefly watching is one of them. 

Sungai Kerian Nibong Tebal Fireflies

Fireflies at Sungai Kerian is the most popular on the mainland of  Penang where a tour boat ride starts at 6 pm and takes approximately 40 minutes. Visitors here can also engage in some octopus catching, bat cave exploration and also visit Penang’s largest sea fish cage farm.

Nibong Tebal is located at the mainland of Penang and it will take about 40 to 50 minutes from George Town by taxi or car. Google coordinates: 5.153900,100.469826. Contact Mr CH Tan +6 012 555 4873. 

Fireflies in Langkawi 

Langkawi is well known for their Geopark but at one island called Pulau Tuba, you have the chance to see fireflies here. It is not well know, but you can ask the local tour operators on the island about this.

There is no official name but when you are Langkawi, you can ask any of the tour operators about seeing fireflies in Langkawi and if there isn't any, you can always go to Penang to see them. 

Fireflies in Kelantan

Northeast of Peninsular Malaysia lies the state of Kelantan and here, you can also see fireflies at Kubang Kerian which is about seven kilometers from Kota Bharu city. To get here, you need to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Bahru or taking a bus for 8-9 hours.

Kelantan is the most religious state in Malaysia and holds some natural beauty in terms of culture, heritage and food. The famous Malaysian Wau Kite is from here and so is the Shadow Play or Wayang Kulit puppet shows.

Fireflies seen in the dark at Kubang Kerian, Kelantan
Kubang Kerian Fireflies

Taman Kelip Kelip Kampung Pulau is located in the village of Kubang Kerian and the fireflies are best seen at Sungai Lubuk Durian. Each boat cost RM50 for the tour which starts about 7.45pm and operated by the local villagers.

Other activities include kayaking, wayang kulit (shadow play) shows and homestay programs. Address is Lot 440 Kampung Kubang Kerian. Contact +6013 9225 440 or +6013 9114 440.

Fireflies in Terengganu

Bordering Kelantan and Pahang is another east coast state called Terengganu and you can also see fireflies at Sungai Yak Yah in Kemaman district. Also called Kampung Ibok Firefly Sanctuary, this is currently the largest in Malaysia.

Terengganu is also your main gateway to places like Taman Negara National Park, Lake Kenyir and the many beautiful islands like Perhentian Island and Redang Island.

Sungai Yak Yah Fireflies Cruise Banner in Terengganu
Sungai Yak Yah Fireflies

Located along sungai Yak Yah in Kemaman, Terengganu is an operator that has been conducting firefly tours here for quite a while now. This place is also branded as the largest firefly sanctuary in Malaysia too.

Boats operated here use batteries which the operators are very protective about the environment. Prices are around RM30 per person. Contact Che Ghani +6 019 917 4012 or +6 017 928 6281 / +6 019 907 4012. GPS Coords are N4.30647 E103.37418.

Fireflies in Negeri Sembilan

A lesser known place to see fireflies, but in an area called Sungai Timun in Rembau and bordering Melaka, you can find them here. The word us that Sungai Timun is one of the best places in Malaysia to see a huge colony of fireflies as this place is not commercialized unlike Kuala Selangor and other popular places.

Tours are operated by the local fishing village people here. I read somewhere that the firefly researchers love to come here to do their studies too.

Sungai Timun Fireflies in Linggi 

This place is accessible through the Pengkalan Kempas jetty or through a 20 minute boat ride from Teluk Kemang in Port Dickson.

For tours, it is best to try and call this tour company for details: Charisma Vacation Sdn. Bhd. +6 06 601 4021 / +6 013 676 3911 as they operate tours from Kuala Lumpur to Port Dickson.

Malaysia Fireflies Information

Did you know that there are people who travel around the world just to see fireflies? As there are over 2,000 firefly species worldwide, it is the Congregating Firefly that tourist want to see and this is part of the Pteroptyx genus (Family: Lampyridae).

In Malaysia, a total of eight species of Pteroptyx are have been identified and you can also find five of them around Sabah Borneo which are;

1. P. tener
2. P. gelasina
3. P. similis
4. P. malaccae
5. P. valida

A Firefly - Photo by Sarah Wong
Things to bring for a firefly tour in Malaysia

Here is a list of items that you may want to bring for your tour as you never know what you will see in the wildlife.

Mosquito's are always around so be prepared by wearing long sleeves and pants. Apart from that, below is a list of things that you can consider bringing;

• Camera - Not to photograph the fireflies, but the beautiful scenery and the wildlife
• Binoculars - This is to spot birds, monkeys and other wildlife in the distance
• Waterproof Bag - As long as there is water, you should always carry one, even if it is a small one
• Insect Repellent - For the foreigners, this is highly recommended
• Torchlight - Some places require you to trek a short distance when you return to the jetty
• Poncho or Raincoat - A must, you never know when it will rain
• Plastic Bag - To dispose of your rubbish or double up as a camera cover
• Tissue or Toiler Paper - You never know when you need this
• Money (Ringgit Malaysia) - As your tour includes everything, some places sell souvenirs and drinks which is not included in your package so you need to buy them
• Snacks - As dinner is usually provided on the tour, you may want to bring some snacks for those who have dinners early or if you must eat something. Please keep the rubbish in your bag after eating.

A typical fiberglass boat that is usually used for the firefly tours
Photographing the Fireflies

Many will try their best but let me just say that it will not come out. Plus you are not allowed to use any form of flash photography during your firefly tour.

But for some touristy reason, there will always be one or two persons who will fire their flash away.

Photographing the Wildlife

You really need a good zoom or telephoto lens to get nice photos as most of the time, the Proboscis monkeys or other monkeys are high up on the trees. So here is what you probably need;

• Digital Compact Cameras - 10x zoom or more
• DSLR Cameras - Zoom Lens 200mm and above

Professional Photographers - The boat is constantly moving, so if you really want to photograph the fireflies, you need to book the entire boat for yourself so that you can stop somewhere and plant your tripod to capture the moment.

Trust me, I have been trying to capture them even when the boat stops, it does not turn out at all.

What fireflies look like in a photograph
Firefly Tourism in Malaysia 

For some interesting figures, the Firefly Tourism in Kuala Selangor generated a total of RM7.3 million (USD2.4 million) income in the year 2000 and there are no figures to date that I can get, so you can imagine how much it has generated overall in Malaysia.

There you have it, a list compiled by David of MalaysiaAsia and I can say that I have been to quite a number of the locations to experience these beautiful bugs at night which I think is a natural wonder and everyone should see them at least once in their lifetime.

The resources have been sourced from a number of places and huge thanks goes out to those who have provided amazing information. Other places have been personally visited by me over the years too.

Any feedback, questions or comments, please leave them below and I hope you have a great time visiting the places to see fireflies in Malaysia as based on this list, there are quite a lot.

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