Bask in the bioluminescence of thousands of fireflies as they do their evening mating dance at Kuala Selangor Fireflies Resort Park, about two hours from Kuala Lumpur.
After sunset, head down to the jetty and get on the water. Aboard one of the park’s special electric boats, you’ll glide silently over the darkened river, past Berembang trees illuminated by the amazing nightly show provided by the luminescent little lovelies known as lightning bugs, blinkies or glow worms.
Each species of firefly has a different light pattern, and as they swarm together around their chosen branches they create a symphony of light like a firefly Christmas tree. Taking photos with a flash is officially discouraged, as it’s harmful to the fireflies.
Get a taste of the local flora and fauna at Kuala Lumpur’s Forest Reserve Institute of Malaysia (FRIM). At over 3,775 acres, FRIM holds hundreds of plant species and both regenerated and secondary forest.
Visitors hike along shady trails past a river and waterfall cutting through the forest, as well as the remains of an old Orang Asli settlement. The Dipterocarp arboretum is a collection of living trees for botanical reference, and the Bambusetum features 30 different species of local bamboo.
The more adventurous may want to explore some of the four jungle tracks: Keruing Trail, Rover Track, Engkabang Trail and Salleh Trail, all of which pass through some of most spectacular secondary forests in Malaysia.
Also a highlight is the Canopy Walk, allowing up close exploration of the rainforest’s treetops. Canopy Walks are limited to 250 people per day and are closed Monday and Friday.
More than 6,000 winged beauties live in the tropical rainforest ecosystem of Kuala Lumpur's Butterfly Reserve. Meandering the paths as the graceful creatures flit and flutter about the flowering plants, pausing occasionally to rest on a lucky visitor, is a pleasant and inspiring way to spend the afternoon.
Kids will love the chance to see the majestic Raja Brooke butterfly, the Lime butterfly and the Malay Lacewing, among the most unique species at the reserve. You can also pick up a bag of fish feed at the counter to hand out to the hungry koi that slowly patrol the park’s ponds.
Near the exit, there’s also an insect museum where you can marvel at some of Malaysia's larger creepy-crawlies, including giant centipedes and spiders. Best of all, admission to the park is free.
Kuala Lumpur's Bird Park is the largest of its type in the world, with 20 acres of free-flight aviary for its inhabitants to enjoy. Around 3,000 birds live in the park, from small and vibrantly colored parrots to the impressive Indian Blue Peacock with its magnificent 5-foot long tail. There’s a show each day at 12.30, and bird feed on offer so the kids can treat the locals to a meal.
Aside from the free-flight area, there is a special aviary for the parrots. Another separate space features rare Oriental birds, like the Greater Bird of Paradise and three different species of toucan.
There’s also the hornbill park, and a flamingo pond where you can watch the gorgeous pink creatures patiently standing on one leg sunbathing.