If it's an adventure that a little more refined and certainly less strenuous that's wanted, try bird watching! Malaysia's vast expanses of rainforests are home to more than 700 species of exotic birdlife and some extremely rare ones. Due to its location on the cross-migratory path of certain bird species, Malaysia has emerged as a bird watching haven. Foreign and local bird alike, the avian extravaganza is one to behold. Scan the treetops, listen for the tell-tale calls.
Look hard. You'll see them all, from the timid and the tiny highland species to the bright and resplendent low land varieties
Bird sanctuaries have been designated throughout the country. These include Taman Negara, Fraser's Hill and the Kuala Selangor Nature Park. In Sabah, Kinabalu Park and Layang-Layang Island are the spots to seek out. You're certain to sight the likes of Silver-Eared Mesias, Mountain Bulbuls, and Collared Kingfishers. If you see a Mountain Peacock Pheasant or a Malayan Whistling Thrush you are one of the privileged few, as they are the rarest of birds to be found.
Bird watching locations:
Kuala Selangor Nature Park
Maxwell Hill Taiping Perak
One of the most popular bird watching destination in Malaysia is in the Gap and Frasers Hill. Frasers Hill has been the location for many bird race competitions in the last few years. The Fraser's Hill International Bird Race, the only event of its kind in Malaysia, is a world renown event and held every June each year.
This event is an international event to get people to preserve and understand all of the 250 species of wild birds.
Kuala Selangor Nature Park:
This 800-acre park, located in Kuala Selangor is a haven for a wide variety of flora and fauna. If you are lucky, you will be able to spot the wild animals in their natural surrounding, such as mammals like the smooth otter, leopard cat, silver-leafed monkey and macaques, some 99 spices of local birds, 57 migratory birds of which 26 are wades.
There are also about 15 species of crabs, a variety of butterflies, insects, reptiles, molluscs and fish, and not to forget mud skippers, mud lobsters and king crabs.
Taman Alam provides facilities such as parking lots, visitor's centre, chalets and rest areas. The park has six nature trails. Do not forget to bring along your binoculars and camera with zoom-lens to view water birds from 2 bird hides overlooking the brackish lake system. Other point of interest are the watch towers, the mouth of the Selangor River, the secondary forest, mangrove forest, the board walk and mud flats.
A prime nesting site, the Kuala Gula Sanctuary in Perak has over a hundred species of birds, some of them protected. It is situated in the mangrove swamps south of Bagan Serai. The peak months for bird watching are between August and December.
Maxwell Hill Taiping Perak:
Located approximately 9km from Taiping, Bukit Larut (Malaysia's oldest and smallest hill resort) stands at 1,035m above sea level. Accessible only by government-owned four-wheel-drive vehicles, the road up twists and turns through tropical virgin jungle with the fresh green fragrance and cool air greeting you as you ascend. At the summit, one is greeted by a spectacular view of the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
The hill abounds with groves of evergreens and vibrantly colored flora and fauna.
Roses, dahlias, daisies, pansies, petunias, lupins, and marigolds abound in profusion. The cool climate also favors golden sunflowers with reputedly the largest variety in the country.
Taman Negara, Malaysia's premier park and the largest in the country extends over some 434,300 hectares of primary forests, more than 130 million years old. Even as early 1939, conservation was of primary concern. The park was established for the soul purpose of protecting and preserving the flora and fauna indigeneous to the area. Located within the Park is Peninsular Malaysia's highest mountain, Gunung Tahan, 2, 187 metres above sea level.
A range of comfortable accomodation is provide by Taman Negara resort at Park Headquarters at Kuala Tahan. The restaurant outlets there also ensure that you do not go hungry amidst natures wilderness. With so much to see and do, a trip to Taman Negara is a must on your itinerary
Its Vegetation Galore For Botanist
The lowland areas are dominated by dipterocarps and lush rivering vegetation. Epiphytes such as ferns and rare species of orchids are abundant here. Oaks and laurels are found higher up, on the intermediate slopes.
The vegetation in the summit regions are typically of the dwarf upper montane varieties with palm flora, namely Livingstonia tahanensis, being in abundance.
Bird Watchers, Prepare To Feast You Eyes:
As many as 250 species of birds have been identified so far. Commonly seen are hornbills. Fireback pheasants may be spotted along jungle trails while fishing eagles and kingfishers usually flit along the riverbanks.
The Sungai Tahan is a favourite habitat of the masked finfoot. Other exotic species to be found here include the broadbill, drongo and blue-throated be-eater.
Another popular activity within the Park to keen bird watchers will surely not leave the Park without spotting at least a few of the 250 species reputedly to be found here.