Sunday spin to Kuala Selangor nature park (51/6380 ks)

(written by Dave)

Nancy was not feeling perfect this morning but we still got up early to try getting away from the traffic vortex of KL before it came to life.  We had brekkie in the room and managed to depart just before 8AM.  Ok, it’s not that early but we are not trying to kill each other.  The first 5k were into and through Klang and even at 8AM on Sunday morning, the traffic was pretty thick.  I’m glad we opted for exiting today Klang, rather than Monday.

The ride itself was fairly nondescript, basically a flat road with lots of industrial developments and the odd mosque.  The suburban sprawl of KL extends for quite a distance.  We had a tailwind most of the time, though the road changed directions a fair bit.  We stopped for one comfort break then almost before we knew it, we were in the outskirts of Kuala Selangor.  Knowing that we could not check in a hotel so early we stopped at another Oldtown White Coffee for a mini second brekkie.  Town is pretty spread out with the coffee shop being in a strip mall area where there are also a few hotels.  We decided to look at a hotel (Zande) in the old part of town as it was supposed to be pretty new and we knew some other cyclists had stayed there.  The hotel turned out to be okay – the rooms are decent and when you turn the tap in the bathroom sink, the entire faucet doesn’t turn (one of the new standards we’ve come up with for rating hotels – stars don’t really give you the appropriate granularity).

We showered and headed out to find some lunch.  The hotel staff speak almost no English so we were on our own.  Luckily the old town is only 3 or 4 blocks square so it was pretty easy.  We ended up at a brand new Indian restaurant called KS Oldtown Curry House – no relation to the coffee house that we know of.  We got pulled in by the banana leaf special mentioned in the window.  The food was fantastic and more than plentiful.  I managed to eat all of mine, Nancy put in a good effort.

After lunch we decided to wander the KS Nature Park, just opposite our hotel.  We got sucked in by the touts at the edge of the park who were selling bananas for the monkeys.  We bought a bag and headed into the park, though we only made it about 10 feet before the first brown monkey chased us down.  We fed monkeys all the way down the entrance road, though it was a bit scary.  We discovered later that the brown monkeys are not the one you want to feed.  They are very aggressive and nasty.  At the park entrance proper, we were asked to leave the remaining bananas at the desk while we toured the park.  They really don’t like people to feed the monkeys (we should have known).  Plus some of the monkeys in the park can be very aggressive.

We only looked at about 20% of the park and are taking another day off tomorrow to give it a proper checking out.  The birds are more active in the morning so we missed them completely.  We exited the park to go see the rest of the town park that was up on the hill right next to the nature park.  It turned out to be quite interesting as well.  We saw a poisoned well (rumoured to be the place traitors were placed after it was filled with nasty stuff up to their necks), a nice KS museum, the famous lighthouse (still in use) and best of all, a large group of silver leaf monkeys.  These monkeys are known for their gentle nature.  We now knew that we should not feed them but it didn’t stop all the other tourists.  But what a difference compared to the brown monkeys.  It was almost as if the monkey thanked the person feeding them.  They were completely at ease with the crowd and very docile.

We left the tourist and the large pack of silver leaf monkeys and walked back the rest of the town park loop.  Half way back we were given a private show by another group of silver leafs.  A large group of them were playing in some trees right on the road.  Several were chasing each other with amazing acrobatic skill, virtually flying between the trees.  Later a small group of brown monkeys tried walking through the area and we got to watch a monkey stand-off.  There was no real fighting but the sliver leafs all rallied in to a large group and sent a message to the retreating brown monkeys – quite interesting – and best of all, they were completely oblivious to us, this was no act for the tourists.

Back in town we had a shaved ice drink to cool down with and contemplated dinner.  We were both still completely stuffed so we ended up having yogurt and a scone.  We headed out about 6PM to try finding a taxi that would take us to the famous fireflies at the village Kuantan.  Even though we were on a busy street, there were no taxis.  Not to worry, being the only caucasians in town and standing on a corner looking at cars passing – we were an easy mark.  Before long we were approached by a man asking if we were looking for a ride to the fireflies.  (that obvious, eh?).  Meet Azlan Cowboy, our new guide.  We bargained a bit to get him to a price that we knew was too much but still fair and agreed to meet him after his dinner in 45 minutes time.

We wandered a bit – hoping we were not about to be abducted and making sure that we got a GPS SPOT message out so that our last known location would be recorded.  As it turns out, our fears were baseless.  Azlan turned met us at the agreed time, was full of great information and spoke pretty good English.  He even helped us get a better deal at the fireflies and offered us a few other holiday special deals – he was a bit of a wheeler-dealer.

The fireflies were great.  You basically go out on a little flat bottomed boat with 4 total people and one boatman (the boatman rows – these are not powered boats).  Our boat ended up being us and a nice girl from Japan.  The fireflies were just like described – the trees looked like they were covered in little Christmas lights.  The current was pretty strong and the boatman certainly earned his keep.  He got us right to the shore where he captured a bug for us to hold – it kept flashing the whole time.

After the fireflies we found Azlan and he drove us back to the hotel – his special price included rides both directions and him hanging out while we saw the fireflies.  Of course he offered us a few more specials for tomorrow and a time-share condo in Penang (just kidding on the time-share).  It was great to meet him and certainly again proves the point that you have to expose yourself a little bit to have experiences.  We would never have made it to the fireflies had we brushed him off when he approached us.  And meeting someone called anything Cowboy was not what we expected in KS.

We will spend tomorrow here again.  We’ll sleep in a bit for Nancy’s cold but try being up early enough to see a few birds.

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9 thoughts on “Sunday spin to Kuala Selangor nature park (51/6380 ks)

  1. Remember the fire flies that we caught in jars on our trek back west years ago. I have never forgotten how cool those were and always wished they lived closer. Sounds really cool! And to meet a cowboy that looks nothing like one….go figure!

  2. Nancy, keep feeding the cold, I’m sure that will make it go away soon! So jealous of your yummy mini-buffets.
    Love the new rating criterion for hotel rooms 🙂

  3. Just checked to make sure your both still alive and enjoying your touring. Read a few bits and peices, Im at peace now that all is going really well. Take care and have a great time. Will check back in again another day. All the best, Mel Bannan

  4. looks like both of you seem to be lapping up a lot of Indian food. If you ever head into a Muslim store, try mee rebus (which I believe you tried earlier on) or mee siam (thin rice noodles in sweet-sour gravy t will whet your appetite). Look out for Malaysia’s famous delicious Ramli burger at coffee shop or hawker stalls, you probably would not find them in the malls.

    Just a note of caution when you are walking along footpath or pavements right next to roads in the bigger cities/towns. There have been cases of motor cyclists as they are passing especially female pedestrians, grabbing their handbags. In some unfortunate cases, the woman was dragged along the road as her handbag was still attached to her.

    Nancy, I believe you do not carry a handbag. Just a caution especially for any conspicuous foreigner in a bigger city, always stay alert and take precaution. If you are in KL, check with the hotel staff which are some of the areas to be avoided.

    KL is also known for excellent food if you are in the vicinity, check with hotel staff especially the chinese staff for good “bak kut teh” (pork ribs in herbal soup served with rice and dough fritters, washed down with chinese tea), famous yong tau foo situated in Kampung Baru Ampang, in the heart of Ampang town (essentially different bean curd products with fish paste, meat stuffings in soup), satay in Kajang town.

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