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Flashing Fireflies of Kampung Kuantan in Malaysia

A huge colony of fireflies performs their dance of light as a one whole organism

Best time: November–August

Almost any forest becomes very mysterious and even creepy when Sun hides beyond the horizon and twilight falls to the ground, but there are creatures that bring light, hope and magic to such moments, and they are fireflies.

One of the biggest colonies of fireflies in the world inhabits Malaysia. It can be spotted almost every evening alongside the Sengalor River, with the highest density near a small village of Kampung Kuantan.

Fireflies, which are called Kelip-Kelip in the local dialect, inhabit mangrove tree berembang. Every dry evening between 8 and 10 pm they fly out the dens and start the dance of the light. Such performance is believed to serve as an attraction method between males and females. Bugs can perform various actions like steady glows and flashings, and the most striking is that they do it simultaneously.

You can visit the location by yourself or rent a boat with a local guide who will take you to the best viewing spot on the river. Fireflies don't like rainy weather, so dry season on the west coast of the Malayan peninsula can bring you the best of luck between November and August.

Practical info

What distinguishes Kelip-Kelip from other insects in Kampung Kuantan?

Kelip-Kelip, known as fireflies, are an impressive colony of bioluminescent insects inhabiting the berembang trees along the Sengalor River in Kampung Kuantan, Malaysia. The synchronized flashing of their light is what sets them apart from other insects and is a unique and beautiful phenomenon. Visitors can immerse themselves in this natural wonder by visiting at night or renting a boat with a local guide. Show more

When is the best time to observe fireflies along Sengalor River in Kampung Kuantan?

The best time for observing the colony of fireflies in Kampung Kuantan, Malaysia is between November and August during the dry season on the west coast of the Malayan peninsula. Fireflies which inhabit berembang trees are sensitive to rainy weather, so make sure to avoid the monsoon season. Visitors can easily spot the Kelip-Kelip by visiting the river at night. Show more

Where do fireflies in Kampung Kuantan seek shelter?

Fireflies in Kampung Kuantan, Malaysia prefer the berembang trees along the Sengalor River. Berembang trees also known as Sonneratia caseolaris, is a species of mangrove, and is a suitable place for fireflies' growth and development. They also like to feed on nectar from these trees. Visitors looking to spot Kelip-Kelip can easily find them by following the river and admiring the synchronized flashing of light emitted by the entire colony. Show more

What is the preferred method of viewing fireflies on the Sengalor River?

Tourists can watch the Kelip-Kelip fireflies that fill the berembang trees along the Sengalor River in Kampung Kuantan, Malaysia by personally visiting the viewing spot or hiring a boat with a local guide. Visitors should aim to visit when the fireflies' activity is at a maximum between November and August, and avoid the rainy season. Watching these insects' synchronized flashing of light on their own or in a guided tour is an excellent way to enjoy the natural beauty of Kampung Kuantan at night. Show more

What process enables Kelip-Kelip fireflies to emit light?

Kelip-Kelip fireflies are part of a large colony that emits light through the process of bioluminescence. These fireflies inhabit the berembang trees along the Sengalor river in Kampung Kuantan, Malaysia. The ability to exhibit synchronized flashing of light produced by bioluminescence is one such phenomenon that sets these fireflies apart. Tourists can witness this unique and beautiful sight by visiting during the dry season between November and August. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin