Tourism Malaysia

Hotspots for birding in Malaysia

Hotspots for birding in Malaysia

I have to admit I was not a birder till I bought a 70-300mm zoom lens. But once I could get close to the birds I started to identify them and my interests in birds just grew.

There are many hotspots for birding in Malaysia like Taman Negara, Kuala Selangor, Fraser Hill and on the many islands. If you are an experienced birder you can travel to these places on your own but otherwise many agencies offer organized birding trips in Malaysia. There are bird watching options even in the busy Kuala Lumpur.

Taman Negara is spread over three states – Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang. It is home to 350 bird species. Many types of hornbills can be seen in this region but it usually takes a lot of patience and some luck to spot the birds. Also the chances of spotting anything are more during early morning and late evening as that is when the birds come out. Apart from hornbills there are chances to watch Asia Fairy Bluebird, minivets, woodpeckers, barbets and many others on a visit to Taman Negara. Bird sightings are possible both while trekking and boating.

Kuala Selangor is a town located in the Selangor region of Malaysia about an hour from Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Selangor Nature Park is a paradise for bird watchers. There are four clearly marked walking trails within the park. But if you are new to bird watching having a guide can make the experience so much more enriching. Even experienced bird watchers prefer to go with a guide as they would be more knowledgeable about the habitats of the different birds. Birds, along with many other species in the animal kingdom, are very good at using camouflage. A trained guide can spot them among the leaves or bark which you might otherwise miss. The most commonly sighted birds in this region are herons and storks. Other birds in the area are kingfishers, woodpeckers, barbets, flycatchers. Kuala Selangor also has fireflies by the thousands and tours can be taken to see them in the dark.

The Common Kingfisher at Kuala Selangor. Pic: jack2964, Flickr.

Fraser Hill is an old colonial hill station in Malaysia and is known for its birds and bird watchers. It is home to around 250 species including a few endangered ones like the Malaysian Whistling Thrush and the Mountain Peacock Pheasant. But sighting these birds is a matter of luck and infinite patience. More commonly sighted birds are Asian Fairy Bluebird, Black Crested Bulbul, woodpeckers and many types of warblers.

Loagan Bunut National Park in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo is another birding hotspot. The Lake Loagan Bunut covers an area of 65 hectares. There are walking trails within the park through the dried up lake during particular seasons. However it is strongly suggested to take a guide who can negotiate through the swamps. Birding can be done on boat rides too. Darters, hornbills and eagles can be commonly sighted. The landscape of the national park is in itself quite fascinating and makes for excellent pictures.

The beautiful Loagan Bunut National Park. Pic: norm-digitalfoto, Flickr.

The island of Langkawi boasts a bird park located on the main road across the island. The Langkawi Bird Paradise is a five acre park that is home to 150 bird species and around 2500 birds. Feeding is permitted and photography with the birds is also possible. Hornbills, flamingos, parakeets, mandarin ducks, owls and eagles can be commonly sighted.

There are also some options for bird watching closer to Kuala Lumpur as well. Putrajaya is the administrative capital of Malaysia 25 kilometers from the capital. It is a planned city with large number of water bodies that attract birds. The Putrajaya Wetlands Park is spread over 200 hectares and attract a variety of local and migratory birds like egrets, herons and bitterns.

Finally right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur there is KL Bird Park and it was on my agenda. I was in Kuala Lumpur on business and I managed to see it only on my last day. It was a completely mesmerizing experience. I clicked non-stop and I ended up with so many pictures that I made a stop motion video!

Within three hours I spotted flamingos, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Splendid Starling, Scaly-brested Munia, hornbills, golden pheasants, parakeets of various colors and more. And what would I give to watch that Scarlet Ibis out in the wild! Three hours were not enough but I had a flight to catch later in the day.


The Asian Fairy Bluebird at KL Bird Park. Pic: Mridula Dwivedi.

Tourism Malaysia

Fraser`s Hill

Formerly a British hill station, Fraser’s Hill is shrouded with tranquillity and tinged with irresistible colonial charm.  Just a hop and skip away from Kuala Lumpur, or 100km to be exact, it is a surreal place to head to when you need to get away from a hectic week at work.  Its vast natural landscape, cosy English cottages and crisp mountain air, will most assuredly remind you of the joys of unhurried living.

The last 8 km from the Gap to the top of Fraser’s hill is a narrow winding road that only allows one-way traffic from 7.00am to 7.00pm.  Take note of the following Gate times:

Duration: Overnight (2D/1N)


Driving Guide


Fraser’s Hill is a fantastic birding location and word has it that this car park is an ideal place for a spot of bird watching.  Daybreak’s the best time to glimpse exotic and rarely-seen birds such as Chestnut-capped Laughing Thrush, White-throated Fantail and Fire-tufted Barbet.  Don’t forget to bring your binoculars!
Address: Jalan Ampang, Fraser’s Hill
Tel: +609-3622600
Operating Hours: Daytime
Cost: Free


Tuck into a hearty breakfast at this very reasonably priced restaurant in the town centre.  The local dishes served here taste good and serving portions are generous.
Address: No. 7, Puncak Inn, Fraser’s Hill
Tel:  +609-3622299
Operating Hours: 7.30am to 10pm
Cost: From RM4.50 to RM6.50


The curry laksa served here is one of this town’s best-kept secrets.  Served only on weekends, it runs out pretty fast so be there as early as you can.
Address: Near the Upper Gate (road leading towards the Gap), Fraser’s Hill
Tel:  +609-3622299
Operating Hours: 9am to 7pm
Cost: From RM4.50 to RM6.50


If you fancy a quick round of invigorating golf, the best place to do so is none other than the oldest 9-hole golf course in Malaysia.  This is an opportunity to indulge in your favourite sport amidst cool fresh air and lush greenery.  
Address: Jalan Ampang, Fraser’s Hill
Tel: +609-3622129
Operating Hours: 8am to 7pm
Cost: RM40.00 for the whole day


Chinese food lovers will not be disappointed with Hill View Restaurant as the cuisine is tasty and the prices are reasonable.  
Address: Jalan Genting, Fraser’s Hill (at Puncak Inn)
Tel: +609- 3622231
Operating Hours: 9.30am to 9pm
Cost: From RM6


Explore the secluded and surreal 1.5km Bishop’s Trail which is a delight for nature lovers and bird watchers.  Keep an eye out for the leeches and slippery trails when it rains though!
Address: off Ledegham Road, Fraser’s Hill
Operating Hours: Daytime
Cost: Free

Optional Activity:

Don’t miss out on getting yourself soaked at one of the most beautiful and magnificent waterfalls of Selangor. You can reach them after trekking along the river and crossing it five times.  
Address: 21 kilometers from Kuala Kubu Bharu on the road to the Gap
Operating Hours: Daytime
Cost: Free


Experience more of the alluring British charm by treating yourself to an honest-to-goodness Devonshire tea at Ye Olde Smokehouse.  Their mouth-watering scones, butter, clotted cream and jam are certainly to die for.
Address: Jalan Jeriau, Fraser’s Hill
Tel: +609-3622226
Operating Hours: 3pm – 6pm
Cost: From RM18


This mini natural waterfall is 15 minutes from the town centre.  It takes a further 20 minutes stroll along a scenic walkway to reach it.  Although not as magnificent as the Chiling Falls, all that walking is great to work up an appetite for dinner.
Address: Jalan Jeriau, Fraser’s Hill
Operating Hours: Daytime
Cost: Free


Have a sumptuous dinner at Shahzan Inn’s Merak Coffee House where the food tastes great and the portions are generous.  Take your pick from the ala carte menu offering a variety of Continental and local dishes.
Address: Jalan Lady Guillemard, Fraser’s Hill
Tel: +609-3622300
Operating Hours: 6.30pm – 10.30pm
Cost: From RM17

Places to Stay

This budget-styled inn may be one of the cheapest accommodations in Fraser’s Hill but it doesn’t come at the expense of comfort.  Newly refurbished, each room comes equipped with hot shower, comfortable beds and a TV.
Address: Jalan Genting, Fraser’s Hill (Near the Clock Tower)
Tel: +609-3622201
Rates: From RM100.00

You have a choice of studio, 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom apartments that command an amazing mountain view or a picturesque view of the town.  Each room is luxuriously furnished and comes with its own private balcony.   
Address: Jalan Lady Maxwell, 49000 Fraser’s Hill, Pahang
Tel: +609-3622888
Rates: From RM178

Nestled amongst a lovely pine tree forest and breathtaking mountain views, these 96-room first-class fully-serviced apartments come with large private balconies and a host of other amenities for your comfort.
Address: Jalan Pecah Batu, Fraser’s Hill, Pahang
Tel: +609-3622122
Rates: From RM220

When in Fraser’s Hill, do as the British do.  Stay at this Tudor-style house for a bout of colonial luxury.  Avoid the ground floor rooms as noises of guests walking around may disturb your peace.
Address: Jalan Jeriau, Fraser’s Hill
Tel: +609-3622226
Rates: From RM308

Tourism Malaysia

Fraser’s Hill

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