Malaysia Lowlands

A tour and workshop through the lowland rainforests and coastal areas of peninsular Malaysia.

Even more than the highlands, the equatorial lowland rainforest is the most representative ecosystem of peninsular Malaysia.  Though much has been lost due to human endeavors, much still remains.  We might do a South to North tour, exploring several of the forest reserves and nature parks on our journey.  This tour will invariably be hotter and more humid than the highlands, and will also be affected by the Northeast monsoon with the wettest months typically December and early January.  However, Langkawi is sheltered from the monsoon and can be good from November through March.

Panti Forest Reserve is in the Southern state of Johor and just 75 minutes from Singapore.  Although this is a secondary forest, there are over 300 species on the checklist, and it holds some truly colorful birds that might make your mouth water.  With seemingly countless species of babblers and bulbuls, it also has four species of trogons, five species of broadbills, nine species of kingfishers, sixteen species of woodpeckers and lots of barbets, bee-eaters and some very elusive pittas.  Further Panti has the deserved reputation for being the best place to see the elusive & enegmatic Malaysian Rail Babbler.  We can use a vehicle here, so that makes getting around easy.

Sungei Balang & Parit Jawa are a couple of great spots in the Southern state of Johor, somewhat seasonal in their interest level, best during raptor migration and before it gets too wet.  From mid-November to mid-December is often the best for Greater Spotted Eagles, Black Winged Kites, Black Kites, Pied Harriers and Eastern Marsh Harriers.  Anytime of year is good for the resident Lesser Adjutant Storks.

Taman Negara is the grandaddy of peninsular Malaysian rainforests.  A pristine primary rainforest that has not suffered the swing of an axe for over 100 million years.  There are tiger, tapir and perhaps Sumatran rhino still present.  Bird life is good too, with 380 species of birds on the checklist.  Many of the same lowland species but there are some that are easier or not present further South.  Pittas are easier, as are members of pheasant family, Great Argus & Crested Fireback.  There are no roads in Taman Negara so we will need to walk or use a boat.

Kuala Selangor, Kuala Gula, Penanti.  Depending upon the time of year and your interest we may visit either or both Kuala Selangor and Kuala Gula coast parks.  Kuala Gula is the only place in peninsular Malaysia that wild Milky Storks still exist, and there are plenty of owls at night near the paddyfields.  Penanti is a great spot for Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters, especially in January and February.

Belum-Temenggor.  Depending upon your interest and the time of the year, we may visit the Belum-Temenggor forest complex in the Northern state of Perak to witness the spectualar hornbill migration.  You may see the sky filled with a thousand or more hornbills.  This is the only place in Malayasia that all ten species of hornbills are present.  We might also see a Rafflesia in bloom.  August and September are the best months for this.

Langkawi Island is at the Northern tip of peninsular Malaysia and is home to several species of birds that are found nowhere else in Malaysia, especially the Brown-winged Kingfisher and Mountain Hawk Eagle.  It is also noteable for a large concentration of Great Hornbills, White-bellied Sea Eagles and Brahminy Kites.  Langkawi Island is also a duty free island, if you are thinking about shopping.  Langkawi is sheltered from the Northeast monsoon, but it can be crowded especially around Christmas as it is a global vacation spot.  The driest months are January and February.

Duration is up to you, but a one to two week trip is recommended.  Port of entry can be either Singapore of Kuala Lumpur.  We can mix and match locations according to your preferences.  We can even mix and match highlands and lowlands destinations.  Let me know when you’d like to travel and how many will be in your group and I’ll be happy to get back to you with more information and pricing.

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