Instead of driving to the Paya Indah Wetlands to see a menagerie of animals, a retired teacher decided to cycle there from nearby Putrajaya.
After having driven from various places around the Klang Valley, the four of us met up at Taman Empangan park in Putrajaya at 7.30am.
Our goal was to cycle to the Paya Indah Wetlands to see a menagerie of crocodiles, pelicans, ducks and, the highlight, hippopotamuses!
My three riding buddies – Liliana Lee, Irene Cho and Wong KT – plus myself had brought our folding bikes in our cars and we soon took them out and set them up, before riding for about 8km to nearby Dengkil town to have breakfast.
After filling and fuelling ourselves up, we rode on to the Paya Indah Wetlands a further 8km away. We registered ourselves at the park office and we were given a briefing and some pamphlets.
Then we cycled to the beautiful, traditional Terengganu house within the wetlands area. This is a two-storey house with double-layered roofs and a bottom part, made of grey stones, which looks a bit like a fortress.
Next, it was time for the blooming red, pink, purple and white lotus flowers, sticking out amidst a sea of green leaves, at the lake. On the way, we saw a peacock displaying its beautiful tail feathers. However when we moved near, it closed its tail.
At 10am, it was time for the main event of our Paya Indah visit, the hippos! A mother hippo was feeding on some grasses with her baby and soon the father hippo also emerged from the lake. There are five hippos here actually, but we only saw three of them.
A park warden brought out a wheelbarrow filled with bananas and papayas. He called out “Putra!”, and the father hippo came lumbering over to him. Then the warden threw the fruits into its huge gaping mouth. The mother and baby hippo were also given fruits.
And then it was our turn to feed the hippos. The thing to do is to throw the fruits into their mouths, and be careful not to get your hands bitten off! ere in Paya Indah, the hippos seemed so placid and adorable but a signboard warns people that hippos can be deadly.
Next up, we cycled to the bamboo gardens, saw ducks and geese and moved on to the lake where crocodiles were either basking lazily, swimming suspiciously or floating like dead logs.
We were told that there are supposed to be 47 crocodiles here. But unfortunately, there was no feeding session today. We resolved to return to catch the action of feeding at Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays at 11am.
Just beside the crocodile lake is the Lestari pond, which is home to two pelicans. We approached them slowly. When we were just two metres away they spread open their beautiful wings.
Another attraction here is the watch tower, which is about the height of a three-storey building. From the top, we were treated to a wonderful view of the whole wetlands, including trees, lakes and swamps.
Lastly, we went to the Rusiga jetty. There were boats meant to take visitors round the 18 lakes around here but we didn’t try this.
At 11.30am, we ended our tour of the wetlands, and cycled back to Dengkil for a sumptuous lunch. It had been a rather relaxing excursion of some 30km over relatively flat terrain. Definitely, a great way to spend a morning!
> SC Chin is a retired teacher and avid cyclist from Rawang, Selangor.
Facts for visitors
The Paya Indah Wetlands are an eco-tourism park covering approximately 3,100 hectares and located near Dengkil, Selangor.
It consists of 18 lakes, including a hippo pond, a crocodile pond, an ecology pond, water lily ponds and fishing ponds. There is also a watch tower, bamboo groves and traditional Malay houses.
Entry is free. Open everyday: 7.30am – 7.00pm
Free activities at the park include:
1. Hippo feeding – everyday at 10am
2. Crocodile feeding – Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays at 11am
3. Walking around with peacocks
4. Visiting the pelicans enclosure
5. Watch tower viewing
Paid activities include:
1. Bird watching (213 species have been recorded here) – RM120 per four hour guided tour (FHGT).
2. Swamp trekking – RM120 per FHGT.
3. Bicycle rental – RM5 for two hours.
4. Canoeing – RM7 per half hour.
5. Fishing – RM10 for two hours.
6. Guided Nature Tour – RM120 per FHGT.
7. Night Safari – RM120 for two hours.
8. Photography – RM120 per FHGT,
9. Paddleboat – RM7 per half hour.
10. Biodiversity Education Program – 3 days 2 nights for schools and colleges.
Accomodation here includes chalets, hostels and a camp site. There are also seminar halls and sites for “family day” events.
Paya Indah Wetlands
Km 4, Jalan Dengkil-Banting
Tel: +603 87687616 / 8726.
Fax: +603 87688424