THERE is more to rustic Kuala Selangor than meets the eye.
The quiet township, known for its mesmerising fireflies and delectable seafood, is located just an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur and is a treasure trove of interesting facts and attractions.
Most of the tourist attractions here centre around the town’s rich history as the first administration centre for the Selangor state.
Believed to have existed since the 16th century, Kuala Selangor had been inhabited and led by a woman named Opu Cendera Burung before five sons of a Bugis king arrived to rule the land.
Years later, the Dutch came and conquered Malawati Hill in 1784 before the Bugis Sultan wrested it back within a year.
Today, the hill has become an important tourist attraction for Kuala Selangor.
Visitors can go up the hill using private vehicles on weekdays while a tram service is provided on weekends for those who do not want to scale it on foot.
Once there, one should look out for the Poisoned Well, believed to have been contaminated with latex and itchy bamboo to drown traitors back in the day.
Further up the hill is the famous Kuala Selangor landmark, the lighthouse that stands magnificently against the blue sky.
Unfortunately, it is closed to the public and visitors are only able to take selfies and photographs outside the lighthouse.
Also at the top of the hill is the Kuala Selangor Historical Museum and the New Moon Viewing Pavilion.
There are cannons placed at strategic locations overlooking the picturesque Selangor coastline as well.
While admiring the view, tourists will find it hard to ignore the silver-leafed monkeys and long-tailed macaques jumping from tree to tree.
Down the path is the famed Batu Hampar. According to one legend, the rock was an execution bed while another describes it as the Sultan’s resting place as he watched the sun set on his kingdom.
Tourist Chen Funn Wai, 48, said the hill was a great place to enjoy a relaxing day.
He and his colleagues ventured to Bukit Malawati hoping to escape the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur.
For locals Asiah Ahmad, 48, and Saidatul Nur Sahid, 48, the hill is a perfect getaway for their families.
Both were spotted reminiscing their childhood days beside a cannon with their former classmates from SM Sultan Abdul Aziz.
“The place has developed a lot over the last 31 years and I know it is for the better but I still miss the old Kuala Selangor town,” said Saidatul.
She described the old town as a hive of activity amidst old wooden shoplots and stalls lining the street.
Asiah said there was another spot worth visiting called the Keramat Anak Dara.
Legend has it a girl killed herself in a lake nearby after being forced to wed someone she did not love. The villagers only found her clothes hanging from a tree and buried it.
“The lake has a very eerie feel to it and there are claims that it has been growing bigger and wider by the day. It was only a small lake in the beginning,” she said.
For those who prefer a more tranquil area, the nearby Kuala Selangor Fishing Village is a perfect retreat. Visible from a bridge connecting two different parts of the town, the 100-year-old fishing village is a sight to behold.
Long wooden shoplots on stilts have been erected in the river, allowing boats to bring in fresh seafood every day to the numerous restaurants and fisheries.
Here, one can also book a trip to watch eagles being fed at the river mouth.
D Tours Kuala Selangor owner Johnson Chuan Seng said eagle feeding became a popular attraction some five years ago.
“Fishermen first spotted the birds and we thought it would be great for tourists to see them as well.
“There are five different species of eagles here and one can also spot seagulls, storks and lizards in the swamps,” he added.
Apart from that, there are the fireflies of Kampung Kuantan as well as a new spot in Bukit Belimbing, located about 7km from the fishing village.
The tours are held between 7.30pm and 9.30pm.
At the end of the fishing village are two very unique Chinese temples; the Seven Swords God Temple as well as the Monkey God Temple.
The former was built some 39 years ago after a local dreamt of the Seven Swords God and decided to erect the temple to commemorate him.
Visitors can end their trip with these two architectural wonders before heading back home via the old trunk road through Templer’s Park or the more comfortable Latar Expressway.