Malaysia 2015

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malaysia-2014

Personalized wildlife-watching and photography tour in west Malaysia

5D3_1872_260pxA unique opportunity to benefit from personal tuition and guiding from professional photographer & nature sound recordist Marc Anderson and visit one of the most exciting destinations in South-East Asia for birdwatching and wildlife. We go at your pace & tailor each leg of the trip to suit your age, level of fitness, interests & experience.

We like to keep group sizes small (minimum 2 – maximum 6 persons) and our tours are booked exclusively for a single group of family &/or friends. In other words, you are in control of who travels with your group – there might be just two of you, or you might like to bring the whole family along! We do it this way so a more personalized approach is possible & we can focus entirely on your group. In contrast to many other tours, we want to show you what YOU would love to see and photograph, and help you personally to improve your photography & wildlife-observation skills. We love kids & families so please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions and we can customize a fun & safe children-friendly adventure.

Red-bearded Bee-eaterDuration: Total of 9 days (8 nights) at three of Malaysia’s key wildlife destinations – Taman Negara, Fraser’s Hill & Kuala Selangor. An optional extension tour to Sabah &/or Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo is also available on request.

Availability: Please contact us for current availability.

Accommodation: Options vary from place to place. For example, in Taman Negara, our guests can enjoy the fine Mutiara Resort, and in Fraser’s Hill there are a variety of good options depending on group preference and budget.

Transport: Private, comfortable air-conditioned car or mini-van. In Taman Negara we will also travel by boat.

malaysia_01203_smlWalking: We go at the pace of your group. Generally, we choose relatively short walks which are easy to moderate.

Tour Price: AUD $3250 per person (twin share/ex Kuala Lumpur) for a 8-night/9-day journey including transport, accommodation & meals – based on a group size of 4.

  • This price also includes snacks, non-alcoholic drinks, all tuition/guiding fees & national park entrance fees
  • Single Room Supplement: AUD $350
  • Deposit: AUD $500 p/p

Bookings: Enquiries should be emailed to us as soon as possible and please include a little information about your interests & what you would like to see so we can suggest suitable options.

Objectives

The main focus of the trip will be to:

  • observe & photograph some of Malaysia’s stunning wildlife
  • help individuals in the group to improve their photography & wildlife observation skills
  • record the beautiful sounds of the rainforest (optional for guests interested in audio recording)
  • enjoy delicious local food and experience the vibrant Malay culture
  • experience an amazing wildlife & travel adventure!

Birdwatchers are very welcome & be assured you’re in capable hands. In addition to my own guiding services, we will be accompanied by an experienced local guide in each location.

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Photography

We can help you get the shots you want. Whether you are an experienced photographer looking for opportunities to get close to target species, or an enthusiast wanting to improve your travel & nature photography skills, we will personalize the tour to suit your requirements.

IMG_1061For example, here are a few options for amateur photographers:

  • how to plan wildlife shots
  • shooting from a hide (we will bring our own portable hide)
  • lighting in nature photography
  • macro photography (Fraser’s Hill & Taman Negara are a macro-photographers dream!)
  • shoot landscapes & sunsets like a pro!
  • how to capture good images of nocturnal wildlife
  • shooting time-lapse & video
  • travel photography: photographing people, food & culture

Prior to booking, we will discuss with you your individual preferences and suggest some options that would best suit you. There is no additional charge for photography/video or sound recording tuition.

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Wildlife

We are likely to see at least seven species of primate including three species of leaf monkey, two types of macaque, White-handed Gibbon and Siamang. Waking up to the dawn song of gibbons in Taman Negara is an experience not to be missed! Spotlighting at night will give us a chance at Slow Loris, Colugo (Flying Lemur), civets, flying squirrels ( as well as nocturnal birds including Buffy Fish Owl, Barred Eagle Owl, frogmouths & nightjars). Other mammals we could encounter are Lesser Mouse-deer, Pangolin, Bearded Pig, Common Palm Civet (& other civet species), Common Treeshrew, Sunda Giant Squirrel, Prevost’s Squirrel, Short-tailed Mongoose, Smooth-coated Otter, East-Asian Porcupine, Sun Bear, Malayan Tapir, Leopard Cat and Asian Elephant.

The sounds of White-handed Gibbons singing at dawn will be a highlight of our visit to Taman Negara

The sounds of White-handed Gibbons singing at dawn will be a highlight of our visit to Taman Negara

Depending on group preference, a night could be arranged at one of the wildlife observation hides in Taman Negara, where sightings of Malayan Tapir & Sun Bear are possible.

Tiger, Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Asian Two-horned Rhinoceros, Gaur and Banteng all live in the rainforests of Malaysia but the chance of sighting one of these elusive species is very low.

If you would like to see or photograph any particular species of birds or other wildlife please let us know in advance. We can contact our local guides and get the latest information on sightings and locations.

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Birds

Where to start?! The Malay peninsula is home to some of the most beautiful and amazing birds including 10 species of hornbill and 7 pitta species. On our travels we are likely to see such gems as Black-thighed Falconet, Red-headed Trogon, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Red-bearded Bee-eater, Fire-tufted Barbet, Rhinoceros Hornbill, Long-tailed Broadbill, Garnet Pitta, Black & Crimson Oriole, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Scarlet Minivet, Silver-eared Mesia, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Green Magpie, Chestnut-naped Forktail, Black-naped Monarch & Scarlet Sunbird to name just a few. Read the itinerary section for more information regarding birds we might encounter at each location.

Rhinoceros Hornbill

Peninsula Malaysia boasts an incredible 10 species of hornbill, including the magnificent Rhinoceros Hornbill

The gardens at Fraser's Hill present excellent opportunities to photograph birds like this colourful Silver-eared Mesia

The gardens at Fraser’s Hill present excellent opportunities to photograph birds like this colourful Silver-eared Mesia

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Proposed Itinerary

Days 1-3: We will begin the journey by heading up the coast from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Selangor Nature Park, an important wetland sanctuary with an excellent network of walking trails. With a variety of habitats including mangroves, wetlands and forest, Kuala Selangor is home to diverse range of wildlife including around 170 species of bird. This location is especially good for species such as Milky Stork, Lesser Adjutant, Mangrove Pitta, Mangrove Blue Flycatcher and Buffy Fish Owl. Mammal species often observed here include Silvered Leaf Monkey, Long-tailed Macaque, Short-tailed Mongoose, Smooth-coated Otter, the beautiful small Leopard Cat. Also, in the evening we will take a short drive to nearby mangrove-lined river where we can take a boat to enjoy an extraordinary display of synchronous flashing fireflies.

We will stay two nights at Kuala Selangor to allow time to explore the reserve and observe a good variety of birds & wildlife. On Day 3 we depart Kuala Selangor in the morning.

Days 3-6: After an early morning start on Day 3 at Kuala Selangor, we will take a leisurely drive up to the montane forests of Fraser’s Hill, an internationally-famous site amongst birdwatchers. This ‘hill station’ is a beautiful community nestled in Malaysia’s highlands, with colourful gardens, stunning views and a network of quiet roads winding through the cloud forest. The cooler montane air is a pleasant change from the humid lowlands, and an entirely different range of wildlife awaits us.

Fraser’s Hill is a great spot to photograph primates. My favourites are the Siamangs, the largest of the lesser-apes or gibbon family. Their hooting duets can be heard echoing through the forests throughout the day and we are likely to encounter a few family groups of them. We’ll likely come across troops of beautiful Spectacled Langurs (also known as Dusky Leaf Monkey), cheeky Long-tailed & Pig-tailed Macaques & hopefully the much less common White-thighed Surili. Also, we’re likely to hear our first White-handed Gibbons, their voices carrying up into mountain from the lower valleys below. Various squirrel species can be found in these forests, and we’ll keep an eye out for the beautiful Sunda Giant Squirrel, colourful Prevost’s Squirrel & tiny Himalayan Striped Squirrel, but you’ll have to be quick to photograph these hyperactive little rodents!

The exotic gardens of Fraser’s Hill attract a range of birdlife & butterflies, giving excellent photo opportunites. The magical ‘paper kite’ butterfly will leave you in awe as it gracefully drifts in search of flowers. While on some of the walking trails, we’ll keep an eye out for pitcher plants & flowering orchids. Another highlight of this site is the diversity of insect life, especially at night. If you’re not afraid of creepy crawlies we can take an evening walk and observe the camouflaged haunt of the giant Purple-femur Tarantulas and trapdoor spiders (from a safe distance!).

Bird species we may encounter include: Blyth’s Hawk Eagle, Brown Wood Owl, Collared Owlet, Red-headed Trogon, Red-bearded Bee-eater, Wreathed, Rhinoceros & Great Hornbills, Fire-tufted & Black-browed Barbets, Greater & Lesser Yellownape, Bay Woodpecker, Rusty-naped Pitta, Black-and-crimson Oriole, Javan Cuckooshrike, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, Silver-eared Mesia, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Rufous-browed Flycatcher, Pygmy Blue Flycatchers, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Long-tailed Sibia, Malayan Laughingthrush, Green Magpie, Pygmy & Marbled Wren Babblers and Large Niltava.

We will stay three nights at Fraser’s Hill – enough time to visit dozens of excellent sites at various altitudes, & maximize photographic & wildlife opportunities. Fraser’s Hill is also a great place to relax, and you can exert as much or as little energy as you like & still enjoy the wildlife!

On Day 6 we depart Fraser’s Hill in the morning.

Days 6-9: After an early morning start on Day 3 at Kuala Selangor, we will drive down the mountain to Jerantut, then travel by boat into the heart of Malaysia’s lowland tropical rainforest – Taman Negara. Protecting over 4000km2 of virgin rainforest teeming with life, Taman Negara has a reputation as one’s of the world’s best rainforest reserves, home to more species of tree then even the Amazon! It is also thought to be the world’s oldest rainforest.

We’ll base ourselves in the Mutiara Resort, so after a hot day in the jungle we can unwind & refresh ourselves in comfort! Also, from the resort a number of trails head off into the forest so it is ideally located for photography & birdwatching. An early morning boat trip upstream will take us deeper into into the forest & give us excellent photo opportunities and access to other walking trails to visit waterfalls, natural swimming pools, bird hides & caves.

Typical of the lowland tropical rainforest, it is difficult to predict what we will see in Taman Negara. With over 380 species of bird and 200 species of mammal, we are sure to enjoy a wide range of sightings. To help us out, we’ll be checking with local guides to see what the recent sightings have been where the fruiting trees are (these are like fast food outlets for rainforest wildlife!).

Forest specialties found here are pheasants (eg. Malaysian Peacock Pheasant, Great Argus, Crested Fireback), partridges (eg. Crested Wood Partridge), barbets (eg. Yellow-crowned Barbet), pigeons (eg. Large Green Pigeon), pittas (eg. Garnet and Banded Pittas), bulbuls (eg. Black and White Bulbul), babblers (eg. Large Wren-Babbler, White-necked and Black-throated Babblers, Rail Babbler), trogons (Diard’s and Red-naped Trogon), flycatchers (eg. Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Malaysian Blue Flycatcher) and Malaysian Honeyguide.

Along the river we could encounter Straw-headed Bulbuls, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, hornbills flying overhead and the unique Masked Finfoot.

Day 9: Morning at Taman Negara then depart for KL.

 

Tour Summary

Duration

Total of 9 days (8 nights) at three of Malaysia’s key wildlife destinations – Taman Negara, Fraser’s Hill & Kuala Selangor. An optional extension tour to Sabah &/or Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo is also available on request.

Availability

Currently taking bookings for trips from July 2015 through into 2016. Please contact us for current availability.

Accommodation

Options vary from place to place. For example, in Taman Negara, our guests can enjoy the fine Mutiara Resort, and in Fraser’s Hill there are a variety of good options depending on group preference and budget.

Transport

Private, comfortable air-conditioned car or mini-van. In Taman Negara we will also travel by boat.

Walking

We go at the pace of your group. Generally, we choose relatively short walks which are easy to moderate.

Bookings

Due to limited numbers, enquiries should be submitted as soon as possible. Please include a little information about your interests & what you would like to see so we can suggest suitable options.

Tour Price

AUD $3250 per person (twin share/ex Kuala Lumpur) for a 8-night/9-day journey
includes transport, accommodation & meals – based on a group size of 4.

This price also includes bottled water & non-alcoholic drinks,
all tuition & guiding fees & national park entrance fees.

Single Room Supplement: AUD $350
Deposit: AUD $500 p/p