It’s been a while since our last family trip (due to busy schedules), but we finally found time to go on a day trip to Bukit Malawati in Kuala Selangor for some R&R. About an hour and a half drive from KL, the hill was a Malay fortress for the Selangor Sultanate in the 1700s, before it fell to the Dutch. Visitors will see remnants of the fort walls and a well-kept lighthouse on top of the hill, making it a popular tourist spot for history junkies. But people also come here to see the colony of silver-leafed monkeys living here.
Visitors take a tram to get up the hill. There are usually more than a dozen silver leaf monkeys loitering around the ticket station, and they seem very used to humans. A shop sells long beans, bananas and other veges and fruits to feed to the monkeys. The animals are very smart and seem to know if you have a bundle of them spirited away in your pocket and will pester you relentlessly until you give them up.
For some reason, despite the sheer number of tourists feeding the monkeys, they never seemed full. One of the peddlers told us it was because they can eat up to 1 kg of food a day.
Apart from the silver leafs, there was the regular ‘kera’ or monkey. We were told to stay away because they are omnivorous and can be quite aggressive. The silver leafs are gentler, but caution is still advised because they are still wild animals after all.
“Sorry, I’m all out”
Our colourful tram arrived. Tickets are priced at RM5 for adults and RM3 for children.
As we headed up the hill, we saw many rocks embedded into the hillside – ruins of a once-powerful fort built by the Malays to fend off Dutch attacks. If you’re walking, you can also check out the Traitors Rock where they beheaded traitors, a poisonous well used for torture, and a Royal Mausoleum which houses the remains of the state’s first three sultans.
The ride up was a short one that didn’t even take five minutes. Upon arriving at the top of the hill, we could see the Selangor River shoreline in the distance.
The Bukit Malawati lighthouse is over 100 years old, but it is currently closed off to visitors. The gazebo next to it is called a Baitulhilal, used for spotting the new moon for Muslims marking the start of the holy month (Ramadan).
Silver leaf monkey babies are a bright, beautiful golden colour. So pretty! They change colour when about four months old.
They don’t mind getting up close and personal if you have food. And I mean, very close.
Spot the monkeys
They are mostly super chill. I sat down next to these monkeys for a good 20 mins and they didn’t bat an eyelid.
Hey there, young one.
Some (local) tourists were being super annoying and manhandled the smaller monkeys. I told them off and they seemed embarrassed. My parents said I would get beaten up if I didn’t mind my own business, but it just annoys me so much that people think of wild animals as playthings. How would YOU like to be picked up and carried around for a photograph without your consent? What a fucking third world mentality.
After about 40 mins, we took another tram down and then drove to the riverside restaurant for dinner. More to come!