In a way I’m glad I don’t have photos of fireflies to share with you today as it was just too dark! The reason I’m glad is that, although I love travelling and taking photos, it’s nice for you to read my stories then go and do it for yourself. Recently in Borneo, the Malaysian part I headed out to Klias Wetland Park at Beaufort Town for some “long nosed monkey” watching by day and to see the fireflies at night. Here’s an overview of watching fireflies in Borneo.
How to organise watching fireflies in Borneo
You’ll have guessed that Borneo has lots of jungles and therefore lots of tour companies organising trips. To book a trip to watch the fireflies at night, you are better to book it through a tour company. If you’re staying in the city of Kota Kinabalu like me, just pop into one of the many tour operators in town and book it. If you are a really tight budget backpacker then you could realistically hire a car and drive out to Beaufort Town yourself then try to blag onto one of the boats that take you to where the fireflies are. I really don’t recommend it. I have met tons of so called “budget backpackers” over the years who insist that booking through tour companies is always dearer – it’s often not and your best way to see the fireflies is to book it through a company. But make sure they include hostel pick up, food, proboscis monkey boat tour and fireflies boat tour. It’s easy to organise – find a company, agree a price and get your tickets.
How much does watching fireflies in Borneo cost?
Probably about 30 Ringitts but as it was included in our tour, it’s hard to know. Our entire tour cost 150 Ringitts for a 7 hour trip. This cost also included the proboscis monkeys, the transport to and from the hostel, the boats, afternoon tea and a full dinner. We also ate breakfast at the hostel that day (included in our hostel price) but as it’s all you can eat you can get by without eating anything else that day – the afternoon tea and evening dinner is enough.
How do you get to Klias Wetlands Park for watching fireflies in Borneo?
We were picked up at our hostel at 2pm in Kota Kinabalu, driven to a place called Beaufort Town which houses Klias Wetland Park. Transport was comfortable and efficient and all included in the tour. It was a small mini-bus we got.
Are you guaranteed to see fireflies on the tour?
NO – so just be aware that in bad weather (thunderstorms and heavy rain) the boat might be cancelled and the fireflies might not even be viewable. We were actually lucky as it rained heavily while we were eating out buffet dinner, but cleared after that in time to see the fireflies.
Can you take photos while watching fireflies in Borneo?
Ha ha! Yes of course you can and I took a lot!! BUT every photo is just black. Pitch black. You cannot see anything. If you have a decent camera maybe it’s possible to catch them, but I didn’t apart from that photo above and the one below. Just enjoy them and enjoy the river cruise!
What do you need to bring while watching fireflies in Borneo?
It’s up to you, but I took a poncho, a camera, a torch, insect repellent and a hat. I used all 5 of them. You can check out my Travel Essentials pages.
Is it fun watching fireflies in Borneo?
Yes, it was my first time to see them and of course it’s worthwhile. But if you’ve seen fireflies before – give it a miss. It’s just a load of flies in trees that light up at night!
What is watching Fireflies in Borneo all about?
You finish your dinner, put on lifejackets and get in the boat. The boat takes you round a narrow river for about 25 – 30 minutes. During this time there are no lights anywhere except for the tour guide’s torch (which isn’t always on) and the natural light from the fireflies. Fireflies are amazing. They look just like Christmas tree lights lit up. Yes, they even come in more colours than just plain white and they flicker. The most surprising thing of all is that there are LOTS of them. You will simply see thousands of fireflies on your tour.
Worth doing if you happen to be in Borneo. Check this excellent Borneo Travel Guide Site. But there are of course many parts of the world where you can see fireflies. Needless to say, it’s a night time only activity, similar to my Glow Worm Trek in Franz Josef in New Zealand in 2010.
A few videos from watching fireflies I’m Borneo: