Eco-Lite: Kuala Lumpur Bird Park


Located in the serene and scenic famous Lake Gardens, the KL Bird park is also well known as “World’s Largest Free-flight Walk-in Aviary”, offers a 20.9 acres of verdant valley terrain to be explored.


The park is located about a 20 Ringgit taxi ride from the central Kuala Lumpur area.  Beware of taxis trying to overcharge on departure, walk down the road and hail a taxi passing by as the private ones operated just outside are very expensive.  Use miles and points to get to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Adults 50 MYR, Children 41 MYR.

Credit cards accepted.


It’s a fairly large park and has several shows so try to give it at least half a day.


There aren’t any particular projects mentioned on their website.  The park does give an opportunity to see some rare Malaysian species, especially hornbills up close which can later help you identify them in the wild.  It’s a great place to bring kids and exhibits are well-signed.


Hilton, IHG, Hyatt, Wyndham and Marriott all have hotels in Kuala Lumpur, however unless you really need a posh hotel, I recommend paying for a hotel as prices are so low here.


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Killing Time In Kuala Lumpur

We arrived in the afternoon and hadn’t had time to eat lunch since we got a quick connection between Kuala Tahan and Jerantut to KL so we were starving!  We dropped our backpacks at the Hotel Geo and hopped on the free Go KL bus (every major city should have one of these!)

GoKL BusI highlighted in yellow where we boarded (Pasar Seni) and got off (Pavilion).

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Inside the huge Pavilion shopping centre, first stop was the food court where we ended up at Johnny Rockets.  Don’t shoot me, remember I am American born, living in Australia so it was nice to have some comfort food, and the fantastic peanut butter milkshake!

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After our late lunch/early dinner we wandered around the shopping centre.  It has a lot of designer boutiques and is not for the budget shopper but it was fun to have a look around.


I loved these crystal birds!

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The best thing for any bird lover who has time to spare in KL is to visit the KL Bird Park so of course we went there.  I will do a separate post about that.  After we left the Bird Park, we had to get a taxi as no bus goes near the place to get back to the Pavilion Shopping Centre where I just HAD to have more American comfort food, this time at Tony Roma’s!

I grabbed a few shots out the taxi window of some mosques and scenes around town.  It was really hot so we weren’t up to walking around much.

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Hotel Review: Hotel Geo, Kuala Lumpur

Location, location, location!  There are many reasons to choose one hotel over another and in a city, I like to be well located within walking distance of restaurants and have public transportation readily available.  Kuala Lumpur is one place where our Aussie dollar still gets a good value so since it was just an overnight, we went for a budget place near the Central Market – Hotel Geo.  To maximize mileage earning, I used Pointshound to book it.


I had to laugh when I looked out the window at the Geo Hotel and saw a Birdnest Guesthouse across the street!


Reception was friendly and they showed us where to get the free bus outside.


They have very strict rules about bringing durians, mangosteens and pets into the rooms!


The room was on the small side but the wifi was good so that was really all I wanted after being unplugged for 3 days in Taman Negara.

IMG_1868 IMG_1869The best thing was the free bus right outside that makes a loop around central KL stopping at several key locations, one of which was a major shopping centre with a huge food court.

IMG_1882All things considered, Hotel Geo is a nice budget choice if you don’t want to spend hotel points.  I think that in less expensive destinations like KL, it’s worth it to just book a budget place and save points for pricier destinations.

Transport Between Taman Negara (Kuala Tahan) & Kuala Lumpur

As I mentioned in my other post, you can get private shuttles to get to and from Kuala Tahan from which you take the small shuttle boat across the river.  You can also use public transport from Kuala Lumpur via Jerantut.  This is how we got back to Kuala Lumpur.

1 ringgit each to cross the river.



Then walk up the road and turn left.  Locals will point out the bus station.


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The public bus leaves at 10am, 12 noon & 3pm and costs 7 ringgits and takes almost 2 hours to get to Jerantut due to frequent stops along the way.  You could also get a shuttle (pictured above) or taxi if you miss the bus or are in a hurry.


Heading out of town, we saw a sign advertising the Taman Negara Bird Count starting the day after we left.  Bad timing for us, although on retrospect we may have had trouble getting accommodation if we had been there on those days.



Souvenir shop in Kuala Tahan


Another river a short ways out of town.


Interior of local bus between Kuala Tahan and Jerantut


Arriving in Jerantut.  There are some small hotels here if you get stuck for the night.


Bus schedules out of Jerantut.


We were first off the bus and ran to the window and asked for the next bus to Kuala Lumpur.  It was leaving around 12:30pm so we didn’t have time to get lunch.  There are toilets in the bus station but they are a little far from where you board.  The bus to KL is nicer than the local bus and is non stop to KL.


A few shots out the window as we left Jerantut.

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And a nice view of the Petronas Towers as we approach KL.

IMG_1859 IMG_1860 IMG_1861The bus left us outside a bus terminal and most of the passengers got in taxis.  We were quoted a high price from the taxi and I was trying to bargain with him when I saw a bus pull up that said “Sentral” on the front which I knew to be close to our hotel so we hopped on.  Much to my very pleasant surprise, it was a free bus!

Blue-winged Pitta (Pitta moluccensis)

The Bue-winged Pitta (Pitta moluccensis) is a passerine bird in the family Pittidae. It is found in a variety of habitats to an altitude of 800 m (2500 ft), including broadleaved forests, parks and gardens, and mangroves, though avoids dense rainforest.  I was lucky enough to see some in Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia.

IMG_1551 IMG_1547 IMG_1560 IMG_1559 IMG_1558 IMG_1567 IMG_1555Blue-winged Pittas have a large range throughout most of South-east Asia with most sightings occurring in Malaysia and Thailand.  Taman Negara (blue dot) is a good place to see them, they frequent the beginning of the footpath leading to the Canopy Walkway nearest to the Mutiara Taman Negara Hotel and can also be seen under the bungalows which are near the rainforest.







This video shows how they forage on the ground for food.


I’m amazed this one can eat with all those cameras going off – it’s like paparazzi at a Monte Carlo cafe!

The Canopy Walkway Of Taman Negara

Taman Negara boasts the world’s longest canopy walkway at 530 metres.

Opening Time Prices
Sat to Thurs 11.00 am to 2.45 pm Adult at Rm 5.00
Fri 9.00 am to 12 noon Children at Rm 3.00

Although we didn’t see many birds up there (we went around mid-morning so maybe we should have been there earlier) it was quite an adventure.  Just getting there through the rainforest trails is a spectacular walk along a well-marked walkway.


This humongous tree is about halfway along the trail.

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Follow the signs up a VERY steep trail which thankfully has places to sit down and rest as I found it exhausting.  At the top of the trail, there will be people to take your entry fee of 5 ringgits each.

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Then you start the wobbly walk across some really stunning scenery.  Since we arrived about an hour before it closed the staff kept hustling us along.

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The only bird I was able to see along the walkway.

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Towards the end there is a steep descent which was really precarious and I had to take it very slowly!

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Just before the exit, one of the staff pointed out a gibbon in the distant trees.

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This guy is probably thinking “I wish these tourists would hurry up so I can go home!”


Now we are on the ground looking up at the final platform.

IMG_1708Since photos don’t really let you appreciate how wobbly this thing really is, I found a Youtube video to show you!

Birds & Mammals Around Mutiara Taman Negara

The nice thing about staying at Mutiara Taman Negara is that it is located right inside the park so you don’t have far to go to see birds and animals.  Let’s start with meal times.  Sit outdoors and watch the birds while you eat.  The restaurant has a perfect vantage point where you can see both sides of the river.  I added the 1st two photos just to show the damage done by the floods of early 2015.

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Oriental Magpie-robin



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Stork-billed Kingfisher

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Greater Coucal

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Random birds in flight, photo not good enough for me to identify them but you do see lots of birds flying by the restaurant over the river.

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Blue-throated Bee-eater

IMG_1813 IMG_1812 IMG_1810 IMG_1809 IMG_1815 IMG_1816 IMG_1821 IMG_1825 IMG_1827 IMG_1828 IMG_1831 IMG_1829 IMG_1837There are lots of mammals in the grounds as well.  Monkeys (Macaques) are always around to try to steal food from unsuspecting tourists.  Sadly, they will eat all the fruit off the trees driving some bird species such as parrots away.  If they can’t find fruit or rob a tourist, they will apparently eat flowers!

IMG_1573 IMG_1574 IMG_1576 IMG_1578 IMG_1579 IMG_1580 IMG_1582 IMG_1583 IMG_1709Other mammals seen on the trails and near the Tahan Hide include squirrels, bush pigs & deer.  There’s more info about mammals here.

IMG_1519 IMG_1532 IMG_1649 IMG_1650 IMG_1652 IMG_1749 IMG_1761Keep an eye out for Blue-winged Pitta scurrying around the beginning of the walkway which eventually leads to the canopy walkway and under the bungalows on the rainforest side.  I saw these birds in the late afternoon.

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Black-and-red Broadbill (Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos)

The Black-and-red Broadbill (Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos) is a species of bird in the broadbill family. It is monotypic within the genus Cymbirhynchus.  I only saw one from a distance in Taman Negara so here’s a close-up from Wikipedia.

BRoadbillAnd my photos from about 300 metres.

IMG_1762 IMG_1763 IMG_1764IMG_1763aIMG_1764aAlthough they are found throughout South-east Asia, much of the habitat is not easily accessible by eco-tourists.  Taman Negara (blue dot) in Malaysia is very easy to get to and reliable for this species, try the Tahan Hide.  Xeno-canto has other locations where this bird can be seen.





The Guardian


Beautiful close-up of a beautiful bird!

A lovely pair in the rainforest.



Birding Taman Negara – Tahan Hide

Located roughly in the middle of the Mutiara Taman Negara, there is a small footpath leading to the Tahan Hide.  The 2nd level has a generous seating area for about 8 birders if there is a group.  I was lucky and there was only one other birder there so we could move around and check out various sides all overlooking the rainforest and a large clearing in which birds could be seen flying back and forth.  Easy, relaxing birding at its best!

IMG_1773 IMG_1772 IMG_1771 IMG_1770 IMG_1769 IMG_1768 IMG_1767 IMG_1766I made 4 visits here – both afternoons and both mornings.   I had been hoping for Blue-crowned Hanging Parrots but I later found out that the resident monkeys have eaten all the fruit so the parrots have left the area.  We did see lots of Fork-tailed Drongoes, Black-headed Bulbuls, Jungle Mynahs, Asian Fairy Bluebirds, Large Niltavas, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongoes, Jungle Fowl, Blue-throated Bee-eaters, Dusky-crested Hornbill, and what turned out to be my favourite – a Black & Red Broadbill.IMG_1499 IMG_1502 IMG_1504 IMG_1507 IMG_1512 IMG_1515 IMG_1517 IMG_1522 IMG_1523 IMG_1524 IMG_1526 IMG_1529 IMG_1532 IMG_1533 IMG_1534 IMG_1535 IMG_1537 IMG_1538 IMG_1539 IMG_1541 IMG_1543 IMG_1544 IMG_1614 IMG_1616 IMG_1617 IMG_1620 IMG_1622 IMG_1623 IMG_1626 IMG_1627 IMG_1628 IMG_1629 IMG_1630 IMG_1631 IMG_1632 IMG_1633 IMG_1636 IMG_1637 IMG_1640 IMG_1641 IMG_1642 IMG_1643 IMG_1646 IMG_1654 IMG_1656 IMG_1658 IMG_1661 IMG_1662 IMG_1663 IMG_1666 IMG_1667 IMG_1668 IMG_1670 IMG_1673 IMG_1720 IMG_1722 IMG_1723 IMG_1725 IMG_1727 IMG_1729 IMG_1731 IMG_1732 IMG_1735 IMG_1737 IMG_1738 IMG_1742 IMG_1744 IMG_1745 IMG_1746 IMG_1753 IMG_1754 IMG_1757 IMG_1759 IMG_1762 IMG_1763 IMG_1764


Lodge Review: Mutiara Taman Negara

The Mutiara Taman Negara is one of the pricier options but in this case I think it’s well worth it as it’s the only lodge actually inside the park.  You can get up at the crack of dawn and wander down to the Tahan hide and watch the birds wake up!  If you’re in Malaysia for birding, you really need to stay here!

I was impressed even from across the river with the stunning rainforest setting.  We took a shuttle boat across (1 ringgit pp) and were greeted by the Mutiara’s staff.


Luggage gets a free ride but unfortunately humans have to walk up the stairs!

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We just missed this Bird Count by 2 days which was a bummer.  It would have been fun to join in, not to mention there would be some expert birders on hand to help us find the birds.  I did ask about hiring a guide but the reception asked for a shockingly high price – 800 ringgits!  That is probably what they charge groups and I had been hoping they had birding group tours that anyone could join but that wasn’t the case.  You have to already be in a group or pay the full guide fee by yourself.  They do have organized night walks that you can join as an individual but we had to get up early for birding so didn’t go out at night.

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After checking in, we were given an orientation of the property and escorted to our chalet.  They accept all major credit cards and you can charge purchases from the mini-mart and restaurant to your room and pay when you check out.

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The chalet is gorgeous!  While still having a few mod-cons such as AC and TV (no wifi), it still felt like a rainforest retreat.

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We had a nice deck overlooking the rainforest so we could relax and look for birds during the down time.

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The grounds are beautifully landscaped with chalets and one building that serves as a backpacker dorm.

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The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating.  We always went for the outdoor tables because of the view and possibility to see birds.

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The food was pretty good.  It was a bit pricy and some people choose to go across the river but after a hard day’s birding we were glad for the convenience of being able to charge the meals to our room and enjoy a spectacular view.

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The hiking trails into the park branch off the footpaths throughout the Mutiara’s grounds.  I’ll be going into more detail on other posts.

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If you get lost, ask the friendly staff for directions.

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The last day of our stay, it started to get busy, probably in preparation for the bird count.


The trolley took our bags back down and we took a boat across with a plan to get public transport back to Kuala Lumpur (covered on a separate post).

IMG_1835Bottom line – we loved this place and I think any birder would too!  As an added bonus to miles collectors, the Mutiara Taman Negara is on most major booking sites at the same price.  We booked on Rocketmiles and got 4000 United miles!