Tourists waiting for boat rides to see fireflies in Kampung Kuantan, Kuala Selangor. Pix by SHAZREEN ZAMZURI/ NSTP

A 30-MINUTE boat ride to watch fireflies has left a lifetime impression on American student Clarissa Joan Eisenberg.

As soon as she got off of the boat that took her around the Kampung Kuantan Fireflies Park, she was quick to express how happy she was for being treated to a show of “dancing lights” by nature.

“It was really fantastic. I have never seen anything like that before. It was really a feast for the eyes and this was highly recommended by my fellow backpackers. It was worth the ride all the way from Kuala Lumpur and every ringgit I paid for the ticket,” said the 23-year-old student from Fresno, California.

Eisenberg, who was with two friends, said she enjoyed the calm waters of Sungai Selangor, as well as the silence of the night as they were rowed around to watch the fireflies up close.

She said she loved that the park was eco-friendly for not using engine-operated boats and instead relied on the strength and expertise of boatmen, who are knowledgeable about the fireflies and the park.

“This is the best way to enjoy watching the fireflies as it is quiet, and that is the best way to soak in the natural environment.

“I will come again, probably in a few years.

“I will never forget this.”

She added that the simplicity of the park, its minimal structures, and the rusticness of its jetty and boats should be maintained.

“The fireflies are impressive. so there is no need to introduce other elements that would mar the beauty of this park.”

Australian Kelly Alards, 50, who was travelling in Malaysia for two weeks, said she had never heard of fireflies until she read about it in travel brochures.

“I am impressed with what I saw and it was special.

“The only word I could say was ‘wow’. I hope there will be efforts to preserve the park.

“I was lucky that a firefly landed on my hand and I was able to admire it.

“I was careful not to hurt it before it flew off.”

Although C.K. Siow, 78, has been to the park three times in the past 10 years, it did not stop the retiree from making his fourth trip there recently.

He was accompanying his brother, who came down to Ma-laysia from Canada for a break.

“It is my brother’s first time seeing fireflies and it is still a satisfying experience as there were a lot of them today. It was not too bad,” said Siow of Seremban.

Siow, whose last trip was five years ago, said it was time that the authorities repainted the wooden jetty.

“They could consider placing more wall fans here as it can get humid in the evening.

“They could also consider giving a senior citizen discount or children’s price to visitors.”

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