Google the word fireflies and the first hit would be Kampung Kuantan in Selangor the best place to watch the dancing luminous green lights that glow from the insects.
But, there is yet another place where you can enjoy thousands of dancing fireflies that create a magical glow as if you have stepped into a fairy-tale land in Melaka.
The place is Sungai Linggi, where dense mangrove trees, Berembang and Nipah trees flourished. The trees are the habitats for the fireflies.
Sungai Linggi is best to enjoy on a boat ride. A mix of eco, heritage, and culture, the three-hour journey started at the small jetty in Kampung Paya Lebar, Lubok China. The boat ride is managed by the Co-operative of Kampung Paya Lebar Masjid Tanah Melaka Berhad.
Historically, Sungai Linggi was once a busy shipping route where tin was transported from the trading posts upriver to the Straits of Melaka. This episode was chronicled by British lady traveler Isabella Birds who traversed Kuala Linggi in the early 1880s and described in great details and with excellent drawings of people she met, fauna and flora and even some photographs of her adventure in her book, The Golden Chersonese and The Way Thither (1883).
World Wildlife Fund has recorded the Linggi river as one of the two breeding sites for painted river terrapin. The other breeding site is at Setiu Wetlands in Terengganu.
The river is also one of the few in Peninsular Malaysia that is still known to have a wild breedin population of estuarine or saltwater crocodiles.
We got excited when we spotted a baby crocodile relaxing on the Nipah fronds, half-submerged in the muddy water.
A local legend of a story about the famous white crocodile in Sungai Linggi brought visitors a-visiting. However, no albino or white crocodile was reported seen by the locals or the tourists on boat ride.
Here you can still find charcoal making the traditional way. The woods harvested from the nearby mangrove swamps would be placed in a big kiln and burned for at least 22 days.
Along the river banks is a ‘park’ called the Lokan Park. Lokan is a name of a type of mussel or river clam that is abundant in the muddy riverbanks.
Lokan is bigger than normal clams and the flesh is meaty and chewy. The best way to eat it is by grilling it, leave it on fire until the shells opened up. Some villagers would make rendang lokan to be eaten with rice.
As Sungai Linggi was one of the busiest trading routes, the Dutch had built a fort complex during the 18th century. Its ruins are still there.