The Glow fly has resided here for many-many year and its has been a major place for some Terengganu’ people, researcher and student to came here for study or firefly’s appreciation activities and marvel at the many Glow fly that habitat here. The glow fly sanctuary here was almost not known to any body except for the villager and fisherman in and near Kampung Ibok, Chukai Town at Kemaman district.
Recently our Terengganu state government in 2006 had started promoting and selling the Firefly sanctuary as recommendation sight-seeing and number one glow fly appreciation area inside the state after Sungai Penarik Firefly Sanctuary, near Kampung Penarik..
The Sungai Yak Yah Firefly Sanctuary is the biggest fire sanctuary in Malaysia. Which is located about half an hour from the town of Chukai in Kemaman. The Yak Yah river is home to the biggest firefly colonies in Malaysia. But the sightseer whom visits this river every month is less than 100 and most of them are from Japan and a few from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur , Perak and etc, which leave the firefly sanctuary almost deserted because the local authority at Kemaman doesn’t paid much attention for the tourism industry until early 2006. When the local News paper like News Strait Time Press or (NSTP), The Sun, and Utusan Malaysia had highlight the concern and plead of the Kemaman people ,Villager of Kampung Sungai Ibok and tourism operators. When the Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh found out about the sanctuary ‘s problem Our MB Dato’ Idris then had direct the Kemaman ‘s DO or District Office to ensure the habitat of the fireflies was well protected , preserved and not disturbed. and like wise the State Government Tourism Action Council’ secretariat also had now started to promote Sungai Yak Yah as the state newest attraction and building the necessary amenities needed like a jetty , toilet and etc.
To tell you the truth there was a lack of publicity on the place during the fuss .I myself who had live in Kuala Terengganu Town Center,(KTTC) for almost 10 year . Though that Sungai Penarik in Setiu District, is the only Glow fly / Firefly sanctuary in Terengganu (which Ping anchorage agency always organise a trip there). I had never heard about the glowfly sanctuary in Kemaman until the fuss from the News Paper during the end of 2005 .Even thou there was two local Che Ghani and his partner, Zainal Ibrahim, were organising firefly-watching trips since 2001.
Because the fuss last year, we had travel with our friends from KT Town a weeks after the Chinese new holiday just to see for ourselves. There lack of road signs, no signboards or pointer along the way to inform traveller and tourist about the fireflies sanctuary’s that we tooks and insanely one hour driving and asking for pointer to the sanctuary from the local village people even though its only 11km from Chukai !!!!! .Still it was quite worth with to see the many firefly (we prefer calling them glow fly) along the river.
Currently there are only two local villagers (Che Ghani and his partner, Zainal Ibrahim) who dedicated their full time bringing and conducting daily firefly tours and guide for by paddleing their wooden boat as not to disturb the firefly habitat and appreciation activities.and Kudus!! for they part in protecting mother nature’s treasure. Both of them can be found at the jetty. Or you can rent a boat from the many fishermen here. Last year’s 2005 the state government and theYang Berhormat / Most Honourable DO of Kemaman Distric had banned the use of motorised boats along the river Yak Yah. .....Kudos !!
The appreciation activities can be done all around the year except from the month of October to January and the best time to go here for firefly appreciation activities is from July to September, which is the mating season for the firefly.
Almost everyday when the dusk falls the colourful firefly will crowded the area with glitter like neon light throughout the 13 Km long Yak Yah river. From the guide and the local villager .... The Best place to marvel or taking picture and the best spots for firefly appreciation is around 5 km from the jetty. Here you will be astounded to see the many berembang and putat trees there, along the river bank lit up like Christmas tree with thousand of fireflies
Currently.We don’t have any picture of the place after our last trip there my RM 1700 worth local “ I ” Digital camera went on a swim in the river and had never recover. The place are still quite unknown and with the fact that we didn’t find any picture of the place in the Web prove it. .The tour operator are not many except for village folks and those two who pioneer and had organising firefly-watching trips with they paddle boat since 2001.
Those “Two” are Che Ghani and his partner, Zainal Ibrahim, who conduct daily firefly tours from 7.45pm to midnight for RM20 per person. They can be contacted at 019-9336458/013-9365681
Its is best to stay at the many cheat and budget motel and hotel at chukai as you can see how life goes on in this quite town which is quite famous for its fresh Kopi ‘ O (Grounded Fried Coffee bean + hot steaming H20 + sugar = Kopi’ O .that its taste and aroma had attract a lot of people especially those from Singapore, KL, Johor,Pahang and KB who frequently travel from the north to singapore and vice versa