Kampung Ibok's Firefly Sanctuary

The Sungai Yak Yah’s Firefly Sanctuary 

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.

Tour by

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, I had travel with my friend from KT Town a weeks after  the Chinese new holiday just to see for my self. 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 (I prefer calling them glow fly) along the river.

(2013 - There is now Good roadsign and pointer that lead to the place)

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. In 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.I don’t have any picture of the place after my 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 I 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.
Until i link the image from 2013

Those “Two” are Che Ghani and his partner, Zainal Ibrahim, (Che Ghani Son also operate the website call They now conduct daily firefly tours from 7.45pm to midnight for RM20 per person. They can be contacted at 019-9336458/013-9365681 . Their now own Fibre Boat with battery power engine which can accommodate between 10-15 people per trip. They avoid using the engine oil as it can disturbing fireflies habitat

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







Only basic facilities provided:

1)      Main Jetty
2)      Slide way Jetty
3)      Waiting Hut
4)      Surau @ Prayer room
5)      Parking lot
6)      Toilet

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For your info, There is No Counter provided as it is only "On Call basis". 
Make sure you make a booking before you reach to avoid any inconvenience happen 

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How To Get Here

Arrange with local tour operator to take you to Sungai Yakyah in Kampung Ibok, about 15km from Kijal. There are battery operated boats available at the main jetty which provides an undisturbed trip to watch one of the nature’s wonders.

Local Tour Operator

Please Contact 
Mr Che Ghani or Mr Syaiful (a Licensed Tourist Guide)
They also offer Turtle watching experiace in Monica Bay at Pantai Telok Mak Nik, Kamaman,

at 019 917 4012 (Ghani - Malay Speaking)
or 017 928 6281/019 907 4012 (Syaiful- English and Chinese Speaking).

Operations for fireflies watching start as early as 7.30pm (depending on bookings made) and finished up late at night. It is depends on the circumstances. We will board boats are powered by batteries engine and cruise along the river for a 30-45 minute per trip.

0730pm – First trip
1000pm – Last trip

Where To Stay
  1. Hotel Cukai Utama
  2. Awana Kijal Golf, Beach & Spa Resort
  3. Cheneh Recreation Resort
  4. New Sri Buana Hotel
  5. Hotel Safura & Apartments

Where To Eat

  1. CRR Restaurant
  2. Restoran Pertama Kijal Seafood in Kijal
  3. Kemaman Restaurant
  4. Mawarni Restoran
  5. Mohd Noor Mohd Madarsa Restauran
Travel Tips:

If you are here don’t forget to stop at Try Tong Yuan Restaurant and Kedai Kopi Hai Ping for the best fresh coffee ( in Whole East peninsular if you ask me) with toast and fresh kaya (coconut jam) spread in the quiet little town of Chukai in Kemaman district .

If you are a traveler and you wish to stay here.... you can opt to stay at Chukai where there are many cheap hotel and economy budget hotel to be found or if you had a lot of money you could stay at Kijal is you are a tourist who just want to relax you can stay at the many high class resort here.Which is also one of Terengganu’ famous green for golfing.  

Fireflies Image credit -

MOST IMPORTANT Recommendation if you are in Kemaman between feb - august


While you are in Kemaman, Please remember to make a trip for Turtle watching activities nearby at Monica Bay. Turtles watching is usually available daily during the period of Feb to August, where Green Turtle return to East Coast long coastline to lay her egg. A once a life time experience. Otherwise, you can contact Che Ghani or Syaiful (a Licensed Tourist Guide) at 019 917 4012 (Ghani- Malay Speaking) or 017 928 6281/019 907 4012 (Syaiful-English and Chinese Speaking). They will be inform you when a turtle is spotted landing and you then travel your way toward the beach at Pantai Telok Mak Nik, Kamaman, usually between 2030 to 2100.

Remember NOT to wear white coloured shirt and do not use camera flash as it will distract and distress the turtle. You will normally not be charged if the Turtle suddenly decided not to lay her eggs and return to sea, mainly due to the disturbance or fright during the observance.

photo credit: Ashley Harrigan via Flickr cc

Image Credit:
via Image Rip by interesting-place-in-terengganu.blogspot


It's rather sad that so little is known about this place. The one in Selangor had lost its "glister" and I really hope the state government take good care of this natural glistering wonder.

I would suggest the AUTHORITIES :
1. Provide more info on this tourist site,
2. Provide better signboards to help tourists to reach the place,
3. Take necessary steps to preserve the place


i came up with your post when i was searching for tourist attraction in Terengganu last year. My Husband an i went there last month ....The Place was marvelous all tree along the riverside was like Christmas Tree ...Thanks for the post.


Good post and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you as your information.

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