Sunday, July 21, 2013

Happy Bee Farm & Insect World @ Genting Highlands [Malaysia]

Despite being a frequent contributor to the financial health of the casinos at Genting Highlands, Alex seldom ventured beyond the themed resort and hence, had never visited mid-highland attractions like strawberry farm.

Enough has been said about the strawberry farm; so today, i am going to touch on a new attraction in Genting Highlands. The 'Happy Bee Farm and Insect World' that was opened for business earlier this year!

I was taken aback when the shuttle van brought us to the entrance; the facility was not as big as expected and i initially thought we could cover it within ten minutes (we eventually took forty). 

Unlike strawberry farm, admission is chargeable (RM 20 per adult)! I was a bit reluctant to fork out almost Singapore ten dollars for a small attraction but i figured the advantage is that i would be able to blog about it for everyone's benefit.

Here we go! 



My subject header indicated the bee farm and insect world; although seemingly separated, they are actually located in the same location with insect world taking the bulk space within the attraction. 


First stop - bees in action! Nothing beats having a whole panel of honeycombs staring right at you yet without the danger of being stung! 

It's connected to the great outdoors (via a skylight opening) where the bees forage from the flowers of the vast forest in Genting Highlands.

There are nearly 20,000 bee species in the world and showcased in this apiary are bees belonging to the species of Apis Mellifera. 

As usual, get ready to be overwhelmed by a whole lot of interesting information (for example, differences between queen bee, the drones and the worker bees) that remained in the brain cells for likely one or two days before they are forgotten, for good. 

Worker bees constitute the majority in a bee colony and you are wrong to assume they are male! There are three basic classifications of bees in a colony; the queen bee (obviously female), the worker bees (female) and drones (male). The drones have only two responsibilities; eat a lot and mate with the queen. Lucky guy.

Hornet nest! This brings back painful memories as i was hospitalised for a hornet attack back in my army days. Okay, i admit i have to bear some responsibilities for the attack. =X

Stingless bees (known as Trigona bees) are also known to be the smallest in the bee world. 

As the name suggests, trigona bees have no sting and you are free to get very near to them. Frankly, they look a bit like flies and bear no resemblance to their rounder yellow cousins. 

Kids would love this even though i do hope parents would educate their children properly that not all bees are stingless and those in Singapore can still inflict a pretty nasty sting! 

A guide was assigned to us and i am unsure if it was the norm since we were the only two customers in the entire attraction at that time. Anyway, he proceeded to remove the top cover to let us have a closer look at the hive's interior. 

Using synthetic bee cups would allow efficient collection of honey. At times, it is necessary as some species of bees cannot made beewax; an essential ingredient for honeycombs.

Want to have a taste of pure, unprocessed honey? The guide offered us fresh from the hive and we were surprised to find it amazingly light and not very very sweet. 

Just like IKEA, the effective use of space and layouts has resulted in a total of thirteen zones in the vicinity!

A number of artificial spots were available for group photo-taking, like this curtain of man-made waterfall.

Or battling with the gigantic beetle!

Tell me, what's your impression when you read the sign? That you can have some personal photo opportunities with living insects, similar to what i did at Cameron Highlands? That's what i thought too! 

No! It means you can take pictures of the insects while they remained caged up! I was so hoping to have this millipede crawling all over me with its hundreds of legs!

Manage to find the leaf frog?

Malaysia, ranked 67th in the world for land area, is blessed with a rich and diverse ecosystem. From this moment, be enthralled by the beauty of the insect world. 

Just a rough overview of the area which comprises of four zones. Rest assured, there is a hand drawn map i would append at the end of this post. 

Compared to beetles (numbering 400,000 species), butterflies paled as far as number is concerned with only 15,000 to 20,000 known species. 

Notwithstanding the figures, butterflies are the ones that hold an indisputable charm over humans with those slow fluttering wings and shimmering splashes of colours that give one the illusion of flying jewels.

Nothing's perfect, even in the natural world. Known as pyros, the above snout headed insect is nowhere related to butterflies.

Another weirdo; alligator fly. 

Children might find the exhibits boring as these insects were, simply put, dead specimens kept in boxes! Parents can consider persuading them to play with the gigantic ladybird while they continue to marvel at the butterflies, and beetles. 

These look plasticky but are in fact the real thing! 

Enough butterflies for you? What i have included above are just a few out of the many boxes displayed in the exhibit! We would have gladly spent more time in the attraction if not for the hurry to travel to Kuala Lumpur on the same day. 

In addition, having a personal guide looking at our every move and action can be rather unnerving. Not that i am complaining since he was actually a nice and accommodating guy.

Last peculiarity - the owl-faced butterfly! 

Zone 11 - the insect specimen's factory. The true definition of the word factory cannot be applied in this instance. 

I would much prefer to call this small space a workshop instead of a factory. To be scientifically more correct, it should rightfully be termed as a laboratory.

This is the place where staff members make the preparation to mount the insects for display. Bug collectors would know the steps involved and contrary to many people's perception, it is not as easy as just sticking pins.

Sign up for the mounting workshops if you are keen to learn more of the secrets and techniques! 

The thought flashing on my mind as i saw these insects was not of a conservationist. Sadly, i was wondering if they are palatable... 

Zone 12 - bring back some souvenirs! 

Imagine if the same thing is done in the zoo; you can freely buy live animals like that cute golden monkey perched on that tree branch and advance your fascination with it at the comfort of your own home! 

Those live beetles in the picture prior to the above costs around RM 200. Dead specimens of rare butterflies can even top the scale at RM 1,888!

My eyes can only feast on these cheaper ones that would not burn a hole in my pocket! 

Last zone is the retail outlet where you can part away with more money for honey products! I brushed away the temptation buy a few bottles given that i still have to travel to Kuala Lumpur and prefer to do so with a lighter baggage.

As promised, the hand-drawn map with the depiction of all thirteen zones / exhibits for your reference.

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Location
Lot 6452, Genting View Resorts, KM 11-3, 
Genting Highlands, 69000 Pahang, Malaysia

Map
As above.

Website

Price
Adult - RM 20
Child /Senior Citizen - RM 16
Family Package - RM 45

For Those Who Don't Drive
The map is as good as useless if you don't drive up to Genting Highlands. Happy bee farm and insect world is not in close proximity to Genting Skyway station and walking there is not an option for me! 

Contact Mr Edward Teon instead!!! This nice English speaking uncle would bring you to both strawberry farm and happy bee farm for only RM 4 per person! 

You can even engage him for longer day trips to Kuala Lumpur and Cameron Highlands using his van which can accommodate up to ten passengers. 

Additional Information
Enjoy drinking a hot cuppa strawberry coffee at the alfresco cafe near the entrance. 

Menu as above. We went for the honey of course!

As mentioned previously, our trip included a visit to the strawberry farm as well. For a more detailed posting on the attraction, please click here

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