Fancy a vacation with a twist? At over 130 million years old, our very own Belum-Temenggor Rainforest is one of the world’s most ancient rainforests, older even than the Congolese rainforest and the Amazon. We take you through it!
Just an hour or so from the town of Gerik in Perak lies one of Malaysia’s hidden gems — the Belum-Temenggor Rainforest. This is nature untouched, a perfectly preserved snapshot of a prehistoric age. I spent a glorious weekend here at the Royal Belum State Park, a forest reserve nestled in the upper part of the rainforest complex.
A word of warning: being sheltered from development, there will be no cellular service (or mobile internet) here, so make sure you let your loved ones know before vanishing off into the wilderness!
That being said, here are three landmarks you’ll definitely want to visit here.
1. Sungai Kooi Waterfall
Getting to the Sungai Kooi waterfall requires you to trek through an absolutely majestic portion of the rainforest, rich with the sounds of nature and ancient trees. The trek will take you under an hour each way.
It’s not difficult, although first-time trekkers might be unsettled by the steep and slippery climb towards the peak. But trust me; the challenge is well worth it though! The waterfall cascades down in a fine shower-like mist, seemingly from the sky. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to catch a few Rafflesia flowers in full bloom. Just be careful on the descent!
2. Sungai Papan Salt Lick
Fourteen of the world’s most threatened species, including the Malayan tiger, Asiatic elephant, Malaysian sun bear, and tapir call this rainforest home. If you’re hoping to catch sight of some of our magnificent wildlife, you’ll want to put this on your agenda. Get a glimpse of their lives by trekking along the Sungai Papan trail to see one of the salt licks, a naturally-occurring mineral deposit visited by elephants and deer. Along the way, your guide will point out animal tracks and droppings. Agarwood trees, revered for their precious aromatic resin called oud, also grow in this part of the forest.
3. Belum Rainforest Resort
You’ll want a good rest after your day in the rainforest, so put up a night in the luxurious Belum Rainforest Resort on the man-made island of Pulau Banding, easily accessible from any part of the reserve by speedboat. You can soak in your room’s hot tub or head to the spa for a well-earned massage!
Then tuck into a splendid dinner spread at the resort restaurant before falling asleep to the gentle chorus of insects. In the morning, a stroll around the resort’s expansive grounds or a dip in the pool is the perfect way to start the day.