Friday, September 18, 2009

A Trip to Belum Rainforest

Belum Rainforest

Orang Asli the Indigenous People

A home of Tamir and Jahai the indigenous Negritos of Malaysia also known as Orang Asli, the Belum Rainforest is believed to be existed since 130 million years ago. Temengor Lake (an artificial dam built in 1975) after flooded the valley where Orang Asli were roaming and dwelling around this ancient tropical rainforest. The flood made 80 islands turned from hills of the valley. In fact the area was occupied by CPM (Communist Party of Malaya) during the dam project. Over 400 Orang Asli villages were airlifted but not proper rescue could be made for resident animals due to the threats of attacks by CPMs. There are about 5600 Orang Asli live around that area.
Orang Asli

Temanggor Lake

The lake is the largest man made dam in Peninsular Malaysia which is located approximately 35 kilometers to the northeast of Gerik of the Perak State and covering an area of 15200 hectares. The lake is an important source of fresh water fish in a way, an abundant place for fishermen around Malaysia. Its beauty of tranquility and richness of flowers and faunas attract the foreign tourists and even locals especially to the nature lovers. It is also common to see scores of hornbills landing by the banks of the lake. Among them are the Plain-pouched Hornbills, a spescies rarely spotted in other parts of Malaysia. And Wreathed, Oriental Pied and Helmeted are also can be found in this area.

Temanggor Lake

Driving through North-South Expressway from Kuala Lumpur about 0830hrs, our first stop was Kuala Sepatang a typical small town. We visited to a small floating Chinese fishermen village where the sea fish farms locate and refresh at floating chalet for a few minutes. After having a very good seafood lunch, we continued visit to Mangrove forest and Charcoal factory (an eco friendly business). We arrived Belum Rainforest in the early evening about 1730hrs. Good Dinner and Good Night.

Private Jetty of the Belum Rainforest Resort

Day-02: After breakfast at the resort, the excursion started by boat for half and hour to explore Rafflesia, the world largest flower in the one of the islands of Temanggor Lake (actually the another species of Rafflesia from Borneo are bigger than the species found in Belum Rainforest). Unfortunately we found only buds :( and apparently we had not much time to discover it in the other places in fact it is believed to be abundant of Rafflesia in this jungle.

Raffelsia Bud

Another forty minutes boat ride to Batu Puteh (White Rock Island) where huge beehives were found. It seemed black holes on the wall of the island in the high but I could see clearly with my binocular :) these are about 1 to 3 meters in length and 1 to 2 meters in wide which are really huge. I have never seen these kind of big beehives on the rock wall. Our boatman was trying to explain about a plant (a sort of palm tree) stick on the rock wall and saying that it is endemic and very important for the ecosystem of this jungle (however he does not speak proper English so we just showed him nodding our heads like we understand everything). Then after another half an hour boat ride, we arrived a place called Gaja Sela where the elephants come to have their necessary salt-lick in fact they made holes as the use their long tusks to eat the salty ground. There are many elephant dungs which makes a very strong smell of its animals. On the way to that area we followed a trail of wild boars (perhaps there would be a family) just passed by about an hour ago before we arrived there.

The gateway to elephant salt-licks

The boatman showed us the treks of Sun Bear on a big tree where small holes (like holes of old nail) while they climb up the tree by using their claws. In fact the jungle is home for many hundreds of Sun Bears. The boatman said he just saw a Sun Bear swimming in the Temanggor Lake last a couple of days ago. Furthermore Malayan Tiger and Malayan Tapir are believed to be habitat in this wide and deep rainforest jungle with hundreds of population. However it is easier to see a tiger rather a tapir as they are very shy in nature. They are can be found from lower part (down south of Myanmar) through Thailand and the northern part of Malaysia. If we have much time and roaming around the norther part of Belum Rainforest, we may see these shy animals. However, in order to make this kind of discovery trip would need a prior permission from tourism official and wildlife departments in 2 weeks advance.

Wild Durin eaten by Malayan Tiger

We continued boat ride to Sg Katir where a beautiful waterfall and camping site located. We had picnic lunch there after crossing a few suspension bridges.

On they way back to the resort, visit to Kg Chueh "the Orang Asli Settlement" with a bag of apples from the resort. Then we went back to resort to conclude Bulem Rainforest expedition.

- Wiki Encyclopedia
- Perak Tourism
- Virtual Malaysia
- Journeys Malaysia

- Courtesy of Belum Rainforest Resort
- Daniela Barattino


Nyi Nyi said...

Tom, very interesting trip. Hope I would do such a near future.. However, if you can post with your own photos *(such as beehives.... you saw).. Anyway thanks!!

An Asian Tour Operator said...

Thanks for your comments. I would try to take my own photos in the future.


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