Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Majestic Royal Belum Rain Forest @ Perak

The grass is not always greener on the other side. While we travel miles to appreciate rain forests of other countries, we overlook the beauty of our own land. The Royal Belum's pristine rain forest is of world class that would interest even the most scrupulous environmentalist. The state park had me at hello. One glance is all it takes for me to fall in love with this unworldly place.
When nature pampers you like no other
As soon as I reached the grand kingdom, I was awestruck by the magnificence of it all. Royalty does not always have to come with gold and diamonds. The royalty that I was so privileged to meet that faithful day was in fresh shades of green and blue. The Royal Belum Rainforest is one of Perak's most regal treasures. Its name, Royal, indicates that its preservation is endorsed by the Sultan himself.
I was more than happy to leave network data behind which tantamount to detoxing myself from social media, emails and calls...any calls! Ah...heaven!
Leaving for Royal Belum at Banding Jetty
Visits to Royal Belum have to be done via tour agents who will provide the full package of accommodation, food and activities. This includes licence and a very minimal park fee. As we are entering a protected area, visitors are not allowed to wander on their own without an authorized guide.

The best way to absorb it all is to stay in a boat house for 3D2N although there are chalets, resorts and length of stay to choose from. To find out more about other types of accommodation, click here. Not long after I chucked my luggage in the floating house, I began to feel I belonged there. To be honest, I won't mind a life on water- looking at how the property prices are in the city.
Our accommodation for the night- the boat house!
Meals on the boat house
How often can you have watermelon on so much water
Ready for Royal Belum Valley!
A truely enjoyable vacation does not necessarily cost a bomb and need not be far
Transfer by speedboat from boat house to attractions in the Royal Belum Valley
Hopping from one spot to another with speedboat
Lush vegetation of Royal Belum
The Royal Belum Rain Forest has many attractions. Although we had our boat house as our station, we zapped around the valley in speedboats to these amazing places located all around the park:

Beautiful Rainforest Rafflesia
At a cost of just a 10 minute hike, I had my first personal encounter with a the largest flower on earth- the Rafflesia. The flower is the most independent flower in the flora world- it has no stems, leaves or true roots. The flower takes 9 months to bloom which made shamans long ago think it was beneficial for human pregnancy. Take time to imbibe in the organic realm in such a disarray, yet so beautiful.
Hiking up the cool hill to catch my very first personal encounter with a Raffelsia-the biggest flower in the world
There is no place like nature
Trees with amazing roots like this are living antiques which existed many human lifetimes ago   
A Rafflesia bud
Rafflesia flower takes 9 months to bloom

Water Recreation
This is where you can burst out of your well-behaved, office crust to be wild and jump into the water! The water of Temenggor Lake is warm after it has captured the sunlight making it pleasantly irresistible for a dip. Canoe with a backdrop of divine mountains, laugh with friends on a bamboo raft that tests your stability or simply just throw yourself (or your friends) into the water.
Canoeing with a breathtaking scenery 
Let's go!
My kind of runway
Row row together on a bamboo raft
Enjoy a dip in the warm water
Hot drink after playing with water is so comforting!

Spectacular Scenery
The scenery in Royal Belum is so enchanting that just sitting down and appreciating it all is a legit activity itself. The sights and sounds are potent enough to heal the harried soul. Don't let others call you doing nothing when you just sit by the boat side and observe the precious tranquility. If I could, I would bottle up the crisp and unblemished air back home as tonic to longer life. The quality of air, is worth mentioning again- simply superb! Enjoy it!
Spectacular view of the forest
Tranquility so precious that you just cannot let go of
Just sit and relish the atmosphere at dusk
Nothing can compare to waking up to such superb quality of fresh air and mesmerizing view
Divine place to be in
Immerse in the ethereal environment before heading back to the busy city

Tasik Temenggor is also a haven for anglers. Those who love being in their own company while literally pulling the strings, this is the perfect getaway for you. Ikan Sebarau and Ikan Toman are aplenty and make great dinner dishes.
Sit in solitude and fish
The Temenggor lake is a great place for anglers
Ikan sebarau

Waterfalls in the Royal Belum are like elixir of life. A decent climb up Sungai Kooi will earn you a captivating view of the Kooi waterfall. Beautifully vertical, this waterfall exudes charm that is so spellbinding that you will not want to leave as it energizes the soul and invigorates the mind. 
Routes to the waterfall are interesting and facilitated with safety guides
Beautiful curtain of veins
A captivating view of the Kooi waterfall
Energizing to the soul
Befriending nature

Orang Asli Settlement
The Jahai people are one of the few humans that made Belum Valley their home other than the Kejar tribe. Their origin goes all the way to Africa which explains their afro hirsuteness. This visit is definitely an eye opener to us as they seem so blissfully ignorant of all the material things we pursue. Learn contentment from them. Learn what is the meaning of family. Although their progress is not like ours, their privilege and welfare are taken care of by Jabatan Kemajuan Orang Asli (JAKOA). When paying a visit, it is friendy to bring treats to children or necessities like clothes and books.
Jahai children taking a bath
When the kids gather for television
I had to tickle them to make them laugh
In their atap huts
How the adolescence spend their time
Hunting with blowpipe
A treat for you and you and  you

 More Amazing Flora and Fauna
Discover more about flora and fauna at the hill near Sungai Papan where guides will identify the 'animals' clinic'. The salt lick the call it- a place where animals go to get their supplements for vitality. Take a lick yourself and see if it is as salty as it sounds. Our forest is also rich with a myriad of wood. Logging is definitely prohibited. A great educational walk where you will be exposed to trees like gaharu and damar. Chance upon cute insects like the Giant Pill millipede too! Do keep your voices down and be discreet as you are entering a territory that does not belong to us.
The suspension bridge to Sg Papan
Be among nature
The damar wood used as kemenyan for prayer
Salt lick- mineral supply for animals
Try if the salt lick water is salty
Giant Pill Millipede
Gaharu tree has many benefits
Blessings of nature

Fish Sanctuary
It intrigued me that fish is aplenty at Sungai Ruok. Despite the running water, fish will congregate whimsically here and will respond to fish food thrown at them. Oh the harmony between humans, plants and fish here is just splendid! It would be beneficial to pack your swimsuit with you as there is a graceful waterfall and a pool for you to splash in.
Fish sanctuary at Sg Ruok
Facilities for safety erected nicely
Wading in the tingling cool water
Truely living up to its name as fish sanctuary
The Ruok Waterfall at the fish sanctuary
To arrange for a visit or for more information, do contact:

Perak State Parks Corporation
11067, Jalan Suda Bahagia, 33300 Gerik
Perak Darul Ridzuan

Tel: 05-791 7858
Fax: 05-791 7852

How to get there:
Approximately 193km from Ipoh, 410km from Kuala Lumur, 200km from Penang via North-South Expressway through Ipoh-Kuala Kangsar-Grik-Banding Islad.
From Jetty Aman, Royal Belum is only accessible by boat

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