"Lake Temenggor - Belum Rainforest Resort" Gerik by wdominic
Gerik Travel Guide: 9 reviews and 28 photos
Our intention to journey to the Royal Belum rainforest began many months ago when Banding Island only had one resort aptly named Banding Island Resort. Banding Island is one many islands on Lake Temenggor – that sits in the middle of the East West Highway (Highway 4). The islands of the lake are actually hill tops since the flooding of the area creating the lake.
Due to several postponements to visit this place - I am glad that we eventually traveled to Pulau Banding eventually in July of 2008 - where the take over by the “Emkay Group” has yielded the 3-4 star Belum RainForest Resort.
Duration Of Stay: 3 Days, 2 Nights
From Kuala Lumpur > Kuala Kangsar > Lenggong > Gerik > Pulau Banding on Lake Temenggor.
Total traveling time by car is approx 5.5 hours
Directions : Take the North South Highway heading past Ipoh where you take the Kuala Kangsar entry/exit and eventually join Highway #4. Bear in mind that Highway 4 is actually a 2 lane road.
At the time of writing (August 2008) the hotel’s condition is spanking new - having just officially opened and launched in May 2008. Fixture and fittings are new and not scratched at all. Though personally I think that “up keeping” the hotel may face challenges from nature’s elements such as invading insects (e.g. you will likely find spiders, ants or other insects attracted to this resort that is well lighted in the middle of the lake and possibly trying to find a home in the rooms).
The photos attached to this write-up will speak for the resort itself. According to a piece of literature I picked up – the interior designer for the Four Seasons Langkawi had contributed to the Belum Rainforest Resort overall design– though this fact needs to be further checked for accuracy.
Things To Do
The highlight of our stay was the “Discover Belum” Day Trip. Among the many trips available – this seemed the most attractive and was chosen due to the fact that you had to apply for a permit via the hotel to enter this permit only zone – making the trip sound special.
The day started with travelers meeting at 8 am in the hotel lobby - right after breakfast. Travelers were shuttled down to the hotel’s private pier (via golf buggies) where a small private open top boat with canvas roof was waiting to take us upstream into the Upper Royal Belum Rainforest.
The arrangement included a boatman and a guide. We were told that there could be variations to the finer details of the day trip depending on the characteristics of the visiting group (E.g. adventure challenge inclined, fitter than the average, etc)
The boat ride itself was an enjoyable experience as it gave the group of us (6 adults) exceptional vistas of the lake along with lush green jungle, meeting the water at the very banks. Animal spotting (depending on the luck of your trip) included otters, eagles & horn bills (though in the distance) but nevertheless in their natural habitat. Those with SLRs – a telephoto lense is highly recommended.
Other highlights included Raffleasia (the largest unbranched flower in the world) sighting, awaiting mineral seeking animals with the travelers perched silently in the darkness of the viewing tower by the “Salt Lick” and visitation to the Orang Asli Settlement were definitely eye openers for us city slicker folks – read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_slicker).
Lastly – returning to the resort was an adventure in itself on that particular day. Imagine 45 degree rain erupting from nowhere that pelts your face, the temperature suddenly dropping and chilling winds emerging to hasten the rain into your path. Our guides had towels prepared to help us overcome the elements by allowing us to cover ourselves (God bless them!) and finally the boat at near max speed to get us back quickly to the resort – what a rush!
Hidden Gems Of The Resort
Banding Island Forest Trail - Exit the restaurant along the open air dining area facing the lake and find the steps that lead down to the pier. Go past the staff quarters (at time of writing) and take the wooden platform trail to the Orang Asli Settlement “replica set”. You’ll know what I mean when you compare this with the real Orang Asli settlement . On the day we were there – it was easily 25 degrees C, overcast and with gentle winds. If you get the chance to sit by the lake’s edge, take in the scenery – remember to say a prayer that over development and environmental degradation will never be the fate of the Royal Belum Rainforest.
Elephant sighting – many travelers who stay at the resort, take the opportunity at dawn and dusk for drives heading towards Jeli or Gerik to spot wild elephants crossing the road using trails that have never changed through time. Search Flickr and you will see how some lucky travelers have captured these animals on their digital camera on the very road leading you to the resort.
For Chinese fare (the writer having a pallet for Asian Chinese food) – one will have to travel to Gerik that is approx 30-45 minutes away from the resort. The restaurant that we dined at and was fairly surprised at the total price of our dinner being relatively cheap – was called Chau Y.
Returning to the resort after nightfall will result in your car providing the only light on the windy road back to the hotel.
Other Pit Stops Along The Journey (Before Or After Visiting The Resort)
Lenggong – Archeological Musuem. Lenggong revealed it self to us that it is in fact an Archeological area where the Perak man (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perak_Man) dating 11,000 years were unearthed near the vicinity of the town. Another recommendation includes heading to the town that is known for its fresh water fish. This can be found on the main road in a restaurant called Sin Hup Kee Or Sin Hup Yik
Kuala Kangsar – Visit the main street and drive up and around the Sultan Of Perak’s Residence.
Lastly, I hope the above information has helped you plan your trip or discover more about the Royal Belum Rainforest.
Click on over to the Tips & Travelogue of this Gerik Travel Page for additional information and photos.
Do leave a comment below if you reckon I've missed some pertinent information or would like to comment on this travel page. Happy Traveling :)
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