Malaysia My Destination : Info about Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
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Perak : Northern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
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Perlis : Northern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
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PERAK - NORTHERN REGION OF PENINSULAR MALAYSIA
GERIK : Temenggor Lake
 
 

DISCOVERING

TEMENGGOR LAKE

THE UNMATCHED TREASURES

 

As the area is out of bounds to tourism, we decided to do an extensive boat tour of the southern part of the lake, a vast area called Temenggor. To truly appreciate this extensive stretch of forest straddling both sides of the huge Temenggor lake, it is important for one to understand the facts on this place. Both Belum and Temenggor forest reserves encompass a vast 300,000ha and is the second largest remaining tract of virgin forest in the peninsula. Before 1975, the whole area comprised hills and valleys where swift waters from rivers such as Tiang and Singor carve through the hills and flow south to feed the Perak River. A pristine valley here was inhabited by huge numbers of wild animals and in the area also lived the Jahai and Temiar groups of Orang Asli people.

 

When the Temenggor Hydro Electric Dam was built in 1977, the area was swiftly submerged and within a year, 18,000 ha was under water and the huge lake now extends 80km from north to south and 5km wide at places with depths of up to 120m. The people and animals moved to the hill slopes where they still live although the Orang Asli people fare much better, with the introduction of education, transport, aid, and health care, which they regularly receive from the government today. At the Jeti Aman at Banding Island, our boatman and guide for that trip, was preparing the life jackets when we got there.

 
 

PULAU MATA KAIL (ISLAND)

 

Pulau Mata Kail, a 10-minutes ride from the jetty. Pulau Mata Kail is a heavily forested island with a small resort, administered by the Forestry Department, on its southern end. We did not go there but instead, embarked at the front end of the island where Irwan then guided us on a 30-minute climb. The forest is surprisingly bare at The ground level and the trees are not as stupendous as those found in other virgin forests in the peninsula. The reason being that the forest of Belum and Temenggor comprise a mixture of Malaysian rainforest and the drier and scantier Monsoon Tropical forest found in Thailand and Burma. Only here in the peninsula does such forest type exist.

 

It is a steep climb which took us by surprise and we were heading to the peak of what was once a hill. The famed Tongkat Ali herb can be seen growing in abundance here. There is also a peculiar tree with reddish peeling bark that resembles cloth and the locals call it Pokok Kelat. The final 30m to the top is a climb by the edge of a steep slope and there is a rope to hang on to in case anyone slips. At the peak is a three-tiered observation tower where one can get an amazingly scenic and sweeping view of the Temenggor Lake and the bridge in its centre, which is part of the expressway that links Perak with Kelantan. The tree tops of the hill were below us and this allowed easy sightings of various songbirds.

 
 

PULAU BATU PUTIH (ISLAND)

 

After breathing in the scenic view, we descended to where our boat was tied to and then proceeded on for another 30 minutes towards Pulau Batu Putih. This is a steep limestone island that we could only marvel at from our boat. Here, high on the limestone outcrop?s cliffs thrive a palm that is said to have survived the test of time and hasn?t evolved since the Dinosaur age. Locally, its called Paku Haji. There are also several caves on the higher part of the hill and a rhesus monkey family can be seen high above, seemingly boasting their agility and dexterity on the 90 degree limestone wall. Even higher up, several colonies of smart honey bees have built their hives, away from the dangers of human and marauding Sunbears.

 
 

 
 

GUA CERMIN (CAVE)

 

We then proceeded with our boat journey towards Gua Cermin, which has a small colony of bats in it. It is a five minute uphill trek to the cave, which cuts through a granite slope. Being a granite cave, the cavity is not stupendous and the attractions here are its bats and cave racers, The number of bats residing here leaves a putrid stench in the air, arising from its droppings, referred to as Guano.

 
 

SIRA GAJAH (ELEPHANT SALT LICK)

 

From here, a short boat ride brought us to Sira Gajah or Elephant Salt Lick, which is actually about 15 minutes trek from the lake shore. True to its name, the area revealed amazing presence of the forest giants with elephant droppings everywhere, stench of its urine probably deposited several hours earlier, fallen trees and stripped barks, as well as footprints of the pachyderms were evident. The sand at this part of the forest is rich in salt and mineral and the elephants, along with other animals come here mainly at night, to get their required salt and mineral supply. We were told that some 500 wild elephants roam Temenggor's forest.

 
 

OTHERS

 

We later made our way to Sungai Ketir, an excellent and pristine forest stream with gushing ice cold waters. Excellent for bathing, swimming, and even drinking. The fact that this place is almost inaccessible by land makes it even more worth the visit as few waterfall areas in the country are as pure and clean as it is here. Not far from Sungai Ketir is Sira Tesau. another mineral lick and this time it is sulfur from the ground seeping out though a hot spring. This is also a favourite animal spot and we saw the power of the Sunbear?s claws diplayed through the torn barks of a fallen tree.

 

Our final destination that day was Sungai Singor and we arrived late that day. This is an extremely swift clear water river with huge boulders. Its mouth at the lake edge is more then a hundred metres across and even at that point, the water is a mighty Grade 2 to 3. This is believed to be the most turbulent river in the country with a good part of it running into Grade 4 and 5, and at one spot is an incredible 6. The waters of Singor originate from the Titiwangsa Range and sometimes, hardy water sports enthusiasts conduct white water rafting activities here. Not for the novice, it requires 4WD transport and strenuous trekking to reach the flag off point.

 

As we left Singor, the sun was setting over the western hills of Temenggor Flocks of Plain Pouched Hornbills noisily fly to their tree top roosts across the bodies of water. Ternenggor and Belum are the only parts of Malaysia where all 10 species of hornbills in the country are found. It is also believed that the density of these birds here is the highest in the world. Belum and Temmengor also have a sizeable tiger population and support all big wild animals in the country, including the Malaysian Rhino, Gaur, Leopards, and Tapirs.

 
 
 
GERIK : Temenggor Lake
PERAK - NORTHERN REGION OF PENINSULAR MALAYSIA