Royal Belum State Park
Previously an inaccessible and largely unexplored forest reserve, the Royal Belum State Park is now revealing its well hidden secrets to the world.
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Within the northern region of Peninsular Malaysia lies a vast continuous forest region, estimated to be older than the Amazon or the Congo jungle, known as Belum-Temenggor. Located in the state of Perak, the Belum-Temenggor crosses into Southern Thailand and is approximately four times the size of Singapore. The Royal Belum State Park is nestled within this capacious body of pristine forest. It was gazetted under the Perak State Park Corporation Enactment 2001 by the Perak State Government on 17 April 2007. The Sultan of Perak decided to accord it Royal status during its establishment as a forest reserve, four years before being gazetted by the state government. Enclosed within the park is a myriad of river systems, small grassland areas, lush pristine rainforest and Tasik Temenggor, a large man-made lake.
As the forest of Royal Belum remains relatively unexplored, it is perfect for nature lovers who wish to catch glimpses of wild animals in their natural environment. One of the best places to see these exotic animals is around salt licks. There are about 60 salt lick locations spread all over the park. Bumbuns or huts have been erected nearby these salt lick locations for those who wish to spend a night to increase their chances of spotting some of the wildlife, which include tapirs, Sumatran rhinoceroses, wild boars and the Malaysian Gaur. There are also spectacular waterfalls within the park, with its cool waters inviting hot and sweaty trekkers for a refreshing dip. Visiting the Royal Belum State Park is not complete without a stopover at the Orang Asli village where visitors are given a tour. There is also a blowpipe demonstration and a chance for the visitors to test their own blowpipe skills.
Unlike other national parks which serve more as showcases to the public to learn more about nature, the direction and purpose of Royal Belum is conservation and research. Its diverse flora and fauna ensured that it was identified as a priority site for ecotourism in the Malaysian National Ecotourism Plan. It was only recently that Royal Belum opened its doors to welcome the public. Even then, permission must be sought before entering the park as certain areas within are still protected. The park offers a unique experience which might may not appeal to everyone, as untamed nature has a tendency to be wild and unexpected. It is not a place for those who are looking for a typical attraction, but more for those who are interested in roughing it out or to be one with nature.
The park is only accessible by boat from Pulau Banting, which is located on Temenggor Lake. To get to Temenggor Lake, visitors should take the highway and head towards Gerik.
The park does not offer basic accommodation facilities. However, camping is permitted within the park. The park authorities charges a minimal fee for camping. The only other accommodation available at Royal Belum State Park is a privately run hotel.