Our entire Sunday was spent mostly on the road and in the forest — 3 hours on the road driving up north to Grik to pay a homage to Mother Nature and to what I call the most prestigious and protected rainforest in all of Malaysia – the Royal Belum Rainforest, before leaving the place at 6:00pm. The Royal Belum Rainforest is prestigious and special to me due to its nature in terms of the landscape, lake and its foresty surrounding. I have not been to Taman Negara in Pahang yet, so for now, this rainforest will wear the crown of glory and sit on a throne.
Before we set foot on rainforest soil, we stopped midway for lunch in a small town just before Grik, where we had the most scrumptious meal of wild boar curry, freshly steamed catfish, paku pakis stir fried with sambal belacan (ferns in chilli and spices), and a steaming plate of egg tofu. That meal itself was enough to sustain us all the way to the rainforest where our adventures began and lasted until sunset.
The Royal Belum Rainforest, also known as the Belum-Temenggor Rainforest, is located on Pulau Banding in Grik, Perak. Set in the midst of a tropical paradise is the Belum Rainforest Resort, one of Malaysia’s premier eco-tourism holiday destinations where nature lovers and holidaygoers can enjoy complete relaxation and serenity surrounded by stunning views and scenic landscapes, adventure and get the chance to be close to nature. With the rainforest literally at their doorstep, guests have the rare opportunity to experience the soothing and calming beautfy and mystery of the vast forest which has remained untouched for centuries. One of the reasons why this is so is due to the Sultan of Perak’s protection given to the rainforest. Nature lovers can also revel at the chance to observe the beauty of plants and scenery that are rarely found elsewhere. Nature lovers will revel at the chance to observe the beauty of plants and scenery that can be found only rarely elsewhere. Thrilling outdoor activities also await adventure seekers who crave for adrenaline-pumping experiences.
Here’s another titbit of the Royal Belum Rainforest:
According to the boatman, one of the islands within the rainforest is home to four Rafflesia flowers. The Rafflesia is by far the largest and most magnificent flower in the world, and it is a plant with no leaves, roots or stems. The Rafflesia (Scientific name: Rafflesia arnoldii) was discovered in 1818 by Sir Stamford Raffles and his companion, surgeon-naturalist Dr James Arnold. This jungle parasite of Southeast Asia holds the all-time record-breaking bloom of 106.7 centimetres (3 ft. 6 in.) in diameter and 11 kilograms (24 lbs) in weight, with petal-like lobes at least an inch thick. It is also one of the rarest plants in the world and so happens to be on the verge of extinction. As if size and rarity weren’t enough, the Rafflesia is also one of the world’s most distasteful plants as it is designed by nature to imitate rotting meat or dung.
The rainforest was so wide and spacious that it took up a large portion of the town, and came with many islands, both big and small. The boatman who took us around the rainforest, also told us that there were as many as 80 small islands dotting the area with a few larger ones within sight. Each island has its own stash of trees, greens and wildlife, from mountain goats to tigers, panthers and elephants. Monkeys were a common sight to us, while the much less common ones were wildlife that normally emerge from the shadows of the forest after the sun has gone down.
Our boat ride did not commence until the first heavy downpour ceased, which we assumed would not recur until we boarded the motorboat and set off on our way to a wild ride around the rainforest and an hour and a half’s worth of lessons about the jungle’s history. The second downpour came and by the time we were done with our ride, we were soaked to the skin but we enjoyed the whole episode. Nothing could stop us from getting onto the boat and going for a spin. It was a breathtaking experience which I would gladly have again if I had the opportunity.