Exploring the Belum Rainforest, Malaysia’s Amazing Unspoiled Wilderness

Sabah Malaysia

What's In This Guide?

The Belum Rainforest is an unspoiled paradise tucked away in the northern end of Peninsular Malaysia. This ancient rainforest is home to a wide range of unique plants, wildlife, and stunning landscapes making it a must visit destination for adventure travellers visiting Malaysia.

Home to indigenous Orang Asli tribes, the Belum Rainforest preserves traditions that have coexisted with the forest for centuries. Unlike many tourist hotspots it remains relatively untouched, retaining its natural beauty and tranquillity.

In this article I’ll dive into the various things to do in the rainforest, explain how to get there broken down in stages, and recommend a few places to stay nearby.

Planning a trip to Malaysia? Check out my Malaysia travel guide.

Things to do in the Belum Rainforest

For the adventure traveller the Belum Rainforest is paradise. You’ll love the wide range of outdoor nature activities such as jungle treks, wildlife spotting, birdwatching, and boat trips on Temenggor Lake.

Hiking Trails in the Belum Rainforest

There are several hiking trails available for different skill levels. Each of these trails offers its own unique charm and encounters with nature, providing opportunities for hikers to witness the rich biodiversity and stunning landscapes within the Belum Rainforest.

  • Sungai Ruok Trail: This trail is relatively easy and perfect for beginners. It follows the Sungai Ruok river, offering mesmerizing views of cascading waterfalls and an abundance of flora and fauna. It’s an excellent option for birdwatching and discovering smaller wildlife.
  • Sira Gajah Trail: A moderate trail that leads to the Sira Gajah salt lick, frequented by wildlife, such as elephants. This trail offers chances to spot wildlife from hides along the way.
  • Bukit Kenderung Trail: A more challenging trek with a steep climb. This trail leads to Bukit Kenderung, providing panoramic views of the rainforest canopy and Temenggor Lake.
  • Teraling Trail: This trail is for seasoned hikers seeking a more demanding and longer expedition. It traverses through diverse terrains, including dense jungle and rocky terrain. It offers an immersive experience of the rainforest’s diverse ecosystems.
  • Pulau Tali Kail Trail: Located near Pulau Banding, this trail leads to a picturesque beach area by the Temenggor Lake. It’s a shorter, leisurely hike suitable for a more relaxed exploration.

Also check out these Malaysian hiking opportunities in the Taman Negara National Park and the Maliau Basin Conservation Area.

Visiting the Orang Asli Communities

Delving deeper into the Belum Rainforest offers opportunities to connect with the indigenous Orang Asli communities. These tribes have inhabited the rainforest for generations, maintaining traditions and a symbiotic relationship with nature.

Visitors can engage in cultural exchanges, learning about their way of life and traditional practices through local tour operators act as liaisons. Some suggested tour operators are:

  • Belum Adventure Camp: Renowned for their sustainable tourism initiatives, Belum Adventure Camp organizes guided tours to Orang Asli settlements. They prioritize cultural sensitivity, offering immersive experiences that respect the traditions and lifestyle of the indigenous communities.
  • Discover Perak: This tour operator specializes in eco-adventures within Perak’s rainforest areas, including Belum. They collaborate with Orang Asli communities, providing insight into their heritage while ensuring responsible and ethical engagements.
  • Perak Community Specialist: With a focus on cultural immersion, this specialist facilitates visits to Orang Asli villages, fostering authentic encounters. They emphasize understanding the indigenous culture and heritage while promoting responsible tourism practices.

Explore the Temenggor Lake

Temenggor Lake is considered the heart of the Belum Rainforest, and definitely worth exploring by boat. Exploring around the lake you will find hidden islands, ancient caves, unique flowers like the Rafflesia, and remote Orang Asli settlements.

There are a few ways to see Temenggor Lake. Here’s our pick:

  • Boat Tours: guided boat tours let you to discover the lake’s hidden coves and remote islands. Tours often showcase the rich biodiversity of the rainforest, providing opportunities for wildlife spotting and birdwatching.
  • Kayaking or Canoeing: for a more intimate exploration, consider kayaking or canoeing across Temenggor Lake. Rent kayaks or canoes from resorts or tour operators and paddle at your own pace, immersing yourself in the tranquillity of the surroundings.
  • Houseboat Stays: consider staying overnight on a houseboat and wake up to stunning sunrise views while enjoying the peaceful ambiance of the lake’s surroundings.

Getting There

The Belum Rainforest is located in the northern region of Peninsular Malaysia, spanning the provinces of Perak and Kelantan. Access is primarily through Pulau Banding, which is the gateway town to the rainforest, while the nearest major city is Ipoh.

From Kuala Lumpur you can travel 4-5 hours by car direct to the Belum Rainforest. Alternatively you can opt for a train journey to reach nearby towns like Gerik, followed by a short drive to Pulau Banding.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Belum Rainforest is during the dry season, typically from March to September. These months offer better weather conditions for hiking and wildlife spotting. However, it’s best to check weather forecasts as rainforest climates can be unpredictable.

Nearby Accommodation

Belum Rainforest Resort: Located in Pulau Banding, this eco-friendly resort offers comfortable lodgings amidst lush greenery. With a range of rooms and chalets, it’s an ideal retreat after a day of adventure.

Belum Eco Resort: Positioned on the edge of the rainforest, this eco-resort provides a tranquil retreat. Offering various lodging options, including chalets and villas, it emphasizes sustainable practices and immersive experiences with nature.

GSA Belum Rainforest Resort: Another enticing option, this resort boasts comfortable rooms and a serene ambiance. It offers convenient access to exploration spots within the rainforest, making it a favorable choice for nature enthusiasts.

More Hiking Destinations in Malaysia

Visit the Taman Negara National Park for more jungle trekking on Peninsular Malaysia.

Climb Mount Kinabalu on Sabah, the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia.

Explore the Maliau Basin Conservation Area for Sabah’s ancient lost world.

Or explore Pulau Sipadan’s incredible underwater nature trails (scuba diving).

Author Bio

G'day I'm Josh (some call me Fishtank) and on this blog I'll show you how to travel Asia beyond what you thought was possible. We'll explore the highest waterfalls, most remote islands, eat the best street food, and plenty more!

Josh Shephard

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