Editor’s Pick: 10 Recommended Restaurants in NU Sentral, Kuala Lumpur

If you are a traveler holidaying or transiting in Kuala Lumpur and looking for a place that’s conveniently located near a public transport hub to eat, then here’s one place that I can recommend; NU Sentral Kuala Lumpur.

NU Sentral Kuala Lumpur is a large mall located at KL Sentral, Malaysia’s largest transit hub that acted as Kuala Lumpur’s integrated rail transportation centre, offering global connectivity and seamlessly linking to Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya and key areas within the Multimedia Super Corridor.

Getting to NU Sentral is not a problem as it is directly linked to all the major train services and is basically a transportation hub and is easily reachable via Uber, but deciding what to eat can be quite overwhelming as NU Sentral is a home to more than 20 eateries. Here’s recommending 10 restaurants for you to dine in at NU Sentral:

1. B.bap Korean Food (Outlet location: GF 0.8)

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If you are looking for some Korean delicacies with a twist, then B.bap Korean Food is a must visit.

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The restaurant can cater to decent amount of crowds and makes quite a great place for small gatherings with family and friends. Below are some of the dishes that I would personally recommend for you to try:

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Dolsot Bibimbap Octopus

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Kimchi Jiggae Beef

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Soon Dubu Jiggae

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Teok Bokki

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Korean Seafood Pancake

The restaurant is Halal certified and offers quite an impressive option on their menu, so you definitely won’t feel disappointed over here.

2. Dolly Dimsum (Outlet location: LG.43)

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Dolly Dimsum is a modern intrepretation of a traditional Chinese teahouse.

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It is a contempororized Dim Sum house that offers an all day dim sum grazing experience.

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Some of the recommended items on their menu:

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Har Gao Dumpling and Yam Croquette

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Siew Mai Dumpling and Dolly Mozza Roll

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Egg Custard Bun and Salad Prawn Dumpling

Like most Dimsum Restaurants, this restaurant accepts walk ins but a reservation prior visit is recommended if you are heading over in a group or a large crowds.

3. Sushi Tei (Outlet Location: CC.06)

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Fancy something Japanese? Then head over to Sushi Tei. They are offering quite an extensive list on their menu for a reasonable price. Below are some of the highlights, recommended and handpicked by Sushi Tei’s staffs:

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Kirishima (18pcs), Tan Tan Ramen and
Soft Shell Crab Kani Salad

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Kirishima

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Tan Tan Ramen

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Soft Shell Crab Kani Salad

Should you feel overwhelmed with the menu or have any problems ordering, just ask their staffs for recommendations. They are usually very helpful and will surely help you out.

4. Paddington House of Pancakes (Outlet location: L4.11)

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Paddington House of Pancakes offers all sort of pancakes from across the globe. Pancakes are well known for being sweet but here in Paddington House of Pancakes, they have savoury ones as well. Some of the recommended items on their menu are: Wellington, Monaco Savoury Flapjack, Chocolate Fondue and Strawberry New York Cheesecake

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Wellington

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Monaco Savoury Flapjack

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Chocolate Fondue

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Strawberry New York Cheesecake

Paddington House of Pancakes provides a first class hospitality and therefore you may find youself being attended by their all smiling staffs who are eager to please you. Great food, wonderful hospitality, the place is a must patronized, especially if you are having a long day. They will certainly make your day better.

5. Manhattan Fishmarket (Outlet Location: L4.06)

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Manhattan Fishmarket offers nothing but lip-smacking seafood, from the sea and straight into your plate.

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Small Flame Garlic Herb Rice with Chips

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Gummy Bear

Considering the hassle of preparing seafood dishes, Manhattan Fishmarket is strangely fast with taking orders and serving the food. Highly recommended place to dine if you are really famish or in a rush.

6. La Juiceria (Outlet location: LG.44)

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Need a quick refreshing boost or just wanna cleanse your palate?

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Well then, La Juiceria have everything that you need, ranging from quick superfood wraps or energy boosting drinks.

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One of the recommended booster juice; the Chlorophyll Water

This cafe is great for those who are eating clean or those who are looking for detox juices.

7. Franco (Outlet location: L3.06.07)

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Fancy some casual dining at a laidback place with sumptuous delicacies and jazzy music from the 90s in the background? Franco might just be the place for you. Franco offers fusion food with interesting twist.

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Souffle Cheese, Ice Tea with Softie,
Matcha Smoothie and Berries Cheesecake

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Souffle Cheese

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Ice Tea with Softie and Matcha Smoothie

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Berries Cheesecake

Great food and with somewhat relaxing ambiance, Franco is definitely a great dating spot. Highly recommended to couples who wants some quiet dining together.

8. BUILT Custom Burgers (Outlet location: L4.10)

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Wanna customize your own burger? BUILT Custom Burger is a must go if you wanna show your wild foodie side.

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Serving premium and customizable burgers and burgers- in- a- bowl, BUILT Custom Burgers offers guests the flexibility of creating and customizing their own burgers from hundreds of possible combinations, from the patties to the bun to the toppings and sauces. Below is what we customized during our visit:

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Custom Built Beef Burger (Bun), Custom Built Beef Bowl and
Custom Built Chicken Bowl

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Custom Built Beef Burger (Bun)

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Custom Built Beef Bowl

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Custom Built Chicken Bowl

This is a place where foodie can go wild. Not for the traditionalists or the faint hearted.

9. Hoagies Hauz (Outlet location: L5.11)

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With a Subway themed interior beside the cinema in Nu Sentral, Hoagies Hauz offers a quick bite for their hungry patrons.

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You can choose grab and go or dine in. Their hoagies buns are simply comforting and to die for.

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Some of their recommended items on the menu are; Cheezy Melt Steak,
Beefy Patty Melt, Aloha Hawaiian Chicken and The Signature Hoagie.

10. La Cucur (Outlet location: LG.38)

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La Cucur offers all time Malaysian favourite tea-time fritters, kuih and more.

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Assorted traditional Malay kuih at La Cucur.

La Cucur is great for those who just want to have a comforting, old time favourite teatime snacks.

All these outlets are part of the outlets that’s listed under #NUNomNomNom food trail program hosted by NU Sentral for members of the media in conjunction with their 3rd anniversary celebration. For more information on other dining outlets and current promotions that’d ongoing in NU Sentral, please hop to their Facebook page HERE.

La Juiceria Superfoods, Mont Kiara

If there’s one thing about me is that I don’t really care about what I put in my mouth as long as it’s yummy and tasty. But then again, I somewhat live on the fast lane and most of the time my body requires me to nourish myself with food that will be able to provide me alot of energy. Here’s one place in Klang Valley that offers not only delicious and healthy food, but superfood that is packed with energy as well; La Juiceria Superfoods.

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La Juiceria Superfoods, The Verve Shop, Mont Kiara

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My family and I were planning for a jungle trekking a day after we visited this outlet so we decided to mostly go with carbo-based stuff that’s being offered on the menu. Here’s some of the superfood that we tried at the La Juiceria Superfoods, Mont Kiara: Build Your Own Gourmet Salad, Smoked Duck Soba, Teriyaki Chicken Greenbowl, Nasi Lemak Wrap, GC Dip, Mushroom Soup, Acai Berry Smoothies, Watermelon Slushies, Minty Lemon

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GC Dip. Made with spinach, mozzarella cheese and served with wholesome baguette slices, this healthy green is full of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Spinach has an extremely high nutritional value and is rich in antioxidants

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Mushroom Soup. Mushroom Soup. Initially we were recommended something else, but I wasn’t feeling so adventurous and wanted Mushroom Soup instead, and I’m glad I stick with my option. Conjured with all sorts of mushrooms and a drizzle of olive oil and roasted almonds on top, this creamy bowl goodness packed quite a punch. Served with garlic flavoured baguettes, the Mushroom Soup offers comfort to the tummy within seconds. Bursting with natural flavours, my husband loves this so much and polished everything off. This would definitely on our list should we revisit the cafe again.

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Build Your Own Gourmet Salad.
Here’s how to customise your salad bowl at La Juiceria Superfoods:

1. Start off by choose your salad size: Petit, Medium or Grand.
2. Select your variety base, mains, supplementary items and prime for your salad bowl.
3. Pick your preferred dressing from a list of 10 house-made dressings.

We had the Grand. I wanted to have something heavy and filling and so I chose pasta as the base with crabsticks, edamame, roasted potatoes, grilled mushrooms, boiled kampung eggs and supplemented with beef bacon bits as well as parmesan cheese and served with a side of grilled Forequarter lamb and Thousand Island Sauce. Not something the true

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Smoked Duck Soba was really promosing, with perfectly flavoured noodles and generous serving of smoked duck and onsen eggs on the side. Definitely something you would want to order if you’re looking for a quick energy boost.

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Teriyaki Chicken Greenbowl was sensational. The Teriyaki Chicken were smokey and flavourful and complement the grains pretty well.

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Nasi Lemak Wrap. A wonderful rendition to the traditional all time Malaysian favourite Nasi Lemak. Great busy individuals for who wants to savour nasi lemak but without the hassle of having to sit down and digging in. Tastewise, it is delicious too. So should you patronize La Juiceria Superfoods, do order this. I reckon you will like it.

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‘Dessert’ was a smoothie bowl. We had the highly recommended Acai Berry Smoothie Bowl and was left wanting more. The Acai Berry smoothies were smoothly concocted and topped with strawberries, shredded coconuts, bananas chia seeds, cacao nibs, and bee pollen. It was nothing short of sensational. Regretfully, we were too stuffed from our salad earlier to treat ourselves with a second helping of the smoothie bowl.

Overall, the dining experience here surpassed my expectation in terms of food offerings and service. La Juiceria Superfoods offers a whole lot of stuff on their menu that will leave you supercharged and refreshed at the end of your meals. Definitely great for the health conscious and for those whose intention is to carbo-load before their upcoming outdoor activities that’s streneous on the body.

For more information on the outlet, please hop over to their Facebook page HERE.

Editor’s Pick: Accommodations in Royal Belum Rainforest, Malaysia

Photographer: Jessy Ong, Terrence Lei, Adam Lau

Written by: Ellie Toh

Going for an eco-escapade in Royal Belum Rainforest but feeling abit skittish about it as you’re not sure where you can stay and stuff? Well, fret not, here’s highlighting some places you can stay during your trip to Royal Belum Rainforest;

1. Royal Belum Houseboat

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On top of the list and highly recommended if you are a very adventurous person are the houseboats. There are many houseboat operators around in Royal Belum Rainforest, but one that I’d highly recommend in terms of affordability, service and hospitality is the Royal Belum Houseboat. While it is not a luxury houseboat with cruise ship-like facilities, they do provide first class service for those who are adventurous enough to spend a night or two on a houseboat during their stay in Royal Belum Rainforest. Royal Belum Houseboat have 8 rooms, 4 bathrooms, 1 kitchen (with kitchen crews), a common hall, and two speedboats as well as two bamboo raft in tow.

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The kitchen

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Bamboo rafts and speedboat in tow

The crews are all highly knowledgable about Royal Belum Rainforest and most of them are professional jungle guides as well. Provisions are well stoked and (meals; breakfast, teabreak, lunch, hi-tea and dinner) are all provided, so you won’t have to worry about starving on the houseboat. Highly recommended for those are wants an adventure of their lifetime in Royal Belum Rainforest. More info about Royal Belum Houseboat, you may hop over HERE.

2. Kem Sg. Tiang

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Not that adventurous but wanna feel like some boyscouts? Well, Kem Sg.Tiang might be the thing you are looking for. Designed to look like a campsite, Kem Sg. Tiang offers tent-like rooms with back to nature concept.

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Everything is strictly basic so that you will experience how it’s like to stay in a tent, minus the hassle of having to set them up. Kindly do not expect a high end hotel where you can call a room service to cater to your whim and fancy, as it’s really meant to give you the outdoor experience, but at a completely safe and controlled environment. Great for individuals, couples and families. For more information on Kem Sungai Tiang, hop over to online booking sites like Agoda or Trivago.

3.Belum Rainforest Resort

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If you want to escape to Royal Belum Rainforest for some R&R and explore Royal Belum Rainforest at a comfortable and a leisurely pace, Belum Rainforest Resort might be your cuppa tea.

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Belum Rainforest Resort offers nothing but a luxury stay in the midst of the jungle.

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There are modern hotel amnesties like the infinity pool in the resort that you can use. The place is great for those who are looking for just a relaxing eco-escapade instead of a tough adventure. Highly recommended to family with young children, couples and honeymooners. For more information of Belum Rainforest Resort, click HERE.

Editor’s Pick: 10 Must Do Things in Royal Belum Rainforest, Malaysia

Photographer: Jessy Ong, Terrence Lei and Adam Lau

Written by: Ellie Toh

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Planning for an adventure in Royal Belum State Park in Perak, Malaysia? Royal Belum State Park or sometimes known as Belum-Temenggor is the largest continuous forest complex in Peninsular Malaysia. Geographically, it is located in the Malaysian state of Perak and crosses into Southern of Thailand. Belum-Temenggor is divided into two sections. Belum is located up north right by the Malaysia-Thailand border while Temenggor is south of Belum. The Royal Belum State Park is entirely contained within the forest complex.

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Royal Belum is believed to have been in existence for over 130 million years making it one of the world’s oldest rainforests, older than both the Amazon and the Congo. In the heart of the forest lies the manmade lake known as Tasik Temenggor, covering 15,200 hectares which is dotted with hundreds of islands.

The Royal Belum Rainforest is relatively untouched by unscrupulous development and is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna including 14 of the world’s most threatened mammals including the Malayan tiger, Asiatic elephant, white handed gibbon,Malaysian sunbear and tapir.

Royal Belum Rainforest have plenty to offer to adventurers and nature lovers alike and here’s a little guide on the ‘must do things’ if you happen to plan an eco-escapade in Royal Belum Rainforest:

1. See Rafflesia in Bloom

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Royal Belum Rainforest is a home to plenty of exotic plants. Among them are the Rafflesias. Rafflesia is a genus of parasitic flowering plants. The plant has no stems, leaves or true roots. The only part of the plant that can be seen outside the host vine is the five-petalled flower. The flowers look and smell like rotting flesh, hence its local names, ‘bunga bangkai’ or ‘bunga mayat’ which translate to “corpse flower” or “deadmeat flower”. The foul odour attracts insects such as flies, which transport pollen from male to female flowers. Most species have separate male and female flowers, but a few have hermaphroditic flowers. The Rafflesias are dubbed as the biggest flower in the world and can be found in plenty of sites in Royal Belum Rainforest. One of the more well known site are Sg. Dadong and nearby Ruok Waterfall. The Rafflesia flowers can easily be spotted at these two places but they are not always in bloom. A guide to these sites are needed, so do hook up with a guide prior your excursion.

2. Trekking to Sungai Kooi Waterfall

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Trekking to Sungai Kooi Waterfall is another must do thing if you are ever in Royal Belum Rainforest. The route to the Sungai Kooi Waterfall is a little bit challenging with slopes and slippery river stones, but it’s nothing a novice or a first timer cannot accomplish.

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Trekking to the waterfall takes about 45 mins before you will be rewarded by a showering piece of heaven.

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The tall waterfall shower of Sungai Kooi Waterfall

A guide is needed to trek to this place, so do hook up with an experienced guide prior to your excursion.

3. Visit Kg. Aman Damai and spend a day with the Jehai Tribe.

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If there’s one thing that you should not missed doing while you are in Royal Belum Rainforest is to spend a day at Kg. Aman Damai getting to know the people of the Jehai tribes.

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The place is located about 2 hours boat ride from Tasik Banding Jetty and offers plenty of cultural insights on how the aborigines goes about their daily lives. And as a bonus?

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You get to experience some of the things they do yourselves too. Eg: Trying out the traditional blowguns made from bamboo (sumpit).

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Bringing some tidbits for the Jehai tribe’s children is highly recommended as a courtesy and token of friendship, but it is not compulsory.

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A boatman is needed to reach this place so do make arrangement with your tour guide/boathouse captain or resort should you want to visit Kg. Aman Damai.

4. Visit salt lick area in Sira Papan

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A naturalist and loves all things the flora and fauna could offer you? Well, take it a notch higher and head over to the salt lick area in Sira Papan.

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If you are lucky, you might be able to see some wildlife like deers or mousedeers licking salt.

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But if you are not very lucky, you’ll get to see just the insects and bugs.

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Granted, there are tiger sightings in the salt lick areas too, so whatever you do, follow your guide’s instruction obediently and don’t make loud noises during your excursion.

5. Visit the Sungai Ruok Fish Sanctuary and swim at Ruok Waterfall’s deep pool.

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Another major attraction for eco-tourists in Royal Belum Rainforest is the Sungai Ruok Fish Sanctuary and the Sungai Ruok’s Waterfall deep pool.

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There’s a small stream in Sungai Ruok that is a sanctuary for fishes. You can see shoals of fishes like kelah and whatnot swimming around over here. Fishing is absolutely prohibited but feeding and swimming with the fishes? No problem. You may go ahead and do just that. The fishes are used to human’s visit, so they are quite friendly and usually will happily surround you whenever you take a dip in the water.

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Sungai Ruok Waterfall on the other hand offers refreshing deep pool for you to swim in.

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The Ruok Waterfall’s natural pool is more than 3 metres deep, so swimming without life jacket over here is strictly prohibited.

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So if you plan to swim over here, do make sure that you are well equipped with lifejackets at all times.

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Most boathouses, boatmen and resorts in Royal Belum Rainforest offers a day trip excursion to Sungai Ruok Fish Sanctuary and Waterfall, so do make enquiries should you want to visit this place.

6. Bamboo rafting in Tasik Banding

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If you are the adventurous lot, another highly recommended thing that you can do while you are in Royal Belum Rainforest is bamboo rafting in the Tasik Banding. Plenty of tour operators offers a package with the bamboo rafting activities, so check it out. It would be an interesting experience. And don’t worry about the waves or anything. Tasik Banding is a very calm place. Unless it rains, nothing is going to rock your boats, in this case, bamboo rafts, of course.

7. Swimming in Tasik Banding

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Apart from bamboo rafting in Tasik Banding, you can also have a swim over there. With lifejacket intact, of course. Swimming is allowed in Tasik Banding, but strictly with lifejacket on.

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As mention earlier, the lake is not wavy and therefore no current will sweep you away. But do take precaution not to swim too far away from your boat or houseboat should you decide to jump in.

8. Enjoy the sunrise

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Wake up early and enjoy the beautiful colours the dawn will bring. It is always very picturesque during sunrise in Royal Belum Rainforest.

9. Enjoy the sunset

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Dusk in Royal Belum Rainforest is always instagram-worthy, so if you are located where you can see the sunset during your stay in Royal Belum Rainforest, do make sure you capture the serenity with your camera lense.

10. Fishing

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Fishing is allowed in Royal Belum Rainforest; specifically, fishing in Tasik Banding is allowed, but a permit of RM5 per fishing rod is required before you enter Royal Belum Rainforest.

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If you are into fishing, you’d be pleased to discover that there’s plenty of exotic and rare fishes in the lake. All you need is a fishing rod, a good bait and a whole lot of patience.

Royal Belum Rainforest can be likened like a treasure trove, especially for adventurers and environmentalists, but remember, every single thing that is residing in Royal Belum Rainforest plays an important part of the ecosystem, so if you ever go to Royal Belum Rainforest, take nothing but the memories and leave nothing but footprints behind.

Editor’s Pick: Where to Eat in Ipoh, Malaysia

Photographer: Jessy Ong& Terrence Lei
Written by: Ellie Toh

Ipoh is the capital state of Perak located on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia. It is the third largest city in the country. Ipoh is approximately 200 km north of Kuala Lumpur and 130 km south of Penang on the North-South Expressway, this capital state of Perak have plenty to offer tourists and travelers alike. Ipoh is commonly well known domestically and internationally for being the gateway to Cameron Highlands and Royal Belum State Park but if you are a foodie traveler, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed with what Ipoh have to offer in terms of satisfying your palate. This state have plenty of well kept gourmet secrets, and here’s highlighting some restaurants that you should patronize should happen to be in Ipoh and wants some good but affordable eats:

1. Ipoh Hainan Chicken Rice Greentown

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Ipoh Hainan Chicken Rice Greentown is a Singaporean- Chinese restaurant. Offering plenty of mouthwatering local dishes at RM10 and below.

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The restaurant’s signature is of course their Hainanese Roast Chicken Rice with fat and juicy Ipoh bean sprouts. Additional must try side dishes: Fried Beancurd in Oyster Sauce and Kerabu Mangga.

Ipoh Hainan Chicken Rice Greentown is a place you should drop by if you want some good meals while traveling but can’t afford to splurge. This is also one of the few Halal certified Hainanese chicken rice in Ipoh, so if you are a Muslim or you practises Halal only diet, this restaurant is your safest bet.

For more information, refer to the details below:

Address: B-G-13, Greentown Suria, Jalan Dato Seri Ahmad Said, Greentown, Perak, Ipoh Town, 30450

Contact: 05-241 1211

Halal restaurant

2. Restaurant Yum Yum

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Restaurant Yum Yum is a Thai Seafood Restaurant. The restaurant serves authentic Thai food. Some of the food has also been localized to cater to Malaysian palate.

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Some of the dishes that we can recommend are; Nyonya Gulai Fish, Assam Sambal Prawns,Vietnamese Garlic Prawns, Fried Brinjals,Beansprouts with Salted Fish, Yum Yum Tofu, Kerabu Mangga with Ikan Bilis and Thai Style Eggs.

This restaurant offers pretty decent price tag. Individual dishes costs about RM10-RM20 while seafood are quoted accordingly to the local market price.

For more information on the restaurant, refer to the details below:

Address: 5, Persiaran Greenhill, Greentown, Perak, Ipoh Town, 30450
Contact: 05-243 5737

Mon-Tue: 11:30-15:00; 17:30-22:00
Wed: Closed
Thu-Sun: 11:30-15:00; 17:30-22:00

Pork free restaurant

3. 1919 Restaurant Ipoh

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1919 Restaurant Ipoh offers assorted Malaysian variety of seafood and noodles.

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Their signature includes Black Pepper Fried Crab, Chinese Wine Fish Fillet in King Sauce, Chicken Nyonya Fried Rice, Philippines Eggplant and Siam-style Sliced Dory Fish.

This restaurant also have a reasonable pricing to each of their dishes. Highly recommended for small family gathering or some casual dining with friends.

For more information on the restaurant, refer to the details below:

Address: 1, Jalan Medan Ipoh 6, Bandar Baru Medan Ipoh, Ipoh Garden, Perak, Ipoh Town, 31400

Contact: 05-547 7196

Pork free restaurant

Traveling to Ipoh is pretty easy. You can travel by car or by bus to Ipoh from any states of Malaysia. But if you are the adventurous lot, travelling by train can be quite interesting too. There are three Express Kuala Lumpur- Ipoh Train services a day in either direction operated by KTM Intercity. Electric Train Services (ETS) also operate on this route. The trip takes between three and four hours on the older Intercity trains and 2 hours 20 – 35 minutes on the high-speed ETS trains. For more information on that, refer HERE. Ride sharing apps services like Uber and Grabcar is also available in Ipoh, so moving around is not a problem over here.

Visit Perak 2017: Experiencing the Sg. Ruok Waterfall

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Ruok Waterfall is located about 18km away from Tasik Banding Jetty and it is one of the most visited waterfall in Royal Belum Rainforest. The journey to Ruok Waterfall area took about 2 hours boathouse ride away from our docking in Tasik Banding and another 5 minutes boatride away to the entrance.

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Ruok Waterfall entrance. Unlike the Kooi Waterfall where we had to trek more than 30 minutes, the distance from the Ruok Waterfall entrance to the waterfall itself is surprisingly near.

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It was just about 5 minutes of trekking away. But the path to the waterfall was much more slippery and steep than the one to Ko’oi Waterfall. It was a much easier trekking in comparison to Sg. Kooi Waterfall but a guide is compulsory should you enter this area.

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One thing to note; the place is actually a freshwater fish sanctuary, any fishing activity is not allowed in the area. So you will find shoals of fish, either Kelah, Tengas or Temoleh swim around. Fish feeding or swimming with the fishes, however is allowed at Ruok Waterfall.

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The Ruok Waterfall. It has 3 tiers of falls but the 3rd tier is closed to the public.

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Ruok Waterfall’s other feature is that it has deep pool and therefore, swimming without a lifejacket over here is strictly prohibited.

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If you want to take a swim, or even just a dip over here at Ruok Waterfall, please make sure that you are equipped with a lifejacket vest before you jumped into the deep pool of Ruok Waterfall.

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Water has always been my element. I have no qualms in watery places, no matter how dangerous or mysterious they are.

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And here’s me, at the deepest part of the Ruok Waterfall pool. I’m not sure how deep the pool is, but one thing for sure is that it has to be at least 2 or 3 metres deep as when I swam in the pool, my feet does not even touch anything.

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Unlike the Tasik Banding where the water is calm, warm and soothing, the Ruok Waterfall is anything but that. The water temperature over here is very low and it felt as if you can bathing in ice cold water.The fall’s shower at this tier of the waterfall is stronger than the other and floating beneath this cold shower feels like getting a rough shiatsu massage. It pricks the skin almost painfully but at the same time, it feels so refreshing and strange enough, it soothe all the tense muscle knot. Instead of feeling pain all over my body after showering underneath, my body felt completely relaxed instead once I stepped out of the shower. It’s simply amazing. Mother Nature never cease to amaze me with it’s nurturing and healing wonder.

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My husband and son showering underneath Ruok’s fall.

We wanted to stay longer at Ruok’s Waterfall to enjoy what it has to offer but the weather wasn’t really favourable that day. It started to get dark and we had to make our journey back to the boathouse before it rains but alas, it rained nevertheless and we ended up riding the speedboat in the rain. But all was still good. Our guide Uncle Joe made sure we arrived safely at the boathouse and this is definitely another new experience for me and my family.

Note: A visit to Ruok Waterfall at Royal Belum State Park is part of the 2D1N Royal Belum Houseboat trip’s itinerary. The trip was organized by Caravan Serai Holidays. You may read the full trip experience HERE. For those who are interested to join the 2D1N Royal Belum Houseboat trip organized by Caravan Serai Holidays may hop over HERE for more information. Package for a 2D1N starts as low as RM199(+RM70 for two way bus transfer from Kuala Lumpur to Tasik Banding Jetty) per pax.

Note: All the pictures in this article was taken with Nikon Coolpix W100, with minor watermark edits.

Visit Perak 2017: Swimming and Bamboo Rafting at Tasik Banding

Going for an adventure in Royal Belum Rainforest has always been unchecked in my bucketlist until my family and I received an invitation by Caravan Serai crews to spend a weekend with them on Royal Belum Houseboat alongside with other adventurers. Exploring the virgin rainforest of Belum was part of the activities in the itinerary that I’ve anticipated. The one thing that I did not exactly anticipated to be included in our itinerary though, was swimming and bamboo rafting in the lake; Tasik Banding to be exact. Tasik Banding is a lake that surrounds the Pulau Banding, a 240 hectares man made island built to house an army camp at Royal Belum State Park.

Tasik Banding is one of the eco-tourism attraction in Royal Belum Rainforest and a home to plenty of expensive and highly coveted freshwater fishes like Kelah,Temoleh, Baung, Kelabau, Tengas,Loma,Tengalan, Sebarau and Lampam.

Although Tasik Banding is a protected area, fishing activities in Tasik Banding is allowed. However, a permit is required for each fishing rod that was brought in. The cost for one permit is RM5, a fair price for the expensive loot you might be getting from the lake.

Anyway, I mentioned that swimming and bamboo rafting in the lake was part of our Royal Belum Boathouse trip’s itinerary, didn’t I? I guess I did. And did I let the rare opportunity go to waste? Definitely not. I wouldn’t let this opportunity slide for anything else, at least not in this lifetime.

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It was about 5.30 pm when we made our way back to the boathouse in Tasik Banding from our trekking at Sungai Kooi Waterfall for a free and easy time swimming and bamboo rafting in the lake. So without further ado, we put on the life jacket and join the rest in the lake.

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Here’s my family and I, posing on the bamboo raft.

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Me, making an attempt to navigate the bamboo raft.

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But then again, I’m not a good rafter.

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I usually get nowhere whenever I take the paddle. My husband is better at that than me.

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Growing up by the beach, I’ve always been fond of water. I even named my son Adrian, after the Adriatic sea. Swimming is much more favourable to me than rafting.

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And here’s me, completely in my element before I managed to persuade my husband and son to jump into the lake with me.

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Kiddo, looking abit uncertain and doubtful about jumping into the lake.

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Well, I couldn’t exactly blame the kid being doubtful about jumping in. After all, I’m the sort of mum who go nuts about my son jumping into the swimming pool or playing in the waterparks. I almost never allow it. Insane, right? You can say that my priorities is all screwed up, but I’m the sort of person who gets a bit scared about letting my son play in the waterparks. Why? Well because they are man made and have flaws. Not to mention that they are usually urine infested. But this is not. The lake is God-made, and unlike human constructed things, things that God made is nothing but perfection. And how can perfection be dangerous? Nature can only be a threat when you are a threat to them.

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My husband finally jumps in and my son decides to finally follow suit.

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My husband, slowly getting his fins

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My son, finally in the water

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The dynamic duo

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And here’s my brave boy

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I was swimming quite a distance away so it took quite a bit for him to reach me.

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Managed to snap this pic as he was reaching out for me

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Here’s us

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And here’s a selfie to celebrate the little display of courage

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My son and I, swimming in Tasik Banding. My son may hesitate at first but trust me, after gaining his fins, he was the hardest to persuade to stop swimming while we were in Tasik Banding. In this sense, I guess my son takes after me, after all. Water is his element and he is a natural swimmer.

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A selfie with my husband

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Happy times with my husband and son at Tasik Banding.

Swimming and bamboo rafting in Tasik Banding may not be a 5 star resort experience to some. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world. Moments with family like this is priceless and as a mum to a rapidly growing up son, I would advice all parents out there to take some moments off from the rat race, bring your children to explore the great outdoors and make some beautiful memories with them. Time is irreversible, after all and before you know it, children are all grown up. The world is a book. Those who doesn’t explore, reads only one page.

Note: Swimming and bamboo rafting in Tasik Banding at Royal Belum State Park is part of the 2D1N Royal Belum Houseboat trip’s itinerary. The trip was organized by Caravan Serai Holidays. You may read the full trip experience HERE. For those who are interested to join the 2D1N Royal Belum Houseboat trip organized by Caravan Serai Holidays may hop over HERE for more information. Package for a 2D1N starts as low as RM199(+RM70 for two way bus transfer from Kuala Lumpur to Tasik Banding Jetty) per pax.

Note: All the pictures in this article was taken with Nikon Coolpix W100, with minor watermark edits.

Visit Perak 2017: Trekking to Sg. Kooi Waterfall

After an educational and humbling time in the aborigines settlement, we board the houseboat again and off to our next destination; to the Sungai Kooi Waterfall. (Pronounced as ‘Ko’oi, which means beautiful) The journey from Kg. Aman Damai to Kooi Waterfall area takes about 1 hour via the boathouse that’s docked at Tasik Banding and another 10 minutes boatride to the entrance.

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Here’s a picture of us riding the boat to the Kooi Waterfall entrance from Tasik Banding.

Kembara #dekatje: A Boatride to Sg.Kooi Waterfall Entrance

Uploaded by K Network Media on 2017-04-04.

A video of us riding the boat to the Kooi Waterfall entrance.

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Family pic at the entrance of the Sungai Kooi Waterfall before trekking

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To access the Kooi waterfall, about 30 minutes of jungle trekking is required.

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Trekking to Kooi Waterfall was quite tough. Well, at least for me it was quite tough as the route to the waterfall was was pretty steep and slippery and my husband and son had to wait for me as I take my own sweet time walking, but I think we did quite fine nevertheless. My teenage son fared better than I did and helped me out quite a few times, especially when we were climbing up and down steep and slippery path.

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We saw quite a few interesting things during our trekking. And here’s one of it; a huge 200 years old tree. This tree is actually hallow inside and once it is knocked, it will produce loud resounding sound that can be heard for kilometres in the forest. The tree is commonly used as a mean of communication among professional trekkers or aborigines who are out hunting to send signals to each other; more often than not, it is used to send distress signal. The huge tree is also commonly used as a resting place a place to hide from wild animals.

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Me, taking a break for a little while at the tree.

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I’m not a professional hiker so I find the experience pretty taxing on my energy reserve, with rocky and slippery path and all, but it was indeed a wonderful experience for the three of us.

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The unique feature of the Kooi Fall is that it spreads like a shower. Breathtaking, don’t you think? It was getting late and quite dark when we finally arrived at the waterfall, so we did not take a shower underneath it and opt to head back instead. Such a shame, but I’m still glad we went there nevertheless. It was indeed worth all the troubles.

Note: Trekking to the Sungai Kooi Waterfall at Royal Belum State Park is part of the 2D1N Royal Belum Houseboat trip’s itinerary. The trip was organized by Caravan Serai Holidays. You may read the full trip experience HERE. For those who are interested to join the 2D1N Royal Belum Houseboat trip organized by Caravan Serai Holidays may hop over HERE for more information. Package for a 2D1N starts as low as RM199(+RM70 for two way bus transfer from Kuala Lumpur to Tasik Banding Jetty) per pax.

Visit Perak 2017: Getting to Know the Jahai Tribe in Kg. Aman Damai, Royal Belum Rainforest

Malaysia is a developed country where the people are pretty much modernized, living in the city and trapped in the rat-race and such. But as modern as Malaysians goes, indegenuos tribes living in the forests of Peninsular Malaysia still exists. There are about 30 indigenous tribes living in the forests of Peninsular Malaysia. About 5,500 of them are scattered in forest reserves of Malaysia, still living their ancestral nomadic ways of life.

My family and I were given the opportunity to get up close and personal with the indegenious people from the Jahai tribes who lives in Royal Belum Rainforest (Royal Belum State Park) during my 2D1N trip with Caravan Serai Holidays crews to Royal Belum Rainforest recently and I thoughy it was quite an eye opening experience; to learn their culture and their way of life.

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The journey to the Kg. Aman Damai, the indegenious settlement of the Jahai tribes took about 2 hours from Tasik Banding Jetty via the waterway.

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Gateway to another world

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The village might lack worldly things but the place is so picturesque.

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A beautiful sight to behold

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A wefie with my family at Kg. Aman Damai

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The huts in the village are 100% from the forest’s produce and they are located pretty near to each other.

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Beautiful, isn’t it?

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The Jahai tribe’s hut.The Jahai tribes practices communal living and every family here maintains close relationship with each other. Their men hunt for food while their women are left behind to take care of their children at home and only the head of their tribe will stay behind as the protector while the rest goes hunting.

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The Jahai tribe is a sub-group of the Negrito. They are generally short, dark skinned with tightly curled hair. Although today most of the Jahai population live in settlements provided by government, there are families who still retain their forefather nomadic lives outside these settlements. Some of the Jahai tribe’s people settled themselves at one place for a couple of years, and only leave when something bad happened at their village. One of the things that commonly prompt them to be on the move to search for a new spot to live in again is death. It is believed that when a person in their community died, the place that they are living became contaminated and cursed by bad luck, and so the place became inhabitable. Their funeral management is rather mystical in my opinion. Instead of burying their dead, they place the bodies high up among the trees. Uprooting the village is just the start of a hugely elaborate burial ritual, in which the body is brought by procession to a hut, similar to the ones in the village, but constructed in a tree some 50 metres high. The body is covered and left with its possessions alongside it, together with food for the spirits. It is then left undisturbed for two to three years, upon which time the village returns to procure a bone from the skeletal remains. This is then buried, so returning the family member to the forest.

Apart from the complex culture and ritualistic nature that they subscribed to,they lead an unbelievably very basic lifestyle and have very fierce family bond. Being nomadic, they do not practice any agriculture activities, enabling them to move from one place to another easily, but I was told by our guide Uncle Joe that these days, the Jahai people are very much modernized, especially those living in Kg. Aman Damai. They are not that nomadic anymore and they no longer abandoned their village once death occurs in the village.

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Anyway, we get to mingle around with the Jahai people for a little while. Their women and children can be quite shy but most of them are very friendly and accommodative towards the visitors.

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Their youngsters are quite modernized and these are the superstars of Kg. Aman Damai. They usually entertained the visitors by singing traditional songs.

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Our hosts showed us around the village and even taught us how to use blowpipes.

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Trying the blowpipes.

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Visitors being shown the Tongkat Ali tree.

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My animal lover son playing with the cat who were found roaming about in the village.

I learned quite alot of things during my visit but if there’s one very important thing that I learnt from the people over here is that sometimes, money can be quite immaterial in comparison to family bond. Definitely a timely reminder for me who is constantly stuck in a neverending rat race.

Note: A visit to the indegenuos settlement in Kg. Aman Damai at Royal Belum State Park is part of the 2D1N Royal Belum Houseboat trip’s itinerary. The trip was organized by Caravan Serai Holidays. You may read the full trip experience HERE. For those who are interested to join the 2D1N Royal Belum Houseboat trip organized by Caravan Serai Holidays may hop over HERE for more information. Package for a 2D1N starts as low as RM199(+RM70 for two way bus transfer from Kuala Lumpur to Tasik Banding Jetty) per pax.

Visit Perak 2017: 2D1N Family Adventure with Caravan Serai Holidays at Royal Belum Rainforest

My family and I were invited by the good folks in Caravan Serai Holidays to experience the great outdoors of the Royal Belum Rainforest (Royal Belum State Park) in Perak last weekend during the school holidays and I immediately said yes to their invitation. Explore Royal Belum Rainforest? Spend 2D1N on a houseboat? It’s an opportunity of a lifetime and I wouldn’t pass that opportunity for anything else in the world. Plus, it’s been on my bucket list for a very long time.

Despite being almost an unplanned trip, we packed our bags and went for a 2D1N adventure in Royal Belum Rainforest, Perak. I intend to write a series of in depth article for our little randezvous last weekend, but first, here’s summarizing our chronicles of adventure in Royal Belum Rainforest in Perak on the Royal Belum Houseboat with the Caravan Serai crews and other adventurers:

Day 1

We started our journey at 11.30pm on 24th March 2016 from Bandar Tasik Selatan via Caravan Serai Holidays’ bus.
The journey from Kuala Lumpur to Hentian Royal Belum Amanjaya Jetty in Grik was about 8 hours drive.

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Hentian Royal Belum Amanjaya

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The weather was really good that day.

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Houseboats are seen docking from afar at the Tasik Banding Jetty. Ours was the middle one; Royal Belum Houseboat.

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Our houseboat looks small in comparison to the other luxurious cruiser houseboats, but don’t let the look deceive you. The houseboat have 8 large rooms, 4 bathrooms, 1 kitchen and a hall. The Royal Belum Houseboat can accommodate 30-40 pax of guests at one time.

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The kitchen

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Attached at the rear of the houseboat are two speedboats and two bamboo raft.

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Boarding the houseboat with Caravan Serai Holidays’ crews and other adventurers, we’re off for our 2D1N adventure in Royal Belum.The first thing on our itinerary was visiting Kg. Aman Damai in Royal Belum where the Aborigines of Jahai Tribe resides. The journey to Kg. Aman Damai from Hentian Royal Belum Amanjaya took about 2 hours via the waterway

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A pic with my husband and son on the deck.

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Getting all hyped up

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Picture of me and my newfound friends. Having left with nothing much to do as the houseboat started moving, we took a wefie together.

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Dipping my feet into the lake and playing with the water at the side deck as the houseboat was moving. Don’t worry. It’s completely safe as the houseboat speed was not fast enough to throw anyone off the deck.

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Sceneries throughout our journey was soothingly green. Here’s abit about The Royal Belum State Park; The Royal Belum rainforest is located in the Gerik area (Hulu Perak). Coverage area is about 290.000 hectares with more than 146.000 hectares of virgin forest. The forest is divided into two sections: the upper Belum area (Royal Belum State Park) and the lower Belum (Temenggor Forest Reserve) which is mostly covered by the Temenggor Lake. Some of main attractions within the area are wildlife observation, Rafflesia flowers, salt licks, aboriginal villages & waterfalls. An entry permit for every visitor into Royal Belum area is a must and will only be issued in advance. Royal Belum Rainforest is bordered by Thailand on the north, the state of Kelantan to the east, and Sungai Gadong in the west. The East-West Highway runs along its southern border, bisecting the forest complex and separating the park area from Temenggor Forest Reserve to the south. It is contiguous with Thailand’s Bang Lang National Park in Yala Province to the north, and the Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary in Narathiwat Province, to the north-east. The only human inhabitants within Royal Belum right now as of writing now are the indigenous Orang Asli, mostly of the Jahai tribe.

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After about 2 hours journey, we arrived at the Kg. Aman Damai where we visited the Jahai tribe.

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You may read more about our experience in Kg. Aman Damai HERE.

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After an educational time in the aborigines settlement, we board the houseboat again and off to our next destination; to the Sungai Kooi Waterfall. (Pronounced as ‘Ko’oi, which means beautiful) The journey from Kg. Aman Damai to Kooi Waterfall area takes about 1 hour via the boathouse that’s docked at Tasik Banding and another 10 minutes boatride to the entrance. Here’s a picture of us riding the boat to the Kooi Waterfall entrance from Tasik Banding.

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At the entrance of the Sungai Kooi Waterfall.

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To access the Kooi waterfall, about 30 minutes of jungle trekking is required.

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Trekking to Kooi Waterfall

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I’m not a professional hiker so I find the experience pretty taxing on my energy reserve, with rocky and slippery path, but it was indeed a wonderful experience for the three of us.

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The unique feature of the Kooi Fall is that it spreads like a shower. You may read more about our adventure to Kooi Waterfall HERE.

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It was about 5.30 pm when we made our way back to the houseboat in Tasik Banding for a free and easy time swimming and bamboo rafting in the lake.

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Me, swimming in Tasik Banding

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You are reading that right. We jumped and swam in the lake.

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My son swam in the lake with us too. You may read our experience in detail HERE.

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Nightfall came too soon.

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I have to say that I haven’t had enough swimming and bamboo rafting in the lake but as the sun sets in the west, we were called back to the houseboat for a sumptuos BBQ dinner.

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The guys BBQ-ing

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Preparing for the night activity after our BBQ dinner.

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Ice breaking session with the rest and free and easy time.

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My husband and I; participating in the activities organized by Caravan Serai Holidays’ crews.

Anyway, everyone was tired and decided to call it an early night after the ice breaking session. We had the option to sleep in the cabin or anywhere that we like in the houseboat but my family and I wanted to enjoy the soft breeze and the stars above, so we decided to unpack our sleepingbags and crash at the main hall instead of the rooms. But alas, our plans were somewhat twarted. We didn’t even stay awake past midnight. It was really cold at night in Tasik Banding, and we were lulled to sleep almost immediately under the stars. We may not spend the night in a 5 stars resort, but the experience beats anything that we experienced in a luxurious resort. It was the most relaxing sleep I’ve had in a long time, I kid you not. This was definitely billion stars hotel’ experience, literally.

Day 2

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I’m not a morning person. I’m usually cranky and not always human before 1pm, but waking up to this? Well, this is worth waking up in the morning for. I could practically see the sun rising in the east and it was breathtakingly beautiful.

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Funky morning excercise at the deck

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Breakfast at the deck as we enjoyed the beautiful scenery.

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Our itinerary on the second day was as interesting as our first day. It includes trekking to Ruok Waterfall. The journey to Ruok Waterfall area took about 2 hours boathouse ride away from our docking in Tasik Banding and another 5 minutes boatride away to the entrance.

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Ruok Waterfall entrance. Unlike the Kooi Waterfall where we had to trek more than 30 minutes, the distance from the Ruok Waterfall entrance to the waterfall itself is surprisingly near.

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It was just about 5 minutes of trekking away. But the path to the waterfall was much more slippery and steep than the one to Ko’oi Waterfall.

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One thing to note; the place is actually a freshwater fish sanctuary, any fishing activity is not allowed in the area. So you will find shoals of fish, either Kelah, Tengas or Temoleh swimming around.

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The Ruok Waterfall. It has 3 tiers of waterfalls, but the 3rd tier is closed to the public.

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You may read more about our experience at Ruok Waterfall HERE.

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There’s also a Rafflesia flowers site in the vicinity of Ruok Waterfall which is 10 minutes hike away. You may read all about it HERE.

Our trip to Ruok Waterfall were cut short as the sky was getting dark and before we know it, it was raining cats and dogs before we even managed to get back to our houseboat. But thanks to our guide, Uncle Joe, we made it back safe and sound.

All good things must come to an end and our journey in Royal Belum Rainforest ends after our little excursion to Ruok Waterfall. We departed back to Tasik Banding Jetty shortly after and headed back to Kuala Lumpur.

Traveling and exploring has always been a balm to my free-spirited soul. And I’m lucky enough that both my husband and son share the same passion with me. I got married at a very young age and I noticed many others who are my age prefers to travel with friends or travel solo, but I prefer traveling with my boys. To me, the world is a huge classroom and we learn alot from our travel as a family. But as much as we love traveling and exploring as a family, especially in Malaysia, we come to realize that not many people appreciates the concept of bringing the children to explore the great outdoors. Children these days are mostly gadget dependent and chained to their desks in preparation of taking exams and such. Not quite my idea of how my son should spend his childhood and growing up years, I must say and I don’t intend to force him to participate in the never ending rat race. I may not be able to change the rest of the world and how things run, but at least I could change ‘my world’.

Our 2D1N trip to Royal Belum Rainforest on the Royal Belum Boathouse with Caravan Serai crews is something I would always remember for the rest of my life. We not only had fun throughout the 2D1N but we learned alot from the trip too. Overall, it was one of the most memorable weekend getaway for me and my family.

Here’s a checklist for you to refer to should you ever decided to embark on this adventure:

*Raincoat
*Mosquito repellant
*First aid travel kit with personal medicine
*Slippers
*Sports shoes/hiking shoes
*Sleeping bag (in case you decided to sleep outside in the hall or at the houseboat’s deck instead of the cabin)
*Small pillow
*Torchlight/headlamp
*Sufficient clothes for 3 days
*Dry bag to keep your equipments eg: camera, phones, powerbanks etc. (permit for camera is required. RM5 per camera)
*Fishing rod if you plan to fish (permit for fishing rod is required.1 rod-RM5)

Those who are interested to join the 2D1N Royal Belum Houseboat trip organized by Caravan Serai may hop over HERE for more information. Package for a 2D1N starts as low as RM199(+RM70 for two way bus transfer from Kuala Lumpur to Tasik Banding Jetty) per pax.