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:
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.
Hentian Royal Belum Amanjaya
The weather was really good that day.
Houseboats are seen docking from afar at the Tasik Banding Jetty. Ours was the middle one; Royal Belum Houseboat.
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.
Attached at the rear of the houseboat are two speedboats and two bamboo raft.
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
A pic with my husband and son on the deck.
Getting all hyped up
Picture of me and my newfound friends. Having left with nothing much to do as the houseboat started moving, we took a wefie together.
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.
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.
After about 2 hours journey, we arrived at the Kg. Aman Damai where we visited the Jahai tribe.
You may read more about our experience in Kg. Aman Damai HERE.
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.
At the entrance of the Sungai Kooi Waterfall.
To access the Kooi waterfall, about 30 minutes of jungle trekking is required.
Trekking to Kooi Waterfall
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.
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.
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.
Me, swimming in Tasik Banding
You are reading that right. We jumped and swam in the lake.
My son swam in the lake with us too. You may read our experience in detail HERE.
Nightfall came too soon.
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.
The guys BBQ-ing
Preparing for the night activity after our BBQ dinner.
Ice breaking session with the rest and free and easy time.
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.
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.
Funky morning excercise at the deck
Breakfast at the deck as we enjoyed the beautiful scenery.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Ruok Waterfall. It has 3 tiers of waterfalls, but the 3rd tier is closed to the public.
You may read more about our experience at Ruok Waterfall HERE.
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:
*First aid travel kit with personal medicine
*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)
*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.