While it is recommended that the minimum time spent in Royal Belum should be at least 3 Days / 2 Nights to have sufficient time to explore the vast state park, a half-day tour (5 – 6 hours) is still doable, although your ranger may not be too happy about it.
During the recent media familiarisation tour to Royal Belum, we were running on a tight schedule and only had half a day to spare. As I have mentioned in my previous post, we put up at Belum Rainforest Resort, which is located on Pulau Banding, across Temenggor Lake.
We departed from the private jetty of our resort at about 8am. The ride on the speed boat took about 45 minutes to an hour, after taking a short break at Sg. Tiang Base Camp. The first activity arranged for us was jungle trekking.
Due to the extremely hot weather even in the morning, we opted to trek at a moderate pace so as not to exert too much. However, it took us about an hour. During this hot season, there were no leeches to welcome us but trekking in a dry trail is not without its challenges. It is rocky and sandy which is slippery, too. Therefore, appropriate footwear is most recommended.
A good guide would point out to you the sights and sounds, the plants and insects, along the way. If you are lucky, you could even see the Rafflesia in bloom. For your information, there are three species of Rafflesia in Royal Belum: kerrii, cantleyi and azlanii. You will find that multiple trips here are required to hunt all of them down.
We then made a visit to the Sungai Kooi shower waterfall. This waterfall is known as such because of the water that showers down, rather than cascades, from a height of fifty metres. No matter how you wish you could get into the water because of the heat, swimming is prohibited in this area as it is known as a dangerous zone.
By then, we were dying to get wet, but before we could do so, we had to stop by at Kampung Aman Damai and get thrown back in time. While we may wonder how people can live with these bare necessities, life is such for the 105 residents of the settlement, from 17 families.
The indigenous tribe who live in Royal Belum is called the Jahai. These aboriginal people are scattered in three villages in the forest but Kampung Aman Damai is commercialised as a living heritage village.
Visitors to Kampung Aman Damai should contribute at least RM1 to enter the village. If you wish to participate in tribal games or local activities, a nominal fee is imposed. There is also a stall where traditional herbs are sold, believed to be good for various ailments such as diabetes, high cholesterol and erectile dysfunction.
If you are planning a trip to Kampung Aman Damai, may I suggest you bring along some chocolates and candies for the children. Other recommended items would be clothes and sarong, books and stationery as well as oral care products.
Finally, we were done with our visit to Kampung Aman Damai, which was eerily quiet compared to my earlier visit almost three years ago.
Anyway, our final pit stop in Royal Belum was Sungai Ruok Fish Sanctuary. As its name suggests, fishing is prohibited in this area. However, unlike the Sungai Kooi waterfall, swimming is allowed here. We brought along packed lunch for a picnic. If you do likewise, please do not litter.
We spent about an hour here, and then it was a short trek back to our speed boats and a 30 to 45-minute ride back to our accommodation, Belum Rainforest Resort in Pulau Banding.
If you stay in Royal Belum itself, it shortens your commute time. Nonetheless, your journey from Ipoh to Gerik will take about 2.5 hours.
Note: View larger images by clicking on an image once this page has completely loaded. Then navigate by clicking on the right or left side of image.