A little getaway on the Casuarina Temenggor 1

Sometimes we really do not appreciate what we have.. Just the other day I was talking to my friends and they were talking about how exciting it would be to go for an adventure in the Amazon jungle or perhaps a visit to the Congo…

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And when I mentioned the Royal Belum, they were stupefied… the what? One of my friends spluttered…

I sighed, slightly in exasperation.. the Royal Belum in Perak… and some of my other friends thought it was just a short trip from KL… but when I said no, its gonna take us about 5 hours to get there… they looked at me dumbfounded..

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This got me realizing there are many Malaysians who do not know where Royal Belum is really located… and I think about its existence… which is a shame seriously as the Royal Belum is made up of some of the oldest rainforest in the world.. and our rainforest here in Malaysia which includes the Taman Negara and all actually surpass the Amazon and Congo in terms of age..

Malaysia’s rainforest has been around since the land rose from the sea during the Jurassic era, around 130 million years ago… and is older then the Congo (about 2 – 3 million years old) and the Amazon (about 55 million years old)…

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Ok.. Having been to the Royal Belum before, I can claim to be smarty pants for a bit… but when the bus taking us stopped ourside the Royal Belum Jetty I was awed..

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I did not know there was a jetty here.. many things have definitely happened since I was last in Royal Belum.. hahaha..

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We got of the bus and headed for the jetty and I got my first sight of the houseboat.. it was a charming white and yellow coloured houseboat…

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To be totally honest I did not know what to expect.. I kind of expected some cramped quarters..The last time I peeked into another houseboat it was cramped with double decker beds…

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With trepidation, I boarded the ‘Casuarina Temenggor 1’ and went on to find a comfortable corner to call my own.. I was extremely almost euphoric to find the cabins were only twin bedded and ohhh… it came with air conditioning!!!

So… the Casuarina Temenggor 1 is a 3 deck houseboat which has been around in operation for a few years now and it is the only houseboat equipped with two speedboats and two bamboo rafts incase of emergency….what a peace for the mind…

There are ten twin bedded air conditioned cabins on the first two bottom decks are cabins and each deck has four clean restrooms. The lowest deck is the place where we board or get off from,.. here you can find the kitchen where our meals are prepared and a little saloon/sitting area for guests to relax for a chit chat or to karaoke since they have a karaoke here and some cabins and 4 toilet/showers- a little cramped but it works…

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Head to the back of the boat and climb up to the 2nd deck where there are more cabins and another 4 toilet/showers and the starboard/control room… Sienny and I settled in and my influencer team of two Ash and Ivan settled into the cabin just right opposite ours..

The third deck is an open air area but covered where the tables and chairs as well as deck chairs are… Its where our meals are served and where we can relax and enjoy the gorgeous views mother nature has prepared for us and which so many of us just take for granted….

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The Royal Belum Rainforest consists of a huge man made lake called Tasik Temenggor and Pulau Banding.

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Anyway the lovely Casuarina Temenggor 1started cruising deep into Royal Belum and we lost all internet and phone line much to our dismay but with half excitement too, forcing us to put our phone down and disconnect with social media and to focus on the people and our surroundings around us a bit more..

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The lake is seriously lovely… You can find many islands dotting the lake and in the evening, as well as early morning.. the scenery that surrounded our houseboat just looked like a breathtaking magnificent watercolour painting of red, orange, blue and green…

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Our guide then asked us to board the speedboats and took us to Sungai Papan to visit the ‘Salt Licks’ , a place where sick animals medicate themselves or where they just go for their minerals…

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It was a short 10 minutes hike across a little hanging bridge but since I was just wearing rubber flipflops I wasn’t willing to hike and chose to stay behind near the boats.. actually that was the scary part… all alone with the rest of my friends and other members of the media all gone.. the place became eerily quiet.. it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop..

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I was half scared.. and sat on the floating plastic deck hoping they come back soon…and when they did, did I heave a sigh of relief…

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We got back to the houseboat and freshened up before heading for a BBQ dinner at the top deck.. tired from the trip, I called it a night early and chose to turn in with a book and tuck myself in bed.. while my friends continued with karaoke and even fishing…this I know because there were 3 fishes in a container when I woke up.. 2 snake heads/tomans and one kalui… and they were big…

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We had breakfast and then boarded the speedboats again for a little visit to  the Jahai tribe village.

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The orang asli that settled in along the area of Belum Temenggor were traditionally nomadic or semi-nomadic, mostly hunter-gatherers, sustaining their communities with fishing, small farming and trading of medicinal herbs, spices and handicrafts.

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Semi-nomadic orang asli villages can be found today on some of the islands of Temenggor; they still live in bamboo huts, fishing and gathering plants and honey from the forest.

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The Jahai tribe definitely lived in bamboo houses, and they bathe and wash their clothes in the lake, time seems to stand still. And obviously they just moved here to this new village from another older village as some of the bamboo houses were still under construction…

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One of the Jahai tribesman then showed us some elephant footprints, souvenir from a little visit from the pachyderm the night before…

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When we got back to the houseboat, we ate and gossiped a bit before we were told it was swimming and bamboo rafting time..

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My first reaction was swimming in the lake?? Gulp.. I really don’t quite fancy swimming in places I cannot see what is below me.. However I was pretty keen on trying out bamboo rafting… We out on our life jackets and gingerly got on the bamboo rafts screaming and shrieking as it wobbled..

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However, our friends had other ideas.. and tried their best to shake us off the rafts… finally I gave in and slid into the water myself with resignation trying to ignore and disperse all negative thoughts of man eating fishes or monsters from the deep our of my overactive brain…

The water wasn’t that cold and rather lukewarm and it was kinda comforting and before long I was dragging my room mate into the water too…and we were swimming in the lake abandonedly…

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Just as we were having a bit too much fun, the speedboat turn up and we were told to get on… groaning about it being a spoilsport we clambered on board and when we learned we were going hiking.. exclaimed that we were wet and we did not have any shoes or slippers on…

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Nevertheless, our guide had a sadistic streak and told us to hike barefooted.. and so we did…

We were taken to a waterfall called Ruok waterfall which also happens to be a fish sanctuary.

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It was a short trek but barefooted.. we felt like the indigenuos people.. it was torturous at some points trekking barefoot.. with little thorns in the grasses, the sharp edges of the wooden planks, sharp rocks, hot rocks and hot platforms that made us moan and go “ow oww aowwww…” but when we got to our destination.. we were in awe…. the fishes were swimming all over the pond? stream? pool? and the cascading waterfall of cold cold water..and some of them would nibble at our feet… but by then I wont have particularly minded if they turned piranha on me.. as their nibbles were so ticklish…

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We spent about 1/2 an hour frolicking before having to hike all the way back down and more moans and groans (from me) on the way before we reached our boat that would take us back to the houseboat..

We took our showers at the narrow cubicles that was our toilet and shower and got ready to head back to reality and mainland since all good things must come to an end and this was definitely a trip to remember…

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Thank you to Gaya Travel, Tourism Perak and of course the Casuarina team for this opportunity. The trip was sponsored but whetever I written here are nothing but my own feelings and experience..

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