The Weekend Runner: Jungle trekking at Royal Belum Rainforest

Once in a while everyone needs a break from the city. Taking advantage of the long weekend, me and my family packed our bags and head up north to Gerik, Perak which is well- known the second largest man-made lake (Temenggor Lake) in Malaysia and one of the oldest rainforest in Malaysia (Royal Belum Rainforest). We stayed on a man-made island (Banding Lake Resort), and judging from the non-stop crowd this hotel serves pretty much as a rest point for bikers, hikers, and trekkers looking for an adventure. It was a long drive from KL to Gerik, but we were rewarded with a stunning view upon checking-in.

IMG_8630 The view from the hotel. Spot the rainbow!



A few outdoor activity packages. No running package, but jungle trekking was fine by me. Not in the brochure is a 3 day trek all the way to Gua Musang that is available upon special arrangement.


The next day we were looking for an adventure of our own. So we signed up for the Lembah Belum Discovery as no permits were required. I took this opportunity as a low impact, cross-training work out to supplement my regular running routine. Overall the trail was easy (if you have been working out regularly), however the whole trip was long. Temenggor Lake consists of different ‘islands’ (they were actually peaks of mountains before the lower grounds was transformed into a lake), so to get to the next trail takes more than 30 minutes of boat rides.

IMG_8640 A lake as vast as the eyes can see.


To call the track beautiful would be an understatement; it was gorgeous beyond words. It was nothing like I have ever seen before! I was in awe with some of the plants and insects that I saw, because they were new and unfamiliar. Except for a few traces left by loggers and conservationists in the past, Royal Belum Rainforest is still untouched and unexplored.  According to the guide, some wild elephants still pass by the bushes just behind the hotel. The forest was dense and lush, and we took our time taking in the natural wonders along the trail.


IMG_8648Class in session: Jungle trekking 101

IMG_8667I have never seen a tree so huge and tall in my entire life!

IMG_8664Hello there, little friend.

IMG_8654There are still some indigenous tribes that call Royal Belum Rainforest as home.


At the end of the trek I was left with a curious feeling that there is still more to explore. There were still several ‘islands’ that we did not go to, and according to the guide these were still unchartered territories or you need to apply for a special permit before entering. There is so much more to discover, and I guess that was the reason why the rainforest was named as ‘Belum’, which roughly translated into ‘Not Yet’, i.e. not yet discovered, not yet explored.


Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.