Camping at Tasik Temenggor

Camping at Lake Temenggor

The Temenggor Lake (Tasik Temenggor in the Malay language), is located in the Hulu Perak District in Perak. It is just next to the Royal Belum National Park. The Temenggor Lake is the second largest lake in Malaysia after the Kenyir Lake or Tasik Kenyir, which is located in Terengganu.

Temenggor Lake was our first stop before entering The Royal Belum for an off-road camping adventure. We stopped at an Orang Asli (Indigenous People) settlement to rest and have lunch before taking two boats to the Sungai Halong Camp Site. Our guide was the village headman.

The settlement was a very nice place. Located on top of a hill, it had a great view of the lake. The people there survived on fishing and agriculture. Taking visitors to the camp grounds was another way they earned an income. In the middle of this village, was a tall Kekabu tree. Kekabu is a type of cotton that was used for making bedding materials like mattresses, pillows and bolsters. These days, the cotton is being replaced by other modern materials. However, Kekabu is still popular in the small towns.

After lunch and a good nap, we packed our things in the two boats and headed to the campsite. The boat ride took about 15 minutes. On the water, you feel as though you were on the sea. The wind was blowing and there were waves on the surface. The campsite consisted of three structures, a long dinning hall, a long house that served as sleeping barracks and a wooden chalet. There were 11 of us, so we took the long house.

It was already getting late, so the next order of things was to prepare dinner. The dinning hall had a kitchen where we could cook, as well as had tables and benches for us to have our dinner. After dinner, the headman took the boat to go out to check on his nets in the lake. A few guys decided to follow him to help. When they returned, they had a bag full of different varieties of freshwater fish such as the Giant Gourami (Kaloi), a game fish known as the Hampala Barb (Sebarau), the Featherback (Belida) and the Tinfoil Barb (Lampam).

At about 11.30 pm, we decided to call it a day and went to sleep. Or, should I say, tried to get to sleep. We slept on sleeping bags while some of the others slept in tents with mosquito screens. The moment we lay on our sleeping bags, we were attacked by sand-flies. No matter how we covered ourselves, they still managed to get in and bite us. After about 20 minutes, we gave up and went outside to start a fire. Those sleeping in the mozzy tents were not affected and had a peaceful night’s sleep.

The fire and smoke helped to keep the sand-flies at bay. The only way we were to get some sleep is to make ourselves comfortable around the fire and try to get as much rest as we possibly could. In the morning, we were covered in lumps from the bites. That was one night we would not be forgetting soon.

We washed up in the river next to the campsite and had our breakfast. Later, the village headman organized a hike into the jungle. We came across a number of beautiful sights involving the flora and fauna of our tropical jungles. There were some insects we had never seen before. But the thing that amazed us was the sighting of the Rafflesia flowers in their natural habitat. They were not in bloom yet and looked like brown cabbages next to tree roots. That hike lasted about 2 hours. When we reached camp, we started to pack up to head back to the village.

At the village, we met a few more of the inhabitants and got to see how they lived. Their lives were simple with the barest necessities, but they made do with what they had. They had learnt to be happy and make the most of what was around them.

We gave them the balance of our food that we had gotten for another 4 days in Belum. We could easily replenish the food when we passed a store on our way to the National Park. Looking at the village, it looked like a tourist resort. Nobody would ever imagine how difficult their lives were.

Well, we learn something every day. It was time to leave Lake Temenggor and make our way to The Royal Belum National Park for a 4-day off-road camping adventure.

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