Wonderful 2D1N Visit to Royal Belum (16-17th Nov 2013)


Last 16-17th Nov 2013, as part of BOA Visit Malaysia Year 2014 initiative, we spent 2D1N on the Houseboat visiting the Royal Belum and it was a wonderful visit. Eventhough it was a short 2D1N, we had fun visiting the Rafflesia (both species bloomed, Azlanii and Cantleyii), the Jahai tribe, juicy BBQ and rainy night, fun games in the lake, river trekking and fish sanctuary @ Ruok waterfall. Some won the Sleepy Owl award, Ellie the Fat Elephant and Holly the Hornbill.

Here are some photos you to enjoy.

If you like to join us in our 2D1N trip, register yourself by visiting this page. Why not get yourself to the rainforest and spend your weekend with us?


Bamboo Rafting @ Royal Belum State Park, Malaysia

Do you know that bamboo raft is a regular transportation for people in the rainforest? It is easy to build and u can get the material to build it everywhere. Enjoy the video!

Royal Belum State Park Camping Trip

Tualang Tree (Koompassia Excelsa)

The Tualang tree is a majestic emergent tree of the Southeast Asia rainforests best know for the disk shaped honeycombs which hang from its horizontal branches. Towering above the canopy the Tualang can reach 250 feet, or the 30 stories in height. These trees can be found growing in the lowland forests of Southern Thailand, peninsular Malaysia, northeastern Sumatra, Borneo, and Palawan. Their habitat is the primary tropical rainforest. They prefer damp locations along rivers, in valleys, and the lower slopes of hills.

Tualangs are a member of the legume family, and are related to peas. Their leaves are pinnate with 4-5 leaflets growing alternately along a central rib. They create a bright green, feathery crown. Their seeds are contained within large pods. The trunks have a smooth, silvery bark. The slippery surface discourages sun bears (Helarctos malayanus) from climbing up into the tree to reach the honey combs of the Asian rock bees (Apis dorsata). The bees prefer the Tualang tree because it doesn’t branch until almost 100 feet up. Huge buttresses support the tree at its base and keep the giants from toppling over. The sap is irritating to the skin and produces a rash.

The Tualang tree is common locally but is not an abundant tree. There are no great forests of Tualangs to be found. Instead solitary trees are often found standing alone in open areas because the wood is hard to cut and local people value the Tualang for its honey. A standing Tualang is more valuable for its honey than logged for its timber. The wood is brittle and often splinters when it is cut down. The wood is also incredibly hard and contains silica, making cutting it down a difficult process. With the decline of more accessible hard woods however, Tualangs are being cut down for timber, and are being sold under the name of Mangaris wood. The Tualang is protected under Sarawak’s Wildlife Protection Bill of 1990.

Perhaps, the Tualang trees are best known for the immense parabolic honey combs which hang from the bottom of their branches. The combs can be 6 feet across and can contain as many as 30,000 bees. One Tualang tree can contain more than 100 nests. The world’s largest honey bees, Asian rock bees are 1 inch long and the Tualangs are their preferred tree species because their tremendous height provides them safety from marauders. Except for the human kind.

Local people perform a ritual honey harvest with mixed religious symbolism. Singers chant ancient prayers to cajole, charm and calm the bees. On moonless nights in February and March, honey hunters climb the Tualang trees with smoldering torches, banging them on the branches above the nests. This creates a rain of fire, and as the sparks fall to the ground the awakened and enraged bees take off in pursuit of the embers. The bees become disoriented and remain on the ground until dawn, leaving the nests unprotected for the honey hunters to finish their harvest. About 1,000 pounds of honey can be gathered from one tree.

A Hindu myth connected to the harvest of the honey tells of a handmaiden called Hitam Manis, or “Dark Sweetness”, who fell in love with the son of the reigning Sultan. Although he returned her love, they could not get married because she was a commoner. When the Sultan discovered their love he set out to kill her. As she and some other maidens fled the palace in fear, her heart was pierced by a metal spear. Hitam Manis and her friends turned into bees and flew away into the forest.

Some years later the prince went into the forest and saw giant honey combs high in a Tualang tree. He climbed up the tree, discovering the sweet honey, and called down to his servants for a knife and a bucket. But when they lowered the bucket, they found the body of the prince hacked to pieces. A voice called out from the tree that he had committed a sacrilege by using a metal implement to cut the comb like that which had killed Hitam Manis. Later a “golden shower” made by the bees restored the prince back to life. To this day no metal is used in harvesting the honey as a sign of respect to Hitam Manis. At dusk the bees fly from their nests and defecate en masse, showering the surrounding ground and foliage with a golden rain. The nitrogen-rich bee feces fertilizes the Tualang that hosts the bees, giving it life as it did for the prince.

Source from Blue Planet Biomes

Eco-Adventure Activties @ Royal Belum State Park, Malaysia.

Royal Belum State Park, Perak, Malaysia can be accessed through 4 hrs driving from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia or 3 hrs driving from Penang Island. Visitors require permits to enter the State Park which can be applied 2 weeks prior to arrival. Being 130 million years old, Royal Belum is among the oldest rain forest in the world. It has biodiversity more than any other areas in Malaysia.

Some of the main attraction is Raflesia flowers (species: Azlanii, Cantleyii and Kerrii), Hornbills (10 species), cooling and refreshing waterfalls (Ruok, Kejar, Mes, Semelian, Ko’oi, Belangan, Tiang, Papan, Gen and etc), Salt Licks (estimated at 60 sites altogether), among the accessible site are Sira / Jenut Papan, Sira Rambai, Sira Selantan etc, wildlife (elephant, tiger, gaur, deer, barking deer, mouse deer, snakes, insects, butterflies, fishes, tapir, wild boar, monkeys, squirrels etc).

A common aboriginal or Orang Asli found within Royal Belum is the Jahai Tribe. Locations of their villages are up river in Tiang and Kejar River and remote locations inside the rain forest.

Royal Belum : Activities & Photos

Low impact activities and photos towards Biodiversity and Conservation of Royal Belum, Temenggor Forest Reserve area  and other surrounding areas. Its educational and fun!

Rainforests, Beaches, Mountains and Many More : Malaysia Truly Asia video