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Royal Belum State Park
Sudah ke atau belum? (Have you or not yet?)
"Belum" literally means "not yet". So when people asked you "Have you been to Belum"? You would probably answered "Belum".
The name Belum could originates from the aborigines of Belum which are believed from the Mon-Khmer group. They could have reached Malaysia through Thailand. Satun in Southern Thailand is also called Satul. The "L" is replaced with "N". It is believed that "Belum" could have its origins from "Benum". Just like Phnom Phenh of Cambodia. Phnom refers to hilly areas. And thus, "Belum" or "Benum" might sound more like "Phnom" which best describes the hilly terrains of Royal Belum State Park. (origin MNS, 1995).
Banding Island as seen from Tower House
A Jahai youth
There are two groups of orang asli (aborigines) in the Belum forest complex, namely the Negrito and the Senoi. The Jahai is the sub-group of the Negrito while the Temiar is the sub-group of Senoi. The Jahai has their origins from Papua New Guinea and South Africa. The Temiar is from the Mon-Khmer regions of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
Construction of the dam began during the period when communists rein terror in the jungle of Belum. The dam was completed in 1977. It drowned 150 sq km of virgin jungle. The contractors didn't expect the dam to fully flooded within a year. Many construction equipment and heavy vehicles were submerged below the dam. The lake is 80km long and about five kilometres wide. The deepest part could be 124 metres deep at the dam. The lake generates 340Mw of power. Temenggor Lake is now the third largest lake in Malaysia after Bakun and Kenyir Lake.
In 2004, another new species of Rafflesia (R. Azlani) named after the Sultan of Perak was recorded in Belum. Today, there are 3 species of Rafflesia in Belum - R.Cantleyi, R. Hasselttii and R. Azlani. These unique parasitic corpse-smelling flowers only known to grow on Tetrastigma vines.
Belum is the only place on earth that 10 species of hornbill can be found. It was reported during the Scientific study done by MNS, a count of at least 2200 birds were seen within a span of several hours.
The Dayak Fruit bat is another discovery in Belum. The male of the bat produces milk. No where else could you find a male mammal in natural habitat producing milk.
Another interesting discovery is the palm called Areca Tunku which has banana-like fruits. It is only found in Belum and no where else in the world.
There are several species of plants and animals endemic to Belum. The list below is not final. There are many more waiting to be discovered. Among the interesting finding includes:
247 species of birds
62 species of moss
64 species of ferns
46 species of palms
30 species of gingers
3000 species of flower plants
100 species of mammals
170 species of butterflies
251 species of moths
51 species of land snails
36 species of aquatic and semi aquatic bugs
25 species of cicadas
24 species of amphibians
21 species of lizards
23 species of snakes
23 speices of freshwater fish
7 species of freshwater and land turtles
3 species of freshwater decapod
44 species of wild fruit trees
There are many more to be discovered. Go there to learn about our natural heritage.
How to go to Royal Belum State Park
Royal Belum State Park is easily accessible from West Peninsular Malaysia by using the Butterworth Kulim Expressway (BKE). Use the North South Highway (PLUS) to Butterworth. From Butterworth, connect to BKE. Thereafter, head straight by passing several towns including Baling and Grik. The road will take you through the East-West Highway. You will come to the Temenggor Dam. Cross the first bridge to Banding Island. Continue and before reaching the second bridge, there is a Public Jetty on the left of the bridge. The jetty to the Royal Belum State Park is about 2.5 hours from Butterworth.
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Would be nice to stay there a week or so, but no karaoke pls.
pipit, 5 Nov 2007
Nice captured scenery! How I wish I can go there again...
hooi lee, 7 Nov 2007