Malaysia’s travel industry is discovering Kenyir Lake as an attraction for small and even large visitor groups. A large selection of modern houseboats is now available for tours. Kenyir Lake covers more than 209,000 hectares.
This man-made lake with its hydroelectric dam supplies the country with electricity. It is also a tourist attraction and a destination for the MICE industry, which has recognised its potential for smaller events and incentives. Over 340 islands, once mountaintops and hills, are dotted around its surface. The lake boasts more than 14 waterfalls, rapids and rivers and is the idyllic habitat of many wildlife and fish species. Its diverse flora and fauna are a big attraction for nature-lovers.
Traditional wooden kampung-style chalets line its banks, but the best way to explore the lake is by houseboat. They may not be five-star quality, but the experience is all the more authentic and houseboats are an ideal way to explore the jungle without interfering with nature. All the local wildlife species live either near the lake or on it. They populate the banks and can be easily observed from a boat on the water. A number of operators are now offering tours of the lake, such as Ping Anchorage from Kuala Terangganu. A standard houseboat has two floors. The lower floor is for cooking, washing and even fishing, while the upper floor is where the sleeping and living quarters are.
A lot of things are being planned for the lake. Thus, Kenyir is due to become a duty-free zone soon, which will make it attractive for shopping. The centrepiece will be the Kenyir Trade Centre along with a three-star hotel. A 40-seater shotover jet for easier lake transport is also planned, as well as a cable car.
Among the region’s biggest attractions are spectacular caves, waterfalls, 340 islands, the highest mountain, Mount Chergau on Pulau Chergau Island, and an elephant habitat in Sungai Telemong. The animals live in harmony with nature there, so that visitors can observe these impressive beasts close up, rather than having to admire them in a zoo. The Kenyir Elephant Conservation Village actively campaigns for maintaining a balanced elephant population and reducing conflicts between animals and humans.
Numerous parks and gardens also guarantee a wide range of attractions for visitors on Kenyir Lake. They include a bird sanctuary approximately 15 minutes from the Pengkalan Gawi landing stage, which is home to 153 species. There is a butterfly park on the island of Pulau Lubuk Geras, and one of the most spectacular attractions for visitors is the Herb Park on Pulau Sah Kecil. This is where some 200 traditional herbs and plants grow, some of which possess valuable medicinal properties. Visitors can also discover wild orchid strains in the orchid gardens and on a number of other islands.
Kenyir Lake can be reached daily by express bus from Hentian Putra terminal in Kuala Lumpur, from where the Karak Highway takes visitors from the capital to their destination. Alternatively, they can travel to Kenyir Lake along the coast via Kemaman, Dungun, Kuala Terngganu and Kuala Berang.
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