The past two months had been extremely stressful and hectic for hubby and I as we welcomed our precious bundle of joy into this world, Nathanael (fondly known as Nate). No regrets! It was great being parents for the very first time but along with it came some trying moments as well. Besides the sleepless nights as most parents would have experienced, what added to our stress was Nate’s prolonged jaundice, which our paediatrician attributed to breast milk after running him through a barrage of tests. It took him almost ten weeks for the jaundice to eventually subside.
At the end of the tenth week, we were so worn out that we needed to get out of our apartment, to a new environment just to “de-stress” (wasn’t very successful as we still had to tend to Nate’s needs). Anyway, getting away for a weekend was really something my mom and I needed to regain our sanity, after weeks of being confined at home.
After much consideration, a trip into the rainforest seemed like the perfect getaway for us. Nothing else came to my mind besides Royal Belum State Park that is located within the Belum-Temenggor forest complex, north of Perak state. The man-made Temenggor Lake occupies a vast area of the forest complex and in its midst is Banding Island (Pulau Banding), through which the East-West Highway negotiates. This island, equipped with a jetty (Hentian Royal Belum Amanjaya) and a luxurious resort (Belum Rainforest Resort), is effectively the launch pad for adventurers who yearn to explore deep into the thick tropical rainforest.
As usual, hubby booked our accommodation through our all-time favourite website – Expedia. He got us two Azlanii Garden View guestrooms (cheapest of all available rooms) at the Belum Rainforest Resort. Each room was priced at RM306.38 (US$72.50) per night inclusive of taxes. Amazingly, this was the price after a 10% discount from a voucher code (MBBEXPMY17), on top of the RM123.37 (US$29.20) discount that was claimed from our Expedia points accumulated over the years. (Tip: collecting points through a travel website like Expedia can be extremely rewarding). Hubby also went an extra mile to request adjoining rooms for convenience because of Nate and guess what. We were upgraded to Chengal Lake View guestrooms for free as these were the only available adjoining rooms then. What was even more unbelievable was that each of these rooms was priced at RM790.31 (US$187.15) per night inclusive of taxes. Thumbs up to the staff of this resort for understanding and catering to our needs!
A day before our journey to Belum, we drove up to Ipoh to put up a night there and also to pick up my dad. We departed at around 10am the next morning and took a slow drive to Kuala Kangsar via the North-South Expressway. From there on, we exited the highway and drove along Jalan Baling-Kuala Kangsar (Route 76) to Lenggong, a small cowboy town where hubby was once posted as a medical and health officer for a year. From Lenggong northward to Belum is the span of Hulu Perak, the Lake District of Perak. As its name suggests, our journey brought us through the scenic Raban Lake (Tasik Raban), one of the many lakes in this district.
It was almost noon when we arrived in Lenggong and hubby brought us to Sin Hup Yik Seafood Restaurant (Restoran Makanan Laut Sin Hup Yik) for lunch. Wolf herring fish (sai toh yee) balls and paste are popular in this town, which were exactly what we ordered. If you like chilli, it’s worthwhile purchasing a bottle of its bird’s eye chilli (cili padi) sauce. Needless to say, this was one of the restaurants that evoked nostalgia in hubby.
After a sumptuous lunch, we drove another 1.5 hours before arriving at our destination – Belum Rainforest Resort. As we drove into its compound, I was certainly impressed by the rainforest feel that the resort was meant to produce. Too excited to start exploring, we got our luggage and headed straight to the reception desk. Checking in was smooth and the staff was extremely forthcoming when explaining the facilities that were available to us. Besides, we were also provided with a map of the resort, without which we might potentially lose our way in its huge compound. I’m serious…
Upon checking in, a buggy was already waiting to send us to our rooms. They weren’t far, but the slopy terrain would have made the walk challenging for us. As mentioned earlier, from our initial 23m² rooms we were upgraded to two adjoining 51m² rooms, completely free of charge. Anyway, as a compromise for our upgrade, we had to settle for a room with a king size bed and another with two twin beds. Believe me, the Chengal Lake View guestrooms are gigantic and can possibly accommodate two king size beds. Each room has a bathroom area that’s separated from the bedroom just by a huge piece of curtain. What’s even more unique is that the bathtub is located outdoor and surrounded by lush greenery, yet preserving privacy. Whatever room amenities that befit a five-star hotel, you name it, they are all at your disposal.
After taking a short nap, we ventured out with Nate to explore the entire resort. The smooth and even pavement all throughout made it so convenient for us to push the stroller around. We were extremely grateful that our rooms had the most breathtaking view of Temenggor Lake, together with the swimming pool that overlooked it.
If that wasn’t enough, we could also walk up to the rooftop, which was equipped with tables and chairs, to get a more spectacular sight of the lake. This is arguably the most perfect spot to enjoy your coffee or tea as well as to watch the sunset. Didn’t have a chance to utilise the pool though, as Nate was just too little to be immersing in it and we couldn’t leave him alone.
Other facilities that are available in the vicinity of the resort include a reading area, TV and kids room, computer station, playground, convention rooms, spa and massage. I kinda admire how the management strives to make this resort as family and child-friendly as possible.
This resort offers many outdoor activities for your indulgence but they all come with a certain price tag – rafting, fishing, jungle trekking, island cruise, etc. The highlights of these include exploration of the Orang Asli (Peninsular Malaysia’s aborigines) villages and searching for the Rafflesia (world’s largest flower). Whatever activities you choose, just be prepared to get drenched as they will inevitably involve some amount water.
Within the resort’s compound itself, you’d be able to appreciate a variety of flora that are peculiar to Belum. In my opinion, walking through the paths laid out is almost as good as trekking into the rainforest. It’s definitely safer and less arduous especially for the inexperienced adventurer like me. Interestingly, there is also a stingless bee farm which you might want to check out and rest assured, you will not be stung.
Now comes the most essential element – meals. You’ve got a couple of options, actually. Our package already included buffet breakfast for four at the resort’s main eatery – Hornbill Restaurant. This was also the same place we had dinner on the day of arrival. A buffet dinner would have costed RM75 (US$17.80) per person, which we thought was too exorbitant. Therefore, we opted for à la carte instead and our bill amounted to RM75 (US$17.80) for all four of us.
The other restaurant here is SiDai Specialty Restaurant. Unlike Hornbill Restaurant, this restaurant is not air-conditioned but you get to enjoy the evening lake breeze. Just adjacent to it is Tor Tambra Bistro, a lounge with pool table that opens till midnight. If you prefer some privacy, feel free to book its private dining rooms (accommodate up to 10 pax) in advance. Alternatively, you can also have your meals sent to the guestrooms. The staff will even go to the extent of arranging a candlelight dinner, either in the garden or on the rooftop for couples who are here for a romantic escapade.
All in all, we had a memorable vacation with Nate for the very first time. This resort is not only clean and comfortable, it represents the epitome of a perfect accommodation for ecotourism. I’d strongly recommend Belum Rainforest Resort to all nature lovers and those who have never holidayed in a rainforest before.
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