By Muhammad Hasif Mohd Jelani on June 11, 2019


“Kenyir Lake is therapeutic.”

That sentence uttered by Malaysia’s legendary cartoonist Tok Ujang who also joined our three-day-two-night trip in Kenyir Lake truly sums up my experience in Kenyir. At times, my media friends and I sat down with him just to listen to his own stories regarding the destination. Being an avid angler, he has spent approximately 20 years going back and forth Kuala Lumpur and Kenyir Lake to fish and find inspiration for his masterpieces. Instead of feeling bored, he finds peace in Kenyir.

My experience was made more unforgettable because I got to stay on a houseboat that brought my travelling companions and I right to the middle of the amazing Kenyir Lake, allowing us to truly indulge in the beauty of nature. Mind you, the mobile signal is rare, hence become the perfect excuse to forget about the hustle and bustle of the city, as well as letting yourself feel free.

To experience this houseboat, travellers may contact +6 019 988 7439 (Cikgu Shabri) or email to


Houseboat in Kenyir

Experiencing houseboat in Kenyir is highly-recommended.

Kenyir Lake at glance…

  • It is an artificial lake located in Hulu Terengganu covering an area of 38 thousand hectares.
  • Historically, the completion of Jenagor Dam in 1986 has submerged hills to become 340 islands across Kenyir Lake.
  • The lake is surrounded by the world’s oldest rainforest with Tembat Forest Reserve on its north and Hulu Terengganu Forest Reserve on its south stretching to Taman Negara Pahang (National Park).
  • Freshwater fishes such as toman (snakehead), lampam (barboides) and kelah (Malayan mahseer) are exceptionally abundant here.

Follow my journey as I experienced Kenyir Lake’s charming wonders…

1. Pokok Melunak

Pokok Melunak

Pokok Melunak

Considered as one of the main attractions in Kenyir Lake, Pokok Melunak or Melunak tree is a type from the pentace family. The one in Tanjung Bewah, Kenyir Lake is said to be the biggest of its kind in Malaysia, with diameter equalling more than 20 adult hugs combined. Being 340 years old, the tree’s height is 100 metres. To reach here, travellers need to trek around 30 minutes from Tanjung Bewah Jetty.



2. Bewah Cave

In 2009, Kenyir Lake made headlines, particularly Bewah Cave, after the discovery of the oldest prehistoric skeletal remains in Malaysia (16 thousand years old, to be exact), popularly known as Bewah Man. After analysis, the primitive skeleton – which has now been placed in Terengganu State Museum – is believed to have belonged to a teenage girl instead. Travellers may learn about the skeleton’s history and excavation process at a mini gallery near its entrance.

Apart from its historical value, Bewah Cave, which is the biggest cave in Kenyir Lake, is known to have fascinating formations of stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is also home to other indigenous creatures such as bats, cockroaches, crabs and spiders!


3. Kenyir Kelah Sanctuary

Arguably Kenyir Lake’s most iconic attraction, this sanctuary is a breeding and nursery ground for kelah, deemed as the king of river fish. More than just feeding, travellers can get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to frolic with hundreds of kelah simultaneously. They make you ticklish, obviously, but their gentle bite can be therapeutic.

To reach this place, travellers have to trek on an easy 1.75-kilometre trail. Fish pallets can be bought at MYR2 per pack. Fishing is strongly prohibited here and travellers are advised to always treat them gently like friends, except that they are small, possess fins and scales, and sometimes play rough.

Good to know:

This sanctuary is closed from November to February due to monsoon cum breeding season.


4. Lasir Waterfall

Lasir Waterfall

The view of Lasir Waterfall from the suspension bridge.

This approximately 150 metres waterfall is among the favourites in Kenyir Lake. Only 30 minutes by speedboat from Pengkalan Gawi Jetty, travellers need to walk for another 10 minutes to get here. It has a suspension bridge hanging over the river, giving travellers the bird’s-eye view of the awe-inspiring waterfall as they cross.


5. Saok Waterfall

Saok Waterfall

Waterfall abseiling that can be experienced at Saok Waterfall.

Only 15 minutes by speedboat from Pengkalan Gawi Jetty, Saok Waterfall is another attraction that travellers should not miss. On one part, the ground is flatter and well-shaded with trees, suitable for people to set up picnic, while another part has steep rocks and boulders where water cascades through it, offering a suitable spot for extreme sports lovers.

Travellers who are up for water sports in Kenyir Lake such as high rope (water confident, waterfall abseiling, flying fox, water drop and river-crossing) can contact Go Nature Travel and Tours as they can provide professional guides and gears. Contact them at +6 013 932 1321 or


6. Herbal Park

Herbal Park

Herbal Park

Located on Sah Kecil Island, this garden has as many as 240 herb species, whereby three of them can be savoured for free: Tongkat Ali, Kacip Fatimah and Mahkota Dewa. Spanning over 15 hectares, travellers can walk around the area on their own or being led by a guide who is available upon request if they wish to learn in-depth about each and every herb available in the garden.


7. Orchid Garden

Spread out across Hulu Selimbar Island, Hilir Selimbar Island and Belit Island, this garden has a myriad of orchid species, be it local, international or hybrid, all vibrantly blooming in various colours. Among the species are brassia maculata, vanda miss joaquim and Terengganu’s very own rarely-found orchid known as dendrobium roslii. This garden is also used as a hub for orchid gardening, conservation and research.


8. Kenyir Elephant Conservation Village (KECV)

Kenyir Elephant Conservation Village (KECV)

Travellers can experience bathing with elephants at KECV.

Open to the public since 9 May 2014, this area is actually a sanctuary for 18 native elephants. They are rescued and brought here due to various reasons such as being orphaned, lost from their herd or caught by local villagers after raiding the crops and villages. There are 16 mahouts or elephant keepers here who are responsible in taking care of them.

Spanning 256 hectares, KECV is where travellers can interact with these gentle giants through riding, bathing and feeding activities. Among KECV’s aims are to ensure a healthy elephant population and reduce human-elephant conflict.

This article is featured in Gaya Travel Magazine Issue 14.2. Read other contents HERE.


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