By Amierah Noor Ibrahim on July 27, 2011
If you crave to be surrounded by lush greenery and great outdoor experience, why not take the train from KL and drop off at Ipoh and then head to out-of-city destinations like Kampung Dew and Kampar River? Gaya Travel team did just that and we were truly bowled over by what Perak has to offer when it comes to eco-tourism.
As part of the on-going efforts to promote Perak as an eco-tourism destination, Tourism Perak recently invited Gaya Travel Magazine, together with other selected media organisations, to embark on a trip that brought us back to nature that is located about 200km away from Kuala Lumpur. Courtesy of Electric Train Service (ETS) , we firstly headed to Ipoh, the capital of Perak state, departing from Kuala Lumpur Sentral by rail. We didn’t even feel like it was around two hours train ride because we were busy admiring the quaint out-of-town sceneries that we passed by.
As we arrived at Ipoh railway station, the organising team from Tourism Perak enthusiastically welcomed and ushered us into the bus to take us to our first stop, which was Taiping Golf Resort. During the journey, introduction session was held in the bus to give us the opportunity to break the ice among the participants of this trip, comprising not only representatives from media organisations but also Tourism Malaysia.
The following are the attractions that we believe will surely entice nature lovers to visit Perak:
Fireflies at Kampung Dew
After having a hearty meal prepared by Taiping Golf Resort, our group was then taken to Kampung Dew, well known for its production of charcoal made out of mangrove wood, brought in by boats from the Kuala Sepatang river mouth.
Upon our arrival, Encik Khairul Salleh bin Ahmad, the Secretary for Firefly and Matang Mangrove Eco-Tourism, welcomed us and gave very informative and educational briefing about Kampung Dew. We were then taken to the charcoal factory, which has been operating since early 19th century, where Encik Khairul organised a treasure hunt as the means for us to learn more about the workings of the traditional charcoal factory in Kampung Dew, now designated as a heritage site. The fun-filled hunt continued till late evening. We then headed back to Kampung Dew, where Kampung Dew Village Committee feted us with wonderful spread of traditional dishes for dinner
Our itinerary at Kampung Dew has not finished since we had one more thing to do: watching fireflies at Sungai Kg Dew. Firefly-watching service is run by Kg Dew community using fishing boats. The cruise, which lasted for 45 minutes, took us deep into the mangroves where we could observe the fascinating spectacle of fireflies flickering brightly like fairly lights. Fireflies also called Lighting Bugs, are the attraction at Kampung Dew. They shine in the night like fire to attract their sexual partners.
My Gopeng Resort
During the second day of our trip, we were taken to My Gopeng Resort, a nature resort that is situated in Ulu Geruntom, seven kilometres from Gopeng town. Founded by Ooi Beng Yeaw and Lim Kee Siang in May 2007, this resort provides lodging and facilities for its guests such as a multipurpose hall, praying room, cafeteria, bathrooms and campsite.
My Gopeng Resort is famous for its myriad of outdoor activities such as whitewater rafting along the Sungai Kampar, trekking to find Rafflesia flowers, mountain camping, biking, hiking with Orang Asli guide to Cameron Highlands, outdoor games and many more.
This eco resort is indeed as a one-stop centre providing all kinds of outdoor activities that cater to its guests’ wild and adventurous desire. It is little wonder then that the resort is considered as a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Whitewater Rafting at Kampar River
When we visited Kampar River for the first time, we realised that nature lovers will surely fall in love with the place since it affords the chance get up close and personal with the mystifying surrounding rainforest and refreshing river.
At the same token, we also notice that Kampar River is also suitable for adrenaline junkies who can experience riding through the river’s 14 rapids. The levels for rafting at Kampar River are Class I to III, suitable for anyone who is physically fit and those who crave for adventure whilst enjoying a safe rafting trip. Readers who are interested in doing this activity can contact Riverbug, provider of whitewater rafting services.
As a standard procedure, safety briefing was done before going down the river, covering instructions like paddling commands, paddling skills, capsize drills, actions when going overboard and river rescue. We feel that the whitewater rafting experience on Kampar River is one of the highlights of our trip and we recommend that our readers not to give this activity amiss when they are in Perak.
Though we began with much trepidation, once we got the hang of it, our confidence gradually rose as we inched our way down amidst the gush of falling water, making the experience all the more exhilarating. Though abseiling may come across as an activity only fit for those who love extreme sports, we believe that abseiling could also serve as an effective team-building activity for corporations who want to give the chance for their employees to build confidence in themselves. And this experience can be easily had here at Ulu Geruntum in Perak, which is less than a three-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur.
Though the whole – 3day and 2-night Perak outdoor experience left us all exhausted, it was definitely among the most memorable trips that we ever had. Truly worth exploring, Perak’s eco-tourism spots and its outdoor activities is a must for those who seek to commune with nature and challenge themselves. Even if you are not into roughing it out at the outdoors, visiting Perak’s many natural attractions like its rivers, villages and quaint small towns could surely help you to relax and recharge.