Because of Songkran Festival in Bangkok, I missed the day our group of media went to Kenyir Lake. Seeing tons of beautiful photos from the others, I felt a tinge of remorse. Luckily though, on my return to Terengganu, I was able to see most of what Kenyir Lake has to offer. Read more…
KENYIR LAKE AND WATER PARK
Covering an area of 260 square kilometers, Kenyir Lake (Tasik Kenyir) in Teregganu, Malaysia is the largest manmade lake in Southeast Asia, meant to be a reservoir for the Sultan Mahmud Power Station. Because of the damming of the area, what were once hilltops and highlands became small islands, and numerous waterfalls, rapids, and rivers were formed likewise. The resulting ecological landscape is now home to numerous species of flora and fauna, including about 300 freshwater fish species that swim freely in the lake’s 38,000-hectare catchment area.
Taking advantage of its majestic scenery, the Terengganu State Government (Kerajaan Negeri Terengganu) Malaysia has continuously developed Kenyir Lake as a prime eco-tourism destination. A resort was opened in the surrounding area, and various activities, such as fishing, jungle trekking, caving, and watersports may be enjoyed by visitors.
The latest addition to the lake’s attractions is Kenyir Water Park. What makes it quirky and quite unique is that it’s located on an island in the middle of the lake, with a portion of it extending to the water. Hence, to get there, visitors must take a short boat ride.
The park is basically comprised of water playgrounds: one installed in the lake and much bigger ones on the island. Although admittedly small, the affordable entrance fee—20 MYR (~220 PHP) for adults and 10 MYR (~110 PHP) for kids including boat fees—makes a side trip worthwhile.
How to get there: Kenyir Lake is approximately 65 kilometers from Kuala Terengganu, and only self-drive, taxis, and rental cars may be taken from the state capital. From Kuala Lumpur, however, a direct bus called Kenyir Express does one trip on weekdays and two on weekends.
KENYIR ELEPHANT CONSERVATION VILLAGE
Opened officially to the public in 2014, the Kenyir Elephant Conservation Village sits on a massive 256 hectares of land, although only less than 20% of the area has been developed—the remaining land remains to be untouched forest. As such, the village’s main inhabitants, the 11 Malaysian elephants, roam freely in their vast sanctuary.
Expert mahouts from neighboring Thailand were hired to handle the massive but adorable creatures. At certain times of day, the elephants line up to entertain their guests and oblige them for photos, and for an even immersive experience, the elephants may be bathed on the stream.
Although quite away from the capital of Kuala Terengganu, encountering elephants up close and unshackled is definitely a treat. And the experience comes affordably also—admission for foreigners is only 60 MYR (~660 MYR) for adults and 30 MYR (~330 PHP) for children.
How to get there: From the Kenyir Lake’s main jetty, Pengkalan Gawi, a boat may be taken to the village. This is the best option for those coming in from Kenyir Lake and those taking the Kenyir Express bus from Kuala Lumpur. The village is also accessible by highway, however, so those on self-drive, taxi, or rental car may easily reach the village by land.
This year is Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015 with the theme “Endless Celebrations.” Visitors can expect a series of year-long special events and activities throughout the country. For more updates on MYFEST2015, check out tourism.gov.my and like Tara Na Sa Malaysia on Facebook.