Visit Malaysia - Kenyir Lake, Terengganu
Located approximately 55 km from Kuala Terengganu and in the interior of Terengganu spanning over 260,000 hectares, Tasik Kenyir (Kenyir Lake) is reputed to be one of the largest and most fascinating man-made lakes in the world. Sharing its border with Kelantan in the West and Pahang in the south, this immense lake also serves as another gateway to Taman Negara (National Park). Kenyir Lake is also Malaysia's largest rock-filled hydroelectric dam covering 369 sq km. When the area was inundated by water, most of the hills were above the water level, thus creating 340 man-made islands, which were once hilltops and highlands, more than 14 waterfalls, and numerous rapids and rivers, Kenyir Lake is promoted as an eco-tourism heaven, adjoining Tamera National Park.
There are many breathtaking waterfalls in Kenyir Lake. Creating a cool, relaxing, and rejuvenating ambience, visitors will love picnicking at these waterfalls. The waterfalls in Kenyir Lake are well shaded by the leafy green canopy of the Tropical Rainforest. Apart from that, these waterfalls are also ideal for camping, bird watching, cave exploration, and jungle trekking.
The hilly regions of the lake bring visitors to a world of untouched, virgin jungles that are estimated to be millions of years old. Research scientists, nature lovers, adventurers, and keen photographers will find Kenyir Lake a promising world of discovery. The mountainous tropical rainforest offers tremendous Eco-tourism potential. Hence, to ensure that it is well preserved, facilities such as ranger stations, base camps, and hiking trails are in the process of development. Should visitors choose to venture into these hilly regions, it is advisable to consult the relevant authorities.
Rich with numerous types of flora and fauna, its vast boundary leads to endless discoveries and adventures. Its pictureque landscape of natural grandeur and tranquil serenity transforms Kenyir Lake into a perfect gateway for city dwellers. A paradise where nature is at its very best, Kenyir Lake is the perfect place for an adventure holiday.
Kenyir Lake is also being promoted as a water sport circuit. Jet skiing, kayaking, canoeing, boating and rafting are among the many water sports available.
Due to the unpolluted lake and abundance of food supply, Kenyir Lake is also home to numerous species of freshwater fishes such as Baung, Toman (snakehead), Kalui (giant gouramy) Kelisa (green arowana), kawan (friendly barb), kelah (Malaysian mahseer) and Lampam (barboides) and other exotic wildlife. During the wet season, fishes can even be caught with your bare hands! So not surprisingly it has been dubbed 'Anglers Paradise'.
Kenyir Lake is known as an angler's haven where fishing is concerned. With the many rivers tributaries serving as breeding grounds for hundreds of species of fish are found in abundance. Good fishing spots are at Cacing, Petang, Leban, Petuang, Saok, Sg. Terengganu and many others.
Anglers are advised to arrange for special fishing trips through chalet or private boat operators for the best fishing location and remember that a fishing permit is rquired from the Wildlife Department for fishing in the National Park (Taman Negara).
With a water catchment area of 38,000 hectares, Kenyir Lake is naturally a haven for freshwater fish. A recent study revealed that there are some 300 species of freshwater fish dwelling in this lake. The presence of protruding dead trees around the lake serves as a perfect breeding ground for these fish as algae growing on dead trees and branches serve as the main form of sustenance for the fishes. Most of these fish thrive in the rivers flowing into Kenyir, especially near estuaries where nutrients are found in abundance. From studies and observations conducted by the Department of Fisheries, species such as the big Lampam Sungai, Lalang, Parang, Kawan, Terbul and Sebarau are found in waters in and around the dead trees. This indicates that these fish have successfully colonized these areas and proved that dead trees have become an important part of the lake.
Large scale fish breeding in cages at Kenyir Lake has shown tremendous success. Research conducted by the Fisheries Deaprtment estimated 60 to 100 tonnes of fish can be harvested annually from the lake.
Pengkalan Gawi (Gawi Jetty)
Completed in 1991, the Gawi Jetty serves as the main gateway to Kenyir Lake. Here, transfers by boat can be made available to the resorts, chalets and lodges located at various parts of the lake. With the current and growing influx of tourists to Kenyir Lake, plans are a foot for another gateway, the nearby Pengkalan Utama, which will be equiped with bigger and better facilities.
Gawi is also nearest access point to the National Park. Should you decide to head for the park, please remember to obtain a permit from the Wildlife Department Office at Kuala Berang or at the entrance point to the National Park at Tanjung Mentong, Kenyir Lake. Permit charges on entrance, camera, fishing and camping separately. Please find out the rates for permit at the Tourist Information Centre (TIC) in Kenyir Lake.
Camping And Jungle Trekking
If outdoor activities are your cup of tea, Kenyir Lake provides an ideal rendezvous with beautiful mother nature and peaceful camp-sites are plentiful in and around the lake. Popular spots are along the rivers of Soak, Lasir, Cacing, Cicir, Lawit, Petang, Terengganu, Tembat and Pulau Poh. Should you decide on jungle trekking please consult your guide (boat/chalet operator). The popular and challenging trails are Mount Gagau and Lawit. Trekkers are advised to engage a jungle guide.
With a sprawling water catchment area of some 38,000 hectares, Kenyir Lake is being promoted as a water sport circuit by KETENGAH.
Jet-skiing, kayaking, canoeing, boating, rafting and shooting rapids are among the many water sport activities available in Kenyir Lake. Watch out for the annual Kenyir Regatta and Telematch.
In sporting activities, adventures, peaceful relaxation or closeness to mother nature, Kenyir Lake offers so much more.
There are many spectacular waterfalls in Kenyir Lake (Tasik Kenyir). These waterfalls are popular spots for picnicking as they provide a cool, relaxed and rejuvenating ambience that awaits its visitors. A picnic at these waterfalls is featured in almost every itinerary. Better basic amenities like toilets, changing rooms and rest areas are provided at these popular spots.
Lasir, located 16 km (20-30 minutes boat ride) to the south of Pengkalan Gawi, is one of the most popular picnic spots in Kenyir Lake. With a majestic fall of some 500 feet, Lasir drops gracefully onto a multi tiered level of boulders and rocks forming cascading showers of foaming white sprays of the water. This waterfalls, as with all waterfalls within Kenyir, is well shaded by the leafy green canopy of the surrounding tropical rainforest.
Soak, a mere 15 minutes boat ride from Pengkalan Gawi. Soak Waterfalls is fast gaining popularity among holiday makers. Cascading waters over its rocky terraces and boulders and a flat sandy area at ground level make it a perfect picnic spot for the whole family.
Tembat, unlike Lasir and Soak, Tembat waterfalls is actually composed of five rapids of fast flowing cascades. With a large camping area at its side, it is without doubt, the most popular destination for campers. A hiking trail leading to the top of the waterfall rewards the hiker with a mabnificent view of the waterfall and its surroundings. A boat ride from Pengkalan Gawi to Tembat takes about an hour.
Other waterfalls within the Kenyir Lake is the Petang Waterfalls, Leban Waterfalls, Terengganu Waterfalls, Lata Terap waterfalls, Sg. Buih Waterfalls, Sg. lawit Waterfalls and Petuang Waterfalls. Discover more in these waterfalls.
The hill regions of Tasik Kenyir are a world of untouched virgin tropical jungle estimated to be millions of years old. There is no exact estimate of the number of species of plants and wildlife existing within this vast ecosystem. Dipterocarpus shroulds the horizon and towering trees f the majestic Keruing, Meranti and Kapor loom above, while exotic animals roam freely below. For research scientists, nature lovers, adventurers and keen photographers, Kenyir Lake promises to be a world of discovery.
The highest peak in Kenyir lake itself is Mount Chergau. Meanwhile Mount Gagau, with an elevation of 4,514 feet above sea-level, is the second highest peak in Taman Negara (National Park). Expeditions to Mount gagau have been shown to be an exhilarating experience. For the many who have scaled this mountain, it is truly an memorable event.
Among the other peaks in Kenyir are Bongsu, Tembat, Raung, Kachang, Lawit and Gajah Terom. At present, there are no facilities on any of these except Mount Gagau where base camps and hiking trails have been set-up.
KETENGAH (Central Terengganu Development Authority) recognizes that the mountainous tropical rainforest offers tremendous eco-tourism potential. In ensuring that this natural heritage is well preserved, proper steps are now being taken to provide facilities such as ranger stations, base camps and hiking trails, and all activities and develpment are closely scrutinized.
Bewah And Taat, two towering limestones hills, abound with mystery and legends. These hills, occasionally shrouded in mist, provide some of the most spectacular sights in Kenyir Lake.
Before the creation of Kenyir Lake, Taat had three caves and the lowest, the Tok Bidan Cave, is now submerged under water. This is the site where archaeologists and historians have uncovered artifacts such as kitchen utensils, axes and tools dating back to the Neolithic era.
You can now explore the Taat Caves through its two visible entrances while the nearby Bewah Cave has only one entrance. Inside these caves an extraordinary sight of stalactites and stalagmites awaits the explorer. It is advisable to bring along torchlights should you explore Taat Caves. At Bewah Caves, solar lighting are available. As Taat and Bewah hold many secrets of the past, further excavations are now being planned by the authorities in a bid to unravel their mysteries. KETENGAH, with the cooperation of the State Museum and other government agencies, plans to provide better access to these caves. As the safety of visitors is f top priority, better facilities are now planned as these caves are expected to be a top tourist attraction. It takes approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours by boat to reach them from Pengkalan Gawi.
How To Get There
If you are driving from Kuala Lumpur, take the Karak Highway to Jerangau-Jabor Highway to reach Ajil and onwards to Kenyir. Alternatively take the Karak Highway to Kuantan and along the coastal road through Kemaman, Dungun, Kuala Terengganu and subsequently to Kenyir Lake (Tasik Kenyir). Express buses also provide dialy services to Kuala Terengganu at 9.00am and 9.00pm from Hentian Putra Bus Terminal in Kuala Lumpur.
A direct bus service, the Tasik Kenyir Express departs daily at 8.00pm from Hentian Putra in Kuala Lumpur to Tasik Kenyir (Kenyir Lake) via Al Muktafi Billah Shah Town and Kuala Berang. You may check with the bus operator for fares and charges.
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and Air Asia operates regular flights to Kuala Terengganu from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Low Cost Community Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang. From Sultan Mahmud Airport in Terengganu you can take a taxi direct to Tasik Kenyir (Kenyir Lake).
Water transportation is the most important mode of travel in Kenyir Lake. At present, there are approximately 70 boat operators providing boat services within the lake. The types of boat available:
Fibre glass boats (max capacity - 8 passengers)
Double decker boats/houseboat (max capacity - 12 passengers)
All the boats are located at Pengkalan Gawi.