For the love of the lush tropical rainforests surrounding the largest man-made lake in South East Asia, the unspoiled Tasik Kenyir is the answer. Located 80 km off Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia, it spans over 209,199 hectares surrounded by 340 islands which were once hilltops and highlands. The immense lake is also home for 14 waterfalls, numerous rapids and rivers, and rich flora and fauna. The lush greenery and tranquil serenity makes for the perfect getaway for the city dwellers.
Pengkalan Gawi (Gawi Jetty) is the starting point to Tasik Kenyir. First and foremost, make a detour to the Tourism Centre where a tourism officer will give a brief explanation on Tasik Kenyir. Arrangement for your onward destinations is almost readily available upon request to the tourism officer. The tourism centre opens daily from 8.30a.m. to 5.00p.m.
The hill regions of Tasik Kenyir are a world of virgin tropical jungle estimated to be millions of years old. For research scientists, nature lovers, adventurers and photographers, you will not come out regret. The highest peak in Tasik Kenyir is Mount Chergau. Meanwhile Mount Gagau, with an elevation of 4,514 feet above sea-level, is the second highest peak in National Park. Expeditions to Mount Gagau have been organized for professional hikers. A truly memorable event.
Tasik Kenyir is a heaven for fishing enthusiasts. It is said that during the wet season, one can catch fish with his bare hands. There are 300 species of freshwater fish dwelling in the lake, for example, Kelisa, Kelah, Tioman, Baung, Lampan and Sebarau. Anglers are advised to arrange for a fishing trip through private boat operators and a fishing permit is required from Wildlife Department for fishing in the National Park.
The Taman Herba Tasik Kenyir is about 7 kilometres from Pengkalan Gawi and is only accessible by speed boat that requires 10 minutes to reach. It is located in Pulau Sah Kecil with the size of almost 15.84 hectares. It has been planted with more than 200 types of traditional herbal species including but not limited to Tongkat Ali, Kacip Fatimah, Haji Samad, Misai Kucing, Mas Cotek and others.
An activity not to be missed is to discover the spectacular waterfalls in Tasik Kenyir. At these waterfalls, you will enjoy a relaxing and rejuvenating ambience away from the hustle bustle of city life. Lasir Waterfalls is located 16km to the south of Pengkalan Gawi (20-30 minutes boat ride). While the turquoise water provides a picturesque scene, the waterfall drops from 500 feet high onto multi-tiered rocks and boulders. From afar, the view of the hanging bridge appears in mist; clouded by the spray of water.
Saok Waterfalls, a mere 15 minutes boat ride from Pengkalan Gawi is a picnic area with cascading water over its rocky boulders and a flat sandy area at ground level. Tembat Waterfalls is no ordinary waterfalls as it is composed of five rapids of fast flowing cascades. With a large area of camping at its side, it is a favourite spot among hikers who desire to enjoy a magnificent view of the waterfall and its surrounding.
For a more immersive experience, check out Bewah and Taat, the two towering limestone hills occasionally shrouded in mist! You can now explore Taat Caves through its visible entrance while the nearby Bewah Cave has only one entrance. Inside the caves a sight of stalactites and stalagmites awaits the visitors. Always bring your headlamp while caving. It takes approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours by boat to reach them from Pengkalan Gawi.
It’s a lake, so there must be a water sport activity. With a sprawling catchment area of 38,000 hectares, Tasik Kenyir is a water sport circuit, which is being promoted by KETENGAH (Central Terengganu Development Authority). Kayaking, canoeing, boating, rafting and shooting rapids are among the many water sport activities available.
1. How to get there?
If 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 Tasik Kenyir.
Express buses also provide daily services to Kuala Terengganu at 9.00 a.m. and 9.00p.m. from Hentian Putra Bus Terminal Kuala Lumpur.
Tasik Kenyir Express provides a direct services daily to Tasik Kenyir for a price of RM44.10 one way.
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) – from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Air Asia – from LCCT operates regular flights to Kuala Terengganu. From Sultan Mahmud Airport you can take a taxi direct to Tasik Kenyir.
2. Best time to go
Tasik Kenyir is open all year round. Rainy season is from October to January, so try to avoid these months if you wish to explore the jungle and caves. However, the rainy season is the best time for fishing expedition.
It is conservative Muslim state. Beer and alcohol is not widely available in many places. Please consider wearing decent clothes throughout your journey. Rest assured the locals are friendly. The food is fish based. The week starts on Sunday and the weekend is on Friday and Saturday.