Covering an area roughly one-third of the size of Singapore, Kenyir is by far the largest artificial lake in South East Asia.
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This sprawling feat of hydro-engineering, located in the North East Malaysian State of Terengganu, owes its inception to the damming of the Kenyir River and the founding of the Sultan Mahmud Power Station in 1985. Since then the lake has managed to boost the influx of tourism as well as electricity to the region, boasting a number of unique ecological and recreational attractions. Here are just a few ways to make the most out of your trip to Lake Kenyir.
Top Things to do at Lake Kenyir
There is certainly no shortage of picturesque waterfalls to be found at Lake Kenyir. One can easily enjoy a slow boat tour to the more accessible falls such as Tembat, Saok, and Lasir. Swimming at the white-foamy bases of Soak and Lasir falls is permitted, and both are located near the quaint local village of Pengkalan Gawi, where you can take in some local culture as well as an amazing view of several of Lake Kenyir’s islands.
Locals and foreigners alike come in droves to angle at Lake Kenyir. Though fishing permits cost roughly RM10 per person – and can be acquired only at the Tourism Information Centre at Gawi Jetty from 9.00am to 5.00pm Saturday-Wednesday, and 9.00am to 1.00 pm Thursday-Friday- the 300 species of fish that populate Kenyir’s many tributaries and river-ways suggests that even an amateur should be able to catch their money’s worth. The very best fishing spots at Lake Kenyir are Cacing, Petuang, Saok and Leban, though one should fish around 6:00 to 9:00 in the morning or 4:00-9:00 in the evening to get the best results.
The more adventurous visitor to Lake Kenyir can take a guided tour through the network of stunning caves that can be found throughout the region. The two most popular caves at Lake Kenyir are Bewah and Taat. Taat contains a number of geological marvels such as dazzling stalactites, though it is also home to countless bats and tiger-spiders that may unnerve the more squeamish of visitors. Whereas Taat is inaccessible during the rainy season, Bewah cave is always open and features some of Malaysia’s most astounding prehistoric relics. The remains of a 160,000 year old human, dubbed ‘Bewah Man’, has been discovered in this cave and has since been revealed to be the oldest skeleton ever discovered in Malaysia. The potential visitor should be aware that Bewah Cave also contains bats and an array of creepy crawlies.
Should bugs and ancient caverns not appeal, the nearby elephant sanctuary at Sungai Ketiar features an array of sites and activities that are worth checking out. Visitors can feed the elephants and those who are so inclined can even assist in the daily sanctuary chores (though only very early in the morning). Occasionally, elephant rides are offered around 4pm, though this is not guaranteed. The elephant sanctuary is open from 9am to 6pm daily, and transport from most Lake Kenyir accommodations can be easily arranged.
Elephants are not the only fascinating creatures to be found around Lake Kenyir. The emerald jungle fringes abound with all manner of colourful birds, butterflies and lizards. The famous banana beaked Hornbills can also be seen nesting amidst the foliage. Jungle hiking can be easily arranged from most lakeside resorts, and trails go through areas that allow for the best views whilst providing ample time to take in the aromatic tropical air.
For an experience that captures the wonders of the untapped, steamy wilderness of Malaysia as well as the tranquil comforts of lakeside repose, one should look no further than Lake Kenyir. It is a wonder which, though unnatural, manages to epitomize the way in which industrial enterprise can be harmonized with biological serenity to create an attraction that truly manages to convey the best of both worlds.
Map of Lake Kenyir Area
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