Endau Rompin National Park
Endau Rompin National Park is in Malaysia.
Endau-Rompin National Park is the second designated national park in Peninsular Malaysia. And rightly so, as it contains the one of world's oldest rainforests and the volcanic rocks there date back 240 million years. Its name is derived from the two rivers through the park; the Endau river in the south in the state of Johor and the Rompin river in the state of Pahang in the north. It also has some unique flora and fauna, including the endangered Sumatran Rhino. It has some of Malaysia's best waterfalls namely Buaya Sangkut, Upeh Guling and Batu Hampar all within 2 hours trek of each other. Also you'll get a chance to meet the indigenous peoples of Peninsular Malaysia, known locally as Orang Asli. The major tribe that call the park home is the Jakun.
A proper trip to see all the major highlights of Endau-Rompin National Park should take 3 days. Of course it's not hard to spend a week to get lost amidst the breathtaking rivers and forests. Unless you're an experienced jungle trekker, it's best to stick to the packages offered – the Johor National Parks Corporation organises the most reasonably priced ones.
The Orang Hulu (Indigenous people) of the area tell a story of an old crocodile that lived in the pools above the waterfall. One day it floated downriver and got itself trapped between the boulders where its body formed the cascades of the fall. (buaya = crocodile, sangkut = trapped). Another less popular story but entertaining all the same tells of a family who lived by the banks of Sungai Jasin. The father dreamt of his son's death in the jaws of a crocodile that lived in the river. He took it as a warning and with that, moved his family upstream. The recurring dream drove the family further upstream pass the waterfall. True to the premonitions of these dreams, the crocodile had followed them. On climbing the fall, the croc lodged itself between the boulders and the father took this opportune moment to kill it. He made a drum from the leather of the crocodile and hung the drum high in the house. One day as the son was playing below the drum, it fell on him killing him instantly.
The weather is generally hot and humid all year round. Temperatures ranges between 25 and 33 degrees Celsius.
Rainy season is between mid December to mid January.
Most appropriate clothing for the jungle are loose-fitting cotton long-sleeved shirts and long pants to help keep insects at bay. Leech socks are advisable.
Wear comfortable boots or sneakers.
Helpful to bring along a first aid kit, torchlight and insect repellent.
Visitors are requested to help the Department of Wild Life preserve nature's beauty by keeping litter and noise pollution to the minimum.
There are 3 entrances to the Endau-Rompin National Park. You can either enter through Johor (East or West) or through Pahang. A different entrance would mean a different adventure as the Johor National Parks Corporation manages the Johor portion of the park while the area encompassed by Pahang comes under the Pahang National Parks Corporation.
The Johor Endau Rompin East approach (Kampung Peta) is the more popular, time saving and easier approach. If you are driving, it's best to take a 4WD, as there are no tarred roads for the last 20km of the journey, only mud tracks. You need to inform the Johor National Parks Corporation at least a week prior to your departure. If you are coming from Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru or Singapore, use the National Highway and exit at Air Hitam. Turn right at the exit and drive on for another hour to Kluang. Whatever last minute supplies you need would be best bought here. From here drive another 40km along the route to Mersing and you'll reach Kahang, where the last petrol station before the Park can be found. About 3km from Kahang, turn at right at the park sign. The first 35km will be through oil palm plantations, a rather uneven and bumpy track in the beginning, followed by tarred roads and finally through a laterite track. Then the last 22km will run through uninhabited rainforest. This is a mud track with a lot of protruding rocks, potholes, and wooden bridges that don't allow room for mistakes. (Please note currently, 31st of July 2008, the main bridge giving access to the park over this road is broken.)
The Johor Endau Rompin West entrance is near the town of Bekok near Segamat. Here, due to the condition of the track, one can enter only by using 4WD vehicles.
The third entrance (from Pahang) is reached from the town of Kuala Rompin. Drive along a paved road to Seladang, and then follow a 26km dirt track to the park boundary at Kuala Kinchin.
Endau Rompin East Entry from Kahang (Johore)
- The Park Headquarters: The office is housed in a large and beautiful two level wooden structure. It has an excellent library with a collection of books, pictures and samples of plants and animals. One can easily spend half a day there. It has a superb suspension bridge, which spans about 100m over a pond. It also houses a few chalets, a dormitory, a canteen and the staff's houses.
- Flora and Fauna: The park has some wonderful plants and animals. Occasionally, a herd of elephants might just wander in the vicinity. While hiking, you will come across various plant life, one of that is a species of giant fan palm, Livistona endaunesis, which can only be found here.
- Boat Ride to Kuala Jasin: The first portion of your trip starts with a 45-minute boat ride through very calm waters of Endau river to Kuala Jasin. You board the boat from the Orang Asli settlement of Kampung Peta. The Park HQ provides you with a guide who also doubles as your boatman. The water is clear and superb for drinking. Occasionally you'll see schools of fishes. For most, you'll see dense forests on both sides of the river.
- Upeh Guling Waterfalls and the Volcanic Rocks: From Kuala Jasin, it's a one and a half hour trek to reach the first stop, which is at Kuala Marong. On the way, there are a couple of river crossings, one of which is truly exciting during high tide as you really have to hold on to the ropes lest you get carried away by the currents. At Kuala Marang, there is a campsite as well as a huge wooden shelter and toilets. From here, a short 15 minutes away is the Upeh Guling Waterfalls, with a series of whirlpools formed by ancient volcanic rocks – supposed to be the oldest existing landmarks in Malaysia at 240 million years old! The waterfall is rather wide and short but we saw at least 4 levels/cascades. Good place to get a free massage from the falling waters.
- Tasik Air Biru (Blue-Water Lake): 15 minutes east of Upeh Guling is Tasik Air Biru, a freshwater lake that is very calm, too calm. The water looks blue due to reflection of sunlight on the white rounded rocks at the bed of the lake.
- Buaya Sangkut Waterfall: The next journey is to Batu Hampar waterfall that can be reached 40 minutes of walking. A nice waterfall to cool down and take some well needed rest, as the ultimate physical test begins here. From here, you climb a steep Semanggong Hill, which is 2307 feet. Use the rattan rope to assist you in climbing the hill, as the gradient is around 45 degrees. After a backbreaking 3 hours, you will reach the awesome Buaya Sangkut waterfall. This tall and scenic waterfall is your ultimate destination at the Endau-Rompin Park. Your guide will probably tell you the legend behind this waterfall.
- The Orang Asli: They live at Kampung Peta, 15 minutes walk from the Park HQ. They lead a very simple life, selling handicrafts and pretty much self-sustained through farming, raising livestock or hunting. Don't miss the solar panels that dot their houses, which provide electricity.
Endau Rompin West Entry from Bekok (Johor)
- The 4WD: This is a unique experience and the only means of reaching the chalet base camp at Lubok Tapah and the camping ground at Lubok Merekek. It is better to hire a local operator to bring you in as during the wet seasons the route is very challenging and treacherous.
- Three Beautiful Waterfalls As the waterfalls are not within easy reach, they have remained pristine and almost untouched.
Takah Pandan has more than 50m of straight fall and is a spectacular sight. It is also the site for the water abseiling activity.
Takah Beringin is harder to reach due to the terrain and almost not passable during the wet seasons. The scenery surrounding the waterfalls is mystical and enchanting.
Takah Tinggi is the largest of the three has easier access but a longer walk but easier walk. The base of the waterfalls has a large pool teaming with fishes. No fishing is allowed as the area is gazetted as a fish sanctuary.
Endau Rompin West - Entry from Bekok
- Orang Asli (Aborigines) Village
- Rubber tube rafting
- Night safari and Night Trekking
- 4 x 4 off road adventure
- Three beautiful waterfalls
- Adventure Team Building
- Water Abseiling
- Jungle Survival Training
- Hill Climbing at Gunong Tiong
Please take note that the rubber tube rafting, night safari & night trekking, 4 x 4 off road adventure, the three beautiful waterfalls namely Takah Tinggi, Takah Pandan and Takah Berangin , adventure team building, water abseiling and jungle survival training are referring to activities available at Endau Rompin Selai or Endau Rompin West (the entry point is from the town of Bekok) in West Johore.
Endau Rompin East - Entry from Kahang
- Orang Asli (Aborigines) Village
- Water Rafting from Kuala Jasin
- Fishing at Kampong Peta
- Hill Climbing Janing Barat
Handicraft Games – About the only thing on sale there for visitors is the Orang Asli made games from bamboo. These cost RM2.50 each and basically tests your IQ in getting a rope entangled between the bamboo without breaking the bamboo. According to an article in The New Straits Times , the toy is used as an offering to the forest spirits (Orang Bunian) in the situation that they get lost.
There is only one restaurant in the Park's premises – at Kampung Peta. Bring your own food and cooking utensils. The Park provides a free canteen that has a gas stove, piped water as well as some utensils, but these utensils are not well kept. If you are camping, bring a portable gas stove as you are not allowed to start a fire on the ground.
- Milo and Teh Tarik FTW
Make sure you use two mattresses.
You can stay at the chalet (RM80; max 2 persons) or at the dorm (RM20 per person) at the Park HQ. Both the chalet and dorm are comfortable. Of course, the only complaint is the mosquitoes, so you'd better bring your insect repellent along. At the time of writing (September 2011) dorm mattresses are infested with flees. Anti-histamines can help with itching from their bites.
The Park provides camping equipment (at RM20 per person) and your guide will help you set up camp.
Don't travel at night as visibility is low. Don't drink unboiled or stagnant water. If you have to, look for a moving stream with clear running water. Don't eat any fruits or plants unless you know they are edible. Don't leave camp without informing others. Don't stray away from other trekkers. Safety in numbers. Stay healthy. Don't take unnecessary risks like climbing rocks and trees. Important items that a trekker must possess - a large knife and waterproof matches or lighter. Check with your guide or expedition leader whether it is safe to swim in the river. Rivers may look safe but if there are heavy rain up stream, the river water level may swell in a very short time and can sweep away even a very strong swimmer.
Tips if you get lost
If you are lost, back track and check your bearings before continuing. Stay put because it would be easier for the rescue teams to locate you than if you were to wander around aimlessly. Listen to the sounds of water, either stream of river. Follow it downstream until it leads you back to civilisation. Always think of self-preservation and never take unnecessary risks. Try to leave some sort of mark along your path by systematically slashing leaves or tree barks so that you can find your way back if necessary. Don't run because you may trip up and hurt yourself.