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Saturday, 3 November 2012

*Belum Rainforest Resort : Part 1 ( Resort Review)


Belum Rainforest Resort which was formerly known as Banding Island Resort is located in the state of Perak, in a region bordering Thailand and Kelantan(refer map below). Since there is no airport in the vicinity and it is pretty far from major towns, the best way to get there is to drive your own vehicle. There are however a number of buses from Hentian Duta in Kuala Lumpur that can take you to Banding Island. For information on schedules and pricing, do visit Hentian Duta at Persiaran Duta, Kuala Lumpur.

It took us close to 5 hours to get to this place from KL. We used the North South Expressway to Ipoh and from then on, the route we took is summarized as follows.

Belum Rainforest Resort is located in Banding Island which is a man-made island in the midst of Temenggor Lake which is also a man-made lake. This lake was created for the purpose of generating electricity and it is the 2nd largest lake in Peninsula Malaysia, after Kenyir Lake in Terengganu. It is interesting to note that the road linking the west coast and east coast of peninsular Malaysia passes through this island via 2 bridges, one coming from the direction of Gerik,Perak and the other from the direction of Jeli, Kelantan.
This photo shows an aerial view of the island, and the two sections of Temenggor Bridge.
This is the view of the bridge taken from Belum Rainforest Resort.
 A closer look of the bridge from the "Gerik" direction.
Belum Rainforest Resort is just a short distance from the bridge and it is located beside the trunk road that heads towards the east.
This is the reception area. You do not need to unload your luggage here as the rooms are located in other blocks some distance away.
The setting in the resort lobby and lounge is rather casual. The receptionist that handled our check-in was immersed in her own world and was far from being hospitable. She simply ignored our request for the itinerary of the excursion which comes with our room package. "Pergi tanya di jeti" (translated as "Go and inquire at the jetty") was the only response from her when we wanted the details of the excursion. We had to get this information from another receptionist who came on another shift later in the evening.
Photo: Decor at the reception lobby.
Activities offered by the resort are displayed outside the reception block.

This is reception building at night. 
After registration, we drove to the block where our room is located. Parking is open-air and there are parking lots just outside the block. Be prepared to handle all the luggage yourselves as I do not see the resort offering any concierge service. 
There are many pools like this around the accommodation blocks. This one has freshwater fish in it.
This pool has Koi fish in it.
This is the corridor that leads to our room. You may be wondering what these wooden structures are. They are either tree trunks or tree branches used for decorative purposes. I find these a bit messy though.
We booked a 3D2N package which comes with 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners and a full day excursion. The room given to us is a deluxe room. 
The resort is supposed to have an "eco" theme so lots of wood is used. The flooring & wall skirting are all wood.
There is a small (day) bed adjacent to the window which is just nice for an accompanying child.
This is the closet, with some shelves and hangers. There is no iron, ironing board or hair-dryer but you can request for them. Neither is there bedroom sandals or bathrobes.
 There is a fan and air-conditioner, a flat TV, a safety box , a mini-bar and coffee and tea facilities.
Since there is no multi-purpose store or shops near the resort, it is good to come prepared. Bring your own sachets of beverages, snacks, etc.
Cleanliness in the washroom is satisfactory. There is a separate shower cubicle with water heater.
Only very basic toiletries are provided so once again, do come prepared.
This is the other facade of  the block we stayed in.
All the blocks are 2-storeyed  and there are a total of 70 rooms.
This block looks neater without the wooden tree trunk decor.
We got quite a good unit facing the garden and the lake even though the lake is actually quite far away. Our unit is on the ground floor just next to the resort restaurant. As there is no lift, it is more convenient to stay on the ground floor.

There is a little garden with benches and tables just outside our block.
This is the "zoomed" view of the lake from the garden.
Hornbill Restaurant is the main restaurant in the resort. We had all our meals here. WIFI is available in the restaurant premise and is complimentary. Internet reception in our room is weak. 
This is the side view of the restaurant. You can choose to dine inside or alfresco.
Photo: Side view of Hornbill Restaurant.
Photo: Inside Hornbill Restaurant
Dinner on the first night was a la carte with a choice of 3 simple meals. It was quite disappointing as I had expected a good variety or more choices. Furthermore the service was very sluggish.
We each chose the fried rice and the chicken chop.
However food presentation was commendable. Taste wise, it was just OK. 
Breakfast was buffet and better than dinner the day before.
These are some of the food served for breakfast.
Dinner on the 2nd night was buffet and it came with a better spread of cuisines.

The other F&B outlet in the resort is the "Tor Tambra Bar" This bar didn't seem to be popular among the resort guests and a big section of it was closed. There was hardly any patrons inside too. 
Bottles are used as decor for the roofs around the bar area.
There are conference rooms of various sizes but other other than these, not many other facilities are available.There is no swimming pool, gym, sauna or spa. 
The resort jetty is some distance away. It is located at a much lower altitude and you will need to use these stairs to get there.
The jetty overlooks the green serene-looking Temenggor Lake and the lush rainforest. Kayaks are available for rent but at an exorbitant rate. Despite being a non-motorised item, the resort charged RM70 per head for its usage.
The resort owns boats of various sizes to cater for patrons that come in groups of different-sizes. 
This lake is reputed to have fish in abundance. Anticipating that, we brought our own fishing rods and fished 2 consecutive evenings.We even used baits that was recommended by the resort staff but we didn't catch a single fish.  Sob, sob...
Photo: Fishing by the jetty at night.
There is a mock aborigine village in the resort. There are no inhabitants here, just some show huts.
There is a herbal garden with 52 types of herbs beside one of the accommodation block. This garden is not spectacular as many of these herbs are commonly seen even in urban areas.
The herbs are labeled using numbers like this.  
This is sour plum or rokam masam. The extracts are used for anti-fungal and anti-protozoal purposes.
 Are these ardisia elliptica (mata pelanduk)? - which the Malays use to treat pain in the region of the heart? Sorry I'm not too sure. I am only attracted to herbs that have colorful fruits like these. 
There aren't many corners to explore around the resort. 
During our stay, there is massive construction going on in the resort premise. The second phase of the resort is being built and will add more rooms and facilities to the existing resort.There are plans to built a swimming pool, a jogging track etc. The 2nd phase is expected to be ready by March 2013. A better time to visit the resort would then be after March 2013. 

The highlights of this resort stay are probably cruising the lake and the exploring the rainforests.

To know the details of the excursion offered by this resort do read the sequel to this post: 

  












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  14. Hi Lily,
    TQ for a very informative piece of article. Plan to visit Belum Rainforest. Not too sure if the trip would be worth the while. After reading your article, at least I have some idea of what the trip would be like. TQ.

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    Replies
    1. It was Ok for me but the French family that went on the excursion with us enjoyed themselves very much.

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  15. yup me too not sure it worth to travel all the way to here or not when reading at ur detailed n so informative review in here, thanks tho got the full figure of this resort in here, thanks a lot for sharing :=)

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    1. Depends on what u are looking for. For some it may be worth the while.

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  16. hi, just want to ask if Belum rainforest resort has got lifts for customers to go to their rooms? or there are just stairs all around? thanks.

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    Replies
    1. If I am not mistaken, the hotel block is just 2 storey (or 3??) and there are no elevators.

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