The Belum-Temenggor forest is located in the north of the Malaysian state of Perak and borders with Thailand. It covers an area of 3000 km² and is the largest continuous forest complex in Peninsular Malaysia, believed to have existed for 130 million years, making it one of the world’s oldest rainforests, older than both the Amazon and the Congo.
The Belum-Temenggor rainforest is home to some of the world's most threatened mammals such as for instance the Malaysian Tiger, the Malaysian Sun Bear, the Sumatran Rhinoceros, the white-handed Gibbon, the Asiatic Elephant and the Malayan Tapir.
The Royal Belum State Park is contained in the northern section of the Belum-Temenggor forest and covers an area of 1175 km². It was gazetted by the state government in 2007 as a state park. To access the state park, a government permit is required. This must be applied for at least a week before the planned visit and can be obtained from the local resorts.
The remaining part of the Belum-Temenggor forest, the Temengor Forest Reserve, lies south of the east-west highway is a production area, meaning that logging is officially allowed. The researchers of the Banding rainforest research centre are trying to talk the authorities into not logging the forest. Tourism could be an alternative revenue source.
Due to the communist insurgency the area has been off-limits for a long time to tourists and has only recently opened up. As a consequence tourism is still underdeveloped, and there are only a handful of resorts. Two of them (the Banding Lakeside Inn and the Belum Rainforest Resort are located near the Banding island and are easily accessible by road.
The Belum Rainforest Resort offers boat trips to the Belum-Temenggor forest, both to the Royal Belum State Park and to the Temengor Forest Reserve. These can be booked individually or as part of a package and include a number of stops (rafflesia, salt licks, Orang Asli village etc.).
On Banding island there is a Rainforest Research Centre, currently providing logistical support for researchers coming to the area, but set to open to the public in 2015. Near the Rainforest Research Centre there is a large jetty with a restaurant and a shop, from which boat trips on the Temenggor lake start. Several houseboats are anchored there. Boat trips from this jetty usually cater to groups of Malaysian tourists.
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