Tasik Kenyir in Terengganu
Tasik Kenyir in Terengganu, Malaysia is the largest man-made lake in South East Asia. It covers a massive area of 260 square kilometers and has 340 small islands which is surrounded by one of the oldest tropical rainforest in the world. This popular Eco-tourism destination caters to fishing, camping, trekking and also has a resort there which has been a top rated destination for locals and tourist. This mega lake was also constructed from 1978 to 1985.
Tasik Kenyir is also home to numerous species of freshwater fishes and exotic wildlife and the 38,000 hectares lake (about four times the size of Singapore) is one of the most popular fishing spots in Malaysia. There are about 300 species of freshwater fishes found in the lake where many fishing enthusiast make this the mecca of freshwater fishing.
Getting to Kenyir Lake is quite simple if you self drive as it is about an hours drive from Kuala Terengganu town. here are road signs to guide you there. On arrival, you will see Pengkalan Gawi, the main gateway to the lake, where a tourism center, wildlife park office, shops and all the boat operators are based, you will park your car there and then make your way to the main jetty area, if you booked a fishing or tour package.
For nature lovers, Kenyir is the perfect getaway place. Operators from various companies sell multiple packages to Kenyir Lake and some of the popular packages are:
- Quick one hour Saok Waterfall and Dead Trees boat trip
- 2-3 hour boat trip to the Saok Waterfalls, Dead Trees and Herb Island
- 4-6 hour boat trip to various waterfalls around the lake
- Full Day Trip to the Taman Negara National Park
- Various freshwater fishing packages. Some for a few hours, some up to 4N/5D
Fishing at Tasik Kenyir is very popular where trips are booked for 2N/3D in the Boathouses (or Houseboat). These boat houses are floating boats where you can live-in while the boats take you out about 4-6 hours deep into Kenyir Lake. some of these boat houses are wooden and some of the more luxury ones come in fiber complete with air conditioning, proper kitchen, bathrooms and satellite television. The picture above shows you a very basic wooden boathouse with satellite television.
For fishing, the prices range anywhere from RM800.00 (USD$228.00) a day to around RM1,500.00 (USD$428.00) for the entire boat and will fit around 6-10 people. Most of the time, groups of 6 to 8 will take these packages where everything is taken care of. Just bring your fishing equipment.
Among the types of fishes found here, species such as the big Lampam Sungai (Barboides), Kelah (Malaysian Mahsee), Toman (Snakehead), Kawan (Friendly Barb), Kalui (Giant Gouramy) and Kelisa (Green Arowana) are found in waters and around dead trees. There have also been reports of the Giant Arapaima (Araipaima Gigas) found here lately.
At Tasik Kenyir, there are about 8000 species of flowers, 2500 species of plants and trees, 800 species of orchids and 300 species of fungus. For the fauna, you can find lots of monkeys, birds, snakes, insects and even the rare tiger and elephants. But one has to travel deep into Kenyir to experience the rare fauna.
On my last trip to Kenyir Lake in 2008, I saw a boat hotel parked near the waterfalls. However on checking with my guide, that boat hotel project was put on hold and pending further funding's. I hope they finished this project as it looked really unique with it's double story feature.
Most of the locals at Kenyir Lake are from around Terengganu so they pretty much know the area well. My guide was a pure local and he knew almost everything you needed to know about Kenyir Lake and this was an added bonus for me.
Cruising around the lake, you are bound to see dead trees sticking out of the water everywhere. The reason for this is because back then, Kenyir was just a hilly land area and was forced flooded to create the Hydro Power Plant. There is also 14 waterfalls and two caves around Kenyir Lake to further explore.
One of the main waterfalls, the Saok Waterfalls which I explored was really natural and beautiful. On arrival, you will disembark the boat and make your way up to the waterfalls. There is a concrete walkway with wooden railings and an easy 3 minute walk up.
There is an extension to a wooden view point which serves as a shelter just as you walk up. From here, you can see the Saok Waterfalls which lead into Lake Kenyir.
Along the walk, my guide showed me one of the resident insects which was a large millipede. It was about 8 inches long and about half an inch thick.
Reaching the top, I saw the multi-tiered waterfall and it was a beautiful sight. The waters here are so clean that you can drink it.
After exploring the waterfalls and moving around part of the lake, it was time to head back as I was heading out to Perhentian Island the next day. Along the way back, my guide mentioned that there was once a golf course on one of the islands but it did not do too well so they stopped it and started a herbal garden which is known as herb island.
My conclusion to Tasik Kenyir - It is a must-visit for nature lovers. No shopping or anything city-like here. Pure 100% nature and the best place to stay would be the Kenyir Resort and Spa. If you have children, this is an excellent place to teach them about nature, flora and fauna.
Getting to Tasik Kenyir
A direct bus service, the Tasik Kenyir Express departs daily at 8.00pm from Hentian Putra in Kuala Lumpur to Tasik Kenyir via Al-Muktaffi Billah Shah Town and Kuala Berang.
Tasik Kenyir Express counter telephone: 03-40444276 or 09-681 6276
Drive towards Kuantan town. Just before reaching Kuantan town, there is a signboard indicating Kuala Terengganu and Kuantan Airport. Drive towards Ajil town and then to Kuala Berang and you will see signboards to Lake Kenyir here.
Fly to Kuala Terangganu and from the airport, take a taxi to Pengkalan Gawi in Kenyir. Journey is about 55 kilometers and will take about an hour to reach there from the airport. The flight to Terenggnau from Kuala Lumpur would take about 40 minutes.
Places to stay at Tasik Kenyir
- Kenyir Lake View Resort - Tel: +609-666 8888
- Petang Island Resort - Tel: +609-6221276
- Kenyir Sanctuary Resort - Tel: +609-8244360
- Lake Land Resort - Tel: +609-6262020
- Uncle John Resort - Tel: +6096883688
- Musang Kenyir Resort - Tel: +6096231888
- Tanjung Mentong Resort - Tel: +609 6236684
- Various tour agencies around the country cater to Lake Kenyir packages
- In Kuala Terenggnau town, numerous travel agencies also have packages to Kenyir
- Some resorts in Kenyir have online boookings
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I stayed at the Kenyir Lake Resort and Spa while visiting Tasik Kenyir and you can read up about my experience here.