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Tasik Kenyir in Terengganu

Kenyir Lake Terengganu

Tasik Kenyir in Terengganu, Malaysia, is the largest man-made lake in Southeast Asia. It covers a massive area of 260 square kilometres and has 340 small islands, surrounded by one of the oldest tropical rainforests in the world.

This popular Ecotourism destination caters to purely nature, fishing, camping, trekking, and a beautiful resort there, a top-rated destination for locals and tourists. This mega manmade lake was also constructed between 1978 to 1985.

Tasik Kenyir in Terengganu

Jetty at Pengkalan JawiPengkalan Jawi entry point.

Tasik Kenyir is also home to numerous species of freshwater fishes and exotic wildlife. The 38,000 hectares lake (about four times the size of Singapore) is one of Malaysia's most popular fishing spots.

About 300 species of freshwater fishes are found in Tasik Kenyir Lake, where many fishing enthusiasts call this the mecca of freshwater fishing in Malaysia.

Boats at Pengkalan GawiPrivate boats parked at Pengkalan Gawi.

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 centre, wildlife park office, shops, and boat operators are based.

It is here where you will park your car and then make your way to the main jetty area. If you have booked a fishing or tour package, this is usually the meetup point for your boatman.

Tasik Kenyir Video

Photo of Kenyir Lake
Kenyir Lake.
For nature lovers, Kenyir is the perfect getaway place for just about anyone. This means solo, couple or even family travellers.

Operators from various companies sell multiple packages to Kenyir Lake, and some of the more popular packages are:
  • Quick one-hour Saok Waterfall and Dead Trees boat trip
  • 2 to 3-hour boat trip to the Saok Waterfalls, Dead Trees and Herb Island
  • 4 to 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

Kenyir Wooden House Boat for Fishing.
Fishing at Tasik Kenyir

This spot is trendy where fishing trips are booked for 2N/3D in the Boathouses (or Houseboat). These boathouses are floating boats where you can live-in while the boats take you out about 4 to 6 hours deep into Kenyir Lake.

Some of these boathouses are wooden. Some of the more luxury ones come in fibreglass, complete with air conditioning, a proper kitchen, bathrooms and even satellite television or Wi-Fi.

The picture above shows you a very basic wooden boathouse with satellite television, where most hardcore fishermen will prefer to book.

There are also many options to choose from, and usually, they range from super budget-friendly to a little more comfortable houseboats.

A local Kenyir budget houseboat used for fishing trips.

For fishing, the prices range anywhere from RM800.00 (USD 200.00) a day to around RM1,500.00 (USD 380.00) for the entire boat, which usually fits around 6 to 10 people.

Most of the time, groups of 6 to 8 fishermen will take these packages where everything is taken care of. All you need to do is just bring your fishing equipment.

Among the types of fishes found here, species such as the big Lampam Sungai (Barboides), Kelah (Malaysian Mahseer), Toman (Snakehead), Kawan (Friendly Barb), Kaloi (Giant Gourami) and Kelisa (Green Arowana) are found in waters and around dead trees.

There have also been reports of the Giant Arapaima (Arapaima Gigas) found here, one of the ultimate challenges for the local and even foreign fishermen.

In other words, Tasik Kenyir or Kenyir Lake is one of the top fishing tourism spots in Malaysia and attracts anglers from all over the world.

Photo of Dead Trees Tasik Kenyir
Dead trees sticking out of the water in Tasik Kenyir.
Tasik Kenyir Flora & Fauna

At Tasik Kenyir, flora and fauna are also on the high side for naturalist as there are about 8000 species of flowers, 2500 species of plants and trees, 800 species of orchids and 300 species of fungus.

You can find lots of monkeys, birds, snakes, insects, and even the rare tiger and elephants for the fauna. But one has to travel deep into Kenyir to experience the rare fauna.

Bird watching in Tasik Kenyir is also one of the top things to do as avid birders come here to spot some of the Peninsular Malaysia birds.

Video of Kenyir Lake dead trees

Large Houseboat at Kenyir Lake
One of the much larger houseboats that can accommodate over 20 people.
On my last trip to Kenyir Lake in 2008, I saw a massive and really huge boat hotel parked near the waterfalls.

However, on checking with my guide, that boat hotel project was put on hold and pending further funding. I hope they finished this project as it looked really unique with its double story feature.

Boat House Kenyir Lake
A smaller wooden houseboat at Kenyir Lake.
As for the people working around here, well, 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 from the villages around here, and he knew almost everything you needed to know about Kenyir Lake, which was an added bonus for me.

Dead Trees at Tasik Kenyir
More dead trees are seen, and this is a common sight here.
Cruising around the lake, you are bound to see a lot, and I mean, a lot of dead trees sticking out of the water everywhere.

This is because back then, Kenyir was just a hilly land area and was forced to flooded to create the Hydro Power Plant.

There are also 14 waterfalls and two caves found around Kenyir Lake for those who want to explore further in this area.

Video of Kenyir Lake and it's surroundings

Air Terjun Saok
Entrance to Saok Waterfalls.
Saok Waterfalls or Air Terjun Saok

One of the main waterfalls to visit at Kenyir Lake is the Saok Waterfalls, which of course, I explored and found really natural and beautiful.

On arrival at the main jetty area, you will disembark the boat and make your way up to the waterfalls. There is a concrete walkway with wooden railings and an easy three-minute walk up.

These waterfalls are suitable for all ages and are easy to get to.

Saok Waterfalls viewpoint.
Once you reach the top, you will find an extension to a wooden viewpoint that serves as a shelter in the event it rains.

From here, you can see the Saok Waterfalls, which leads into Lake Kenyir through a small river. As for swimming here, please check with your local guide.

Millipede at Kenyir Lake
A millipede seen at the Saok Waterfalls.
My guide showed me one of the resident insects, which was a large millipede along the walk. It was about 8 inches long and about half an inch thick.

This simply means that you should always keep a lookout for insects like this on the ground when you are walking in the rainforest. And just to add on, there were no leeches at the waterfalls when I was there.

Photo of Saok Waterfalls
Saok Waterfalls at Tasik Kenyir.
Reaching the top, I finally arrived at the end of the trek, and I saw the multi-tiered waterfall, which was a beautiful sight. The waters here are so clear and clean that you think you want to drink them.

Honestly, the water's main source comes from the mountains here, and there are no villages in the vicinity, making the water very pure.

Saok Waterfalls at Tasik Kenyir Video

Tasik Kenyir Photo
Kenyir Lake beautiful scenery.
After exploring the waterfalls and moving around part of the lake, it was time to head back as I headed 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. This is an excellent place to teach them about nature, flora, and fauna if you have children.

How to Go to Tasik Kenyir?

There are a few ways for you to travel to Tasik Kenyir, and depending on which you prefer, they are listed below.

For locals, the best is self-driving here and then explore Terengganu or visiting the islands. But for tourist wanting to come here, you can rent a car and self-drive, or take a bus here.

By Bus:
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

By Car:
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.

By Air:
Fly to Kuala Terengganu and from the airport, take a taxi to Pengkalan Gawi in Kenyir. The journey is about 55 kilometres and will take about an hour to reach there from the airport. The flight to Terengganu from Kuala Lumpur would take about 40 minutes.

Places to Stay at Tasik Kenyir

Below is a list of places where you can stay at Tasik Kenyir, but this list is dated 2009; hence, there are more places, including homestays and budget hotels.

I stayed at the Kenyir Lake Resort and Spa for my visit here as it was the best place in the entire area. 

Update: The Lake Kenyir Resort was closed down many years back for refurbishment and has yet to be opened again.

The list of places to stay is; 
  • 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
Tour Packages To Tasik Kenyir
  • Various tour agencies around the country cater to Lake Kenyir packages.
  • In Kuala Terengganu town, numerous travel agencies also have packages to Kenyir.
  • Some resorts in Kenyir have online bookings.
Map to Tasik Kenyir


I have to say that Kenyir Lake is probably one of Malaysia's natural ecotourism destinations, still in its original setting.

You will not find any overtourism here, but only pure nature lovers want to experience what a true rainforest experience is like.

Yout can also read about my 12 rainforest resorts in Malaysia that I have stayed at, which are located all over the country, and are simply incredible.

If you love the outdoors, nature and even a unique experience involving mother nature and the Malaysian rainforest, then Tasik Kenyir in Terengganu is the place to visit.


allie said...

I like the shot on Lake KEnyir :)

CathJ said...

Beautiful Shot... How did you do that?? By boat?? ^_^

Kennee said...

Neva been there b4... looks really like a beaituful place...

Tony Wan said...

Shame on me that I nvr been there be4. I like nature too, but i prefer islands and seas :D

Malaysia Asia said...

Allie, thank you :)

Cath, yes. I was on a boat from the Kenyir Lake Resort. Took a package to explore the lake.

Kennee, it is, but you have to enjoy nature to come here.

Tony, Ahh... I do both, sea water islands and also fresh water islands.


Unknown said...

wwwooo.... Heaven in Malaysia,,,

Anonymous said...

This place is a fishing haven. Nice waterfalls.

Monica said...

wow beautiful pics!! I'd really love to go there ;)

Malaysia Asia said...

Hi EmoCat, yes.. for nature lovers - this IS a heaven :)

Mei, this IS the best freshwater fishing spot in Malaysia but I am yet to make a trip there. Did you know, I used to do a lot of fishing?

Monica, thank you for the lovely words and make a trip there! You will enjoy the Kenyir Resort Spa. I will be posting that soon, i mean about the Resort.


foongpc said...

I'm planning to go Tasik Kenyir in November. Thanks for this informative post! : )

Malaysia Asia said...

Hello Foong, awesome! Make sure you stay at the Kenyir Resort & Spa. The best there is there.


Nicholas Leong said...

wow I must make a visit there :) The waterfall looks awesome.

Anonymous said...

Magical nature, anyone going there end of november? Wish to tag along if allowed. Great photos

Cydonia said...

Do you have any agency that you can share?