Endau Rompin National Park
Romping around Taman Negara Endau-Rompin
PLEASE READ BEFORE DECIDING TO GO ON THIS TREK:
Endau Rompin National Park caters to visitors who want to experience the jungle in its natural form. the chalets are basic and simple, the food is simple and cooked by the local native community for guests. For a little bit more personal comfort , you may have to bring with you mosquito netting (travel type) - the jungle is rich in all kinds of flora and fauna; and insects + other not so adorable creatures are a part of that habitat - which means that if you are not too keen on sharing your space with them, best to keep them away from your sleeping quarters ; your own bed sheets or sleeping bags ; snacks in case you get hungry whilst trekking or in the middle of the night as there are no convenience stores around ; slippers ; own medication ; insect repellant ; swim clothes ; leech socks if you have ; toiletries ; towel ; toilet roll ; and light clothing with 1 sweater in case it gets cold at night ; water bottle ; trekking shoes ; rain poncho . Any other valuable personal items should be kept in a small day pack with you when you leave your campsite or chalet and at any time The beauty of parks such as Endau Rompin is that it is in its natural state and is best kept this way. This is the reason why this park has no resort nor chefs. It is for visitors who value the experience of the jungle in its truest form.
When we decided that we were going camping in Taman Negara Endau-Rompin, we were very worried that our lack of camping experience/expertise would become a disadvantage during this trip. Elliot had greater concerns about lions, tigers and bears than an illusion to the Wizard of Oz adventure - coming from a country (New Zealand) where the only poisonous creature they have is a spider which is endangered. However, after much thought, we decided to go ahead anyways as we were up for an adventure in the rainforest.
The night before...
Sleepy Kluang Town on a Saturday morning . If you are like us, who prefer not to sleep on the bus and arrive all grumpy and groggy in the wee hours of the morning, we decided to stay a night in Kluang so we could be ready and fresh for our trip the next day. There are a few choices of accommodation in Kluang but we decided to stay at Ailang Hotel which was in town and was a reasonable price of RM60 per room/per night.
Well rested and raring to go, we made our first (breakfast) pitstop at the Kluang Railway Canteen @ Kluang Rail Coffee. Even though it was a Saturday, we were pleasantly surprised that we could easily get a place to sit as it is a local hotspot and widely known as one of the best places to eat in Kluang. As it was going to be our "last meal"in the civilised world, we decided to try everything we could get our hands on.
After our hearty breakfast, we were picked up by a 4WD and started our journey to Endau Rompin National Park. Throughout the 2-hour ride, we went through the main trunk road, lined with palm oil plantations - it is good to see that the palm oil companies are doing their bit to promote biodiversity.
kluang rail coffee - the real deal! pick your breakfast
kopi kluang nasi lemak kaya on toast Our hearty breakfast of Mee Siam, Nasi Lemak, Kaya Toast and half-boiled egg completed with the renowned Kluang Coffee
Be warned, there is no proper road into the National Park, hence, the ride would end up feeling like a roller-coaster ride - hang on tight! Whilst we felt like we were getting a full body deep tissue massage as we were being thrown around the 4WD; it was amazing to see one of our host having a sleep in the back seat; We don't know if there is enough opium in Afghanistan to put to sleep on that ride. It was still good fun though!
through oil palm plantations driving through forest
Finally, arrived in Kampung Peta, Mersing, which is one of the two entry points into Taman Negara Endau Rompin - the other being Kampung Selai, Segamat. We were greeted by our guide and were served a simple but tasty lunch before heading into the jungle.
kampung peta lunch (Top) A typical Orang Asli home @ Kampung Peta
(LEFT) Lunch prepared by the Orang Asli
After lunch we made our way to the jetty to take a boat into the heart of the forest. The 30-min boat ride took us through the magical,picturesque landscape - with the smooth ride and the gentle wind fanning us it was truly a relaxing and refreshing experience. A great way to start the trip and unwind after the afore mentioned 4WD adventure!
river ride jasin river
elephant dung so fresh it was steaming like bread just out of the oven
Once we arrived at our destination, we trekked to our first campsite which is at the Kuala Marong Campsite. Along the way, there were many fresh elephant tracks and a mountain of elephant dung. Not long into the trek, we met with an elephant grazing on bamboo. Shuk being Shuk, and for fear of getting trampled, was the first one to sight it and started running! Hence, others only got to see the shadows of the elephant as Shuk was making a dramatic dash!
The forest is a bit cooler due to the canopy cover but it was still hot especially when trekking, it was nice to cross rivers and get a cool dip into the waters. On one occasion, Elliot had the pleasure of an unexpected full body dip. The rivers are pretty calm and shallow - however, do watch out for those slippery rocks! And make sure all your electronics are in a seal waterproof bag.
We were grateful that we didn't carry so much stuff and our Guide carried most of the heavy items anyways - like the portable stove, food for the next 3 days, etc.
When we arrived at the Kuala Marong Campsite, we were pleasantly surprised by the available amenities â?? running water (from the mountain), bathroom and toilet (very basic), dining area, camp area as well as a cool rest area/gazebo! Here, Shuk was thinking that she would have to pee in the bush!
The campsite is located at the convergence of two rivers and it was simply amazing. The sound of the river rushing below, the clear and clean water, lush greenery - we couldn't have asked for a better spot to spend the next two nights.
After setting our tent, we decided to head to the Blue Lake / Tasik Air Biru to take a dip and cool off. The water was clear and blue and it was good enough for us to take our bath there! The experience was pretty amazing and we were very happy with what would be our bath for the next few days!
As dusk fell, we got ready for dinner and our Guide prepared us a simple meal with rice, vegetables and sardines. As our meals are taken care of by the Guide, everything is super simple and prepared with ease, Elliot's number one food tip is to take a can of terrine de boeuf (corned beef) as one of the best things to eat when your trekking - all that protein and fat. *yum* Plus your guide will normally serve you canned fish and chicken, so you may need a fix.
There is not much nighttime activity, except chatting with other fellow campers, preparing for your hike the next day and getting as much rest as possible. If you are the type that gets bored easily bring a book of bring a deck of cards. We decided to turn in at about 11pm as the electricity was turned off that time.
A frog hopping around our campsite to wish us good night!
We started our journey to Buaya Sangkut Waterfalls at 8:30am. We were told that the track was the most intense being 7.5km one way (the sign says 5.5km but apparently that is inaccurate). In order to reach the falls, we had to climb and cross 3 hills.
The start of the walk was fairly mild as we were concentrating more of trying to get rid of the leeches! The faster you walk the less chance you have of getting sucked by leeches. If you enjoy killing mosquitoes then you will love spraying leeches with salt water and watching them perish. As we got deeper into the jungle, the paths became a bit more challenging and the foliage became denser. At some points, it became a bit dark as the canopy of the forest was quite thick. The flora and fauna varied every time we crossed a hill or river – which made the walk all more exciting.
palms endemic to endau rompin can be found along the trail
crossing slippery boulders climb to buaya sangkut pitcher plants
We finally made it to the waterfalls and every second of the way was absolutely worth it. The falls was truly a sight to see.
The literal translation of Buaya Sangkut is “The Stuck Crocodile”. Legend has it that the Crocodile was trying to reach the love of his life - a woman who lived at the top of the falls. Unfortunately, the crocodile could not reach to the highest peak due to certain factors*. If you look closely, you’ll be able to see the rock formation of the crocodile struggling to climb the falls.
The view from the top of the waterfalls
We spent about 2 hours just enjoying the falls and had our lunch by the falls. The 4-hour walk there was instantly forgotten and we were rejuvenated again to continue our journey.
*For full details of the legend, make sure you ask your Orang Asli Guide to tell you more
The journey back was not as tough as before as we were pretty familiar with the path. During our walk, we did not meet with any animals but saw many wild boar and mousedeer tracks.
Our regular exercise regime of an average of 2 visits per week to the gym did help us complete the whole journey but having said that, the journey was challenging and we were huffing and puffing most of the way. After arriving at the falls, you know all that energy spent was truly worth it.
Arriving back at the campsite around 6pm, we couldn’t wait to jump into the river for a nice long bath. We are not sure why, but a bath in the river seems extremely therapeutic and tranquil – it relaxes our aching muscles, soothes the mind after a long, hard day of trekking. A far more enticing shower option compared to the basic bathroom!
Needless to say, we had no trouble sleeping that night and were sound asleep by 10 pm after a solid day of trekking.
After a good night's rest, we were up for another trek to the Upeh Guling Waterfalls. Much shorter than the previous walk, we trekked with greater ease and was much more laid-back.
Legend* has it that Upeh, an Orang Asli settler, was a chicken farmer who lived by the banks of the waterfall. One day when he was walking and wasn’t paying attention to where he was going, he slipped and fell down the waterfall. Villagers tried to look for him but he was never found. Hence, the waterfall was named after him – Upeh Guling (rolled/fell). The villagers only managed to find a chicken in the end.
Apparently, during the Full Moon many have heard the sounds of the chicken clucking but with no chicken in sight. So, if you are there during the full moon, be sure to listen out for the chicken!
Comparatively, this trek was much simpler and less intense than to Buaya Sangkut, but the scenery was nothing short of beautiful and of total serenity, We enjoyed the sounds of the falls and watched the flow of the waters till we lost track of time.
*For full details of the legend, make sure you ask your Orang Asli Guide to tell you more.
Upeh Guling waterfalls
On the way back from Upeh Guling, we stopped by a small island in the river called, Pulau Jasin. Pulau Jasin was actually part of the “mainland” of the forest until the flooding of the river led to soil erosion. The Orang Asli settlers believe that this island is magical and holds plants which have many healing properties.
Kuala Jasin Campsite
View of Sungai Jasin from the campsite
Our upgrade for the night – from the ground to the gazebo
The Kuala Jasin Campsite is the most well equipped campsite as it has electricity, chalets as well as a direct road to the site. We didn’t really like this campsite as it was too modern and it didn’t feel like we were out in the great outdoors anymore. Having said, we were relieved to find out that since we were the only ones staying there that night and we picked the camping option, the generator would be switched off for the night.
As dusk came upon us, we were looking forwardto (plus slightly apprehensive about)our night trek. It was pretty dark as it was only the crescent moon shining for us that night. Unfortunately, the trek was pretty uneventful, minus the fact that our guide thought he saw a mousedeer but it was a tiger cub instead. You can probably see a whole lot more when you move with the speed and grace of a gazelle, opposed to that of a retired chain smoking professional wrestler. As the cub’s mother would be watching, we decided to leave the cub alone and continue our walk.
The only active wildlife we saw that night – the infamous leech!
After a night at our classy gazebo, it was time for us to bid goodbye to the forest. Part of our trip included an introduction to the Orang Asli traps and blow pipe which we got to try and play around with. Thankfully, no one got hurt and it was pretty fun!
Alas, all good things must come to an end. After spending 4 days together, it was sad to say goodbye to our Guide, Nabo. Although young and with limited English, Nabo did try his best to make our trip comfortable and was never shy to share stories and history about his Orang Asli culture. However, Nabo was more comfortable speaking in Malay as Shuk could understand and speak it. Hence, if you can’t speak Malay, be sure to ask for an English-speaking Guide when booking your trip.
Overall, we were pleasantly surprised that this trip was more relaxing than we initially expected. When it was time to pack up and go, we were wishing we could stay on a few more days to just relax amidst the lush greenery, taking in the sounds of nature’s orchestra and just walking wherever the path takes us.
In short, we would definitely return to Taman Negara Endau Rompin one day.
Saying Goodbye to our Guide, Nabo
If a camping trip ever crossed your mind but you were too scared of what the great outdoors might offer – push those worries aside and just embrace the beauty and serenity that it offers. Here are some things we learned during our trip:
Useful Tips for this trip
1. Don’t spend excessively on expensive camping gear
2. Prepare some scroggin/trail mix!
3. Keeping the pesky insects and slimy leeches at bay!
4. Water, water, water
5. Get to know your Guide
6. Treat the forest like your home
Article written by: shuk yin and elliot ; july 2009
Campsites and Trekking routes:
Campsite: Kuala Jasin ~ Easy trek
animals often come down to the river to hunt.
Kuala Jasin is the confluence of Sungai Jasin and Sungai Marong. This is the docking point for sampans carrying visitors from Kampung Peta. During dry periods when the water level is low, visitors are dropped off at sandbanks a little distance from the docking point, so be prepared to get a little soaked - a pleasant welcome after the heat and the dust from the lengthy drive earlier. The amenities are basic but there is running water and there are a few A-huts available with fire pits set up. Be prepared with mosquito repellent 24hours a day otherwise the ubiquitous mosquitoes will descend on you like kids to a tuck shop during lunch break!
Walk eastwards upriver. It is safe to bathe at the higher level of the river but be wary of the current drag towards the middle of the river funnelling into the cascades. Nasty accidents have occurred here.
Kuala Jasin is the take-off point for the gazetted trekking territories. But more importantly, it is the start of what the park has to offer. Taking a cool, refreshing bath in the river, after an entire day's trek within the enclosure of the rainforest canopy is certainly more refreshing than sipping a glass of cold lemonade in the heat of an Indian summer.
Wedged yourself comfortably between the little cascades, allowing the rush of sparkling cold water massage those weary muscles. As the burning sun sheds its evening colours into the river's shimmering surface below, the eerie twilight begins to play tricks on you - the whispers in the leaves, the buzzing of the cicadas and the flapping of bats above - prepare to unravel secrets, mystery and beauty of the tropical rainforest jungle.
Campsite: Kuala Marong ~ Easy trek
Time: 2hours from base camp
Take a trail behind the Kuala Jasin campsite, which leads to Kuala Marong on 2hours of easy trek. The curtain of trees and foliage draws open to a hut, which faces what the 1985-86 MNS Scientific Expedition report indicated as the cleanest, clearest riverine water in Peninsular Malaysia. Kuala Marong is a perfect campsite for trekkers who believe in back-to-nature facilities. Bathroom, toilet, recreation, you name it - out in the open. In the darker, sluggish parts of this private pool, various freshwater fish nurseries can be found. The protected Kelah (Tor douronesis) is seen swimming close to the water's edge and the Sebarau (Hampala macrolepidota) willingly cleans the scraps off dinner plates left in the shallow waters. 'Tasik Air Biru' is located about 50m upriver and is known as the blue lagoon. As the water gushes downriver it is trapped momentarily in this crook of the river creating a perfect deep pool for swimming.
Camping can be a little unnerving especially when the fruit-bearing trees in the area are in season. The ripened fruits to the ground attract many animals and a frequent visitor is the wild boar or if you're lucky - a family of them. These animals turn up under the cover of the night. The bearded boar is also a resident in the Endau area. The adult male dons a handsome Bismarck-styled moustache and is fiercely protective of its harem of pigs. If you do hear them outside your hut, be wary of them as they are of you. Any sudden movements may cause them to stampede - in your direction, if you're unlucky!
Many visitors find their visit to the jungles usually disappointing. The local brochures that have cajoled them into buying a holiday to the 'world's oldest rainforest', paint pretty pictures of the fauna and flora that are found in the area and most times than not, trekkers come out feeling cheated for not having seen a single thing the brochure so lavishly embellished. It would be most unlikely that you will come face to face with large mammals like the tiger, sun bear, elephant or the rhino for instance but one can still get to see much beauty in the surroundings. A great variety of birds come close to waterholes and streams to feed and wash themselves; large groups of butterflies linger around the banks of the river sipping on slivers of salt residue; the croaking and wheezing of an orchestra of frogs and toads flows out from the cover of the trees into the darkness of a moonless night; deer tiptoeing across the gullies - leaving their footprints in shallow, muddy pools; the porcupine curled up in the cosy den at the end of its long, convoluted tunnel deep underground; skinks and snakes slithering away at the slightest disturbance and monkeys shaking the leaves off a tree high above our heads. This comes with much patience. And leave the deodorant and perfume bottles at home! Sweat works better out in the jungle - if you really want to soak into the environment, wear 3day old sweat laden clothing. And you have to be extremely quiet. Silence brings about lots of surprises. Most of us are so familiar with the noises in the city 24-7, that the sudden awakening of silence can be deafening! On our last visit, we witnessed a green tree snake spring out from its hiding place to catch a fleeing tree frog. The action was caught in mid air and just as we thought that the snake was about to fall into our pot of boiling water, it skilfully recoiled into the leafy cover of the tree.
For those fascinated with frogs and toads, it is possible to ask the guide for a little after-dinner frog-spotting trip. Torchlight and a herpetologist's guidebook to reptiles in Peninsular Malaysia are essential and let's not forget that notebook. The eyes of frogs and toads reflect yellow, red and green on the shine of the torch. More commonly to be seen would be the Malayan giant frog (Rana blythi); straight-ridged toad (Bufo parvus) and the more ellusive; the tree frogs i.e. forest bush frog (Polypedates macrotis) and, Wallace's flying frog (Rhacophorus nigropalmatus) with exceptionally large webbed feet, ideal for parachute landings.
Campsite: Batu Hampar ~ moderate trek
Time: 4 hours from base camp
Batu Hampar is the place to rest before making an ascent to the Buaya Sangkut waterfall. Purely a stopover area with a derelict hut nearby, where there is a little shelter from the rain.
A little along the way from Batu Hampar roars Upeh Guling waterfall. Discover the natural swirl holes or nicknamed 'guling-guling' carved into the sides of the bank. It is believed that millions of years ago pebbles lodged in crevices of the bank created these holes. With the help of floods and river torrents, the continuous scouring action of the pebbles in these crevices carved holes, as wide as 2metres.
Waterfall: Buaya Sangkut ~ difficult trek
Time: 6 to 10 hours from base camp
The 2.2km signage at Batu Hampar should not be sniffed at. This is a tough, tough, tough 2 and 1/2 hour trek. The journey begins with a 1/2-hour meander through gentle grounds with large umbrella palms (Johannesteysmannia altifrons) fanning and shading the way. Then we reach the base of Bukit Segongong (765m). The climb has a 60-degree incline and this is maintained all the way. It can get slippery after a downpour so hang on to the ropes for support. Bring lots of drinking water and a bag of nuts for added energy.
All the trekking is made worthwhile upon reaching Buaya Sangkut. (Read about the Folklore of Buaya Sangkut). The fall is situated 300m above sea level on Sungai Jasin and is 40m high, 30m wide with about 80cu metres of water (about 17,000 gallons) pouring down every second. Millions of years ago, volcanic activity was believed to be high in the Endau-Rompin area. The movements of the land had probably caused the igneous rocks like granite to fracture due to the crushing action against each other. The faults and cracks crossing each other at 60-degree angles represent the facade of Buaya Sangkut .
At the top of the fall, where shallow water gently caresses flat sheets of rock, can be found transparent tadpoles with a red patch on its head complete with a single golden spot dressing its forehead. Along the river's edge and in quieter spots, translucent green prawns (Atyopsis moluccensis) of 2cm in length dart from under pebbles in search of food.
Endau Rompin's accommodation:
1. Kampung Peta. The park is at its early stages of building facilities for visitors. However, there are basic A-huts available at Kampung Peta's staging point. Running water and flushing toilets are available at the headquarters itself and a provision shop is opened during the day, which sells packets of noodles and snacks.
2. Kuala Jasin Basic A-huts and campsite available, toilet and piped water
3. Kuala Marong Basic thatched hut available and campsite
Getting ThereBy road
From Kuala Lumpur
Head South on the North-South highway for roughly 3 1/2 hours before detouring off at Ayer Hitam. From Ayer Hitam take the Kluang Jemaluang road (Route 50) and continue from there to a turn-off 7km east of Kahang town (Look for the Endau-Rompin national park sign partly hidden amongst 15other signs on the signboard). This turn-off will take you on a 56km rough terrain drive through palm-oil plantations and then onto old logging roads and boggy tracks before arriving at Kampung Peta, the park staging point. This will take 2hours.
Head north, detour at Ayer Hitam and then on to the Keluang Jemaluang road (Route 50). From there the directions are as the directions from Kuala Lumpur, please refer.
From Kuala Lumpur Sentral Train Station or from Singapore, there are daily train stops at Kluang.
For more information and fares, click to KTMB. http://www.ktmb.com.my/
click to kluang schedule . Kluang is one of Johor's main transportation junction. Buses are frequent from JB to Kluang. From here, grab a taxi to Kahang. Make prior arrangements with the tourism officer at endau rompin national park on transportation from Kahang into the park.
There are hourly buses from Puduraya Bus Terminal to Kluang Bus Terminal
There are no 2-way tickets for the buses. As there are many bus companies that pass by the Kluang Bus Terminal, it is best to purchase your ticket as soon as you arrive in Kluang
Best Time to Go
The park is open most of the year . The road going into the park can be extremely difficult to manouvre when it gets sloshy and muddy from the excessive rains and under the churning wheels of heavy logging trucks from nearby camps that use the roads. We advise, not during the monsoon season at the end of the year. Please check with the park before going in. Remember if you do go during the rainy season, use a 4WD - but that is still a risk to take.
If you book packages with us , we do not conduct trips to Endau from November till end January
Fees at the Park:
Guide per day:
RM 50.00 per day (1 guide per 10 visitors) Compulsory for all visitors.
Entry permit (can be paid at the park) for zone A:
Entry permit (can be paid at the park) for zone B:
Tent and camp per day per person:
Insurance per day per person:
RM 50.00 per unit
RM 1000.00 per day
RM 20.00 PER ROD. At designated area only.
For further information on the Park and permits, please enquire with
Johor National Park Endau-Rompin (PETA)
11, Jalan Bawal 1, Taman Kahang Baru, 86700 Kahang, Kluang.
Tel : +607-922 2812
Johor National ParkEndau-Rompin (SELAI)
8, Jalan Satria 1, Taman Berjaya, 86500 Bekok, Segamat
Tel : +607-922 2875
If this is too much of a bother, most visitors can opt to visit the park by taking organised tours.