Royal Belum – The Land Before Time

Malaysian Authorities work on opening-up the country’s oldest and largest state park to the public… little by little

14 OF THE WORLD’S MOST THREATENED MAMMALS; AMONG THEM THE MALAYSIAN TIGER, THE WHITE-HANDED GIBBON, ASIATIC ELEPHANT, MALAYSIAN SUNBEAR AND MALAYAN TAPIR STILL ROAM FREELY IN BELUM TEMENGGOR.

With Belum literally meaning “Land Before Time”, Royal Belum State Park is still one of Asia’s best kept nature secrets. It is part of Malaysia’s largest and oldest forest reserve – Belum Temenggor – in the northern part of the Malaysian Peninsula. Being contiguous with the smaller Bang Lang National Park and Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary in South Thailand, this makes the entire area one of Asia’s largest biodiversity basins.

Opening up the park to the public entails treading a fine line between ensuring the protection of the local environment, while enabling people from around the world to experience this unique place that gives a true sense of “nature in the raw”. This activity is being carefully piloted by the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority.

WORLD HERITAGE STATUS REQUESTED
While in 2012, the Malaysian Government declared Royal Belum State Park a “National Heritage Site”, the park has now been submitted as a potential UNESCO World Heritage site. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is to study the proposal which was tabled in 2017 by the Permanent Delegation of Malaysia to UNESCO, following which the IUCN will provide the World Heritage Committee with an evaluation for further action. Along with the Taman Negara National Park, Belum Temenggor is one of the oldest rainforests in world, dating back over 130 million years.

14 of the world’s most threatened mammals; among them the Malaysian Tiger, the white-handed Gibbon, Asiatic Elephant, Malaysian Sunbear and Malayan Tapir still roam freely in Belum Temenggor. 316 bird species are known here. It is unique through the fact that in particular it is possible to see, in certain periods of the year, all 10 of Malaysia’s magnificent hornbill species. The forest is home to over 3,000 species of flowering plants, including the iconic rafflesia, whose flowers are the largest in the plant kingdom.

ORANG ASLI
Semi-nomadic orang asli villages can be found today on some of the islands of Temenggor. These people still live in their traditional way in bamboo huts, hunting small mammals using blowpipes, fishing and gathering plants and honey from the forest. It is possible to visit a village if pre-organised through the local tour guide in advance.

STAND No. 754