Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Travel: Endau-Rompin National Park, Johor

About the Park

Endau-Rompin National Park is the second designated national park in Peninsular Malaysia. It contains the one of world's oldest rainforests and the volcanic rocks there date back 240 million years. 

Its name is derived from the two rivers through the park which are the Endau river in the south in the state of Johor and the Rompin river in the state of Pahang in the north. It also has some unique flora and fauna, including the endangered Sumatran Rhino. It has some of Malaysia's best waterfalls namely Buaya Sangkut, Upeh Guling and Batu Hampar all within 2 hours trek of each other. 

The park is a gateway to one of the world’s oldest tropical rainforests which boasts of a dazzling variety of flora and fauna. The Endau Rompin National Park is a lowland dipterocarp rainforest with a myriad of endemic plants. It is well known for its indigenous fan palms known as Livistona Endauensis. These palms, found in abundance on the plateau of Janing Barat, have leaves resembling giant fans, hence they are so named.

Pitcher plants with their beautiful-looking sacs that are traps for unwary insects often fascinate visitors. Perhaps the most interesting is the presence of a species of crab, the red Geosesarma Malayanum among the pitchers. It is not certain whether the crab is there during dry periods to seek refuge or to feed on the trapped insects in the sacs. It is just one of the mysteries of nature found in this park. Woody climbing plants with their pleasant scent often freshen up tired trekkers though they also compound the mystery of the forest by instilling the fearsome belief of the presence of jungle spirits. Wild orchids that bloom in April / May, display their charm.

Next to the colony of fan palms in Janing Barat is the swampy heath forest. The Endau Rompin National Park is home to many endangered animal species, particularly the Sumatran rhinoceros, Asian elephants, tigers, tapirs, and Malaysian sun bears. A hike to Janing Barat is often rewarded with sightings of these animals, their footprints or nests.

Over 50 types of mammals, 230 species of birds, 43 species of fishes, 26 species of frogs, 14 species of snakes, 9 species of lizards, 3 species of turtles and 179 species of butterflies have been sighted and recorded within the Park. The birds found here are the woodpecker, raptor, owl, bulbul, babbler, kingfisher and even the hornbill. The Kelisa (schleropages formosus) attract many visitors especially during the months from August to October.

The Janing Barat plateau (about 450 metres above sea level) provides a good site for landscape photography. In fact, the famous Upeh Guling Waterfalls is hidden among the foliage of the forest.

Also you'll get a chance to meet the indigenous peoples of Peninsular Malaysia, known locally as Orang Asli. The major tribe that call the park home is the Jakun people. A proper trip to see all the major highlights of endau-Rompin National Park should take 3 days. Of course it's not hard to spend a week to get lost amidst the breathtaking rivers and forests. Unless you're an experienced jungle trekker, it's best to stick to the packages offered, the Johor National Parks Corporation organises the most reasonably priced ones.


The Orang Hulu (Indigenous people of Endau-Rompin) of the area tells a story of an old crocodile that lived in the pools above the waterfall. One day it floated downriver and got itself trapped between the boulders where its body formed the cascades of the fall. (buaya or crocodile, sangkut or trapped in English). 

Another less popular story but entertaining all the same tells of a family who lived by the banks of Sungai Jasin (Anak Jasin). The father dreamt of his son's death in the jaws of a crocodile that lived in the river. He took it as a warning and with that, moved his family upstream. 

The recurring dream drove the family further upstream pass the waterfall. True to the premonitions of these dreams, the crocodile had followed them. On climbing the fall, the croc lodged itself between the boulders and the father took this opportune moment to kill it. He made a drum from the leather of the crocodile and hung the drum high in the house. One day as the son was playing below the drum, it fell on him killing him instantly.


The weather is generally hot and humid all year round. Temperatures ranges between 25 and 33 degrees Celsius. Rainy season is between mid December to mid January. Most appropriate clothing for the jungle are loose-fitting cotton long-sleeved shirts and long pants to help keep insects at bay. 

Get in

There are 3 entrances to the Endau-Rompin National Park. You can either enter through Johor (East or West) or through Pahang. A different entrance would mean a different adventure as the Johor National Parks Corporation manages the Johor portion of the park while the area encompassed by Pahang comes under the Pahang National Parks Corporation.

We choose the Johor Endau Rompin East approach (Kampung Peta) because it is the more popular, time saving and easier approach. If you are driving, it's best to take a 4WD, as there are no tarred roads for the last 20km of the journey, only mud tracks. You need to inform the Johor National Parks Corporation at least a week prior to your departure. 

If you are coming from Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru or Singapore, use the National Highway and exit at Air Hitam. Turn right at the exit and drive on for another hour to Kluang. Whatever last minute supplies you need would be best bought here. From here drive another 40km along the route to Mersing and you'll reach Kahang, where the last petrol station before the Park can be found. About 3km from Kahang, turn at right at the park sign. 

The first 35km will be through oil palm plantations, a rather uneven and bumpy track in the beginning, followed by tarred roads and finally through a laterite track. Then the last 22km will run through uninhabited rainforest. This is a mud track with a lot of protruding rocks, potholes, and wooden bridges that don't allow room for mistakes. 

The Johor Endau Rompin West entrance is near the town of Bekok near Segamat. Here, due to the condition of the track, one can enter only by using 4WD vehicles. The third entrance (from Pahang) is reached from the town of Kuala Rompin. Drive along a paved road to Seladang, and then follow a 26km dirt track to the park boundary at Kuala Kinchin.


Endau Rompin East Entry from Kahang (Johore)

The Park Headquarters: The office is housed in a large and beautiful two level wooden structure. It has an excellent library with a collection of books, pictures and samples of plants and animals. One can easily spend half a day there. It has a superb suspension bridge, which spans about 100m over a pond. It also houses a few chalets, a dormitory, a canteen and the staff's houses.

The Information Gallery:  On the first floor of the Visitors Complex, is credited with a good collection: traditional herbs and medicines, trees, footprint moulds, skulls and bones. Samples of fruits, leaves, beetles, moths, frogs, cicadas, insects and beehives are well displayed. Models of Orang Asli’s houses, tables, boats, baskets, fishing and animal traps and other attractions are also found here. There are also various posters on Endau Rompin rainforest, fascinating river landscapes, biodiversity, ecosystem, migratory birds, and Malaysian reptiles, turtles, tortoises and primates. Pictures of common and rare birds and tree species are of great assistance to those who are on educational tours.

Visitors can also delve for information at the library located on the same floor. There is a wide and varied collection of references in flora such as roses, orchids, fruits, tropical trees and shrubs, poisonous trees, ferns and medicinal plants. The fauna include snakes, butterflies, amphibians and tropical fishes. There are also reference materials on zoology, minerals, marine life and environmental science, as well as magazines, encyclopedias and other information books in the library.

Flora and Fauna: The park has some wonderful plants and animals. Occasionally, a herd of elephants might just wander in the vicinity. While hiking, you will come across various plant life, one of that is a species of giant fan palm, Livistona endaunesis, which can only be found here.

The mini Flora Collection Park: Located in the centre of the Visitors Complex is planted with ferns, palms and traditional medicinal plants found in Endau Rompin. This gives visitors a quick glimpse of the various types of flora that are found in the National Park.

Encircling the Visitors’ Complex are four gardens (orchid, fern, palm and ginger), a jungle fowl centre and a water theme garden with several pools teeming with several species of fish. Water lilies and other aquatic plants indigenous to the Park are also grown in several pools. Located about 100 metres away are the ethnobotany park and the arboretum.

The Arboretum: Is home to many species of large trees. About 200 species of trees have been identified, these include meranti, minyak berok, kedondong and durian. Try to locate the huge durian tree that seems to rise to the sky.

Boat Ride to Kuala Jasin: The first portion of your trip starts with a 45-minute boat ride through very calm waters of Endau river to Kuala Jasin. You board the boat from the Orang Asli settlement of Kampung Peta. The Park HQ provides you with a guide who also doubles as your boatman. The water is clear and superb for drinking. Occasionally you'll see schools of fishes. For most, you'll see dense forests on both sides of the river.

Upeh Guling Waterfalls and the Volcanic Rocks: From Kuala Jasin, it's a one and a half hour trek to reach the first stop, which is at Kuala Marong. On the way, there are a couple of river crossings, one of which is truly exciting during high tide as you really have to hold on to the ropes lest you get carried away by the currents. At Kuala Marong, there is a campsite as well as a huge wooden shelter and toilets. From here, a short 15 minutes away is the Upeh Guling Waterfalls, with a series of whirlpools formed by ancient volcanic rocks – supposed to be the oldest existing landmarks in Malaysia at 240 million years old!

Upeh Guling is like a picturesque art gallery with perfectly sculptured rocks. The bathtub like sinkholes, for which Upeh Guling is famed are scoured out by rushing waters on the rock surfaces. Rock formations dating back 248 million years are found here. The rocks, bathed with an uninterrupted stream of cool water from waterfalls, are splendid spots for picnicking or relaxation, as the plunging water orchestrates continuous natural and soothing music. They are also a perfect subject for photography. 

A campsite, for day trip or overnight stay, located just beside the rocks, is equipped with benches, toilet and kitchen facilities and to top it all, there are tall matured trees around it. Relaxing under the shade of these trees while listening to the chirping of birds or insects or the whispering of the breeze, is certainly an unforgettable indulgence. The waterfall is rather wide and short but we saw at least 4 levels/cascades. Good place to get a free massage from the falling waters.

Tasik Air Biru (Blue-Water Lake): 15 minutes east of Upeh Guling is Tasik Air Biru, a freshwater lake that is very calm, too calm. The water looks blue due to reflection of sunlight on the white rounded rocks at the bed of the lake.

Buaya Sangkut Waterfall: The next journey is to Batu Hampar waterfall that can be reached 40 minutes of walking. A nice waterfall to cool down and take some well needed rest, as the ultimate physical test begins here. From here, you climb a steep Semanggong Hill, which is 2307 feet. Use the rattan rope to assist you in climbing the hill, as the gradient is around 45 degrees. After a backbreaking 3 hours, you will reach the awesome Buaya Sangkut waterfall. This tall and scenic waterfall is your ultimate destination at the Endau-Rompin Park. Your guide will probably tell you the legend behind this waterfall.

The Orang Asli Settlement: They live at Kampung Peta, 15 minutes walk from the Park HQ. They lead a very simple life, selling handicrafts and pretty much self-sustained through farming, raising livestock or hunting. Don't miss the animal traps demonstration and traditional games such as kercang and blow pipes that highlight the tour to their settlement.

The Ethnobotany Park: The ethnobotany park have a collection of over 90 species of traditional herbs with their names and their medicinal values written on tags beside them, including the much sought after Tongkat Ali and Kacip Fatimah.

The Nature Education and Reseach Centre (NERC): Located about 2km from the Visitors’ Complex was set up under the sponsorship of DANCED (Danish Cooperation for Environment & Development) to promote nature education and research. Reading materials on parks and recreation, environmental education, zoology and books on flora and fauna can be found in the library here.

Endau Rompin West Entry from Bekok (Johor)

The 4WD: This is a unique experience and the only means of reaching the chalet base camp at Lubok Tapah and the camping ground at Lubok Merekek. It is better to hire a local operator to bring you in as during the wet seasons the route is very challenging and treacherous.

Three Beautiful Waterfalls: As the waterfalls are not within easy reach, they have remained pristine and almost untouched.

Takah Pandan: has more than 50m of straight fall and is a spectacular sight. It is also the site for the water abseiling activity.

Takah Beringin: is harder to reach due to the terrain and almost not passable during the wet seasons. The scenery surrounding the waterfalls is mystical and enchanting.
Takah Tinggi is the largest of the three has easier access but a longer walk but easier walk. The base of the waterfalls has a large pool teaming with fishes. No fishing is allowed as the area is gazetted as a fish sanctuary.


Endau Rompin West - Entry from Bekok:

Orang Asli (Aborigines) Village
Rubber tube rafting
Night safari and Night Trekking
4 x4 off road adventure
Three beautiful waterfalls
Adventure Team Building
Water Abseiling
Jungle Survival Training
Hill Climbing at Gunong Tiong

Please take note that the rubber tube rafting, night safari & night trekking, 4 x 4 off road adventure, the three beautiful waterfalls namely Takah Tinggi, Takah Pandan and Takah Berangin , adventure team building, water abseiling and jungle survival training are referring to activities available at Endau Rompin Selai or Endau Rompin West (the entry point is from the town of Bekok) in West Johore.

Endau Rompin East - Entry from Kahang:

Orang Asli (Aborigines) Village
Water Rafting from Kuala Jasin
Fishing at Kampong Peta
Hill Climbing Janing Barat

Water Rafting


Handicraft Games: About the only thing on sale there for visitors is the Orang Asli made games from rattan called kercang. These kercang cost RM2.50 each and basically tests your IQ in getting a rope entangled between the rattan without breaking the bamboo. According to an article in The New Straits Times, the toy is used as an offering to the forest spirits (Orang Bunian) in the situation that they get lost.


There is only one restaurant in the Park's premises at Kampung Peta. Bring your own food and cooking utensils. The Park provides a free canteen that has a gas stove, piped water as well as some utensils, but these utensils are not well kept. If you are camping, bring a portable gas stove as you are not allowed to start a fire on the ground. You can also plan your own BBQ party here.

Petaling Chalet


You can stay at the chalet (RM80; max 2 persons) or at the dorm (RM20 per person) at the Park HQ. Both the chalet and dorm are comfortable. Of course, the only complaint is the mosquitoes, so you'd better bring your insect repellent along. 


The Park provides camping equipment (at RM20 per person) and your guide will help you set up camp. There are 2 popular campsites which are Kuala Marong and Batu Hampar.

Anyone interested with the Endau-Rompin National Park Nature Splendour Tour (3D4N),  kindly contact me @ 0129710785 or log on to Official FB page, Aliif Ya Event Management for more details.