Welcome to Endau Rompin, one of the oldest rainforests in the world* and only a couple of hours away from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. Not many folks know this but the rainforest over here in Johor is believed to be even older than the Amazon or the Congo. But the lack of publicity is proving to be a boon as this place is not as commercialised as Taman Negara nor as crowded. Join me as I journey from Singapore to Endau Rompin on a train!
*The rock formations date back some 248 million years
This waterfall is located at one of the mountain resort in Johor State of Malaysia. The waterfalls at Hutan Lipur Gunung Ledang are awesome & next drop after the 'pool' shown in the picture will be easily 150M height.
There is one gate next to the pool (on the right) will be the gateway for those who want to hike the mountain. Water will be quite scare at certain points between camp sites. Be sure to bring enough water or chlorine pills for the trip.
The Gunung Ledang has it legendary tale where King of Melaka is dying to marry the Princess of Gunung Ledang (Puteri Gunung Ledang) & almost given in for all the condition stated by princess. The king finally had to forgo the wedding plan because one of the conditions is to draw one bowl of the prince's blood. In the olden day, that simply means to kill the prince (his son).
Kluang is a mid size town in the center of Johor state.
We drove there and stay overnight to have an early start to Endau Rompin National Park. It was a 4WD and took us from Kluang through an oil palm plantation before reaching the gateway of the park.
Kluang is a great place to have a sumptious meal before you head for camping food as we did for a few days of lowland jungle trekking along the rivers and living in tents.
Muar is located close to Melaka. In Malay, "Muar" means river estuary.
In the past, when there was no bridge, there was a ferry that brought passengers and cars across the Muar River.
The town still has many prewar double storey terraced shoplots and worth a walkabout in town. Just a nice stop if you are driving from Melaka to Johor Bahru or Kukup along the coastal route.
Batu Pahat, at one time also called Bandar Penggaram, is located along the Straits of Melaka and halfway between the Johor Bahru and Melaka.
"Batu" means stone and "Pahat" means chisel in Malay. So the name of the town is said to be derived from a quarry nearby.
The town at one time was known as "Hatyai of the South" for infamous night entertainment.
We stopped at the local Glutton Square for supper, for a local famous Chinese style noodles.
On the old highway, it is fun to drive to Yong Peng. Suddenly the road become like a roller coaster, up and down and up and down following the hilly terrain.
Yong Peng has been a must-stop in Johor until the North South Highway was completed.
It is a pottery center where you can get factory price decor of statues or animals for your interior house or gardens. Flower pots come in all shapes, sizes and colors too.
Yong Peng also have several places selling fishballs to buy back or to eat.
If you go in the day time, take the roller blades with you or bring your kids to the playground, sundial and wading pool. If you're hungry, there's plenty to bite at the Bay Leaf foodcourt and International Restaurants... I personnally recommend the Italian Lazio.
If you are a sports enthusiast, there's watersports (jetski), extreme park and a radio car trek. Hot and sweaty? Cool down in the evening and let the live bands jazz you to the soothing local and international tunes.
By the way, ladies, there is shopping at the makeshift bazaars and the Festive Street Mall.
Maybe you should just buy one of the condominums by the bay and return every year :) After all, Danga Bay is also sometimes referred to as the Vision City of the South.
You "won't see" Puteri Gunung Ledang, but you will be surprise that most people in Malaysia knows the legend of Puteri Gunung Ledang.
In fact, my dad's house overlook the Gunung Ledang & I grew up so familiar with the mountain & its surroundings.
Gunung Ledang (a.k.a. Mount Ophir)
The park is now declared as National Park (since 2 years ago) and hunting, cutting of trees, burning of bushes is not allowed within the park.
JB is a busy city with everyone seemingly trying to get into Singapore or out of Singapore to Malaysia.
There is a nice coastal road overlooking Tebrau Straits across to Singapore. Going westward, you will pass by many majestic buildings on the hillside on your right including the Masjid Sultan Abu Bakar which was built in 1900.
JB is a major bus terminal to other parts of Malaysia like Kuantan, Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang as well as across to Singapore. It is Peninsular Malaysia's southern gateway and Johor State capital.
If you are down in JB u hafta go and have a look at this plantation i tell ya ... so much things you can learn ... do you know that we actually eat two type of pineapples? Josephine and also Honey type.... i didnt know that... and learn how they actually grow this fruits. amazing.
There are lots of activities for you and the kids at Kuala Rompin. Catamaran, kayaking, nature walk, beach volleyball, cycling, riding on the All-Terrain Vehicles, beach party or go for a swim at the pool. Yes, I managed to try them all. My kids had the time of their lives and can't wait to go back. Even my three year old son managed to have a go at some of those activities. What a nice adventure for a little boy.
Under my hotel and accomodation tips, I've talked about Summerset @ Rompin.
It is not that easy to find it, so I've left some driving tips here.
Taking the North-South Highway going south, exit Senawang toll, follow the signs and thru many traffic lights, to Kuala Pilah town, then onto highway 5 for signs to Bahau and Kuantan. Then highway 11 to Muadzam Shah, the University Tenaga town. Do not enter town. Continue on the same road and drive carefully because this is the tricky part. You need to keep left under the flyover, look for the Kuala Rompin sign, and make a right turn towards Kuala Rompin (using highway 2). At the T junction, there is a big sign to say Summerset Resort, turn left, and drive for about 2 km to the resort entrance.
While the first 1.5-2 hours of the drive is rather difficult and a bit complicated, the rest is a breeze because you shall be driving on very straight FELDA roads. Total journey from KL is about 3.5 to 4 hours.
Rayners rock at Pulau Aur is famous for whale shark sighting. I have dove here many times and hoping to spot one of this magnificent creature that is so huge and gentle at the same time.
I will not quit diving until I see whale shark underwater with my own eyes. Even after I see one myself, I will continue to dive as long as my body allowed. It’s like dream come true again and again kind of thing. ;-)
If you do get a chance to stay in Endau Rompin, don't miss out on the chance to interact with the local tribesman or the Orang Asli. They are effectively billingual in Malay and in their own native tongue which sounds strangely musical to the urban ear. They enthralled us with stories of the wild (Tigers! Tigers! Tigers!) and surprised us when they mentioned that there were many Orang Asli tribes in Malaysia. The ones in Johor belonged to the "Jakun" tribe and they were distinctly different from the others. They have their code of conduct of course and each a simple hand-woven bracelet to distinguish themselves from the other tribes. It was interesting to know that each tribe had a different weave! By the time the tribesman finished his tale, all of us wanted to be pseudo Jakuns and we persuaded him to weave a customised bracelet for us. He did, for Rm5.
Along the way from Singapore to Bekok via train, we by-passed the Keluang Railway Station and I couldn't help but think what muddybok, bkoon and imstress had been saying - there is a famous coffee shop there serves the best coffee, toasted bread “Roti Bakar” and half boiled eggs. But since my tour guide looked like the chappie who blew up the twin towers, I thought twice before jumping down the train to pack some toast. Sure good food was worth dying for but I was still young.Maybe the next time. In the meantime, I let my butt numb itself for 3 hours before I arrived in Bekok Town. The sign looked ancient, arrgh, could this be a foreboding of a dark adventure in Endau Rompin National park?
The place for the to die for Toast
Kluang, railway station cafe
For a full and delicious write up, see muddybok's, imstress or bkoon's Keluang page.
How to get to Kluang
Easiest way, via train from Singapore to Kluang. Your ticket will be less than Rm10
This is one of the best hotel in town. The rooms are comfortable, service is great and people are...more
My stay in this hotel for one night is really a nightmare. Horrible stay!! The room? Suck!! The...more
This is the only four-star hotel in Batu Pahat. Other than it's lovely facade, the hotel is also...more