Pahang's Jerantut is a local treasure waiting to be explored

Taman Negara is one of the best ecotourism and adventure attractions in Malaysia. — Photos: NORWANI NAZARI

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Recently, just before I “retired” from my position as an advisor for a recreational club at a university, I took the committee members on a trip to my hometown in Jerantut, Pahang.

Everyone was excited about the trip, especially since very little is known of Jerantut, although many are familiar with Taman Negara or the National Park. I considered it my duty to share all that I know of my hometown with visitors, as I do believe that anyone can serve as an ambassador for their own locale, offering unique insights and experiences.

Nestled in the heart of Peninsular Malaysia, Jerantut is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. From lush rainforests to cultural landmarks, Jerantut promises an unforgettable experience for travellers seeking an off-the-beaten-path destination.

On the first day of our trip, we made our way to Taman Negara and went river rafting. The water was calm at first, but things started to change as soon as we heard the sound of the rapids. We suddenly moved swiftly along the river, with water splashing us from every direction.

It was so chaotic and a little scary, but it was also exciting!

The next day we got up early for a spot of jungle trekking. Our venture led us along a trail where the symphony of exotic birdsongs and the rustle of leaves underfoot became our constant companions. Every step revealed a new discovery – from vibrant butterflies dancing in the sunlight to the occasional sightings of curious squirrels and other creatures. It was as if the forest itself was eager to share its secrets with us.

We also hiked up Bukit Teresek and tried the canopy walk. The walkway took us to a viewpoint where we had a panoramic vista of the vast rainforest below.

Lata Meraung Waterfall in Jerantut is a family-friendly spot. Lata Meraung Waterfall in Jerantut is a family-friendly spot.

In Jerantut, we went to a humble eatery and tried a few local dishes such as gulai masam ikan patin tempoyak, sambal hitam and gulai asam rong ikan jenahak. I thought these dishes represented Jerantut quite well – they were also very delicious.

Later, we made our way to the Lata Meraung Waterfall. As we gazed at the water, we couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty of nature. We dipped our feet into the crystal-clear, cool water of the pool. It was so refreshing, especially since it was such a hot day.

On our final day in Jerantut, we explored Lata Berembun, a true local treasure that’s seldom frequented by tourists. You need a permit to enter this place, and we applied for ours two weeks prior to our visit.

You also need a four-wheel drive or similar vehicle to get to the start of the hiking trail. The drive usually takes about 30 minutes, but due to an extended period of closure during the pandemic, the road was not as smooth when we were there. The hiking trail, too, was affected.

After an arduous three-hour hike navigating through areas affected by landslides and other natural causes, we finally reached the waterfall. We spent some time there, swimming and just relaxing.

After that we continued with the trail – the path led us deeper into the heart of the jungle, where the surroundings were different. The air grew cooler, and the harmonious sounds of cicadas served as a rhythmic accompaniment to our expedition.

It felt as though we were entering a clandestine realm, a sanctuary untouched by the chaos of the external world.

The views expressed are entirely the reader’s own.

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