An ecotourism gem by Orang Asli

Scenic views: One unique point about Pos Kuala Mu is the fact that it is located along the downstream banks of Sungai Mu.

KUALA LUMPUR: Nature lovers are always on the lookout for a haven in the heart of a tropical rainforest where the air is cool and fresh, the environment is tranquil and the surroundings boast greenery with pristine rivers.

There are many ecotourism gems in the country that are just waiting to be discovered.

On the bucket list of those seeking the solace of nature – especially post-movement control order – is Pos Kuala Mu in Sungai Siput, Perak.

Situated on elevated terrain in the Titiwangsa mountain range, Pos Kuala Mu is well preserved by the Orang Asli community from the Temiar tribe.

The journey from Kuala Lumpur takes nearly four hours and another two hours from Sungai Siput town, although there may be challenges from a rocky and slippery road if there is rain as one treks uphill to the village.

One unique point about Pos Kuala Mu is the fact that it is located along the downstream banks of Sungai Mu.

Located about 600m to 700m above sea level, Pos Kuala Mu houses three other chalet villages namely Kampung Bersah, Gapeh and Dusun, which have been operating since 2017.

At Kampung Dusun, there are about 20 chalets including Orang Asli-designed pondok (wooden huts) for visitors.

With their simple yet unique architecture, the chalets are entirely developed from forest resources.

According to Kampung Dusun chalet manager Jalizam Azwan, 32, the chalets and pondok are built with bamboo and bertam leaves from the forest nearby.

Each chalet and pondok can last up to three or four years and will be demolished after a certain period to make way for a new unit.

Jalizam, who was born and bred in Kampung Dusun, said it takes only one to three weeks to build a chalet or pondok, depending on the size, and this was done by villagers from the Temiar ethnic group.

“There is a difference between chalet and pondok ... chalets are closed such as for the room, and for this service, we provide beds and pillows for visitors spending the night here; while the pondok is more open. Most visitors such as riders in motorbike convoys prefer the pondok to break their journey.

“Some visitors rent our pondok and later fix their tent on top of it if they choose to spend the night here to enjoy the magical scenery of the rainforest and rivers,” he said, adding that the price is RM80 to RM150 a night.

According to Jalizam, ecotourism activities in the village have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, with the reopening of the economic sectors last year, the ecotourism sector in this village saw a rebound with tourist figures doubling that of previous years.

With Malaysia’s transition to the endemic phase from April 1, 2022, this place has been abuzz with activities, drawing visitors especially fishing enthusiasts and campers.

“During that time, this place became very popular especially after someone shared information about Pos Kuala Mu in a video uploaded on Facebook and YouTube that went viral, and from there, visitors kept pouring in till today,” said Jalizam.

A visitor named Lee said he discovered Pos Kuala Mu as an ecotourism centre after watching several photos uploaded by his friend on social media.

Lee, who hails from Butterworth, Penang, said he was drawn to the pictures showing the scenic landscape of Pos Kuala Mu, and he put it on his list of places to visit.

“After the government relaxed interstate travel restrictions, I gathered more information on this village after browsing through the photos shared by a friend who came for a camping trip here.

“I later decided to come here with my wife. We stayed at a Kampung Dusun chalet as this is a suitable location for setting up tents. The best part is that it is only a few steps from the river,” he added. — Bernama

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