Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Revel in the pristine wilderness of Ulu Muda, Kedah

Malaysia’s many rainforest terrains host treasures untold and once such gem, is the Ulu Muda forest reserve located in the remote, northeastern corner of the state of Kedah near the Thai border. This pristine ancient rainforest covered land teems with much exotic, native flora and fauna and hosts a man-made lake, the Tasik Muda, along with an eco resort cum research center, the Earth Lodge Field Research center.
Getting to the Ulu Muda reserve is quite arduous, as the only way to access this verdant enclave is via a two-hour boat ride from the small town of Gubir located 75 km to the east of the city Alor Star. Ulu Muda maybe difficult to access but if you are a nature-lover, who is desirous of having a reasonable chance to view of some of Malaysia’s famed native wildlife specimens, like tapirs, elephants, deer, gibbons, beavers, otters and the rarer but still evident sun bears, Sumatran rhinoceroses, and Malayan tigers, then taking the time and effort to plan a trip to the Ulu Muda forest reserve, is definitely recommended.

However, this rather isolated corner of northwest peninsular Malaysia, is best visited during its annual dry season from March to July, for from August to December it typically receives much rainfall and its countless resident critters like leeches, beetles and numerous insects and reptiles, make traipsing in the jungle environs a rather uncomfortable affair.
It must also be mentioned that the accommodations at the Earth lodge though adequate are far from luxurious. The resort, which features a cluster of stilt houses, has been constructed with a deliberate rustic ethos, in an effort to be in harmony with and cause minimum disturbance to the pristine environment. So if you enjoy camping and other adventure pursuits, you are bound feel right at home at this eco-friendly lodge, powered by solar panels and supplied by the waters of a stream. Hiking tracks radiating from the lodge lead to limestone caves, wildlife abodes and hot springs, the latter known to be frequented by animals like elephants.

If you truly want to experience this remote wilderness, do plan your excursion at the earliest, for this 160,000 hectares long stretch of primary and secondary forest, is unfortunately being threatened by logging activities. In fact this logging activity is currently so intense that the resultant soil erosion has been known to turn the waters of the Sungai Muda muddy or in the words of resident conservationist, ‘the color of milk tea’ or ‘teh tarik’, Malaysia’s favored beverage of choice.


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