What a better way to reconnect with our ancestors than to appreciate the treasures left by them – the rainforest. Estimated to age around 130 million years old, Malaysia’s rainforest is one of the richest and diverse tropical ecosystem in the world. It ranks 12th of the most mega diverse countries in the world and home to more than 15,000 species of vascular plants and 152,000 species of animal life.
Forest plays an important role in regulating climate and physical conditions, controlling water resources and ensuring environmental stability. As a natural source of renewable energy, tropical rainforests need to be planned, utilized and managed properly to maximize social, economic and environmental benefits. The use of forests as a recreational area in Malaysia has grown in recent years due to the nature of the forests such as the landscape, the diversity of flora and fauna and the presence of natural water sources. Forests provide some direct and indirect benefits to humans. These biodiversity features make it an attractive destination for tourists or visitors who enjoy the beauty of nature. For such reasons, it is well-suited that the Ulu Tampik Waterfall and its surrounding area is developed and maintained as one of the country’s new ecotourism products.
The Ulu Tampik Waterfall is located in Janda Baik, Bentong, Pahang, Malaysia, about 45-minute drives from Kuala Lumpur. This waterfall is a unique and interesting recreation area. This area is within the Bentong District Forest Reserve, Pahang. This waterfall is a place of relaxation for Janda Baik locals, as well as for the domestic and foreign visitors. In terms of topography, this area is within the Titiwangsa Range and hilly area, with an altitudes between 600 m and 800 m above sea level. The main physical component is the unique waterfall and the clarity of its water. The area is also home to many unique species of flora and fauna. On this trail, not less than 66 species of flora have been identified. Among them include Jering monyet (Archidendron clypearia), meranti bukit (Shorea platyclados), hujan panas (Croton argyratus), gaham badak (Blumeodendron tokbrai) and many more. Meanwhile, at least 34 species of fauna have also been identified that include southern pig-tailed macaque, dark-throated oriole, chestnut-naped forktail and many more.
Among the interesting activities here is the ‘Waterfall Trekking’. Nature lovers can indulge themselves in the clean and clear water besides watching the fishes swim around. For those of you who are really into trekking, do not forget to do this fun activity. In addition to the trekking activity, visitors can enjoy other activities hosted by local community here; including horse riding, BBQ, camping, ATV (All Terrain Vehichle), paintball, biking, picnic, archery, and fishing.
Due to the awareness and responsibility to preserve the local environment, the local community here established a society named Sahabat Alam Tampik Janda Baik. The society is particularly involved in activities related to the conservation and preservation of the Ulu Tampik Waterfall and its surrounding areas, as well as other community-based ecotourism related activities in Kg. Janda Baik. Since 2018, the group has constructed some initiatives to realize the establishment of the Ulu Tampik Waterfall and its surrounding area as a community-based ecotourism project, since preserving this natural resource is very important for the local communities. In addition, this project can assist local communities in improving their socioeconomic status, hence, improving their quality of life through sustainable use of the environment.
During the early establishment of Sahabat Alam Tampik Janda Baik society, they have received support from Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture through a project titled “Conservation and Consumption Goods & Nature-Based Recreation: A Community-Based Ecotourism Project In Malaysia”. This project is being carried out by the Sahabat Alam Tampik Janda Baik, assisted by the expertise from the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM). FRIM in collaboration with the Pahang Forestry Department, Pahang state government and the Forestry Department of Peninsular Malaysia (FDPM) in collaboration with local community groups through Majlis Pengurusan Komuniti Kampung Janda Baik, to implement the concept of joint management in managing the UTW. The project also received full support from Tourism Pahang and Local Authorities.
The Sahabat Alam Tampik Janda Baik acts as a mediator between the Pahang Forestry Department/State Government and the local communities in Kg. Janda Baik. The society also supports local community involvement in UTW conservation program. Members of the society are also actively involved in activities related to the preservation of the UTW environment and other natural environments in Kg. Janda Baik. Members of the society are also acts as spokespersons and representatives of the Pahang Forestry Department in providing support, awareness, promotion and publicity at the community level. The society regularly discusses the appropriate steps to take in enhancing community involvement in any UTW conservation activities/ programs, including guiding, advising, disseminating information to the relevant community/members.
Our hope is that the UTW will continue to attract visitors, domestically and internationally while each of us strive to practice to use the recreation site in a sustainable manner.
Development of UTW Trail
Local resident who built a new chalet called Latto Charok made a new trail from the chalet, connecting to the piping trail, to offer a nature trekking experience to his guests, hence form a recreation trail for visitors to climb up to UTW. The entrance to this area require permit from Bentong District Forest Office. Mouth to mouth promotions have been made by the visitors. Since then, visitors have been coming to UTW for recreational purposes.
Gazetted as Water Catchment Forest
28 February 2002 – Lentang FR was gazetted as water catchment forest.
Baseline Study Conducted
Baseline study was conducted by FRIM to study the potentials of community-based ecotourism project in UTW.
Establishment of Sababat Alam Tampik Janda Baik Society
30 June 2018 – Local community in Kg Janda Baik establish Sababat Alam Tampik Janda Baik Society to plan, execute, monitor and align ecotourism activities related to UTW.
Legalisation of Sababat Alam Tampik Janda Baik Society
15 March 2019 – Sababat Alam Tampik Janda Baik Society was legally registered through Registrar of Societies (ROS).