Kenyir Lake also affectionately known to the locals as Tasik Kenyir is an artificial lake located in Hulu Terengganu in the state of Terengganu. The man-made lake was created between 1978 and 1985 by the damming of the Kenyir River to provide water to the Sultan Mahmud Power Station and also to stop the yearly flooding. Spanning an area of 260,000 hectares, Kenyir Lake is believed to be the biggest lake in Malaysia and in South East Asia.
As the lake borders between Kelantan and Pahang, Kenyir Lake also serves as another gateway to get to Taman Negara, the national park Of Malaysia. Due to the fact that Kenyir Lake is a reservoir, the water level can vary depending on different months. The highest water level is said to be in the months of March and April where the lake is most beautiful hence it is the best time to visit.
Kenyir Lake is also the home to many different species of exotic wildlife and freshwater fishes. The lake is a natural haven for freshwater fishes because it has a water catchment area of 38,000 hectares. According to a recent study conducted by Department of Fisheries, it was revealed there are more than 300 different species of freshwater fishing dwelling in Kenyir Lake and the presence of dead trees surrounding the lake also serves as an ideal breeding spot for these freshwater fishes. Among some of the species of freshwater fishes are Malaysian Mahseer, Barboides, Snakehead, Friendly Barb, Green Arowana and Giant Gouramy. The surrounding tropical rainforest around Kenyir Lake is the home to some of the endangered animals such as Malaysian Tigers and Asian Elephant and exotic animals such as hornbills and panthers. More than 8,000 different species of flowers, 2,500 species of trees and plants, 800 species of orchids and 300 species of fungus can also be found in this rainforest.
What to Do At Kenyir Lake
Kenyir Lake serves as a popular retreat for nature lovers as the lake is surrounded by lush tropical rainforest. The lake is a popular spot for boating, canoeing, jungle trekking, hiking, 4WD driving, boating, kayaking, rafting, rapids shooting and golfing. As the lake is the home to hundreds of species of freshwater fishes, it is also an angler’s haven. There are at least 25 different species of freshwater fishes that will give anglers a challenge and one of them is the Toman, the snakehead fish.
For waterfall lovers, there are certainly no shortages of beautiful looking waterfalls for you to admire at. You can easily enjoy a slow boat tour to some of the most accessible waterfalls such as Saok, Tembat and Lasir. Swimming in some of these waterfalls is also permitted. You can also try out cave exploring if you are on the more adventurous side. There are stunning caves found throughout the place but you must sign up for a guided tour. The two most popular caves in Kenyir Lake are known as Bewah and Taat. Taat is the home to countless of bats and tiger-spiders and contain some of the geological marvels like dazzling stalactites. Whereas it is not possible to explore Taat during rainy seasons, Bewah cave is opened throughout the year and it the home to the 160,000 years old Bewah Man who is revealed to the oldest skeleton that was ever discovered in Malaysia.
If you are not into water sports, waterfall and hiking, you can visit the Elephant Sanctuary at Sungai Ketiar. Visitors can feed the elephants there and occasionally elephant rides will be offered at around 4PM if you are lucky enough. The Elephant Sanctuary is opened daily from 9AM to 6PM and transportation to Elephant Sanctuary from Kenyir Lake can be easily arranged by most of the Kenyir Lake accommodations.
Below is the list of entry fees to get into Kenyir Lake and you have to pay these fees at Gawai Jetty HQ.
- Normal Entry – RM1
- Camera – RM5
- Fishing – RM10
- Camping – RM1
Additionally, if you plan to go into Taman Negara National Park, you will need an additional permit from the Wildlife office located at Kuala Berang or the National Park entry point located at Tanjung Mentong.
Accommodation options at Kenyir Lake vary from 3-star resorts, 5-star resorts, chalets, floating resorts or houseboats where you will be provided with rooms and meals. Some of the famous hotels and resorts are Kenyir Lake Plus, Lake Kenyir Resort & Spa, Petang Island Resort, Kenyir Lake Land Resort, Tanjung Mentong Resort and Kenyir Sanctuary Resort.
Checklist of Items to Bring
There are no supermarkets at Kenyir Lake and the area only has small shops with basic necessities. Here are some of the items that you need to bring to Kenyir Lake:
- First aid medical travel kit and medicine
- Tripod for your camera if you plan to take pictures under low lighting conditions
- Sunscreen lotion
- Mosquito repellent
- Raincoat, umbrella or poncho
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Fishing rod if you plan to fish
How to Get To Kenyir Lake
You can either go there by car, bus or fly into Sultan Mahmud Airport in Kuala Terengganu and then get a taxi straight to Kenyir Lake. The other way is to use a boat. There are a few boat operators stationed at the Gawi Jetty who can take you using their double decked houseboats or fibreglass houseboats. It is important and advisable to make advanced bookings and some of the travel agencies offer this in their packages. Most people will opt for the boat ride because it offers tranquil scenery and atmosphere of the lake.