Monday, 10 December 2012

The Houseboats of Kenyir

Situated about 60 kilometres to the west of Kuala Terengganu is Kenyir Lake. With the size that covers 209,199 hectares and contains 340 small islands, 25 waterfalls and numerous rapids and rivers, Kenyir Lake is the biggest lake in Southeast Asia. Part of Kenyir Lake is also within the boundary of Taman Negara (National Park), home to the world’s oldest jungle believed to be 130 million years old!

The Gawi Jetty, one of the two jetties at Lake Kenyir
The lake is a popular tourist destination for her beautiful scenario of lush tropical forest and its invaluable species of flora and fauna. It is believed that the area is the habitat of more than 8000 species of flowers, 2500 species of plants and trees, 8000 species of orchids, 370 species of birds and more than 250 species of fresh water fish that complements Kenyir Lake’s total eco-system. The Kenyir Lake creates and provides many amenities for total relaxation and enjoyment in a unique environment. However, the best way to explore Kenyir Lake is by ‘houseboating’, which I experienced recently during my visit organised by Tourism Malaysia Terengganu.

Our Houseboat for the night.

The houseboats, with their amenities such as Satellite TV, karaoke, kitchen and bathrooms, will take you to island hopping excursions to most of the islands. Among the places of interest on the islands are Lasir Waterfalls, located 16 km to the south of Gawi Jetty. Lasir Waterfalls is spectacular in their rush down five rapids. A large camping area and a jungle trekking trail up to its summit further enhances Lasir's attraction. You can also do kayaking over there, right up to its falling waters. At night, if you choose not to sleep in the boat, just bring your blanket and pillows or hammocks and pick a spot in the little huts at the jetty where the boats are anchored. In the morning, you will wake up with bird singing from the jungle and perhaps the fish in the lake has eaten the baits that you cast the night before.
Fishing is one activity that nobody should miss once in a houseboat. Fishing rods are provided for those who doesn’t bring along theirs. Hundreds of species of freshwater fishes are found in Lake Kenyir, such as Kelab, Toman, Sobarau, Kelisa, Lampam and many others. There are at least 25 commonly found species of fish for the hard core anglers. Toman (snakehead fish) will almost always give a hard time to anglers. Alternatively, anglers might want to go to the estuaries, which are the better places for fishing. The catch of the day can be grilled on the barbeque grills on the houseboats or on dry land, where the boats are anchored.

A bountiful catch of Lampam.

Other places that appeal to visitors in Kenyir Lake are the caves such as Tok Bidan, Taat and Bewah Caves. Among these, Tok Bidan is submerged under water. Cavers will have a delightful time exploring the Bewah Cave and the Taat Cave situated at Pulau Bewah. Bewah Cave is known for the many artifacts. Neolithic axes, flints, human skeleton of some 3000 years and wall paintings are found in Taat cave which can be explored when water level is at its lowest.

Enjoying the cool dips at Lasir waterfall

For the less adventurous or for those who just want to get a de-stress, then you can just laze around the chalets and gaze at the distant speeding boats and listen to the choo-choo sound of the boathouses passing by. It is still a great way to enjoy the natural and tranquil Kenyir Lake.

For more information on Kenyir Lake, please visit:

Tourism Malaysia Terengganu
11, Ground & First Floor,
Pusat Niaga Paya Keladi,
Jalan Kampung Daik,
20000 Kuala Terengganu,
Terengganu, MALAYSIA.
Tel: +609-630 9433/9093
Fax: +609-630 9091


  1. very interesting blog entry. I have been to many beautiful places in Malaysia but houseboating in Kenyir is definitely going to be a whole new experience for me and my family. A must in my list of next 'places to visit'! Tq - Johan (Singapore)

  2. Okay, i missed my chance in that boat house! argh!! haha!
    Nvm, will definitely try it someday..
    Really envy that catch.. its been a while since the last time i went fishing..

    1. Haq: It was not my catch. I didnt get any :)

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