Nature Escapes

Tasik Bera Swamp Ecosystem

"Explore Malaysia's Largest Wetland Wilderness"

Experience the open water odyssey of the Tasik Bera swamp ecosystem, a unique mixture of maze-like waterways, lowland jungle and wetland animals and a traditional Semelai community.

As one of only two (Tasik Chini the other) and the nation's largest freshwater lake, inflowing streams and thick swamplands make up the wetland's core area, 35 km long and 25 km wide with over 6,800 hectares of wetland habitats.

Unique habitats like freshwater and peat swamp forests, reedbeds, and islands of Pandanus (screwpines), surrounded by lowland forests, support interesting wild flora and fauna.

As a refuge for swamp animals and plants, these habitats harbour endangered mammals and fish, lots of turtles and some rare plants.

Inhabited by the Semelai for over 600 years, the lake's natural resources still provide forest products, fish and wild game for the community. Today they also cultivate rubber trees and oil palm crops, and produce handicrafts to gain additional income.

To safeguard these special habitats and species, Tasik Bera is now recognized as an important wetland site. The first wetland habitat in Malaysia to be declared a protected sanctuary under the international RAMSAR Convention.

Dugouts Forest River

Tasik Bera Swamp Ecosystem: Outdoor Action

Get out into the wetland wilderness and get a feel for living in the great outdoors.

You can ease into just about anything at Tasik Bera swamp ecosystem or do nothing at all:

  • Spend a day boating the maze of screwpine canals to observe and photograph pitcher plants, swamp scenes, wetland birds, big frogs and long snakes or anything that catches your eye.
  • Visit the Semelai village and practice handicraft arts and learn how they use the natural resources of the lake.
  • Take a guide and camp out to test your wilderness skills by tracking game, identifying other species and plants and living off the land.
  • Or just find a secluded spot and flex your fishing rod until you catch something for dinner.

Swamp Pitcher Plants Blowpipe

Choose An Outdoor Activity

Jungle Trekking Hit the lowland and peat swamp forest trails with a guide to observe wild animals and identify useful plants that surround the freshwater swamp.
Lake Cruises Take a motorized boat and ride all over the swamp to see its immense size and diverse habitats, but jump off at least once for a walk on a forest trail.
Birdwatching Plenty of species are found in the large expanse of the wetlands, like babblers, woodpeckers, kingfishers and even hornbills overhead, but be aware that some days seldom is seen.
Outdoor Photography Practice your nature photography skills on watery sunsets, lotus-filled swamps, dangling pitcher plants, perched birdlife, mirrored forests and just about anything in your viewfinder.
Ride a Dugout Canoe Made from tree trunks, the Semelai dugout or perahu jalur, glides on the lake surface and cuts easily through reed beds to allow traditional hunting of turtles and other wetland animals.
Jungle Camping Get back to the simple life and enjoy the daily grind of trekking, fishing, cooking and eating, and sleep with the rhythm of nature sounds.
Fishing Stay nearby the lake shoreline or head out to a special reed-filled inlet to find that elusive whopper or at least a few good ones to keep.
Semelai Village Visit the village to observe how the lake people use leaves to weave baskets and mats, harvest forest produce or hunt small mammals in making use of the natural resources of the swamps.

Tasik Bera Swamp Ecosystem: A Wild Sanctuary

Exploring the jungles and swamps of Tasik Bera gives you a chance to see its rich biodiversity.

As a riverine swamp its a unique landscape to soak in. With nearly 100 fish species and over 230 birds, anglers and birders have plenty to hook or look forward to.

Swamp forests and lowland forests harbour large mammals such as tigers and tapirs, and even Asian elephants. Ten different turtle species, including the Striped Giant Soft-shelled turtle, find shelter in the lake ecosystems.

Endangered species, such as the prized Arowana fish, and extremely rare species, like the ancient Malayan false gharial - from the crocodile family with a narrow long snout for catching fish.

Protecting habitats of endemic or vulnerable animals like the dusky leaf monkey, Malaysian peacock pheasant, and Lesser Adjutant stork keep populations strong. The Semelai hunt or collect mouse deer, wild pigs, pythons, monitor lizards, frogs and turtles for both food and commerce.

The natural bounty of the swamp ecosystem exhibits the importance of the rainforest food web to support diverse wild animals amid these wetland and jungle habitats.

Aquatic Ecosystem Swamp Tasik Bera

Tasik Bera Swamp Ecosystem: General Information

The Semelai community established SABOT (Semelai Association for BOat and Tourism) to organize their tourism efforts and share the benefits with the community.

As one of the few examples of ecotourism in Malaysia, we encourage you to partake of the services offered by this indigenous group to keep wild places and local economies viable.

Tel: 013 286 5367 (call between 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm Malaysian time)

Jungle Camps Campsites in the jungle or near the swamp offer simple facilities and close encounters with wild habitats.
Traditional House Near the main settlement, a house built for tourist offers insights into local living. Made with natural materials with no running water or electricity, only kerosene lamps, and outdoor toilets.
Homestays Experience the everyday life of a Semelai and be part of the family for a few days.
Camping Bring your own tent and sleep next to the lake, with bathroom facilities nearby.

Other Accommodations

  • Persona Lake Resort: Tel. 609-276 2505
  • Rooms and chalets with air-con and showers; dormitories with fan and attached bathroom.
  • Hut and tent camping available (50 max)

Getting There

There are several ways to get to Tasik Bera swamp ecosystem. The first time can be confusing, so allow an extra hour to reach the right locale.

North Access to Lake (Visitors' Centre and Persona Resort)

  • Follow the East Coast Expressway to Kuantan and exit at Temerloh.
  • Or follow the old Karak Highway (Route 2) to Temerloh and then head south to Triang (Route 10).
  • Look for signboards pointing the way to Tasik Bera outside of Temerloh and heading to Bera town.
  • Before Triang at the Kerayong Junction head east to the north side of the lake with a resort, jetties and tourism complexes at Tg. Kuin.

South Access to Lake (Pos Iskandar and SABOT)

  • Follow the North-South Highway south to Johor and exit at Senawang. Follow directions to Kuala Pilah and Batu Kikir towns.
  • After Batu Kikr the road reaches a T-junction with signboards to Muadzam Shah. Turn right and travel east a good distance until you see a signboard.
  • Turn left at the next junction and follow the road through the Tembagau oil palm plantations.
  • Look for another Pos Iskandar (Semelai Ecotourism site) sign and turn right to reach Pos Iskandar at the end of the road.

Things to Bring

  • Good trekking shoes and sandals
  • Swimwear and towels/li>
  • Torchlight and water bottles
  • Rain gear or protective covering
  • Hat or cap and sun lotion
  • Insect repellent
  • Toiletries and medicines
  • Cameras and binoculars
  • Extra snacks for the trail
  • Public transport from Temerloh available

When To Go

Travel to Tasik Bera is suitable any time of the year.

  • Wet seasons: April to May, and September to January
  • Dry seasons: February and April, and June to August

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