Last week I visited Malaysia – to both Kuala Lumpur and Taman Negara, which is further up north. This will be my first blogpost about somewhere overseas! This trip was so exciting- I saw several insects, birds and animals that I have never seen in my life- and have only dreamed of seeing. I tried to take as many photos of whatever I saw, and this is my best effort in recreating the whole experience for you. But personally- this trip was something words and pictures cannot describe- only experiencing it can.
FRIM stands for the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia. Besides being a research institute it was recently opened to the public and is now a leading tourist attraction. Since we visited the park on Friday- the canopy walk and other attractions were closed so we decided to take a guide through the Keruing Trail. I thought it was a primary forest when we walked through- but our guide told us that the forest was actually planted for research and was started in 1929.
Our guide, Yan first led us to the pond near the entrance. On the bridge, he clapped loudly and told us too look out for something to appear from the water. After about 2 minutes, we saw a huge fish with black and yellow scales emerge from the water. This is a South American tropical freshwater fish known as arapaima (Arapaima gigas). It is one of the largest freshwater fish in the world and is found in the Amazon river.
The picture below is of the largest species of orchids found throughout South-East Asia, commonly known as the Tiger Orchid (Grammatophyllum speciosum) Sadly, the flowers were not in bloom!
These are ‘silicified’ wood that were originally logs buried and preserved in volcanic ash millions of years ago. Over time, water, silica(sand) and other minerals seeped into the wood and replaced it with these materials.
In the middle of the Keruing trail which was through a dense forest, Yan stopped us and made us smell the resin from the root of a tree. It smelt very familiar. Then, he told us the resin was from the trees around us, so we looked up and all of us gasped with amazement. It was a visual treat to see several Borneo camphor trees all forming a beautiful canopy. The phenomenon is known as “crown shyness”, and the crowns are like a jigsaw puzzle in the sky. The branches and leaves did not touch each other because they produce ethanol-which prevents them from touching each other.
Our guide, Yan explains this phenomenon well in the following video:
In the trail, we also spotted a beautiful blue damselfly (I’m not sure of the species):
Then I spotted a little butterfly under a leaf whose wing was slightly torn. We also saw another butterfly on the forest floor. Please let me know in the comments below if you know the species of either.
With that, we came to the end of the guided tour. Yan was such a cheerful, bubbly and knowledgeable person and handled the tour in a very interesting and fun way. Thanks to him we learnt so much along the trail!
After the guided walk. decided to explore a bit ourselves, so went to the wetland area- where we sat by the pond, admiring the view.
An Oriental Short- tailed Blue butterfly (Everes lacturnus) was near the pond:
As I looked up to admire the sky, I laughed when I saw the shape of this cloud. It was just like an airplane!
Be sure to check out my next few posts from my Malaysia trip – there are exciting things coming your way!