Bird's eye view of Royal Belum State Park dotted with hundreds of islands following the flooding of the rainforest during the construction of Temenggor Dam. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

GERIK (Sin Chew Daily) -- About four times the size of Singapore, a large part of Royal Belum State Park in northern Perak is formed by flooding during the construction of Temenggor Dam.

More than 300 million years old, the rainforest here is a pristine habitat for an incredible range of tropical flora and fauna.

Because of the flooding, the rainforest today is dotted with hundreds of islets that give the park a unique outlook.

Visitors must apply for permits before entering the park.

We boarded the boat from Pulau Banding jetty towards the park proper. Along the way, we were stopped by military guards and rangers asking to verify our documents.

The tight security has been put in place to prevent trafficking of invaluable forest resources from the park.

In addition, visitors to the park are not allowed to bring with them fishing nets, firearms and parangs, among other things.

The number of visitors allowed in the park is strictly controlled by the authorities. Our Sungai Tiang campsite can only accommodate up to 20 guests at one time, while the Sungai Papan campsite further upriver is even smaller.

Because of this, wherever you go, your boat will very likely be the only vessel plying in the myriad of waterways, with exotic flying birds and aquatic creatures your only companions.

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