If you need a break from all things busy and digital then I may just have the fix for you.
How about visiting a place where the natural outdoors mixes nicely with a little bit of culture and history taught indoors?
It is also quiet, oh so nice and quiet and far enough away from the city hustle and bustle to relax. Chill bro!
Sound good? Then Sungai Menyala Eco-Edu Tourism Park is the place for you.
How do you get there?
Easy - hop onto the Seremban-Port Dickson Highway and follow the road until you reach the 4-way intersection with traffic lights. Turn left and drive about 2 km and you will see the entrance on your right. There is an archway above the entrance.
Every time I have visited the Eco park there has been a lot of monkeys on this road to Sungai Menyala devouring food from rubbish bags which they scavenged, so drive carefully, there are always baby monkeys.
On arrival there is a main building which houses a wonderful series of dioramas full of interesting information, all about the orang asli - there are also aboriginal crafts, clothes and artefacts - it is worth the visit alone just to see this, and even better it's FREE!
There is also another room with a lot of displays showcasing the variety of trees, seeds, leaves, cones and pods taken from the forest. It is hands on and so children can feel the timber grains and barks. The building also houses lecture rooms and accommodation for both large and small groups who come to research or team training activities.
After that you can take a walk in one of the last remaining coastal patches of West Coast lowland dipterocarp forest in Peninsular Malaysia,
What will you see in the forest?
Well, Sungai Menyala preserves some of the last remnants of lowland dipterocarp forest on the West Coastal plain of Peninsular Malaysia and is a regenerated forest, having being logged in the 1950's. It is just 4 or 5 kilometres from the ocean and the forest has similarities to that of Tanjung Tuan.
The forest is classified as Red Meranti-Keruing forest, based on the amount of timber trees belonging to the Red Meranti (red Shorea) and Keruing (Dipterocarpus) groups.
There are a few areas that are true virgin/primary rainforest with many of the areas monitored by FRIM (Forest Research Institute of Malaysia), some of which date back over 60 years.
There is one very large tree in Sungai Menyala though, a Jelutong (Dyera costulata). The tree appears to be about 45+ m tall, and has a bole/trunk diameter of 1.90 meters. According to the rangers, the tree’s diameter has increased to 1.90 m from 1.88 m when they last measured it. This tree is believed to be the biggest (known) Jelutong tree in the entire state of Negeri Sembilan, and therefore, one of the main attractions at Sungai Menyala.
There is a network of trails in the park but I could not locate a trail map in the office and there was nobody to ask about trails etc so I made my way around.
You wander down the main road, which is not wide, and you can see the network of trails inside the forest. One of these tracks takes you across a freshwater swamp area, which has a boardwalk over it full of thorny Kelubi ( Eleiodoxa conferta) palms, which is an example of how KL used to be like. It's a visual example of the phrase “impenetrable swamp.”
There are not a lot of animals in the forest but there are plenty of insects, including mosquitos and leeches so be prepared.
Take a good repellant and wear leech proof socks if you have some, especially if it is wet or rainy.
If you are there in the early morning at sunrise or afternoon around sunset you may be lucky enough to see flying foxes gliding from one tall tree to another, usually around the office, on their way to feed in the forest. It is truly delightful to watch.
There were rumours of plans to build a canopy walk which would be a bonus to view the foxes and birds close up.
So if you have a spare half day get on down to Port Dickson, you won't regret it.
Thanks to https://www.rainforestjournal.com for information. This is a great site for those interested in parks, reserves and forests in Malaysia. Check them out.