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Cycling To Tasik Bera
Pahang is the third largest state in Malaysia after Sarawak and Sabah, making it the largest in Peninsular Malaysia. While cycling lengths did not come unexpected, the breadth of nature and depth of culture and history did not disappoint.
An old story resurrected as we dug for roots and explored Pahang in its sweeping waters. Old folks could probably take you to the once upon a time of its name, further beyond the legend of the large ‘mahang’ tree that fell across the river. But in this adventure, we unearthed the splendor of Sungai Pahang through our tinier explorations.
While calculations may distract you, say the 459km length of the Pahang River, the longest river on Peninsula Malaysia, which spans from where Jelai and Tembeling rivers meet on the Titiwangsa Mountains and flows into the South China Sea, there’s something more interesting than the obvious.
We began rolling (and roasting) under the hot sun, for over 7km, to 1. Bera Waterfront. The teasing sun was shining on the great expanse of the river, while we stood on the side admiring its calm demeanor. It was only the beginning, yet the sun seemed to melt the calories we packed our tummies with–it’s chow time!
We would not end the trip without trying the most prized freshwater fish, 2. Ikan Patin (silver catfish), of Pahang, even better since we had it early through the trip. Definitely the best way to keep our energy levels high! The locals served us with home-cooked dishes on a long table, overlooking both Sungai Triang and Sungai Pahang, just beside the Piat fishery.
Patin Masak Tempoyak
On the spread was the 3. Patin Pais as the main dish, cooked with tempoyak (durian paste). The state is known for both durian and Patin fish, so this flavorful dish took us through the real taste of its culture. Many Malay households keep tempoyak in big bottles for cooking and selling in smaller amounts at Sunday markets. There’s also the 4. Patin Masak Tempoyak, which was just as delicious!
We didn’t leave the fishery, without seeing with our own eyes the star on the table. We put on our vests and hopped aboard the boat to get close to the 5. Sangkar (fish cage). It’s a floating wooden platform built by the local fishermen to breed the fish in the river. Not only close, we went on feeding the fish! They made splashes on our bodies and faces, about 1,500 of them in one Sangkar, whenever we broadcast the feed one scoop at a time. Harvesting time is every six months.
When splash time’s done, accidentally cooling our bodies a bit, we hopped back on our saddles to continue the journey.
Kampung Bukit Gemuruh
After around 13km of riding through wide to narrow and even narrower roads—rubber, papaya and palm oil plantations sidelining the route—we passed along 6. Kampung Bukit Gemuruh, asked permission from the Tok Batin, the village head, and talked for a bit with a few members of the Semelai ethnic tribe residing there.
Tasik Bera Visitor Centre
Riding through sights of greenery and local neighborhood, while taking shade under the loyal queue of various species of trees made the grind easier. Especially, when we on and on, until we finally reached 7. Tasik Bera Visitor Centre.
Tasik Bera is Malaysia’s first Ramsar site (first protected freshwater wetland). After this declaration, this gave the area some level of international protection. Shallow, seasonal, this riverine lake system drains into the Pahang River to the north. With the participation of local indigenous communities, the area is being well managed.
Mini-museum of Tasik Bera
The Semelai tribe, for over 600 years, have lived in the forest at Tasik Bera, and about half of their population still do. We came to find out more about their life and community in the 8. mini-museum set up inside the center. A documentary was also played showing the Semelai marriage customs.
Lake exploration by boat
After enriching our knowledge in that short trip around, we walked ahead to the 9. Jetty to start our 10. lake exploration by boat. Walking to the far end of the jetty alone was a mystery folding under the faint sunset. Looking from the walkway, then down the staircase to the wooden platform, we found father and son waiting for the fish to bite the lure on their slack lines.
Our tired legs were relieved upon settling our bums on the wood planks of the small boat. Ready to discover a new world, we began. We were led by the local boatman as he navigated us through the maze of Lake Bera, outlined by thick stands of Pandanus helicopus, through slender waterways and isolated bays.
In the middle of the lake journey, he turned off the engine, and there we were, sitting at peace with nature, breathing in life in its purest energy.
This two-wheel journey to Tasik Bera racked up 55.78km in total. It’s best to boost your endurance on the bike to ride this long distance with ease. Take the challenge of the adventure that teases your riding with elevations especially when nearing the lake.
Cycling is every bit about experience and getting in one with nature. In this tiny expedition through the culture of Pahang, we’ve seen a delightful picture of diversity in harmony.
Cycling Route - Cycling To Tasik Bera
This cycling tour package is provided by: Suria Excellence Travel & Tours
Bandar Bera. Tel: +609 250 6880