Ben van Wijnen
Tasik Chini (Lake Chini) is located some 100 kilometres from
Kuantan. The lake is a string of several connected lakes. A legend
tells us, that a sea serpent inhabits one of the lakes called Laut
Tasik Chini is also believed to be the site of a sunken Kmer city
and many archaeologists have mounted expeditions to locate it.
Fishing , camping, jungle trekking, boating and visiting Orang Asli
villages are the main activities here.
best time to visit Tasik Chini is from June till September when large
areas of the lake are covered with a carpet of pink and white lotus flowers.
|Access to Tasik Chini is via Kampung
Belimbing and then by boat along the Chini River, or (the
best) by road to the town of Chini and then through an oil
palm estate to the lake.
Many hotels in Kuantan organise day trips to Tasik Chini.
The lake is lying
majestically among 12,000 acres of lush tropical wilderness,
Tasik Chini provides such beauty that it is possible to walk
for miles without feeling bored.
The size of the lake itself is subjective to regular periods
of expansion and contractions.
It is at its largest size during the monsoon months, which
falls from October to January. Virtually
undisturbed for centuries, Tasik Chini itself is a habitat
for over 144 species of fishes.
Sungei Chini (Chini River)
Earnest bird watchers will be happy to know that over 200
species of birds were recorded.
Chini is a premier bird watching destination in Peninsula
Malaysia. There are three bird watching trails, which go
through different habitats. During the months of October to
March, migratory birds come to Chini from the northern parts
of Asia to escape the winter.
If you could get lucky you could spot wildlife as the
surrounding forests still support tigers, tapirs and
elephants, all endangered species.
Other wildlife known to exist in the forests around Lake
Chini include the clouded leopard, wild boars, mouse-deer.
The Chini River (pcture on the left) is the only river
draining into the Pahang River from the lake. If you're
planning to make a boat trip up the river, make sure to tell
your boatman not to speed. That's the only way to take in
what the jungle has to offer.
At the mouth of this 4.8km river, is a dam built to retain
and maintain the water level in the lake. The local
authorities dammed up the Chini River in 1995.
The lake water used to rise and fall with the seasons.
During rainy seasons, water would gush down from Datang
River in the Northwest, Gumum River in the Northeast,
Perupok River in the West and Melai River in the South and
all the excess water would converge down Chini River and
gently filter out into the Pahang River.
There's also a resort at Lake Chini.
The Lake Chini Resort is a favourite haunt for fishing enthusiasts
and at times, corporate team building trips. But this Resort is not
for the fainthearted... just be sure to bring a pair of rubber
slippers, a bottle of dettol or bleach, your own toilet roll and
towels, and lower your expectations.
Lotus Flower on the lake
There are several myths about Tasik Chini.
One of these goes like this:
One day whilst they were out cultivating land, an old woman appeared.
She proclaimed that the piece of land was hers and that the men were
trespassing. In claiming her rights to the land, the old woman
planted her walking stick into the ground and warned the men never
to remove it. Humbly, they apologised and the woman allowed them to
continue their work there. Some time later, the dogs started to bark
furiously at a decaying log not far away from the area.
One of the men went off to investigate the commotion. He
hurled his stick at the log and to his surprise, the log started to
He called to his fellowmen and they too hurled their sticks at the
log. The startled men stood rooted to the ground as bright red blood
gushed out from the log. Shadows fell on them as they watched.
The sky above darkened. Bolts of lightning stabbed the earth;
thunders deafened the sounds of terrified screams of the men as they
fled the area. In their confusion, one of the men knocked over the
old woman's walking stick. In doing so a fountain of water shot high
into the sky and quickly filled the area. The water gushed for many
years, forming the lakes that we see now which has become the home
of the mystical dragon called Naga Seri Gumum, the spirit of the log.
Ben van Wijnen