Fishes Activities The Semalai Homestay
Accommodation Getting There
Bera Lake (Tasik Bera in
Malay) is the largest natural freshwater swamp lake system in
Peninsula Malaysia. Located in southwest Pahang, it remains both a
unique and remote wetland wilderness.
Extending 35 km long and 20 km wide, and surrounded by a patchwork
of dry lowland dipterocarp forests, the islands of peat swamp
forests which supports a diversity of animal and plant life, and
sustains the livelihood of the 'Semelai' branch of the Orang Asli
people inhabiting the wetlands.
Bera is characterised by a watery landscape dominated by large
grass-like blades of pandunas leaves which line the narrow channels.
A variety of ferns, orchids and epiphytes can be seen attached to
tree trunks while thorny rattan weave through the undergrowth. Among
the fields of metre high reeds and rows of dense foliage found in
the open water, dozens of pitcher plants hang in shades of green and
red, In the drier areas, lowland rainforest trees and palms add to
the diversity of the wetland reserve. Tasek Bera is an ecosystem
which supports not only a diversity of animal and plant life, but
sustains the livelihood of the Semelai the aboriginal people
inhabiting the wetlands.
Tasek Bera has distinct wet and dry seasons which may determine the
best time to visit. The wet months are from April to May and from
September to January; while the dry periods are from February to
April and June to August. Note however that some sections of the
forest trails may not be accessible during the wet months.
Tasek Bera is a sanctuary for more than 200 bird species, 50 mammals
and 94 fish species. It is also a habitat providing food and shelter
for bird life, including kingfishes, hawks , herons, but overall,
water-birds are strangely scarce. Though very difficult to see in
the wild, the extended wetland area and its surrounding forests
still support tigers, tapirs and elephants. It is also home to
endangered reptilian species such as the Malayan False Gharial (a
freshwater, fish-eating crocodile), the totally protected Striped
Giant Soft-Shelled Turtle, the much sought after Malayan Giant
Turtle, reticulated pythons that can grow to a length of 18feet,
prehistoric looking monitor lizards and lots of frogs species
As an important biodiversity reservoir for freshwater fishes, Tasek
Bera contains a large number of the countrys species, including
popular aquarium fish such as harlequins and tiger barbs as well as
large predatory catfish and other sport fish.
The relative isolation and tranquil surroundings of open water offer
opportunities for boating and kayaking. Visitors will enjoy spending
a few hours cruising the myriad of river channels and inlets to
explore the vegetation and search for wildlife.
The Semalai Homestay
Inhabited for centuries by, Semalai, a Malayan aboriginal tribe,
calling themselves Semaq Tasik (the lake people). Their subsistence
is depended on the shifting cultivation of upland rice and cassava,
fishery in the lake and gathering forest and swamp products.
For the truly adventurous, whom are prepared to rug it out for a
unique experience of living with the Semelai of Tasek Bera - The
homestay program organized by the Semelai Association for Boating
and Tourism (SABOT) offers travelers a chance to learn about the
Semelai culture and lifestyle.
Here visitors will live with the homestay Semelai family have meals,
sleep in their home and have a choice of either hanging out with the
host family or exploring the lake with a local guide.
All Semelai speak their native Semelai language as well as Malay.
Very few are fluent in English. However, most SABOT guides
understand English. The facilities in Tasek Bera are basic. - Basic
toilets and bathrooms with piped water. Electricity is limited and
dependant on the generator which runs from 7pm-7am.
Mobile coverage there is weak.
Some of the things they
will experience and get to go -
> How to weave with pandanus leaves from the lake
> How to make various animal traps
> Take a guided walk around the fringes of the lake and learn about
Semelai culture is closely linked to the exotic lake.
> To fish with the Semelai and hunt your dinner down by learning how
to use a blowpipe
> Playing traditional Semelai musical instruments
> A guided walk through the Semelai Medicinal Garden and learn about
properties those plants have to offer.
> Traditional hill paddy harvesting - your guide will explain the
many taboos entailed in this activity.
For hose not inclined for the above homestay can opt for the Persona
Lake Resort, the only accommodation available within Tasek Bera
reserve. Sited atop a forested hill and overlooking the lake, the
resort affords great views of the surrounding scenery.
The Resort offers -
- Two exclusive dormitories, each able to
accommodate 20 people
- A chalet for two
- A rest house with four rooms, each room
accommodating 2 people
- A camping ground with the basic facilities.
There are several options available by road. The easiest route from
Kuala Lumpur follows the Karak highway to Temerloh and then south
towards the town of Triang, where signboards, just before Kerayong
will lead you to the north side jetties and tourism complex. A
second route goes through Seremban, Kuala Piah and Bahau from the
south end of the lake. An alternative route leads from Bahau to Ayer
Hitam and then east towards Muadzam Shah, and then look for a
turnoff signpost to Tasek Bera, which leads to the east side of the
wetland to the tourism complex. Travel time from Kuala Lumpur is
about 3 ½ to 4 hours.
Visitors can also take the train from both Kuala Lumpur and
Singapore. Trains stop at Triang and Mentakab respectively, where
there are taxis available to the Bera jetty. Transfers are also be
arranged from Temerloh and Kerayong to Tasek Bera.
Tasek Bera Map
Location of Towns, roads, the lake and layout