As we grow tired of the hustle and bustle of city life, it calls for a nature getaway where we can relax our body, mind, and soul. Three hours away from Kuala Lumpur lies a languorous town that is filled with peace and zen. While the city is moving at a fast pace, this town makes you feel like time only exists in a different universe.
Welcome to one of the hidden gems in Malaysia – Sungai Lembing, formerly known as El Dorado of the East. Once a tin mining town during the British occupation, Sungai Lembing has been given new life as a tourist attraction by virtue of its rich cultural heritage and underrated nature sceneries. Here are must-see spots that will make you feel rejuvenated after your retreat.
Upon booking a rainbow waterfall tour, you’ll be picked up by a four-wheel-drive at your accommodation to have breakfast at the local hawker center at 6 o’clock in the morning. This will then be followed by a warmup journey before heading to the foot of the Rainbow Waterfall. The driver will drop you off at the top of a hill to enjoy the breathtaking sunrise view shrouded by the morning mist, and breathe in fresh cool air to get your body energized.
This majestic waterfall is a prominent tourist attraction in Sungai Lembing and one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Malaysia. As the sun’s rays hit the base of the waterfall at around 9 to 10 AM, rainbows are formed. If you’re lucky, you can catch sight of multiple rainbows in different sizes. Take a refreshing swim at the base of the waterfall and capture photos of yourself with the rainbow!
The hike up to the rainbow waterfall takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour, given that the distance is approximately 1 kilometer. With ropes along the trail, hiking is made easier and safer. The rocks and trails near the streams can be slippery, so be sure to put on proper sneakers or shoes with good traction. In any case that you forget your shoes, there’s a rubber boot rental available for RM3 per pair at the checkpoint.
Besides exploring the locality and buying food souvenirs, their four hanging bridges are also worth visiting if you have time to spare in the afternoon. Just a 5-minute drive from downtown, walk along the Jambatan Gantung Kolong Pahat and feel the thrill from the mild tremble of the bridge. This sturdy 200-year-old bridge leads you to the famous Sungai Lembing noodle factory and a beancurd jelly store as well.
About 20 minutes from Sungai Lembing is this cavernous limestone cave that houses multiple Buddhist, Taoist, and Hindu statues of deities including a large Sleeping Buddha. Learn about the foundation of temples and marvel at the shapes or patterns of stalagmites in the cave. The entire stroll along the cave takes about 30 to 40 minutes. The climb up to the cave can be quite steep, so it’s not for the faint-hearted who have fear of heights. That said, if you’re fond of learning about religious customs and geology, Gua Charas is worth an excursion.
Delicacies to Try
It goes without saying that noodle dishes are a must-try in Sungai Lembing. Their best noodle dish has to be the tomato sauce noodles served with fragrant wok hei (Cantonese for charred aroma) topped with sweet and tangy tomato sauce. Other notable mentions include Mee Jawa, Sister Fong mountain-water tofu, tau foo fah, and roasted pork. Their coconut biscuits and sugar-glazed buttery crispy egg crullers also make perfect gifts for your loved ones to share.
Best Time to Travel Around Sungai Lembing
Like any other city or town, Sungai Lembing can get very crowded on the weekends and during public holidays. Weekdays are often the best time to fully immerse yourself in whatever experiences the town has to offer. September and October are the best seasons during which you can best enjoy the picturesque sunrise and rainbow view.
Tips to Take Note
As a small town, Sungai Lembing is not equipped with ATM machines, and e-wallet payments are uncommon there. However, food and consumer goods are generally inexpensive, so you can bring as much cash as necessary. You can expect around RM250 – RM400 per person depending on whether you book your accommodation and local tour in advance or on the spot.
The nearest petrol station is located out of the town. So if you’re driving your own vehicle to the town, remember to keep your petrol tank full before arriving at your destination.