Lambir Hills National Park

by Audrey Lim, Nov 23, 2001 | Destinations: Malaysia / Sarawak

Lambir Hills National Park is exceptionally small and is only 6,500 hectares in size. A lowland area of mixed Dipterocarp forest, Lambir Hills National Park is located about 30 kilometers south of the town of Miri in northern Sarawak. The park became a reserved area some time in May 1975 and its main purpose at that time was to provide recreation to the people of Miri. But today, the national park is widely recognized as a forest of important standards.

Because Lambir Hills National Park is made up of lowland Dipterocarp forests, which are actually rainforests, the park is an artwork by itself, featuring a large array of flora and canopy that can reach a height of over 60 meters. There are over 80 "families" that dwells in the forest but the Dipterocarp dominates all. There are also other species such as the Annonaceae, Burseraceae, Euphorbiaceae, Leguminosae, and Moraceae. There is also an extraordinary range of insects and other animals. On the record so far, there is a total of 237 bird species, 63 mammals, 46 reptiles and 20 frogs. However, in recent times, there are as many as twenty over species of birds and mammals that are no longer spotted around the area. Perhaps they are no longer there?! Aside from that, there are also not many large animals at this national park.

At current, Lambir Hills National Park is the world record holder with having the most tree species at any one spot! There are over 1200 species found in an area as large as 52 hectares, and on an overall note, there are over 2000 species to be found. Better still, the park has at least 400 to 500 rare tree species that can only be found in or near the park. A scientific interest and achievement nonetheless, the park has now invested in two laboratories and field herbaria, a 52 hectares long-term Plant Populations Dynamics plot, an 8 hectares experimental plot, a canopy observation system which consisted of five tree towers and about 300 meter of aerial walkway, and an 80 meter crane. Much interest has been generated in recent times and researchers are keener to work on Lambir Hills National Park. Because of the increase in attention, accommodations are in the works.

Research aside, the park is a beautiful place to visit and is very famous for its waterfalls. The Latek Waterfall is a must-see as it is one of the main attractions at the park. It is located just a few hundred meters from the park's entrance. Walk along the nice and cooling shaded trail and at the end of it, you will be greeted by the refreshing waters of Sungai Latek that gushes 25 meters down into a deep pool. This is also an ideal spot for a picnic with the family or for a romantic moment with a loved one. Visitors can take a plunge at the pool or simply lounge around the sandy beaches. If you are an adventurous person, you can trek through a few well-marked trails. These include a climb up Bukit Pantu that will take you about 2 hours or the more challenging Bukit Lambir climb that promises 6 hours of sweat, aching feet and tired bodies!

Right now, the Malaysian Nature Society had taken an interest on this national park and has established a nature trail along the main waterfall trail. This trail is a hot favorite amongst the visitors. Lots of environmental education were planned and showcased to visitors. There is even an annual nature education course for the local teacher training college.

The park now faces several problems including space constraint. The limited space could mean that the park is unable to protect a large amount of flora and fauna, which in turn might lead to extinction of these rare species. Surrounding the park are mainly cultivated land and logged forests, which is an unfortunate scenario. At times, there are also illegal hunting and even theft of trees.

Although threatened by several problems, Lambir Hills National Park still remains a unique location and one that is rich in flora and fauna. If you are a true nature lover, do add this place into your list.