'Lord Of The Rings' Comes To Life At Jeram Berungut

f you’re looking for a little slice of J.R.R. Tolkien’s movie trilogy The Lord of the Rings in Malaysia, you won’t ever come up short.

An ecotourism site at Jeram Berungut which is located within Taman Negeri Kenaboi in Negeri Sembilan holds such a magnetic beauty and power over the imagination that it will be incredibly difficult to leave it.

It’s no wonder that the hidden gem is nicknamed ‘Malaysia’s Lord of the Rings’, thanks to its secluded location and lush greenery that replicated the enchanting landscapes in New Zealand,the filming location of the epic series.

Located just 100 kilometres from Seremban, Kenaboi State Park is predominantly a hill dipterocarp rainforest full of birds, streams, rivers and some waterfalls.  It is popular with bird watchers and species like hornbills can be found here as well as Rajah Brooke’s butterflies.

This writer was among 21 media representatives of the Program Kembara Media 2023 organised by the Information Department of the Ministry of Communications and Digital recently.

Taman Negeri Kenaboi, about 48 km from Jelebu town, is the last leg of the programme. The participants spent two days and one night at the park’s camping ground - a perfect place to connect with nature.


Tthe expedition which kicked off at 2.30 pm from Kampung Chennah, Jelebu on a Malaysia Civil Defence Force (APM) truck, took us about an hour to reach the peak of Jeram Berungut amid a winding and rocky trail.

At times, we were jolted by the loud sounds of fallen tree branches on the road being run over by heavy vehicles.

One needs to have the mental and physical strength to overcome the challenges along the way -passing through fast-flowing tributaries, slippery rocks, etc   - but all these paid off when we managed to reach our destination.   

It was a sight to behold. The picturesque surroundings took this writer’s breath away; I felt as though I was transported to the filming locale of the epic fantasy adventure movie in New Zealand.

 The Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed entirely in New Zealand, the birthplace of its film director, screenwriter, and film producer Peter Jackson.  New Zealand’s otherworldly landscapes brought the movie series to life.

And here at Jeram Berungut – a beautiful canyon deep within Kenaboi State Park - The Lord of the Rings was brought to life. Rich in geographic diversity, this eco-tourism destination has plenty of landscapes that can match the high-stakes drama of epic fantasy. 

"Here, you can immerse yourself in the stunning views and enjoy the relaxing sounds of the forest river cascade,” said Assistant Director of Taman Negeri Kenaboi Nur Ainina Khairunnisa Othman.

“The forest river cascade with mossy green rocks and water flows create a tranquil and serene environment,” she added at a briefing for the visiting journalists at Jeram Berungut.

However, she said, only those aged 12 years and above can visit Jeram Berungut, noting that a guide from the State Forestry Department (JPN) will be provided for visitors to this location.

 Participants are also required to wear safety jackets and straps as well as suitable shoes.



The awe-inspiring Taman Negeri Kenaboi is a destination that should undoubtedly be on the must-see list for tourists when visiting Malaysia.

For the intrepid nature lovers, there is something glorious about spending their vacation at the park; the lush green forest transports you from the stress of daily life into a strange, solemn calm.

You even notice the little things like the leaves that fell on the ground, the sound of birds fluttering from above and the tranquil river moments where you can enjoy the soothing sound of slow-motion of flowing water.

According to Nur Ainina Khairunnisa,  Taman Negeri Kenaboi is the only state park under the supervision of the JPN in the Jelebu district.

Nur Ainina Khairunnisa Othman.

The 9,045 hectares of forest reserve is the largest forest reserve in Negeri Sembilan. It is home to an array of vast diversity of flora and fauna, sky-scraping bamboo forests and Rajah Brooke butterflies and Oriental hornbill.

“This forest is well conserved and protected; that’s why visitors can enjoy nature here and soak in the woodlands’ atmosphere. Taman Negeri Kenaboi was previously known as Taman Alam Liar Negeri (State Wildlife Park), which was gazetted to protect the wild animals here.

  “After receiving an allocation through the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), the department developed the park with various facilities such as an event hall and surau for visitors’ convenience,” she said.

To enter Taman Negeri Kenaboi, she said visitors are advised to travel on four wheel drive (4WD) vehicles which can withstand rough terrain, off-road and low-traction conditions.

"What’s unique about this place is besides the camping ground which is facing the tributaries, visitors can get to see other attractions such as the national butterfly, Rajah Brooke,” she added.



Earlier, on the way to Taman Negeri Kenaboi, we were taken for a special programme at the Orang Asli settlement at Kampung Tohor. 

Upon arrival, we were warmly welcomed by the local community who presented us each with a woven coconut leaf headband.

 Besides being entertained with the traditional Orang Asli sewang dance, we were given a hand at the traditional sumpit (blowpipe) and weaving of coconut leaves.  Various natural herbs were exhibited by the village folks, such as kacip Fatimah, a popular and potent ingredient used in traditional herbal preparation.

Much to our surprise, the gracious hosts had everything lined up with a wedding custom of a newly-wed couple from the Temuan Orang Asli community on the itinerary.

During the bersanding ceremony, the bride and groom sat on the thrones placed on the pelamin (dias), which was decorated with woven ketupat leaves and flowers. The dowry comprised a rattan ring, betel leaf wraps as well as tobacco leaves.

Tok Batin later ate the betel leaf wrap as a symbol that the couple was officially husband and wife; the couple would then place their hands on each other’s shoulders. Betel leaf wraps were given to the couple who shared and ate together, a symbol of marital bliss among the Temuan Orang Asli.


Besides Jeram Berungut, the Kenaboi State Park boasts of several other unique attractions for nature lovers namely Lata Dinding and Gunung Besar Hantu.

"Lata Dinding is a beautiful, rocky-ledge waterfall that is a must-visit in Negeri Sembilan. No mean feat, getting to the waterfall was one tough and exhaustive journey.  But the rushing waters of the waterfall took our minds off the undulating terrain. Another exciting adventure and a popular trail for camping and hiking is Gunung Besar Hantu, the highest mountain in the state.

 “Despite the challenging trail, with steep inclines and uneven terrain, the breathtaking views from the summit of Gunung Hantu Besar are worth the effort as one gets to capture the stunning views of three states namely Negeri Sembilan, Selangor and Pahang and enjoy the cool breeze at the top of the mountain,” she said.

 Nur Ainina Khairunnisa said the Kenaboi State Park is also a closed forest reserve that requires a permit from the Negeri Sembilan Forestry.

"Visitors can obtain a permit at the Taman Negeri Kenaboi Office, the Jelebu District Forest Office and the State Forestry Office or apply via online for RM5 for citizens and RM20 for non-citizens. The rental fee for a campsite is only RM5 a night and is limited to 12 sites only for camp locations next to the river,” she added.

 Meanwhile, TVS (formerly TV Sarawak) journalist Salasiah Safian described her trip to Jeram Berungut as an unforgettable experience.

She said despite the challenging trail, it was a rewarding experience as she could enjoy the beautiful nature and escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

 “The forest and the river waters were clean, with hardly any trash seen during our trip; the sight of startling clear water at the waterfalls was enchanting. However, we had to be cautious while crossing the river streams due to the slippery rocks.

“The journey to the mountains was challenging enough, but the landscape from the peak of Jeram Berungut left me literally breathless in front of a spectacle of nature; there’s no doubt that it deserves to be named Malaysia’s Lord of the Rings,” she said.

At the closing of the programme, the participants were also taken to a ‘Survival Village’ organised by the JPN.

Besides being exposed to cooking methods using forest resources and a demonstration on how to light a fire, participants were given the opportunity to savour food cooked in bamboo hollows,  among others tapioca, instant noodles and grilled chicken.

 Translated by Salbiah Said




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