The rustic charm of a virgin jungle, believed to be millions of years old,
is the perfect setting for a ‘back-to-nature’ experience.

Text & Photography by Jan Yong

HP Lem, co-owner of Gibbon Retreat.

Gibbon Retreat is a very special place; it is located amid untouched jungle that’s believed to be about 130 million years old. Such is the pristine condition that it is a haven for many endangered animals, among which is the gibbon.

Gibbons are famous for the swift and graceful way they swing through the trees by their long arms. They are also known for their distinctive call – a long semi melodious sound that echoes in the jungle.

Due to the jungle’s untarnished condition, and existing families of gibbons, rescued gibbons are released back into this jungle by the Malaysian chapter of the Gibbon Conservation Society (GCS). For millions of years, this part of the Titiwangsa Mountain Range, about 8kms from Bentong, is home to families of gibbons.

Nowadays, this beautiful primate is an extremely endangered species worldwide. All because some nouveau riche decided that the babies are so adorable that they needed to have them as pets! But in order to catch one, the poachers have to kill its entire family otherwise the rest of the family would hunt them down to rescue the baby.

To hear their wild call, you would have to be in this part of the jungle in the mornings as their rather melodic calls can mostly be heard loud and clear only in the early mornings. “They are communicating among themselves,” says HP Lem, co-owner of Gibbon Retreat.

“One cannot but be awed by the majesty and perfect synchronisation of life in the jungle.”


From the Rock Chalet at the third highest point in the sparsely built rocky slope, I took a solo hike towards the water source of the Rock Forest (as named by Lem). It’s a long hike which he has undertaken but which I would probably turn back at the halfway point.

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