We were glad that we visited Earth Lodge at Ulu Muda. It is a beautiful remote location and we realised that the moment we arrived at the jetty and as we traversed Muda lake and the river to reach the lodge.
There's nothing like observing wildlife in their natural habitat. Though not easy in the rainforest and with some luck, we saw the majestic Asian elephants, langurs, long-tailed macaques, hornbills, raptors and a variety of other birds over 5D/4N. Other guests saw otters and even a terrapin.
We felt that there was a good balance of activities and 'free & easy' time in the itinerary. It was fantastic that we had time to go exploring on our own around the lodge, during which time we spotted bats behind our dorm room, forest gecko, gliding lizards, agamid lizards, lantern bug, hammerhead worm, moths, butterflies and other insects. Treks were interesting as Hymeir, our host and guide, would share interesting facts and stories. We especially enjoyed the trek to 'Sira Air Hangat' (Hot Springs salt lick), a unique site that combine a hot springs and a salt lick.
Leech socks are essential. We had our trusty football socks but were glad that we could borrow leech socks from Earth Lodge. Those leeches are a determined lot! We also had bites from sand flies. These are all minor irritations that come with the adventure :)
All in all, it was a wonderful trip to an off the beaten path natural wonder. Thank you to Hymeir, Din and Zul of Earth Lodge!
Earth Lodge offers a unique off grid rainforest experience. It is off the beaten track and can only be reached by boat so the visit starts with a boat trip of around one to one and a half hours across Muda lake and up the river to the lodge. This is a first opportunity for bird and wildlife spotting from the small boat. The lodge is located in the rainforest close to a river and a smaller stream. It is in a great location for nature, birds and wildlife.
This is a genuine eco-experience run by keen conservationists and there several initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of the set-up. For examples plastic bottles are not provided and you are discouraged from bringing them. Instead purified water is made readily available(and you need to drink lots). The team are also involved in efforts to have the area gazetted to protect it from logging. The accommodation is fairly basic in quite spacious cabins. The beds are made by local people with local materials(Kapok) and are quite hard. If you want mod cons this is not the place as there's no wifi, mobile signal, air con, fly-screens, water heaters, and the electricity is only running for a few hours each evening. The lodge provides full-board food and lodging. The food is tasty and plentiful, with a mix of Asian and western dishes. Everything has been brought in by boat so there is limited range of options. One lovely thing was the local fruits provided some of which were new to us.
The nature and wildlife are superb and this is one of the best rainforest stays we have had. Do bear in mind that it is quite hard to see animals and in the rainforest because the vegetation can be dense and its hard looking up into the canopy. You have to be patient and need good guides and local knowledge, which Ahmad, Hymeir and the other staff provide. With their expert help, there's a good chance of seeing some interesting birds, including plenty of hornbills, as well as mammals, perhaps elephants, different types of otters, wild pigs, langurs and maybe gibbons. Between four of us we managed to see these but not everyone saw everything. It's very hard to see gibbons but you will almost certainly hear their lovely calls when you wake up in the morning. One downside of all the mammals is that there are loads of leeches on some trails so it's best to wear leech socks and learn to take them in your stride. There are usually some leech socks available. There are other creepy crawlies and insects around and sometimes in your room (i.e wildlife).
The team at the lodge arrange activities included in the package that include guided jungle hikes, wildlife/bird spotting, visits to a cave, tubing, night hikes and sunset boat trips. It's also quite nice spending time around the lodge chilling out or looking for wildlife and enjoying the nature. All in all it's a great place to get off-grid and enjoy the nature. Many thanks to Hymeir, Ahmat and the team for making our stay special. Hopefully we will return. If this is the type of experience you want do spend some time planning your visit in advance.
Staying at the earth lodge was an amazing experience. Being out here in the middle of ulu muda rainforest is unique! You will never find a place like this anywhere else in peninsular malaysia. The place is teeming with wildlife. You stay right in the middle of it all. The lodge is surrounded by several salt licks so the elephants could walk right behind your bedroom. Knowing this makes it all very very special. Our guide Hymeir is an awesome guy. He knows so much about the area. The cabins are semi detached (2 rooms under one roof) and are simple but to have this comfort over here is quite amazing actually. The bathroom has a normal western style toilet and even a shower. The water is cold tho! The bedroom has a ceiling fan but there is only electricity in the evening when it is cool enough so you dont need the fan actually. The rooms have no mosquito nets and the windows are half open so bugs come in easily. We had some mosquitoes in our room. If this bothers you, you can bring your own mosquito net and the crew will install it for you. The mattresses are locally made which is great but not exactly comfortable, yet we did sleep very well here. Even better than in the 5 star grand hyatt in KL. The jungle sounds are great to fall asleep to. In the morning you hear the gibbons calling and all kind of chirping birds around the lodge. The food was also outstanding. We didnt expect this quality food in the middle of the jungle. The earth lodge is a place for guests looking for tranquility and ofcourse for nature. Dont go here expecting luxury or comfort. There is not much entertainment, you simple sit there in the evening and talk with each other. No mobiles, no tv, no music, no internet. Exactly how it should be! We had some good jungle trekking experiences. Bring proper leech socks though! We've never seen so many leeches! I guess many leeches means many other animals. Also the evening boat cruises were great. We even spotted a male elephant on the river bank! We have seen 4 species of hornbill and several other birds. We had a great time and hope to be able to come back soon