Since I decided that this trip to Malaysia would focus on Kuala Lumpur and things to do around that area I booked a few day trips to some other places like the Cameron Highlands and the National Rainforest. I had never been to a rainforest before and so I was excited to have this opportunity.
I booked through the same company I took the Highlands tour with and I really enjoyed it. You have to take a boat to the rainforest and there is a way to go about it without a tour company but I found that it was a bit more complicated so I chose to go with a tour.
I wanted to make sure that the tour was ethical as we would be visiting an Aboriginal settlement. They receive payment and have a relationship with the company that allows tourists to come and learn about the Malay Aboriginals who still live in the rainforest. Their settlement was close to the river because their tribe decided to have more contact with the government and receive services such as vaccinations and health checkups provided by the Malay government. There are other tribes who choose to hold on to their more traditional way of life and thus live further into the rainforest where they can avoid contact.
Our guide told us some of the cultural traditions of the Orang Asli and showed us some of their hunting tools. They make little spears, some with poison, to hunt tree animals using a blowpipe. They let us all have a try at shooting the dart and my aim was pretty good, probably not good enough to kill an animal though. They shared with us a marriage tradition, where a couple will go into a hut to talk about their expectations in the marriage and if they stay in the hut all night they are married, if one person walks out then the marriage is dissolved.
In our tour group there were two children from Holland. At one point in the tour, the children weren’t there and one of the parents went to check on them and found them playing with the Orang Asli children. I found it so heartwarming to see these kids who come from very different backgrounds and who do not speak the same language able to just play together for a few hours and not have it be complicated or awkward. They were able to find a commonality between them which was having fun and exploring the unknown and I think that that is so spectacular.
I really enjoyed my time in the rainforest and it was truly one of my favourite experiences in Malaysia.