Spread over the southern Malaysian states of Johor and Pahang, Endau Rompin National Park is the second largest national park in peninsular Malaysia.
Its nearly 900 square kilometres cover diverse terrain from lowland rainforests to mountain waterfalls and are home to some of Malaysia's most endangered animals, like the Malayan tiger and Sumatran rhinoceros. Of course, you're more likely to run into the Sultan of Johor on the hiking trails than a rhino, but it's worth the trip to have the pristine jungle all to yourself.
The fact that Endau Rompin is a real pain to get to means it receives just a tiny fraction of the visitors as the larger Taman Negara National Park.
The park is named for the two major rivers that run through its boundaries -- the Endau River in Johor and Rompin River in Pahang. Motorised boats can take you part of the way to the far-flung campsites or are available for wildlife viewing at dusk when animals come to the river to drink.
Endau Rompin National Park has three entry points: Kampung Peta, Selai and Kuala Rompin. The roads into the park are extremely rough and a 4WD vehicle is a must. During the rainy season from November to February the roads are impassable and the park basically shuts down.
The most commonly used entry point is Kampung Peta, which is about 60 kilometres from the town of Kahang. At Kampung Peta you'll find the Endau Rompin National Park Visitors Complex, chalets and dorms, a canteen and a settlement of Orang Asli, the indigenous people, some of whom work as trekking guides.
As the park is hours from civilisation, be sure to pack bring everything you might need, including insect repellent, leech socks and any medications.
Round-trip transport from Kahang town to Endau Rompin Park is 370 ringgit in a 4WD vehicle. Admission to the park is 10 ringgit for foreigners and an additional 10 ringgit for a trekking permit and insurance. Hiring a boat to take you from Kampong Peta to Kuala Jasin costs 120 ringgit and a trekking guide for the day costs 50 ringgit. Accommodation starts from 25 ringgit per night in the dorm.
To simplify things, most people visit Endau Rompin on an all-inclusive tour. The most affordable can be arranged through the Johor Parks Office and cost about 460 ringgit per person for a three-day/two-night package staying at the dorm with a minimum of two people.
Tour operators in Mersing (the launching point for Tioman Island) can also arrange trips to Endau Rompin. For two people, expect to pay about 600 ringgit each for a three-day/two-night trip including transport.
You pay extra for the convenience of online booking, but Journey Malaysia organises trips to Endau Rompin. For two people, a three-day/two-night camping trip costs per person 700 ringgit or 780 ringgit staying in the park chalet. This also includes pick-up from the train station in Kluang.
As transportation is a significant expense, the cost per person will decrease rapidly as the size of the group increases.
By Tanya Procyshyn.