Resorts World Genting is known for its current and upcoming theme park attractions and live performances. But did you know that it’s a treasure trove for nature lovers too? Read on to find out what we encountered at its Fashion Forest!
I was recently given the opportunity to spend two days at Awana Hotel, Resorts World Genting. However, this was no ordinary getaway; the itinerary involved a fully-immersive educational rainforest experience co-organised by Resorts World Genting and Treks, a consultancy that designs several types of nature programmes to suit different needs.
The star of our programme? Genting Highland’s Fashion Forest, a rainforest situated in Awana’s own backyard. Resorts World Genting and Treks intend to contemporise the 100-million-year-old forest by introducing arty, fashionable and modern educational concepts to guests. The name ‘Fashion Forest’ alludes to the fashionable furniture and amenities installed within the forest grounds, as well as the tall trees named after famous fashion models and celebrities – bet you’d never see Whitney Houston anywhere else! Painting, sculpting, music performances and more are in the pipeline.
Our planned activities included getting to know the various species of exotic plants and animals that dwell within the area. Here’s what I discovered during my stay:
- Towering trees
Some of our finds include this 300-year-old tree!
Upon entering the Fashion Forest, the group of us became acquainted with a variety of flora and fauna, in particular a 300-year-old tree affectionately named ‘Gracie’ (after the late Princess Grace of Monaco). Our tour guide was Treks Director Eddie Chan.
We participated in a ‘bar-coding exercise’, where we tagged different trees with QR codes. The QR codes could be scanned with our phones, leading us to pages containing information about the plants we came across. The forest is fully accessible to 3G and WiFi, so Internet access can be instantaneously used to identify the wildlife, and to share images and information with others.
2. Fascinating plants
One of the plants Eddie found important to highlight was the pitcher plant, a carnivorous plant which grows naturally around Genting Highlands:
However, because of the dangers the pitcher plants face of getting crushed by vehicles or rocks, Eddie and his team have relocated and rehabilitated some of them to Awana Hotel and the outdoor garden in front of Genting’s Theme Park Hotel.
Our guide Eddie shows us how to attach the pitcher plants to the trellis
We were given the chance to help Eddie ‘replant’ some of the pitcher plants along a trellis, positioning them so they can continue to collect water and insects for food.
We also used frames to capture the most striking details of the plants in Fashion Forest. I liked the jagged edges of this bright green leaf!
Our team got to work framing details!
3. The furry and feathered
Top row (from left): Black gibbon (siamang), Malayan giant squirrel, scarlet-backed flowerpecker. Middle row (from left): Asian palm civet, pin-striped titbabbler, clouded leopard. Bottom row (from left): Helmeted hornbill, mountain bulbul, Malayan tiger
Photo credits: wikipedia.com, flickr.com, publicdomainpictures.net
We embarked on a bird-watching session at Awana’s Important Bird Area (one of 55 in Malaysia) with President of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Henry Goh, who is a keen birder. I managed to spot a Malayan giant squirrel leaping from tree to tree! Other, more elusive animals present in the forest include the black gibbon, the clouded leopard and even the endangered Malayan tiger, though it would be extremely difficult to spot the latter.
The IBA where Henry conducted a birding session
4. The not-so-cuddly
We were invited to a ‘night herping’ session, guided by Steven Wong, Head Coordinator of the MNS Selangor branch’s Herpetofauna Special Interest Group. Herping, as explained by Steven, is “the act of looking for and observing herpetofauna, otherwise known as reptiles and amphibians”.
At around 8:30pm on our second day, we gathered at the entrance of the Fashion Forest armed with flashlights, headlamps and cameras. I’m personally not too fond of reptiles, and am borderline phobic of frogs in particular, so I was drenched in cold sweat just thinking about what was in store for us! However, the night herping session turned out to be quite an eye-opening experience!
Various species of frogs, lizards, snakes and insects can be found lurking at night time
Some of the species we observed in the forest included the Draco Maximus aka flying lizards (those of you with a lizard phobia should stand back a few steps!) and the Asian white-lipped tree frog.
The centrepiece of the experience was the Siamese Pit Viper that Steven found:
The Siamese pit viper Steven discovered was a male, the largest of its gender and species he had seen so far
These brightly-coloured snakes are beautiful to look at but carry deadly venom, so they required special handling by Steven.
5. Great heights & stunning views
Our adventure would not be complete without Resorts World Genting’s famed Skyride.
The cable-car ride over the Sky Forest
The cable car took us over the Sky Forest and offered us stunning aerial views of the jungle landscape. The Sky Forest and Chocolate Forest, Genting’s other rainforests, are also available for tours.
We found this impressive panorama while hiking:
The hilly landscape overlooking Bukit Tinggi
All in all, we had a great time bonding over (and with) nature!
Some of the team with our nature guide, Eddie Chan (far left)
Self-Guided Fashion Forest walks:
- RM35 per adult (12 years and above); RM30 per child (11 years and below)
Guided nature walks:
- RM75 per adult; RM65 per child
Special-interest walks (Birding/Herping/Black Gibbon/Helmeted Hornbill):
- RM250 per person