Watery Royal Belum State Park requires guided tours by boat. Packages with accommodation, excursions and a park permit can feel touristy, but they offer good value. It's easy to book trips through resorts in Belum and best to do so in advance. There are also operators at the jetty, offering excursions ranging from short boat tours (from RM150) to day-long guided walks (from RM450).

Tips for Getting the Best of Belum

A typical tour itinerary in Belum includes a nature hike, an excursion to look for rafflesia in remote areas of the park and a tour of the Orang Asli village (only one village in the area receives visitors). Tour operators such as Belum Eco Resort have meaningful links with the Orang Asli here, but many travellers will feel uncomfortable witnessing tourists snapping cameras at villagers. Interrogate your tour provider about what's offered and what its links are with the Orang Asli village. Equally, be wary of tours that guarantee rafflesia sightings. These heavyweight parasitic blooms are hard to find and only bloom for a few days.

Locals say butterfly-spotting is at its best in April, May and November. The best months to see hornbills are August and September, while migratory birds arrive in October and November. Otters and eagles can be seen year-round, along with an eye-popping variety of fungi, flowers and insect life.