The BUZZ team takes readers through its recent camping trip in Rawang.

TWO weeks ago, the BUZZ team went on a camping trip to Taman Eko Rimba Komanwel, located in the Lagong Forest Reserve, Rawang, for an amazing one-night stay experience.

Taman Eko Rimba Komanwel, also known as The Commonwealth Forest Park, is one of the best campgrounds to go to for a nature getaway and its soothing river.

It was established in 1993 to honour the 14th Commonwealth Forest Conference, which took place in Kuala Lumpur at the time.

The private park and resort are well-known for their natural terrain, woodsy campsites, and calm river. In addition, there is also a trail that leads to a waterfall that is located at the heart of the surrounding forest.

The tropical rainforest park has a surface area of around 260 hectares and is situated approximately 14km away from the town of Rawang. The well-known Kanching Recreational Forest Park, Templer Park, and Selayang Hot Springs are all located in the neighbourhood as well.

When driving to Taman Eko Rimba Komanwel, remember to keep to the left, or else you might miss the turn inside. It’s quite a sharp turn, so do drive slower when you’re about to arrive, as there is no obvious signage towards the park.

$!The entrance signboard. – HAZIQUE ZAIRILL/THESUN

Upon arriving, there will be a Hindu temple on the left with an entrance sign. You’ll need to pay RM10 for the park entrance fee and after a short winding drive through the tall trees, you’ll reach the park.

You’ll find the work-in-progress Colourful Cabin on your left, and on your right will be the management office where you’ll need to go to check in. Taman Eko Rimba Komanwel has a variety of accommodations to choose from, from a variety of cottages to river campsites, lake campsites, and even a resort for those who prefer to sleep on a comfy bed.

Even if you do decide to camp traditionally in tents, you don’t have to worry about toilets because there are nearby amenities for each campsite.

$!Moroccan-themed River Cottage. – HAZIQUE ZAIRILL/THESUN

For people who wish to enjoy a more glamorous camping experience, the River Cottage offers a full-board package at RM299 per person, which includes Hi-Tea at Cafe Loaves & Bites for sliced cakes and juices, a BBQ dinner where you can even have your own butler to cook for you if you wish, and breakfast at the Warung the next day. The tents comes in a few themes: Tropical, Moroccan, Oriental, and British. Each themed tent comes with different designs and games to play, as well as a hammock that you can install on the trees for you to relax and listen to the sound of the river rushing by.

Their Car Campsite is a 6m x 6m lot where you can park your vehicle – for example, a campervan or a motorhome – and camp there overnight. You can also set up a tent along with your vehicle, and pricing starts from RM120 per night.

Whether you’re an experienced camper or someone who is just dipping their toes into camping, there are different accommodation options to choose from. For camping newbies, next to the resort’s Black Indiana campsite is a camping equipment rental shop called Crossover Outdoor.

As for food, you can choose to do your own BBQ, as most campers did – flooding the place with the charred aroma of chicken wings – or you can order a BBQ set from them. If you wish to try some local Rawang food, the nearby Rawang town is just a 15-minute drive away which will leave you spoiled for choices (We also covered a few restaurants that we visited which you can read on S3 of BUZZ).

We were greeted by Nor Syazwani Abd Manaf, also known as Wani, who’s the receptionist on call. Besides Wani, Puan Sharifah Norizan Syed Isa, endearingly known as Cik Bunga, is the main person who runs the park. Previously in the oil and gas industry, she came upon the opportunity to manage the park in late 2016 and started it from the ground up.

$!ATVs are available for both day and night rides. – HAZIQUE ZAIRILL/THESUN

We also had the opportunity to participate in some of the activities that were offered there. However, for safety reasons, jungle trekking and ATV rides were unavailable for a time due to the recurrent rain and unpredictability of the weather during that period. The only activities available to us were canoeing on the lake, cycling, and riding the electric scooters. Therefore, we recommend that you check the weather report before coming and give them a call for the availability of the activities to avoid any disappointment.

Cycling was the first activity that was done there. We spoke with Abang Muslim, who was in charge of the activities, and he gave each of us a bicycle as well as e-scooters. Even though it was pouring slightly, we were having a good time and continued riding regardless of the weather. The trip down the hill, back and forth, was enjoyable and pleasant.

Adventure seekers should definitely give these activities a go, as the entire experience is just enough to get your adrenaline pumping. Not only that, Abang Muslim was also a great help, as the capable mechanic helped us fix our bicycle chain, which was slightly damaged when we made the mistake of picking the wrong gear. E-scooters cost RM30 for 30 minutes, while bicycles only cost RM10 for one hour.

$!Canoeing is a must-try at the park. – HAZIQUE ZAIRILL/THESUN

We had the time of our lives, even though we were limited to just a few activities. In addition, it was our first time canoeing, and the novelty of it was the highlight of our day. Muhd Alif Aiman was in charge of canoeing, and was really nice to all of us. Alif briefed us on the safety precautions and demonstrated how to paddle efficiently in our two-seater canoe, but once we were in, we were on our own.

Despite the brief instructions, all of us were able to pick it up very quickly. Canoeing is undoubtedly a must-do activity for anyone planning a trip to the park, and it’s only RM10 for 15 minutes of canoeing.

After a long and tiring day of activities, we needed a long, hot shower, and the fantastic water pressure washed away the gunk of the day. According to Cik Bunga, who’s always prioritised the cleanliness of the park, her workers sanitise the beds to make sure that there are no creepy-crawlies at night to chomp on us, and she even has organic mosquito repellant all over the park, supplied by a lecturer from a local university.

$!Little Wood Cottage. – HAZIQUE ZAIRILL/THESUN

However, as a kind reminder to everyone who is camping and visiting, please keep your trash and dispose of it in the garbage disposal area that has been provided.

Cik Bunga also made the effort to allow non-Muslim guests to enjoy their non-halal barbecues at the park by providing disposable grills. This was done out of respect for the other guests and employees, who are mostly Muslims.

This is the main reason behind Cik Bunga’s approach to demand a deposit at the time of check-in to any of the accommodations. Wild monkeys frequently muck around with any food that is left out, including items that have not been cleaned.

At night, there are automated lights that turn on when you walk around the park, but there aren’t any proper street lights on the park grounds, so remember to keep your highlights on if you’re driving around, due to the twisting roads.

We drove out of the park for dinner that night, and came back around 11pm only to discover the park’s guard house boom gate was locked. We called Cik Wani, who came to the rescue and got the guard to come and unlock the gate.

Although some might think the dark forest looks creepy, we felt incredibly safe throughout our entire time there, and we were able to sleep through the night soundly.

Despite having no prior experience managing a park, Cik Bunga learned everything through trial and error, and made Taman Eko Rimba Komanwel the park it is today. This female entrepreneur worked tirelessly with her staff and did everything from cleaning the toilets to cutting the bamboo in the park.

$!Guests can enjoy their meals at Cafe Loaves & Bites. – TAMAN EKO RIMBA KOMANWEL FACEBOOK

Back in August last year, Cik Bunga’s on-location ‘stingless bee farm’ was in full operation (which she also built from scratch) and you could buy fresh stingless bee honey. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, the bee farm is currently closed, but it will be up soon after Cik Bunga “works her magic”.

According to Cik Bunga, the park was at its peak popularity during the first lockdown, back in June 2020, a result of the posting of her progress with the park on social media. When July came, the people started flooding into the park when it was opened to the public. However, Cik Bunga saw how quickly the place became dirty, and started to enforce stricter rules as she prioritised the comfort and safety of her visitors. Now, the park is kept in immaculate condition, and you won’t see any rubbish on the ground.

$!Breakfast at the Warung. – MARIETTA MU/THESUN

That’s what the visitors love about Taman Eko Rimba Komanwel: a safe camping experience for families and a place to relax and get away from the city. Cik Bunga also told us about their new river trekking trails to the waterfalls, which she is really excited about, and even showed us a sneak peek of the magical-looking trail.

All trails need to get a stamp of approval from Cik Bunga for their scenic rating and according to her, guests who trek the trails will be provided with a guide who will also explain interesting facts about the forest, and there’s even a coffee break once you’ve reached the destination.

We’re looking forward to our next trip there when these new activities will be available, including a treasure hunt in the campsite, so be sure to follow her progress on Taman Eko Rimba Komanwel’s social media pages to find out about the latest news and events at @resorttamanekorimbakomanwel on Instagram and Facebook.

$!BUZZ team and Cik Bunga. – THESUN