Since the experience of fishing Peacock Bass (PB) in Puchong Prima Lake, we have had many recommendations of places within Malaysia to attempt catching this gamefish once more. None lured us as quickly as Kampung Beng in Lenggong, Perak; better known as The mini Amazon of Malaysia. Suggested by Jeff, who runs the Puchong Prima Fishing Charter, images of wild Kampung Beng with sizeable PB’s from Chenderoh Lake had our team loading up our gears as early as 2a.m on Monday, the 25th of January 2016, a public holiday. The drive to Kampung Beng from K.L City would take 3 hours; our plan was to take it slow, hoping to arrive promptly for the small window at sunrise, said to be one of the opportune time for catching PB’s.
Taking Exit No. 143 – Kuala Kangsar, from the E1 North-South expressway northern route, we continued on Route 76, the Kuala Kangsar to Grik road towards Lenggong. The GPS was set to Muzium Arkeologi Lenggong (Lenggong Archeological Museum), where the given route to obscure Kampung Beng was easier to manage from. (Route explained at the end of this post)
The blinking headlights of a car at the dead- end illuminated the shadow of Roslan, our guide & main contact person for Kampung Beng. He welcomed us warmly before taking us into a narrow dirt road which led to a parking area, then resuming on foot for five minutes to the final destination — his home, also Kampung Beng’s very own authentic homestay, handpicked by Tourism Perak. The pathway opens up to a breathtaking silhouette of hills surrounding the village, reflected on the pristine lake from the moonlit skies. Fresh air, an astounding view and no internet, such bliss!
Roslan’s family greeted us with so much warmth that it brought comfort to the cool morning. The scent of freshly made Nasi Lemak (rice cooked in coconut milk) & coffee wafting through the air made us forget the opportune window at sunrise to fish . A wide selection of traditional Malaysian home-made breakfast prepared by Roslan’s mother was laid out enticingly by the river. We savoured in silence, mesmerised by the sunrise.
We loaded the 28-foot long boat at 8 a.m, ample space for us five alongside Roslan and our boatman Sarip. Despite the sun rising from behind the hills, the air was much cooler than we anticipated. With the boat speeding across the river numbing our fingers, our jaws were hanging from the disbelief of our surrounding; endless shades of green, fresh air and a healthy eco-system. It is no wonder why most anglers that have experienced fishing in Kampung Beng call it the Mini Amazon of Malaysia. Manouvering through smaller channels connected to the Perak River led us to Chenderoh Lake, the sense of an adventure overcame us, we casted our lines out like an army of able-bodied anglers on a Peacock Bass (PB) mission. Let the battle begin.
Though the view around us was a positive distraction from our mission, we kept casting our artificial lures hoping to tempt a PB. With a red Clouser Minnow spinfly , Dave fuelled our excitement as he swiftly fought and landed the very first PB of our trip. If the view was initially a distraction, the sight of an exceptionally healthy, juvenile PB fired up our determination to find one of a decent size.
Roslan kept the excitement going by landing a juvenile Snakehead. A species not on our target list however with an untainted river, you never know what you might catch. Getting us back on track, Farris found himself in a battle that had all our attention, rightfully so as it was the first sizeable PB of the day– with alluring colours that complemented the environment around us.
truly an amazing experience – Dave
Roslan found himself in another Snakehead battle; evidently hooked on a much larger one. Stripping the line and burrowing itself amidst the dense macrophyte, we sat in silence, hoping for Roslan not to lose the fish. Naweshad reaches out, netting the species along with the array of aquatic plants as it struggles in an attempt to spit the hook. He then risked his fingers from a ferocious bite by patiently removing the plants revealing the most magnificent Snakehead we have seen up close.
Heat began to slow us down as our stomachs grumbled nearing lunchtime. All forgotten when Naweshad unknowingly landed a freshwater bivalve, shocking everyone including Roslan and Sarip into laughter. They have yet to come across anyone landing a Mussel on rod and line in all their years fishing in the river, they said. Well look who made history!
Effects of minimal sleep blossomed under the afternoon sun however after such a beautiful boat ride back, we were welcomed by a selection of traditional Malaysian dishes for lunch prepared by Roslan’s mother once more. That gratifying moment was something I cannot do justice to with mere words. The taste of authentic home-cooked cuisine prepared by hands with years of experience is unmatched by the best restaurants we know of in the city. After which, most of us took a nap in the comfort of Roslan’s authentic homestay. Living the way the locals do made us wish we opted to stay the night.
Gill, who is from Zimbabwe took the opportunity to learn a few tips and tricks from Roslan. Despite not sharing a language they could converse in fluently, watching Roslan’s attempt of showing Gill the ropes reaffirmed the level of kindness found in the villages of Malaysia. Especially since offering angling knowledge, rigs, tips and tricks is taboo for most anglers.
Gill began the second half with a popper. Whilst discussing with Naweshad on the surface pops to obtain, a shocking splash & the sound of his screaming reel sent us on a roller coaster high. First cast, first minute of the second half! Unlike most PB’s, the ones in Kg. Beng fight aggressively like a Snakehead, what more, one the size on Gill’s line. We were eager to see the colours we missed from the morning; Gill was on an ultra-light gear & it was his first time fishing on a boat, we anxiously rooted for him to land it. Slow and steady, with the wise words of Roslan & Naweshad guiding him, Gill lands his first Peacock Bass, exquisitely.
… it was a successful trip made possible by a fantastic team with great sense of humour -Gill, Zimbabwe
For most of the afternoon after, the weather was shifting from drizzle to thunderstorm, extreme sunshine and back. We were carefully casting our lines alongside Monkeys gibbering and Kingfishers seemingly laughing at us. In spite of the weather, the wilderness kept us going.
As we were all on a continuous momentum of casting and retrieving our lures, the adrenaline on the boat was sent sky rocketing once more with a powerful take on Dave’s line. After an exciting battle, Dave landed the biggest PB of the trip. The dimmed colours of it beneath dark clouds were pleasant to the eyes, naturally.
With a migraine hitting like a ton of bricks, I decided to sit back, take in the relaxing nature and watch the boys continue their magic. The sun began setting with dark clouds looming in the distance, Roslan catches on to another PB, confusing him initially, unable to tell if it truly was a PB or a Snakehead putting up an aggressive fight all the way till’ the end. At this rate, it was only Naweshad tirelessly trying to hook on to his first PB.
Easily one of my best days fishing -Naweshad
Roslan then took us to the talked-about spot, where most PB’s were said to have been landed. What Naweshad thought was another snag started putting up a fight, the confirmation that it was a fish at the end of his line had him breaking into a celebratory dance, rocking the boat and risking all our lives (I may have exaggerated a little…fine, a lot), we rooted for him to land it. His playful nature was refreshing, cracking us up when he landed a small PB. We all celebrated the catch together, knowing that Naweshad’s perseverance would eventually land him a fish, with or without a shirt on.
As we began to wind down, Farris’s reel let out a scream that echoed through the dense jungle behind us. All eyes on him once more as we hope for a record breaking PB at the end of his line. It was the toughest battle of the day and from it emerged… the smallest PB of the day. Such deception! The smallest, however mightiest one taught us a lesson of how size, does not truly matter in the end when the battle itself was monumental.
Kampung Beng is one of those magical few places where people and fish are still living sustainably…-Farris
As the sun sets & the winds picked up alongside the speed of the boat, we sat in the tranquility of Kampung Beng recalling the endless surprises it had in store for us throughout the day. We understood, with a heavy heart that our trip was coming to an end. It was not just the fishing; the hospitality, unspoiled nature and love from Roslan’s family made Kampung Beng feel a lot like home.
Just like home, we returned to Roslan’s mother’s array of traditional tea time snacks with coffee and tea set by the river once more. We stood together, humbled by their hospitality, thankful that despite advances in the world today, Kampung Beng, its healthy eco-system & Roslan’s family are still around to give hope to not just the sport of fishing, but the good in mankind too.
After a cold shower with water derived from the hills nearby, we geared up dreadfully to head back to the city. We could not bid adieu to Roslan & Kampung Beng, instead, we booked our next trip- this time, to stay the night!
We look forward to going back home to Kampung Beng.
All fishes on our trip were caught and released safely, with love.
Photos from our trip
Fishing Video – Peacock Bass of Mini Amazon of Malaysia, Kampung Beng
Watch the video of our fishing trip & immerse yourself in the beauty of this little known gem.
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Fishing in Kampung Beng
Kampung Beng – The pocket friendly adventure for everyone!
An article published on the Smart Cent page of the New Straits Times (Malaysia) featured Kampung Beng as an affordable destination with a lot more than just fishing to offer.
Did you know?
The Lenggong Valley was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site on 30th June 2012. The directions provided below takes you to the Lenggong Archeological Museum, in it you can find the display of Perak Man, the oldest human skeleton found in Peninsula Malaysia. It was found in a cave nearby known as Gua Gunung Runtuh. The Lenggong Valley is one of Malaysia’s most important areas for archaeology with excavations revealing many traces of Malaysia’s prehistory. (Source: Wiki)
Getting to Kampung Beng
Set your GPS to Muzium Arkeologi Lenggong (Lenggong Archeological Museum) or click the Google Map attached . After which, follow instructions on images below. (Instructions provided by the kind and beloved, Mr Roslan)
Waze or Google will lead you to the Muzium (Museum) via route marked in yellow. Instead of making the right turn, continue straight- route marked in black. At the T-Junction, take a Right turn. Continue straight.
The route will then end at the spot marked with a Black star where Roslan or a representative will then greet the guests to take them into the dirt road- then arriving to the approximate spot marked with a White star – a location I would love to call, Euphoria.
We hope you are now inspired to take on the adventure of Kampung Beng confidently. We must warn you though, hold on to your hearts; falling in love with Kampung Beng happens naturally. -Shamin, The Milkfish Lady
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