Tasik Chini is one of the only two natural lakes in Peninsula Malaysia, both of which are located in the state of Pahang. Located approximately 100km from Kuantan town, the capital of Pahang, Chini is a lake that was formed from the natural damming of a river valley. It is Malaysia's second largest natural lake and is made up of a series of 12 lakes. With its well-known myths, the lake has attracted many visitors from various destinations. Legend has it that a mythical dragon lives in the lake and is the guardian of a lost city of gold, which was once situated at the lake. The Jakun people - an Orang Asli (aboriginal) tribe of Malay origin - who live around the lake also believe that the serpent Naga Seri Gumum (Loch Ness Monster) is the spirit and guardian of the lake. Nevertheless, these legends have enticed numerous archeologists to conduct scientific expeditions in Chini.
Lying majestically among 12,000 acres of lush tropical wilderness, the lake provides such beauty that it is possible to walk for miles without feeling bored. The size of the lake itself is subjective to regular periods of expansion and contractions. It is at its largest size during the monsoon months, which falls from October to January.
Virtually undisturbed for centuries, Tasik Chini itself is a habitat for over 144 species of fishes. The months of November to January is the best time for anglers to try their luck as the monsoon season would have increased the size and depth of the lake.
Earnest bird watchers will be happy to know that over 200 species of birds were recorded. Chini is a premier bird watching destination in Peninsula Malaysia. There are three bird watching trails, which go through different habitats. During the months of October to March, migratory birds come to Chini from the northern parts of Asia to escape the winter.
Chini is also a treasure trove for avid photographers. Imagine this picturesque lake with the majestic Gunung Chini in the backdrop, especially in the early mornings and late evenings. Also, during the months of July to January, the surface of the lake blossoms into a garden of pink and white lotuses, which contrasts brightly against the green lily pads. It is a truly breathtaking sight! River safaris are another way to enjoy the beauty of the lake.
For the more adventurous, Tasik Chini has a number of challenging routes through the jungle and swamps for off-road driving. The routes are only accessible by four-wheel-drives and provide enough excitement and adventure to please even the most demanding thrill-seeker. Another kind of activity is jungle trekking, which is exciting yet educational. One will be able to see an amazing array of flora and fauna here in Chini. It is best to secure a guide in order to fully utilize and appreciate the natural surroundings.
There are a number of wooden chalets and restaurants available, as well as camping spots for those who wish to rough it. Tasik Chini is accessible by road from most parts of Peninsula Malaysia and even Singapore. Daily bus services are also available from Kuantan.