The tropical climate and extensive rainforests in Malaysia, with its huge diversity of animal and plant species, makes it one of the most beautiful travel destinations for nature lovers across the globe.
In fact, it’s so amazing that one of the popular forests in Malaysia has made Lonely Planet’s list of the most Instagrammable forests in the world.
The forest in question is none other than the famous and enchanting Mossy Forest. A forest which many people have likened to a mythical forest out of the Lord of The Rings movie!
Where Mossy Forest Is
Mossy Forest grows only at the highest elevations of Mount Brinchang, 2,032 metres above sea level.
As the name suggests, Mossy Forest is a lush area in the hills of Mount Brinchang where thick and rich layers of moss drape tree trunks and buttresses, completely encapsulating the landscape.
Mount Brinchang is among the seven mountains in Cameron Highlands that are more than 1,500 metres high and part of the Titiwangsa Range which forms a part of the Central Forest Spine of Peninsular Malaysia.
Why Mossy Forest Is So Special
Mossy Forest is one of the world’s only cloud forests. Also called tropical montane cloud forest, only 1% of the global woodland consists of such forests.
At such heights, low-level clouds blanket the forest with a constant mix of mist and moisture, creating a damp, gloomy and chilly environment.
These moisture-rich conditions are perfect for moss, primitive ferns, lichen as well as exotic plants such as the pitcher plant, orchids, spices and medicinal herbs to grow wildly.
The forest is also home to ancient trees and is thought to be one of the oldest forests in Malaysia, assumed to be around 200 million years old.
In an effort to preserve this valuable natural environment, the government has built an elevated boardwalk that meanders between trees and under the canopy of leaves for about 150 metres through the Mossy Forest.
Perched along the walk is also a 50-metre tall observation tower that offers a spectacular view of the mountain ranges around Cameron Highlands
How to visit
There are a few ways to hike through the forest. Some seasoned hikers prefer to explore the forest trails on their own.
However, there are about 14 trails to explore in these mountains which means that many hikers that go out on their own often end up missing the Mossy Forest completely.
The best way is to actually hire a local tour operator who will take you through to all the must-see parts of the Mossy Forest and show you interesting plants that grow in the forest.
If you do end up hiking to the Mossy Forest, make it a point to preserve the beauty of the forest by only walking on the boardwalk or the cleared trails and avoid stepping onto the moss.
At one point, the government had to close the forest to hikers and tourists because too many people were trampling through the forest and destroying the moss.
Meanwhile, if you end up venturing deep into the forest, watch out for snakes and jungle cats that roam the hills.
The forest is best visited in the morning while the mist shrouds the forest. Wear proper walking shoes and a jacket to keep yourself warm as the weather can get chilly.
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