to get there I Myths
and Legends I The
Sacred Lotus I Local Wildlife
In reality, Tasik Chini is less a lake and more a naturally dammed
tributary of the mighty Pahang River, which lies to the north. Until
recently the lake's waters rose and fell with the seasons - during
the rainy season the waters were unable to flow down the narrow
Sungai Chini and so became backed up in a series of lakes. A unique
ecosystem developed, dominated by the presence of the Sacred Lotus
(Nelumbo Nucifera) which once covered the entire surface of the
During low waters the lotus seeds would germinate, the roots would
take hold in the soft mud and the stunning blooms would appear on
the water's surface. During monsoonal floods, from October to January
the lotus would die back but, the flowers having been fertlised,
new seeds would litter the lake bottom awaiting the dry season.
Foolishly, in 1995 the State Government Of Pahang, in a bid to
make the lakes more appealing to visitors in the dry season, built
a dam at the point where the Sungai Chini enters the Pahang River.
The waters were then never able to recede again. It wasn't long
before the ecosystem started showing signs of stress.
The lotuses became fewer and fewer with the passing years, and
large stands of various species of Eugenia trees which border the
lake also died back, being unable to tolerate constant submergence.
Happily, the mistake has been rectified; in early 2000 the dam was
breached and redesigned to accommodate the annual rise and fall
of the waters. The lotuses are returning once again, however it
will be decades before the damage to the Eugenia is healed.