Easily accessible from Kuantan town, the Sungai Pandan Waterfall (25km from Kuantan town) is an inviting proposition if you need to rest your mind and jaded nerves within the peaceful ambiance of a forested environs mostly dominated by trees of the dipterocarpaceae family. Just for your knowledge, the dipterocarps are tall straight trees with trunks of some 30m or more. The wood is much sought-after loggers.
Consider this: A 20-hectare green haven with a beautiful, crystal clear icy-cold waterfall that awaits you after a 15-minutes walk from the main entrance. Although almost in the middle of nowhere, the place is managed by a private company. You have to pay RM1 per entry per adult and 50 sen for children. For this amount you get fairly-clean toilets, showers and changing rooms, unlittered picnic spot, camping area and shelters from the elements.
The beautiful cascading waterfalls and the cool, slightly light green (color of pandanus plants - the reason for the name) and clear waters forming the streams along sandy soil amidst verdant jungle surroundings make for an attractive getaway for city dwellers to relax and pass away the time, especially during weekends.
The Sungai Pandan ("Pandan River") Waterfalls is part of the Sungai Pandan Forest Reserve ("Hutan Lipur Sungai Pandan") that encompasses an area of about 25 hectares. This forest reserve, an untouched treasure, is home to several species of tropical trees including a few species of the pitcher plants
Folks say the place got its name from the greenish colour of the water that resembles the green of the wild pandanus leaves. The water cascade over seven levels for about 100 metres into a pool, allowing for a therapeutic natural water-massage. Peering into the greenish-clear water you will see little silver fish frolicking, occasionally giving your body small bites for intruding into their domain. Some people find these little fish delicious when fried, so don't be surprised to see lines or even nets being cast to bag a few.
Besides trekking the surroundings and soaking in the refreshing water, the avid birder can indulge in their hobby. There are about 160 species of birds found in the area. The park is home to several species of quality trees, some of which are endemic.
A few species of pitcher plants (nephenthesis) or are also found here. For the conservation of these unique plants, a 2 hectares site allows visitors to view, including the nepenthes raflesiana upper, nephenthesis raflesiana lower, nephenthesis grasilis and nephenthesis ampuilaria. Another 5 hectares area sites a botanical garden showcasing, among others, wild rattan plants and a manau rattan cultivation project.
The park is open daily but gets the usual weekend crowd and bigger groups during the long school holidays. Arrangements can be made for jungle trekking, nature observation, nature walks, extreme sports including 'flying fox,' and handling blowpipes.
Getting there from Kuantan town, take the Kuantan – Kuala Lumpur main highway. Just after the Malaysian Air Force Base which is on the right of the road (about 17 km from Kuantan), you will need to make a right turn at the traffic lights to the Panching and Sungai Lembing road.
From the turn, after driving about 5km you will reach the signboard for the Sungai Pandan Forest Reserve ("Hutan Lipur Sungai Pandan") and turning left you will initially drive into an oil palm plantation and quarry road. After about 3 km of winding through the small two-lane tarred road you’ll reach the entrance to the Waterfalls.
The car–park there is ample during the week-days, but during week-ends and holidays, they won’t be enough and you will find cars parked all along one side of the small two-lane road.
It is therefore advisable that you come early, in the morning instead of after lunch time, to avoid congestion and parking problems, especially during the public holidays.