The Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary in Lanchang, Pahang, is a place for nature lovers. During weekends and public holidays, large groups flock to this refuge for wild elephants which have been relocated due to habitat loss, forcing them into human territories. While driving to the sanctuary is straightforward, opting to cycle there offers a more engaging experience. It might be a challenge for novice riders, but it’s a worthwhile outdoor adventure. There are two distinct cycling routes leading to the sanctuary.
The first, spanning about 14 km one-way, starts from Pekan Lanchang. Many novices favour this route due to its gentler terrain. Out-of-town cyclists often begin their trek from Lanchang early in the morning to avoid the harsh midday sun. Despite its shorter distance, this route requires perseverance, especially towards the end, where cyclists face a steep 12-degree climb near Jalan Bukit Rengit. Those who can muster their strength will pedal onwards, while others might choose to walk their bikes up.
Upon reaching, cyclists can visit the Kuala Gandah National Elephant Conservation Centre, with a modest donation welcomed for entry. A more challenging route awaits thrill-seekers roughly 40km away from Karak town. This 80km loop boasts an elevation gain of around 950m, featuring fluctuating terrains that can test even seasoned riders. From Karak, cyclists pass through Kampung Sertik, Mempaga, and Felda Lakum.
After the Sertik Felda stretch, a right turn at Jalan Mempaga–Bukit Damar takes riders to Kampung Bogok, initiating an extended climb across undulating hills. An early start rewards cyclists with a breakfast break at Felda Sertik, where freshly prepared nasi lemak awaits. The picturesque path, best explored during dawn, eventually converges with Kampung Bogok, leading directly to the conservation centre.
Along the way, small shops offer refreshment opportunities, with the Kampung Bogok junction as a popular regrouping point. The final leg towards Bukit Rengit challenges cyclists to navigate hills, using low gears to maintain a steady rhythm. Novice hill climbers are advised to opt for bikes equipped with a 27-speed transmission.
At the sanctuary, an hourly elephant show is a highlight, complemented by informative commentaries from wildlife rangers on the centre’s residents. Before embarking on the return journey, be it the shorter route to Lanchang or the extended stretch to Karak, cyclists can enjoy an early lunch within the sanctuary, given the remote location’s lack of restaurants. A well-strategised cycling trip, peppered with rest stops, promises unforgettable moments. Those planning a cycling expedition to Kuala Gandah should consider the dry months of April through August for the best experience.