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The famous Mossy Forest in the Cameron Highlands is no longer freely accessible to the public.
Visitors should use the services of selected tour operators based in the Cameron Highlands and registered with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac)
They are no longer allowed to drive alone to the Mossy Forest.
The new regulations come into effect on March 7.
Local tour operators had also started notifying potential visitors of this requirement.
Currently, prices are around RM25 per person, not including the entrance fee to the Mossy Forest.
Outrage at Strong-Arm Tour Guide Demand
Dilip Martin, president of Regional Environmental Awareness Cameron Highlands (REACH), said visitors should have a choice whether or not to use tour guides.
He added that the latest regulations will be an unnecessary financial burden on people.
Dilip regretted that the decision to require tour guides was made by the Pahang State Forestry Department (JPNP) without public consultation.
There is no doubt that travel agencies need to make money, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, but not at the expense of the public interest. Please consider those with large families and traveling on a budget.
REACH Chairman Dilip Martin on the pros and cons of mandatory tour guides in Mossy Forest.
At the same time, the public fears they will find themselves at the mercy of predatory tour guides.
The obligation to use the services of tourist guides is considered a kind of monopoly, since the price of organized tours in the Mossy Forest is not regulated.
Nature should be accessible to all
The easing of Covid-19 lockdowns has fueled a boom in domestic tourism lately.
According to JPNP, Mossy Forest receives between 50 and 300 tourists a day.
The number of tourists has doubled to triple on weekends and public holidays.
Most visitors to the Mossy Forest are in groups, using transport provided by local tour operators.
Visitor numbers are limited to ensure safety and avoid traffic jams along the mossy forest walking route.
JPNP has also upgraded facilities at Mossy Forest, such as the observation tower, to provide more comfort and a memorable outdoor experience for visitors.
The Mossy Forest is famous for its settings that resemble those of The Lord of the Rings, considered one of the most important and influential film series ever made.
The natural forest is humid, mossy and wet all year round and is the entrance to the climbing route of Mount Irau.
Visitors can enjoy a unique landscape around the mossy forest via a 600m long promenade.
— Really Asia Malaysia (@TourismMalaysia) July 28, 2020
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