The Bukit Seraya (Seraya Hill) Lookout Point is situated approximately halfway on the 14 km jeep track/road between Sungai Relau and Kuala Juram, in Taman Negara. It is one of the many hills that the road crosses along the way. There is a concrete tower built on the summit of the hill beside the road, and you have to first climb a flight of steps to reach the top of the hill and then onwards to the top of the tower, which is 3 stories high.
From the top level of the lookout tower, the view is splendid. You get clear views of the hills and mountains of the western side of Taman Negara in Pahang, and also good views of the nearby forest and tree crowns, with big seraya trees (Shorea curtisii) being the most common and conspicuous emergent tree in the surrounding hill dipterocarp forest. On a clear day, you can see Gunung Tahan in the distance; basically a large part of the Tahan range.
The way to the lookout point crosses a couple of small rivers, namely the Sungai Cheruai and Sungai Anak Cheruai. Fit people may choose to walk all the way to the lookout point from Sungai Relau, but it’s a tough walk, especially since the road is mostly exposed to the hot sun all the way through while it goes up and down hilly terrain; hiring a 4WD from the headquarters is the preferable way to get there.
On more than a few occasions that I’ve been up there, photographic conditions were less than ideal. This was the case that day, as Malaysia was experiencing haze from numerous open burning sites within and without Malaysia. Not really an annual “feature”20-30 years ago, unfortunately, haze is now an annual occurrence in South East Asia, mainly caused by open burning in Indonesia, and to a lesser extent, within the country itself. Rubbish, oil palm debris, and vegetation from land/forest clearance are some of the things frequently burnt in the open, and all that smoke lingers in the air.
I’m not sure if the negative effects of the haze on the rainforest ecosystem have ever been studied before (but I suspect it does). Certain small plant species may get affected by the diminished light and the presence of smoke particles in the air. The understory of the forest will receive less light due to the haze, and some small plants or tree saplings may even die out if they don’t get enough light. This in turn can affect some small sized sensitive life-forms from up in the canopy all the way down to the forest floor. Remember, the rainforest is one giant, complex ecosystem, and any part that is affected negatively will sooner or later affect the other parts of the ecosystem.