ECO-TOURISM has become a popular word in Malaysia in recent years, but few travel agents really understand what it involves. Some travel agents who have advertised this acronym far and wide think that it is enough just to bring tourists to see some rubber trees or palm oil plantations. ''For people who are really serious about eco-tourism, they will die of a heart attack if they learn what some travel agents are doing,'' said G. Danapal, a naturalist, who is promoting a rather different concept of eco-tourism. To rectify some of the damage done by ignorant travel agents, Mr Danapal, working together with a Malaysian tour operator, New Asia Holiday Tours and Travel and Holiday Inn, is determined to show off the ''real Malaysia''. Ecology, the study of the interaction of people with their environment, when combined with tourism, should be a blend of a study of nature and environment, while allowing participants to also relax and enjoy their holiday, he said. The group has chosen the Endau-Rompin National Park, straddling the Johor-Pahang state borders, covering about 87,000 hectares, to carry out a pilot project for this new brand of eco-tourism adventure. Marianne Lim, sales director of Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Johor Bahru, said: ''We want tourists to come into Johor Bahru, via Senai International airport, and put up a night at our hotel where we will pamper them with our services.'' The next day visitors will set off by coach to see the untouched and unspoilt Endau-Rompin park, said to be more than 130 million years-old, and one of the most southern remnants of tropical rain-forest in mainland Asia. The whole park programme is being carried out under the expert guidance and security of well-trained orang asli (aborigine) guides, who have been born and bred in the very jungles into which they are taking visitors. For nature lovers, the jungle shows clear floristic links with Borneo, and possesses many endemic plants, as well as unusual plant communities and exciting animal life. Along the way, the picturesque scene of hills, cliffs, spectacular water falls and scenic rivers will keep visitors enthralled. The Buaya Sangkut waterfalls, at 300 metres above sea-level, will fascinate many visitors as they watch 4.5 million litres of water gushing down a 40-metre high cliff each minute. Visitors can also visit the village of Kampung Peta, followed by a boat ride along the Endau river to Kuala Jasin. ''To make the trip an unforgettable experience, visitors will be invited to taste locally cooked food, but [they] will be given a choice of canned rations if it does not suit their taste buds,'' he said. The night in the jungle will also be part of a new experience as visitors will be housed in modestly equipped huts. ''We will have someone on duty throughout the night to ensure the visitors are safe from wild animals,'' said Mr Danapal. ''There is nothing to worry about so long as visitors observe rules, which they will be instructed to follow.'' The visitors would also be taught basic jungle survival techniques and brought on a trekking expedition to enjoy the magnificent creations of nature, he said. After the jungle adventure, the visitors will again be brought back to stay at Holiday Inn before they return home. ''This [provides] just a glimpse of what eco-tourism is all about,'' Mr Danapal said. He said he was now working with Malaysian authorities to bring other natural sights, such as caves and waterfalls, to the attention of the tourists.