3.4: Taman Negara

Day 126: Tanah Rata to Kuala Tahan

Today I got a minibus from Father’s guesthouse in the Cameron Highlands to Kuala Tahan, the gateway town for Taman Negara. Taman Negara means national park means National Park in Malay and it is home to the oldest rainforest in the world. We had to change minibuses twice on the way up, one time at the place where we stopped for lunch and again at Jerantot, one of the main towns in the region. It was about 18:00 by the time we arrived in Kuala Tahan. I got a room at the Tahan guesthouse and met Laura and Dan who had also come from the Cameron Highlands. They went to an internet café and I went for dinner at one of the restaurants by the river.

126.1. The Tembeling River at Kuala Tahan at dusk, looking across to Taman Negara.

Day 127: Kuala Tahan

This morning after breakfast I went to the NKS office to get my entry permit and camera license which are required for entry to the National Park before getting a boat across the river. On the boat I met an English couple who were planning to go to Melaka next, just as I was. I got to the other side and walked through the Mutiara resort and began walking through the jungle.

127.1. Crossing the Tembeling from Kuala Tahan to Taman Negara national park.

After walking through the jungle for a bit I heard many monkeys in the trees. I waited and watched for a bit and after a while they became more at ease by my presence and came down to the lower branches and I was able to take some photographs. I then walked towards the canopy walkway, the largest of its kind in the world. Unfortunately it had just closed as it was a Friday and today it shuts at midday, so instead I decided to try and walk to the next village. A few kilometers further into the jungle I came to a hill called Bukit Indah and I climbed to the top and looked out across the jungle and the river below. I continued on my way and the path became more difficult, constantly going up and down hill to meet small streams flowing towards the river and walking became very tiring because of the humidity. I eventually decided to head back to Kuala Tahan. When I got back to the Mutiara resort I had a small can of Tiger beer which cost me 19 ringgit (about £4). It was one of the most expensive beers I’d ever had.

127.2. Inside Taman Negara: Monkeys in the branches, giant trees and huge ants.

When I got back into town I went to use the internet. I had got an email from David who I met before in the Cameron Highlands. He was now here and staying in the Woodlands resort with his girlfriend Saskia and their friends Steve and Kathryn. When I finished using the computer I noticed my leg was covered in blood. I looked and found that I had been bitten by a leech while I was in the jungle but it had long since fallen off. In the evening I went over to the Woodland resort to meet David and the others. We had some dinner and played cards. They invited me to join them to spend tomorrow night in the jungle if they could get hold of their guide.

Day 128: Kuala Tahan

Today I went to do the canopy walkway as I’d missed out on it yesterday. The walk was nice and it was a lot less busy than I expected it to be.

128.1. The Taman Negara canopy walkway.

Afterwards I climbed to the top of a hill called Bukit Teresik. The view from the top stretched north and the jungle appeared to go on forever. I could see Gunung Tahan, the highest mountain in peninsular Malaysia, covered in cloud away in the distance.

128.2. The view across Taman Negara from the top of Bukit Teresik.

On the way back I stopped for a bit by the Tahan River. The colour of the water was almost black because of all the vegetation in it. I came back into town and I went for a beer at the Woodland resort since it is about half the price of the Mutiara. When I arrived I met David and others who were finishing off lunch. They couldn’t get in touch with their guide so we decided instead to have a poker night. I left and went to the NKS office to buy a minibus ticket back to Jerantot for tomorrow morning.

128.3. The Tahan River.

In the evening I went back to the Woodlands resort and we played Texas Hold‘em. It was my first time to play it so I was rubbish in the beginning but improved later on after being bailed out by Steve at one point. As it got late we got fed up of the game and at about midnight I came back to my guesthouse.