Taman Negara National Park
Taman Negara National Park is the largest national park in Peninsular Malaysia. It is famous for its rainforest, birds, and insects.
Taman Negara is a lovely escape from Kuala Lumpur and other coastal locations throughout Southeast Asia. Tourists come and go through the town of Kuala Tahan, which is located directly across a river from the park headquarters. From there it is easy to hike and enjoy the river and the jungle. The park offers a bounty of wildlife, in addition to being home to fairly undisturbed indigenous tribes.
The dry season runs from February to September, which is the best time to visit the park. The peak tourist season is from April to August.
The local language is Malay (Bahasa Malaysia or colloquially, Bahasa Melayu). English is widely spoken within the park.
Park entry permits can be purchased upon arrival: admission is RM1, and a camera permit is RM5. If you also want to fish, it is an additional RM10 for your entire length of stay. Permits can be bought at the park headquarters, just across the river from the village in the park, Kuala Tahan.
Boat service can easily be arranged by multiple tour operators in Kuala Lumpur. This is the simplest way to get into the park, including a several hour trip up the river in a small motorized boat. The tour operator will provide the bus from KL, lunch in Kuala Tembling, and the boat ride.
To arrange the boat trip independently, the river boat leaves from the jetty at Kuala Tembling at 9AM and 2PM for Kuala Tahan. The 60 km journey takes 2-3 hr, and costs RM35.
From Jerantut, (easily accessed by bus from Kuala Lumpur), busses are available directly to Kuala Tahan for RM7 (5:30AM, 8.30AM, 1PM, 5PM). This is an easy option that saves a lot of time compared to the boat ride.
NKS buses are more expensive than public transport though they can be a useful option if you are on a tight schedule or would prefer assistance with organising your trip. The NKS websites may not be working but you can contact the Jerantut office at Hotel Sri Emas or phone ☎ +60 9 2601777, +60 2601773, +60 2664488, or +60 2664499. There's also an office in KL at the Hotel Mandarin Pacific (Petaling Street, Chinatown), ☎ +60 3 20720336. Also try comfortable booking via Kula Lumpur Mandarin Pacific Hotel (China Town) via Kuala Tembeling as well as the final boat trip to Kuala Tahan.
Alternatively, to do the trip yourself, first take a bus or a train to Jerantut (RM19 from Kuala Lumpur), A taxi can be taken directly from Jerantut to Kuala Tahan which will take 1 hr and cost MR70. Ensure that the price is understood prior to departure.
If you have your own transport, you can drive to Kuala Tahan. Parking is available at the hotels. From East Coast Expressway, exit at Temerloh and proceed to Jerantut. You will reach a T-junction. Turn right to Kuala Tahan - 75 km). The journey is a 3.5 hr from Kuala Lumpur. There are plenty of roadsigns so you shouldn't get lost. You will drive across estates of palm oils and winding roads. Beware of cows and buffalos. There is no phone signal in the estates.
The northern entrance is at Sg Relau near Merapoh. There is an express bus from Kuala Lumpur to Gua Musang which stops in Merapoh (RM26), and there is also a railway station. But Sg Relau is 7 km from Merapoh village and there is no public transport or taxis.
It is easy to get around without any guide. You can easily explore the forest on your own as decent maps are provided. However, if you go into the deep jungle, especially by the Keniam, Tenol, or Tahan Mountain trails, it is better to go with guide, as you will learn a lot about the jungle and reduce the risk of becoming lost or disoriented.
- Lata Berkoh & Waterfall Cascades. A famous spot for swimming in clear and cool water. Beware of strong currents and not stray too far from the bank. You can reach Lata Berkoh by boat ride for RM160. The boat ride itself is a unique experience. You can ask the boatman to turn off the engine (on your way back only) and enjoy the sound and sights of the jungle. It is like being in a Rambo movie. Half way to Lata Berkoh you can stop by the Kelah Sanctuary. edit
- Kelah Fish Sanctuary. The Kelah fish is a culinary delight of the locals. They are known for their sweet flesh and is absolutely delightful when steamed fresh. You can feed these friendly fishes here with food that be bought from the Rangers. Stand bare footed in the river and watch as they come to nibble at your feet. edit
- Videos on Indigenous flora & fauna. Shown at the Interpretive Room at 9am, 3pm and 5pm daily edit
- Tahan Wildlife Observation Hide. You may see some wildlife at the salt lick. It is best to stay overnight. edit
- Jungle Trekking. Jungle treks of various duration, some up to nine days, are possible. Trekking requires considerable preparations, a lot of water and a guide must be taken on all long trekking journeys. Although challenging, the jungle treks prove to be an equally rewarding authentic jungle adventure. edit
- Climb Bukit Teresek (Teresek Hill). 334m high hill. The trail is relatively easy until the foot of the hill. Then it turns to a moderate climb among ropes and tree roots. Get lucky and spot various wildlife including wild hog, rare birds, scorpians and others. Smell and drink the native Seranti tree, which is similar to a cola. When you finally reach the view point, you see the near entirety of the national park. edit
- Canopy Walk, (On Bukit Teresek). Walk across the longest Malaysian suspension bridge in the world, at 530 m. Walk across the canopy 25 m-40 m high, and view the rich and diverse flora and fauna at the summit of the forest. In August 2012 the canopy walk comes to a premature ending at around halfway the length. Even though it is still nice, a feeling of slight discontent can be expected. RM5. edit
- Visit the Orang Asli Settlements. "Orang Asli" means "original people" in the Malay. The Orang Asli live a nomadic lifestyle in Taman Negara. Their settlements are found along the trails. Some settlements are accessible by boat. Let them teach you how to shoot a blow gun and drink the juices of the local fruits. edit
- Night Walking Safaris. View nocturnal plants and animals in an easy hour guided trek from the Ranger's headquaters. See flowers that only bloom at night, water dragons, snakes, glow in the dark fungis, stick insects other weird and wonderful creatures. edit
- Night 4WD Safaris. Go on a guided drive through the forest and supposedly view owls, leopard cats, snakes, and nocturnal birds. You can see kingfishers, hornbills, otters, monitor lizards and more. edit
- Fishing. It is estimated there are as many as 300 species of fish in the rivers. You may only fish the waters of Sungai Tahan below Lata Berkoh and Sungai Keniam below Kuala Keniam Kecil. Fishing tends to be best in the drier months of February to April and June to August. Permit costing RM10 per rod is necessary. edit
- Cave Exploration. Gua Telinga (Ear Cave) has a rock formation in the shape of an ear. Gua Kepayang and Gua Daun Menari (Dancing Leaves Cave) are a few of the limestone outcrops which you can explore alongside animals and insects that live in the caves. edit
- Shooting The Rapids. Travelling upstream on Sungai Tembeling from Kuala Tahan is an exhilarating experience. One must be prepared to get drenched as the boat has to negotiate 7 sets of rapids. edit
- Bird watching. There are over 350 species of birds in the park edit
- Climb Gunung Tahan (Tahan Mountain). You will need to carry your own food and tent on this 4-7 day journey to the top of the highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia at 2,187 m, . There is a slim chance of seeing elephants in the wild. Needless to say, guides are necessary. Months of physical fitness training is needed before most trekkers would attempt the climb. edit
There are floating restaurants at the riverside of Kuala Tahan, including Family Restaurant, Wan Cafe, and LBK. These cafe serve local delicacies such as toasted bread with kaya jam (weird but tasty combination of egg and coconut), fried rice, drinks, sandwiches, and soups. The floating restaurants are a memorable part of the Kuala Tahan experience and are quite good.
Outside of Kuala Tahan there are not many restaurants.
There are no bars in Kuala Tahan as it is a Muslim village. Chess Corner, near the Tembeling Riverview Guesthouse is a nice bar style cafe where locals sing songs and play the guitar at some nights. However, this 'bar' does not serve alcohol. There are also several cafes on the main road in Kuala Tahan around the bus stop. They're much cheaper than floating restaurants. Travelers frequently get together over fresh juices in the evening.
One local drink you should try is the "Sirup Bandung", which is a blend of rose syrup and milk. It is a tasty concoction to drink after a day's trek.
Apart from Mutiara Taman Negara, which is next to the park entrance, all accommodation is across the Tembeling River at Kuala Tahan. Most are within walking distance of the river and there are many boats to take passengers across to the park entrance. Cost is RM1 per person, per crossing.
- Agoh Chalet, Kuala Tahan, ☎ +60 9 2669570, . Twin room RM50, quad room RM80, family room RM100. edit
- Ekoton Chalet & Dorms, Next to the park entrance at Kuala Tahan, ☎ +60 9 2669897. From RM20-100. edit
- Liana Hostel, Kuala Tahan, ☎ +60 9 2669322. Basic hostel with lackluster bathrooms. Fan dorm bed: RM10. edit
- Mutiara Taman Negara, Next to the park entrance at Kuala Tahan (The only accommodation next to the park). Upscale resort. Wild hogs are a regular sighting and can be seen scavenging for food in the evening. Also features a restaurant. Dorm bed: RM80; Room RM300-1,820. edit
- Park Lodge Taman Negara, Kuala Tahan, ☎ +60197731661 ( whatsapp, call, sms ), . checkin: 12.00; checkout: 12.00. Budget accommodations. Lowest price in town. RM 60 Fan Chalets With Breakfast. edit
- Rainforest Resort, Across the river from the park entrance at Kuala Tahan (Continue along the road past Woodlands Resort), ☎ +60 9 2667888 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . No coffee or tea-making facilities, although can request an electric jug. Comfortable rooms, standard hotel-like facilities. From RM150 to RM450 if booked online. edit
- Rippi hostel, Kuala Tahan (up the hill from Mama's Chop floating restaurant on the west side of K.T.). checkout: 12noon. dorms-only place with a friendly cat and lizards, mosquito nets, nice sitting for a chat, travel books to read and a guitar teacher if you will, next door is an internet access point. 10 RM/dorm bed. edit
- Teresek View Motel & Hostel, Across the river from the park entrance at Kuala Tahan, ☎ +60 9 2669744, . Fan dorm bed: RM10; A/C dorm bed: RM20; fan R=room: RM60; A/C room: RM80. edit
- Travelers Home, Across the river from the park entrance at Kuala Tahan. Homestay style accommodation but with new, clean rooms at affordable rates. Owner may be rude, so visitors be forewarned. RM110 and up. edit
- Woodlands Resort, Across the river from the park entrance at Kuala Tahan (close to Rainforest Resort), . Standard (fan) and A/C (deluxe) rooms with TV. Questionable service, pool and room cleanliness standards. RM108-230. edit
- Nusa Holiday Village, (10 min upstream from Kuala Tahan), . Upriver in beautiful and quiet surroundings.Few waterfalls and hill trekkings only accessible from there. They have an office at the Jerantut Bus Station to book in advance. Dorm bed: RM15, A-frame: RM55, cottage: RM90, house: RM110; free boat transfer from Kuala Tahan for guests. Isolated from the main park entrance and where most of the trails start. Access is limited because you need to take a boat ride. First boat to the entrance is 8.30AM and last is 6.20PM. Each ride costs RM5 (sometimes they don't charge), they leave from the Nusa Restaurant at the pier.. edit
- Holiday View Inn, Kuala Tahan, ☎ +6013-9663850, . checkin: 1.00 pm; checkout: 12.00 noon. New chalet and comfortable room. Very privacy place and suitable for couple. Visit us at our website for more details. MYR130. edit
There is no violent crime in Taman Negara. As anywhere, do not leave valuables lying around unguarded. Beware of theft from hotel rooms and always monitor and secure your belongings
Wear footwear when outside. If you make a jungle trek on your own inform the park headquarters where you are going and at what time you will be back. People sometimes get lost or disoriented in the jungle.
Leeches are very common in the park but are more annoying than dangerous. Leach spray is available, although you are likely to get used to them.
Schedule information and boat ticketing is available from the travel booths at the floating restaurants.