Get up close with nature at The Malaysian National Park

The first time I went camping was when I was 13 years old. I was not actually jumping with joy because the outdoors always gave me an eerie feeling but I had no choice, as it was compulsory that I attend the camp. There was a variety of activities planned and one of it was jungle trekking.

The trail was upwards, the mud was all sticking to my shoes there were the leeches to deal with and the whole time I just wished, I could be in my home sweet home but than when night came I saw something that changed my mind about the outdoors forever. The stars were so beautiful and could be seen so clearly from the hill side that we were camping and the air was so fresh and cool that I told myself I should give nature a second chance.

I put my heart and soul into that camping trip and since then I have always gone camping or jungle trekking whenever I have the time. After I had settled down it was quite difficult for me to still maintain these outdoor activities until I visited the Malaysian National Park. It is a suitable place to be with your family, it is safe and educational for your children and you can still enjoy nature at the same time.

The Malaysian National Park is a tropical rainforest that is a 130 million years old and has evolved naturally without any major disruption or calamities. It is located in the heart of the Peninsular covering 4343 square kilometers spanning across the three states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang. It is an extensive protected area of pristine, lowland and evergreen forest set aside to nourish our natural heritage of flora and fauna.

Your trip to Malaysia will not be complete without visiting this tropical rainforest that has earned the titles of The Best Kept Tropical Rainforest and The Great Natural Wonders of the World so don not forget to include it in your itinerary.

All the places in the park is a must see with breathtaking views and unique characteristics. Enjoy the magnificent view of Gunung Tahan one of the tallest mountains in Malaysia by trekking up Bukit Teresek which is located 1.7 km from Kuala Tahan.

If you are interested in limestone, there are many limestone outcrops in the park. Gua Telingga that is Ear Cave deprives its name from its structure that is shaped like a human ear. The Ear Cave is carved through a limestone crop with a stream running through it and is one of the famous caves here. It is damp, dark and is home to common life forms such as the round leaf bats and race snakes. There are drawings on the wall of the cave that indicates an interesting past. If you are a person who loves adventure and mystery than you can join in on the cave exploration also known as SPELUNGKING.

Have a brisk walk through the jungle from Kuala Tahan to Lata Berkoh which is roughly about 8.5km where a refreshing waterfall can be found that flows from the top of Tahan Mountain. The river is fast moving and the depth is about less than a meter. The stream joins Sungai Tembeling at Kuala Tahan. You are welcome to take a boat ride and enjoy the views of the river and it is certainly the best time to snap some lovely pictures of nature for your collection. The cascade marks the limit for the highest navigable point for the river. If you want to just relax and have a picnic with the family the deep pool below the rapids with its rocky area is most suitable. Swimming is restricted in these areas due to the strong undercurrent.

The boats belong to the Wildlife Department and make sure to make advanced bookings to avoid disappointments as the number of boats available is limited. The cost to hire a boat is RM 120.00 per boat for 4 persons.

Take a peek into the lives of the ORANG ASLI that is Man of the Jungle who are the original inhabitants or natives of the jungle. These people call themselves BATEK that means people of the rainforest after the wonderful tropical rainforest that they live in. Their livelihood is dependent on the forest as they eat yam and hunt small animals such as squirrels and monkeys with a blow pipe. They are short in stature, dark skinned and have curly black hair. There is another group of natives known as SOMOKBERI and there has been some intermarriage between these two groups. Their huts are simple and made out of thatched-palm and one family group lives together in one hut. Some natives still live a nomadic life by hunting and gathering food within the park.

There are various activities lined up in the park that will send your heart racing and pump up your adrenaline. The canopy walkway is 45 meters long and 510 meters long. It not only allows you to have a look at the wildlife from the summit of the park but also offers an opportunity to get to know the plants and animals that live in the Canopy itself. Minimal fees of RM 5 for adults and RM 3 for children are applicable and the walkway is only open to the public from Thursday to Sundays only.

Those you love fishing can put their skills to the test at Lata Berkoh and Sungai Keniam that are full with fresh water fish. Kuala Tahan is where the waters are more placid and is also teeming with fish. This is definitely a haven for all anglers with the Kelah fish that can weigh up to 20lbs but may pose as a challenge to catch due to its speed and agility as it can put up quite a fight when caught. The best time for fishing is February, March, July and August.

If you want to observe the wildlife at its natural habitat there are six hides located all over the park that can be reached by either walking or by boat. The hides are safe to watch the animals from even after it is dark. It gives you a chance to get a glimpse at the animals in the park that are usually shy who emerge to have a drink of water or lick some soil.

Jungle Trekking is one activity that will put your endurance to a test. There are many routes in the park, some are only up to a few hours while there are even routes that can take up to 9 days long. The routes are easy and safe as it has been clearly marked but it is still advisable to have a guide along the trekking. You will be able to hear rare songbirds greeting you as there is about 300 species of songbirds here and find some of the rarest orchids here in the park. There is up to 200 species of plants found in each hectare of the jungle, each jungle trail is unique in its own way but that is sure to offer an unforgettable experience for each trekker.

Those who want some adventure can go on a Night Safari, where you will be driven in a four-wheel drive for about two hours in search of animals as they are in the midst of finding their food. If you are lucky animals such as the Wild Boar, Jungle Cats, Deer, Birds, Snakes and Insects can be spotted. The powerful spotlights will be able to blind the animals temporarily during their search for food.

Water activities that you should not miss are the rapid shooting towards Trenggan River and the inner gateway of the park but prepared to get soaked with water. If you just want to relax, take the Sunset Cruise to enjoy the park in the evening and see the wonderful sunset or opt for the Night River Safari, which is a cruise along the Pahang River in search for animals.

As for the wildlife in the park, in the lowlands we have the tigers, leopards, sun bears, sambar dear, barking deer, wild pigs, tapir, elephants and the sumatran rhinoceros. The only problem is that these animals are rarely sighted, as they are shy and due to the density of the jungle. The jungle also offers them a natural camouflage, which makes it even more difficult to spot them. There is about 300 species of birds here with the Hornbill being the most easily sighted and other rare species such as the Broadbill, Drongo and the Blue-throated Bee-eater. The park also has its share of reptiles such as snakes, crocodile, tortoises, lizards and amphibians and is also rich with micro faunas like insects and butterflies.

The accommodations provided range from budget hostel to luxury resorts and the choice is up to you. Price starts from as low as RM 10+ up to RM 1000+ depending on the type of room you select. There are hostels, chalets and resorts, the hostel being the cheapest form of accommodation while the resort is more of a luxury. If you are visiting with kids it is better to select the Mutiara Taman Negara Resort and if you are visiting with your spouse than a chalet will do. There are many types of chalets, some with fan and others with air-cond according to your budget.

The travel agent in Malaysia that offers services and accommodations is Han Travels Sdn. Bhd. It offers a wide range of packages and services to choose from for your convenience and can be contacted via e-mail at enquiry@taman-negara.com.

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