March 2015 – Situated in the center of Malaysia’s Peninsula and stated as the oldest national park of the country, Taman Negara attracts a lot of visitors each day. The boat ride to get to the park and the canopy walk are the major attractions of the place. To me it was a nice experience to go here, but as far as I can judge, the jungle around Cameron Highlands is more pleasing.
Surprisingly, the little village, Kuala Tahan, on the park border isn’t that big and touristic at all. Funny how you always have a picture in your mind about the places you’re heading to.. I imagined a tropical overwhelmed village with lot’s of bushes and huts. It’s not really like that! It looks more like a small setup with mainly concrete buildings and some wooden low budget huts. There’s one street with some street food and (very) small supermarkets. The most cozy area is around the river, where there are about 5 floating restaurants all offering kind of the same menu. We stayed in the Xcape/Xbox hotel (haha) because they are the only one where you can book a (whole) dorm online (120R, 4 beds). Pretty okay, but not one other backpacker there. For information on accommodations, check here
To get to the park, you have to cross the river with one of the little taxi boats (very cheap, 1 R). On the other side of the river you pay to get into the park, or show you already paid with your travel agency (also ridiculously cheap). From the headquarter you will find long stretching footbridges. To walk the lot, it can already take you a good couple of hours! Very nice that they put them there. In about 45 mins you walk to the Canopy walk, which you can reach by climbing a 150 stairs. Not so pleasant in this very humid conditions. But, of course it’s worth it! Again for only 2 euro’s or something you can walk among the treetops. It’s pretty high! And unfortunately no scary animals to spot. Furthermore, we made some loop over the footbridges and after 4 hours we were back at the headquarters. That’s it. Of course you can do overnight stays in the park as well and I guess you will than truely experience what Taman Negara is like.
How to get to Taman Negara
As with more remote places, an adventure on itself to get to Taman Negara. Jerantut is the village where you start from. It’s very easy to get to here by mini-bus or public transport. We took a mini bus from Cameron Highlands to Jerantut for 60 R. In Jerantut there’s this hostel/touroperator NKS who can arrange everything for you. The boat ride to Kuala Tahan for most tourists, is already an experience. It’s beautiful to see the river and sometimes bathing cows, but it took verrryy long (2,5hrs, 35 R). There’s also a paved road to the village with a very cheap local bus connection to Jerantut (7 R, mini-bus 25 R). Not that bad either! We took the local bus back and continued from Jerantut our journey to Kuantan on the east coast.
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