Taman Negara: Escape Into The Deep Woods

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State: Pahang

4 DAYS 3 NIGHTS – from RM838/pax (min. 50pax)

Forget about skyscrapers. Leave the concrete jungle for the 130 million years old virgin forest that sits at the center of Peninsular Malaysia. Taman Negara’s monstrously green world welcomes any wild adventurer to its 4,343km2 (434,300 hectares) of flora and fauna.

Spanning across three states, Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang, this is reputed to be the world’s oldest jungle and the best kept tropical rainforest there is.

We took the adventure from Lake Bera to Taman Negara Pahang, the largest at 2,477km2, followed by 1,043km2 in Kelantan and 853km2 in Terengganu. From the quiet allurement of the lake, we moved to a wilder ride through hills and rapids.

We slowly eased in to wild rejoice from the small town of Jerantut, located 200km from Kuala Lumpur. Before we began our cycling escapade at 1 Kuala Tembeling Jetty, we went around the a old town where shop lots stood jazzy in their picturesque line-up, boasting of their period markings dated 1927, 1937, among others.

When we arrived at the jetty, coming from an up and down on the road, we knew that the proceeding route would play tricks on us, and to which we were ready.

Empty boats were docked by the riverside, while on the opposite side, fish cages (sangkar) were found. It’s a morning free from strife, with an occasional view of crossing boats. Not too long after, we’re off for the huff and puff of the journey.

We were already sweating it out in the first 8km of the ride, which eventually turned to almost swearing under the very hot sun, but the unforgiving hills continued to mock our sunburned skin throughout. Much thanks to the seemingly endless line-up of greenery and traditional houses that accompanied us through, we were pampered with occasional breeze and rustic views.

Stopping by 2 Labu Sentral after some 12km in brutal heat, we immersed ourselves in the view of Sungai Tembeling. Stories of the recent major flood that surpassed the 1971 record were told: the river rose up to 75.76m, overflowing the banks due to the heavy downpour. From the sight of the undisturbed river amidst the forest canopy view, we relearned a memory that was once heard in the news.

We reached our ultimate stop for the day after over 20 more kilometers on the road. The 3 floating restaurant at Taman Negara rocked us to some downtime. It’s that time of the year when foreign backpackers head here for some tropical adventure. The restaurant was filled with visitors from different countries, families, couples and friends alike, chatting and enjoying the scene of the passing wooden boats against the rainforest backdrop.

It didn’t take us long to unpack our bags in the nearby chalet, freshen up and get recharged from the buffet dinner at the same restaurant where we met for our night jungle walk. Yes, our first day didn’t end without some experiental learning. Taman Negara comes alive not only in daylight, but also at nighttime!

We took a boat to get us to the other side where the Wildlife HQ is. From there, we began our walk to discover Taman Negara’s b nocturnal creatures. Holding our torch lights, we quietly walked along the trail to not scare the creatures away. Clinging to a variety of plant species were of the micro fauna such as spider, millipede, grasshopper and scorpion, among others. It has gotten even more interesting when we reached the 4 Tahan Hide, a 3-storey concrete structure where it is safe to observe the wild animals from. It was a night like no other. From sunup to sundown, all we did were nothing but explore, that when we came back to the chalet, we couldn’t wait for the surprises of the next two days.

When the next morning came in, we were all ready to walk the world’s longest canopy walkway at 530m. But we didn’t pass up to the nice warm-up hike up 5 Bukit Terisek before the most awaited walk. Up the wooden staircase and further up the trail, either tiny creatures would catch our attention or c vines hanging vertically from a tall tree would grab our attention for some test climbs.

But the real suspense came from the suspended paths of the 6 canopy walk that consists of 10 different bridge sections. To be suspended 40m above the ground gave us the chance to explore the world’s oldest rainforest from another magnificent side.

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