Published: September 19th 2005September 14th 2005
Some people travel solely to experience the great rail journeys of the world - the Orient Express, the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Jungle Express. The Jungle Express for me turned out to be a 4 hour leg of the Singapore to Thai border train, on a local train. Hot sweaty, confined, slow, but with exotic scenery from every window, we made progress snail like towards the Taman Negara National Park, stopping at every reed shack in the jungle (or so it seemed).
The Taman Negara National Park pulsates deep in the heart of the Malaysian Peninsula, more land life than any place I've seen. The park is home to tigers (100 est), Rhinos and Elephants (400 est), unfortunately these larger animals are wary of human contact (justifiably given our record of hunting species to extinction) - it's a very lucky tourist that gets to see one of of these.
But the jungle more than makes up for any disappointment, teaming with smaller beasties, every few steps can reveal something unexpected. From the tiny to the scary to the down right creepy
Jungle Activities Canopy Walk
- Stretching through the canopy of 80m tall trees, at heights of
45m, and stretches of 50m, single tracked walkways dangle from wires wobbling precariously ready to bounce the clumsy to their knees. Don't look down! or do as seeing things from a different perspective is always worthwhile. Bukit Teresek
- a 4km round trip trek from Kuala Tahan, expands into a seemingly much longer experience. The views from this hill are not worth the distance alone, but as a way point on a short jungle trek makes a good resting point. Take plenty of water, the sweat just runs off the body in streams, I was able to wring out my t-shirt and watch the water puddle on the floor. Lata Simpon
- A swimming place, about 20 mins walk from Kuala Tahan is an accessible and well needed swimming point in a refreshingly cool river. Lata Berkoh
- About 6km from Kuala Tahan best reached by flat bottomed water taxi, the water forms rapids where wedging yourself in between rocks you can get a free water massage! Gua Telinga
- if crawling through bat shit in tight confined caves, not being able to open your mouth to avoid droppings is your idea of fun - then
you'll love this. Even if you don't it's an experience well worth the unpleasant aspects. Night walk
- Even staying close to Kuala Tahan, the main point of entry to the national park, the wildlife changed significantly at night. Gone were the butterflies and instead a myriad of tiny glistening eyes reflecting in the beam of the torch light. Each of the little clusters would belong to some creepy crawly, stick insect, praying mantis, huntsman spider or bird-eating spider.
Recommended place to stay - Travellers Home, founded by a Swiss & Malay (Rebecca & Suhamir) couple with extensive travel experience, this guest house offers a taste of home for a low price. At the time I visited the rate was 50 RM per night, although 13RM dorm beds are available elsewhere near the park, the price at Travellers Home includes breakfast, dinner, drinks, snacks, friendly service, cheaper than usual activities (night walks etc) and some of the best advice on the region that I've found. Contact Joe on 609 266 7766... for current information, this place has plans for expansion s so may change from the above description. More on their website - Travellers Home
diving in the Perhentians I didn't make a long jungle trek, there will be other opportunities for this and maybe some jungle survival courses.
There are more photos below