Published: February 27th 2009February 27th 2009
What lurks in the mighty jungles of Taman Negara? Conny found this mask in the deep woods and tried it on. A mistake..?
I wasn't too fond of the idea to leave the Cameron Highlands but I had to set aside a bunch of days for the big jungle adventure in Taman Negara. The trip, although the places seem close on the map, took all day. I chose the easy way out with a package deal consisting of a ride with an annoying van that had windows that were way too low so you had to fold yourself like a pocketknife to catch a glimpse of the gorgeous (I think...) scenery. It was comfortable though. At lunch break we sat around for an hour which is fun especially when you don't eat... We switched to a bus at this place (with better viewing possibilites...) and it was another good one. We stopped in Jerantut to get our park permits and to get hustled by the good people at NKS. What I mean is they aggressively tried to sell us everything from jungle activities and accomodation to rides out of the park. As I was in a lazy mood (again) I let them hustle me for a trip back to Kuala Lumpur. A package deal with boat, minivan and bus for 75RM. I knew it
"40-50 meters above ground!" Well uhh... more like 10 or possibly 20 at some points... Maybe they mean above sea level?
would probably be cheaper if I would buy these tickets in TN. When I arrived I saw it cost something like 40+RM or so. Yeah, yeah, so what?
I checked in at the Durian Chalet and got the last room for 40RM. It was quite okay for being way out in the bush with a big bed and electricity, which I wasn't too sure I would get out here. However the bathroom sucked with the dreaded squat toilet, which by the way was home to a large colony of ants. Luckily my body feels my uncomfort and shuts down the fecal necessity so I can dodge these holes in the ground.** I felt a bit sorry for the ants that lived in great danger when I used the hose (replacing the usual sink) to wash my hands. I tried my best not to splash these little marching creatures.
The morning after it was time to hit the jungle! The night before I'd talked to some guy at the local NKS (the travel/tour agency) office about treks in the jungle and of course the asshole did everything he could to deter me from walking alone, pointing out how utterly
"Security checked every day!"
Conny has his doubts about the Canopy Walk security.
dangerous it was with herds of aggressive elephants and new paths being made by the local aboriginals. Sure baby... But to my great disappointment there weren't too many trek loops you could do by yourself, which is too bad as I don't want to pay shitloads of money to join some goddamn tour group. I did however join some nice folks I met at the Durian and we did the only lengthier loop you could do in a day on your own. It was really nice except for the goddamn Bukit Teresek mountain we walked up, to see the viewpoint. A total waste of time and especially energy. I've seen far better views than this but I guess it's nice if it's your first. None of the others thought it was worth it either so I gather it's not just me and my usual bitching and whining. We did the canopy walk, which I wouldn't have done on my own due to my fear of heights. What a good thing! Turned out it wasn't a big deal at all. It wasn't very scary at all and to tell you the truth not much to see either. It's much nicer seeing
Private First Class Tree
A good tree knows the value of good camouflage.
the jungle from the ground but for me it was nice to have this surprising non-fear experience. Annoying was a bunch of local tourists behind us screaming and hollering like the retards they were. At the end of our walk we jumped into the river at Lubok Simpon which was quite refreshing after sweating your ass off, especially on the mountain.
The next day I was on my own and I really didn't know where to do my walking as I didn't want to do the same walk again and I really wanted to do sort of a loop not to have to backtrack. The compromise was to start off on the same path as the day before and head onto some other trail leading to Jenut Muda and then walk up to Bumbun Tambing. Of course there were no signs whatsoever pointing me towards Jenut Muda and I found myself walking halfway up the goddamn mountain again. With great annoyance I turned back and walked all the way up to the start of the canopy walk where I could ask the dude working there. He pointed me in the direction of the mountain again (aaarrrrgg...) but on some
other path. With great hesitation I started the uphill climb and after a million steps and roots I finally saw a sign leading to Jenut Muda. Then the irritating downhill climb started. It's obviously not as energy draining as climbing uphill but takes longer time as you really have to watch your every friggin step. Can you tell that I was in a foul mood after all the uphill climbing? The sign had stated that Jenut Muda was 700m away, so I walked and walked...and walked... I figured it would take me no more than 10 minutes to get there. Maybe 40 minutes later I finally came across another sign at a junction, pointing back to the damn place... So I had actually passed the goddamn place without knowing it. Not easy when there are no signs and nothing unusal sticking out from the jungle vegetation. I have no idea what the hell that place was or where it was. In the broschure there's a symbol for a cave there but I knew this was incorrect as several people had told me this. Fuck it! It wasn't like I was desperate to see this place, it was just a goal
What's going here..?
Conny getting "acquainted" with the male tree.
for a different path, a path that I obviously had completed. I now had the choice of continuing on to Bumbun Tambing or to head back to Kuala Tahan. As I was a bit annoyed and quite beat after all the damn uphill climbing (that I really wanted to avoid this day) I elected to head back instead. I stopped at Lubok Simpon again and took a quick dip to cool off my soaked geezer body. From this place there's only a short 500-700m walk or so back to the park entrance. Oddly enough, on this well trodden path , this short stretch was where I saw and heard the only wildlife (except for birds and insects). Lizards were making me jump as they suddenly moved in the leafs next to me and I didn't know if it was a snake until I saw the little things. An actual snake hurried across my path right after I'd come out of the jungle (!) A brown thin thing that I for no reason figured was a harmless treesnake. The weirdest thing though was when I was in the middle of taking a shot with my videocamera in the jungle. Suddenly I
Conny in serious trouble, struggling with some constrictor tree.
heard a lowfrequent growl, you know, just like the sound from a big ol' cat... For some reason this didn't scare me. I just felt it was a bit inconvenient as I was concentrating on my shot. I'll have to check the tape to see (hear) if the camera picked up that growl. Woohoo, I was almost eaten by a tiger!!! (let's hold this as an absolute truth...)
Doing the jungle walks I really didn't expect to see any wildlife so every creature was a bonus. On the first walk we saw lizards, squirrels, a monkey and a beautiful green snake with a blue tongue. This little thing wasn't a bit scared by having five tourists gawking at it, taking pictures. It got a little bit annoyed though when one of the guys touched its tail. We also saw a big ass fat spider sitting in an abandoned shack. And of course, the first thing I saw after checking in at the Durian was a little snake in the garden. I almost stepped on it.
All in all I was a bit disappointed by my visit here as I'd expected to stay much longer and being able to
The Bukit Teresek view
Looks quite nice but sure as hell ain't worth the climb.
do a hell of a lot more walks but after two full days I really had to pay for activities if I wanted to do something other than the same walks. Bummer that I didn't know this and could stay longer in the Cameron Highlands. Naturally, others with a better sence of locality can do more unguided walks than this especially if they're prepared to stay overnight in the jungle, which ain't an option for me. I always hated camping. At least when I was younger I could booze myself unconcious when out camping, so I could sleep... However folks, this is the real deal. This is da jungle and it's really cool!
*Did you really expect me to use the obvious G'N'R songtitle here?
**Aren't you glad you got that piece of information?
There are more photos below