The Beautiful But Alcohol Free Taman Negara

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Asia » Malaysia » Pahang » Taman Negara National Park
January 18th 2010
Published: January 28th 2010EDIT THIS ENTRY

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Taman Negara

After we arrived at Kuala Lumpur central train station we boarded a packed monorail to Titiwangsa station were the Pekeliling bus station is based, we then boarded a rather plush coach - typical of Malaysia, to Jerantut for RM 19 each. Jerantut used to be a bustling gateway town, a transit between the east and west coast but it has since fell in insignificance due to the creation of the east coast highway which travels a little further south.

Jerantut is a small little place which has a bus and train station, a central market and the usual amenities of a small little town including a KFC, but more importantly for us it was the gateway to Kuala Tahan and Taman Negara National Park. We had an hours wait for the local bus which run us up to Kuala Tahan for the lovely price of RM 7 each; the journey took one and a half hours and it took in some stunning scenery.

We arrived at Kuala Tahan and went in search of a bed and after a few thwarted attempts - these were very nice just too expensive we found a cool little chalet for RM30, with that sorted out we headed down to the river to cross over to the national park where a rather expensive resort is located that more importantly sells beer, Tamara Negara is located in the Malaysian states of Kelantan and Terengganu, these are particularly conservative Islamic area’s so there was only one place that sold alcohol hence us heading there, however, to our dismay the beer was heavily inflated and sold for around RM20 per glass (not pint, a small glass!!), so we returned to the other side of the river and had two fruit shakes.

The rest of the evening was spent having some food at one of the many floating restaurants along the Sunggei Tembeling, watching the boat men complete for fares, incidentally, it cost RM1 per person to cross the river, you board the boat and deposit the money into the boatman’s bucket and he takes you across the river for the 20 second journey, it appears quite a lucrative enterprise, as soon as potential customers appear on the stairs down to the river the boatmen depart their mooring at one of the restaurants and head over, it looks like a mini armada crossing this small span of water. After the sun set we headed back to our gaff and played some card games for the remainder of the evening.

We headed down to the floating restaurants for breakfast, once fed; we crossed the river ready to do a jungle trek. It costs RM 1 to enter the national park, per person per day and RM 5 for a camera licence.

We set off, as you walk through the first bit, which appears to be the most popular as there is a wooden walkway. Accompanying the walkway are information displays detailing the various flowers, fruits and large old trees. We walked first to the canopy walk which was approx 2km in. Taman Negara is apparently the World’s longest at 450 metres, and is 40 metres high above the jungle floor, as usual when we arrived there only half the canopy walk was open ‘phase one’ was closed for repairs, this was good news for T with his height averse ways, however, phase two was still 300 metres! On arrival at the ticket office, the walk cost RM5 each, they informed you via large posters that ‘for safety, every inch of it is checked every morning, the ropes have a minimum snapping strength of 5 tonnes and the steel cables have a 10 tonnes minimum’ now, I (T) am no physicist but that sounded ok, even with a little additional holiday weight surely I (T) can’t snap the darn things, feeling somewhat confident I (T) agrees to go. Just as we are about to climb the ladder, another poster declares: ‘the trees are protected with wooden spacers fitted between the bark and the cables and ropes: no nails have been driven into the trees” that’s nice I (T) though, however, thoughts started seeping in, ‘if there are no nails how does the bloody thing stay up’…… A final section of the poster was really fitting and declares that ‘Every measure has been taken to protect the health of the trees - and the visitors’, oh great by stepping on this high contraption we’re playing second fiddle to a load of trees - great!

Nevertheless we climbed up the ladder, which introduces you gently to the canopy walk; the ladder is not high or rickety so confidence is high. Out in front of us is the canopy walk, like a true gentleman I (T) let G go first. As soon as I (T) step onto the walkway the bloody swings side to side, G is half way down the walkway - the swing was worse the closer we were together. Half way along bridge one and the floor drops, we were at about 70 feet up, however, it’s a really cool view, so sweating profusely and shaking I (T) make it to platform 1. Platform 3 is the highest at 90 feet and is on a Keranji Tree, this species has a massive bottom. All is faring well, I (T) is soldiering on until we are hit with a sneaky surprise, bridge number 6 which is 6o metres long, with G ahead as usual, I (T) stepped on and it was a swingy one, more so than previous ones, but two thirds of the way along G disappears, I (T) was pondering on the decline, would it be a slight gradient? Then I’m hit with it - a bloody ladder! There was only two more bridges and one platform left. We finally completed the Canopy walk elated, it was brilliant!!

Next we set off in search of Bukit Indah, this is a viewpoint over the park and was about 3km away, this trail went through the jungle, we had to climb over fallen trees and crossed streams it was great fun. Once we had arrived at the turning point for Bukit Indah, which our guidebook informed us that it climbs the 200 metres or so at a slightly gradient, now it was no scaling of Everest but it was no slight gradient either, there was a sign saying climbers climb at own risk, and a rope to help you climb over rocks etc. The view was spectacular and worth the effort.

We returned back, freshened up and headed out for dinner at the floating restaurants, the day would have been perfectly rounded off with a few beers, a famous saying instantly springs to mind, I (T) can’t remember who it was by, possibly Churchill: ‘the problem with people who do not drink, when they wake up in the morning, that’s the best they are going to feel all day’! On that note we drank our fruit shakes and went back to our gaff to play scrabble, for tomorrow we were heading off on the jungle train.

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