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Taman Negara

It is beyond a shadow of doubt that Malaysia is indeed home to one of the most complex and rich ecosystems in the world. In order to safeguard our natural treasures, many national and state parks have been reserved all over the country to protect these near-extinct and rare wildlife. The largest of these parks is Taman Negara or National Park.

Taman Negara is located along the borders of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang in Peninsular Malaysia. However, the popular spot for visitors to Taman Negara would be the section in Pahang. To access the park, you can go from the town of Jerantut. The park’s headquarters is on the southern edge of the park at Kuala Tahan. You can get to Kuala Tahan by boat, a three-hour ride. This is an exciting way to get to the park as you’ll get to observe many interesting wildlife along the journey-definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

The world’s oldest tropical rainforest covers a protected area of 4,343 sq. kilometers. To many, Taman Negara proves to be a favorite adventurous getaway. For those wishing to explore lowland forests or mountains, there are a number of marked trails for you. It is here that you will notice how well God had planned a wonderful ecosystem where the jungle sustains its own balance of nature. You don’t often get to see large wildlife along the trails unless you are very lucky, but you might see elephants’ droppings or even the footprints of tigers. To observe the wildlife, there are observation hides provided. These sites overlook the saltlicks, a supplement to the animals’ mineral intake. Try spending a night at a hide. It is an experience not to be missed.

Besides that, visitors could also take boat trips on the many rivers found at Taman Negara. Amongst them are Sungai Kenyam and Sungai Sepia, which is a favorite with anglers. Many species (about 200 or more) of fishes found at Taman Negara belong to the carp family. Taman Negara also attracts birdwatchers for there are more than 300 species of birds here. You’ll get to see the Fireback Pheasants, Masked Finfoot, Fishing Eagle, hornbills and kingfishers. These birds have been spotted along the river.

At Taman Negara, you’ll also get Peninsular Malaysia’s highest mountain, Gunung Tahan at 2,187 meters. It is indeed a challenging mountain with dense forest growth, swift-flowing rivers and undulating terrain. It would take approximately 9 days to reach the peak and back. For those with time constraint, Bukit Teresek is a good alternative. The 334-meter hill is located about 1.7 kilometers from the Taman Negara Resort. From the peak of Gunung Teresek, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking view of Gunung Tahan, the forest canopy and the valley below. Another favorite with visitors would be the canopy walkway located just 2 kilometers from the headquarters. The walkway is 500 meters in length and 30 meters above ground level. It gives visitors a great view of the beautiful wilderness from above.

Further into the jungle are the Batek tribe of the orang asli (aboriginal tribes who first inhabited the Malay Peninsula). These people are generally short, dark-skinned, flat-facial features with tight woolly hair and live a nomadic life. These people are also great guides of the jungle. The best time to visit Taman Negara would be some time around July when the park holds the Taman Negara July Fest. From the 1st to 31st July each year, visitors would get the opportunity to learn more about nature as well as the little-known customs of the Batek tribe.

Visitors’ facilities include chalet accommodation, restaurants, guides and transportation. To get there, you can go by road or by train.

By Road: From Kuala Lumpur, the road journey takes about three hours. Travel to Jerantut by way of Mentakab or Raub. From Jerantut, Kuala Tembeling is sixteen kilometers north. Follow signs from Kuala Tembeling to the jetty.

By Rail: Train services are available from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The train passes Kuala Tembeling. From KualaTembeling, there is a half-hour walk to the jetty.

For further information, you can contact the Pahang State Government Corporation (Tourism Division) at Tel: 09-513-5566 or Fax: 09-513-0510.

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