Everything is big about Taman Negara

Preparing for trekking in Taman Negara with help of guidebooks, I was smiling reading “everything is big about Taman Negara”. Now, I can trust my guidebook with no doubt: giant trees, mutant bushes, even ant five times bigger that normal one, and there are also living big animals, like bears and elephants. Maybe it was good for us, that we did not meet them.

To reach national park (Taman Negara is simply mean national park from Malay language) we took an ordinary bus from KL to small town Jerantut (16,8 ringit, about 3 hours). From there, after 4 hours of waiting, we took a local, kind of city bus, to Kuala Tahan village (7 ringit, 1,5 hours).

We chose Durian Chalets as a place for living, and were right, there we got a simple, but lovely hut with twin beds and attached bathroom for reasonable 25 ringit. The owner were trying to aware as about dangerous fruits, pointing to the huge durian tree full of ripe fruits, dangling just on our roof. So, we had to ensure her, that we not afraid of falling durians, even more, we like durians, and would be happy if they will fall. And only after that, we got the key.

On the next morning, we went to the park, just for a day walk. After paying entrance fee (1 ringit for each and 5 ringit just for the camera, it is not fair I think) we asked the ranger who would he recommend us to spend out day. He gave us a map and pointed a very nice trekking trail: from headquarters to the Canopy Walking (nice local entertainment, tiny boards 5-7 meter from the ground, cost extra 5 ringit), after that passing Bukit Teresek hill (344 meters) finishing on the swimming spot Lubok Simpon. The whole trip is about 6-7 km and it took about 4 hours. Swimming in the river was great, especially after trekking in the hot and humid jungles.

After first day we got some good impression about trekking in Taman Negara – there is no sun in the jungles, the trees are so huge and shade is everywhere. And some very bad – fucking leeches!!! After three days I had 9! bites, one to the hand. I hate them!

On the second day we left all our stuff in the hotel, except tent, sleeping bags, some food and necessaries and took the trail heading to the Kuala Terengan, where we were planning to camp for the night.

From park headquarters there are two ways to Kuala Terengan, one is longer, another is shorter and going along the river bank. Of course we took the second one, and of course we regretted it the end of the day. The trail is passing the springs that falling to the river, and every time the trail is going down and up, like twenty time, of thirty, or even more. It took more than 5 hours for us to finish 10 km trek to Kuala Terengan. But it was a good trek, we saw new and interesting plants, some small animals, like squirrels, monkeys and varans. But the best about trekking in the Taman Negara is the sounds of the jungles, unbelievable sounds.

Kuala Terengan is a kind of resort, but without customers the resort is crushing, literally. The houses are destroying and absorbing by nature. The only people we could find in the resort were a park rangers who are taking care for the place. They showed us where we can camp and treated as a guest, sharing food and stories about the park.

Dima finished his day swimming in the river, as he said it was the best of the whole day 🙂

As they said, they like very much their job, only one thing they are disappointed is they can not watch World Cup. Good for them that on the next day they are going back to the civilization. And they do not know, when new rangers will come, and seems they do not care 🙂

At night it was a rain, a huge tropical rain, we are still wondering how our old tent was able to hold it.

On the next morning we were along in the resort, and we had two options: going back to Kuala Tahan by longer trail by foot, or by boat, if we will be lucky enough.

Decided to let the fate make the choice, we sit on the river for the breakfast. First five boats were full with tourist and passed without any attention to us, The six boat had only boatman and one passenger, both malay man. They quickly agreed to give us a ride to Kuala Tahan, with no mention about the money.

It was a fast and sometimes frightening ride, for 30 minutes we cover the distance that we made for 5 hours!

In the end of the day we were completely satisfied of our trekking in Taman Negara, but I will hate the leeches till the end of my life!

Evergreen jungles, tea plantation and strawberry madness – Cameron Highlands

From Georgetown to Tanah Rata (Cameron Highlands) we took a tourist minivan for 38 ringit. Probably we could save some money, if we would took a local transport (from Butterworth to Ipoh and from Ipoh to Tanah Rata), but unfortunately we overslept this opportunity (as far as we know the last bus from Ipoh depart at 11:30). We were «lucky» this week was a school holiday and Caneron Highlands are preferable destination for locals.

Cameron Highlands attract visitors cool temperature, tea plantations, jungle walks and strawberry farms. It seem that locals are really crazy about strawberry – fresh berries, ice creams, jams and all kinds of souvenirs — they buying it all in a huge amounts. Local vendors seems to be very happy.

Arrived in Tanah Rata we barely got the last room, all hotels and even cheap guest houses was full with locals and tourists. We got room in the attic in Twin Pines GH for a 20 ringit. Be honest what we got is hardly can be called a room — a mattress on the floor with four walls and small window.

After hot seaside on islands, the cool weather of Cameron Higlands is very pleasant, you want to put warm socks, shawl and sleep till the midday in the warm sleeping bag.

There are plenty numbers of jungle walks around Tanah Rata, from easy half hour trek a-la «forest walking» to the really hard jungle treks with dirt climbing. The real trekkers can stay in a camp site (half hour walk from Tanah Rata by the Path N4). The camp site is really good, with toilet/shower and even electric sockets, but during holidays it occupied by local families with music and BBQ.

Today and tomorrow we will check around for tea plantations and after that will go to Taman Negara national park