Taman Negara, Malaysia: one of the world’s oldest tropical rainforests!
Taman Negara is a must visit when travelling to Malaysia! It’s one of the world’s oldest rainforests and one of the most well-known hikes is the Canopy Highwalk. The rain forest is one of the best places of Malaysia for a jungle experience, together with the jungles in Borneo. In this article I’ll tell you everything about paying a visit to Taman Negara.
About Taman Negara
Taman Negara is one of the oldest rainforests of the world. The rainforest is around 130 million years old and has declared a National Park in 1938. Since that year, Taman Negara is the biggest national park of Malaysia. It has a size of 4343 square meters and covers the regions Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang. The rainforest is still in its original state, because there hasn’t been much felled yet.
How to get here
There are several ways to get to Taman Negara. Most accommodations are located just across the national park, in the town named Kuala Tahan. There are shuttle busses available which ride from Kuala Lumpur to Taman Negara and back against a small payment. You can also book an organised tour to Taman Negara. In Kuala Lumpur, there’s a tourist office close to the Petronas Towers where you can get some more information about the tours provided.
If you have a rental car, you can easily ride in approximately four hours to Taman Negara. The road is quite easy to ride and there are parking possibilities everywhere in Kuala Tahan. Last, you can also chose to go by taxi. It’s not the cheapest way, but there are people who take a taxi. Mostly these people are in groups, because in that way the costs are reasonable.
Where to stay
There are all kinds of guest houses around Kuala Tahan. During my time in Taman Negara, I stayed at the Tebing Guest House. Although the accommodation was quite simple, I really enjoyed my stay. The staff was really friendly: they welcomed us nicely and they tried to help us at their best with every question we had. Furthermore, the rooms where clean and there was everything we needed. At arrival, we got a map of the national park and all the activities they offered, that was great to have as a preparation for our stay! In the morning there was a nice breakfast prepared and they did our laundry against a small price. It definitely was a great stay and absolutely a recommendation!
Where to eat
When you walk from your accommodation towards the Tembeling River, you can find a parking place with several boats which are restaurants. This is also the place where you can get on the boat towards the national park. The boat restaurants offer typical Malaysian food (they all offer the same menu) and offer cheap dishes. The food is simple, but good and enough for dinner.
What to do
There are many activities you can do in Taman Negara. There are activities which take several days and activities which you can do in one day. Taman Negara is quite big, so there are some places which have a long distance from the starting point and that’s also the reason why those activities take some days. Most of the accommodations offer several excursions, but you can also go exploring on your own. For one Malaysian Ringgit you can go by boat to the other side of the Tembeling River and the starting point of the hikes and activities in Taman Negara.
It’s important to know that you’ve to buy a entrance ticket for Taman Negara at the Park Centre. You also need to buy a license for your camera/mobile phone so you can make photos in the park. At the Park Centre you can also find a small supermarket where you can buy yourself some water, because that’s important to carry with you when you’re going to hike in the park. There are all kinds of hiking trails which are very well indicated throughout the park. Below you can find the activities I’ve done during my stay at Taman Negara:
A very cool experience is doing a boat trip through the jungle. We went by boat through the jungle for around one hour, where we stopped at three places. The first place was one of the biggest trees you can find in Taman Negara. At the second place we had the chance to feed the fishes. Lata Berkoh was our last destination. From where we arrived with the boat, we had to walk around 15 minutes to Lata Berkoh, where normally you can swim. At the time we were at this place, the water was too wild, unfortunately. However, it was nice to take a look. I loved the experience of sitting in a boat and going through the jungle like that!
One of the most popular hiking trails is the Canopy Highwalk. You can make this walk in a few hours; from the park centre you’ve to walk approximately 2 kilometers to the start of the Canopy Highwalk. To make this highwalk, you have to buy a ticket at the park centre as well. The Canopy Highwalk itself is around 45 meters high and around 500 meters long.
You can make an organised nightwalk during the evening. We booked our nightwalk at our accommodation, from where we walked together to the start of Taman Negara. Together with a guide, we walked approximately 1,5 hours through the national park to spot some wildlife, like spiders, snakes and scorpions. Unfortunately we didn’t see a lot of animals that night, but we’ve heard several interesting stories about Taman Negara from our guide. On other days, you can be lucky and see more wildlife.
Best time of visiting
You can travel to Taman Negara throughout the whole year, but you’ve to take into account that the months October until March are quite rainy months. I travelled to Taman Negara in October and although it was warm and the weather was good, I’ve had a few moments of a lot of rainfall.
Where to go next?
Depending on where you’ve been before Taman Negara, there are several possibilities for your next destination in Malaysia. Personally I came from Kuala Lumpur and went to the Cameron Highlands after Taman Negara. Both places are very easy to ride from the rainforest. If you would like to discover more of the East side of Malaysia, you can consider to travel to the Perhentian Islands next.
Have you ever travelled to the oldest rainforest of the world before? What are your experiences?