Sunday, September 5, 2010

Malaysia Chronicles Two: Taman Negara

Sunday, September 5, 2010

If it not for my boyfriend who is into camping and trekking and all else related to nature in the rough, I would not have been to Taman Negara, one of the world’s oldest tropical rain forests whose history stretches back to 130 million years ago; I would have kept to traveling with ease and comfort, and I would not have had such a thrilling adventure as I did back there.

the entrance to Taman Negara National Park

According to the introductory video we watched on our first night at the park headquarters, Taman Negara covers 4343 sq kms that spans across three states in Malaysia (Kelantan, Terengganu, and Pahang) and has its highest point at Gunung Tahan (2187 m), the tallest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia. It houses over 10,000 species of plants, over 350 species of birds and local mammals including deer, wild oxen, monkeys, wild boars, elephants, leopards and tigers.  And during the night trekking we did see some of these species: we spotted a number of insects and some mating frogs.

The following morning, after a strictly halal yet completely nourishing breakfast at one of the floating restaurants, we crossed the river and set out on a two-hour trek up Bukit Teresek, a 342-meter hill. With the trail so steep and the humidity quite high that I had to catch my breath every step of the way, the climb was truly exhausting, but the view at the top made it all worthwhile.


The highlight of the trek was, of course, the Canopy Walk along a 550-meter walkway suspended 40 meters above the ground among towering trees. It didn’t feel scary at first, not until the narrow walkway began to sway, and I stood there frozen, holding on to the ropes for dear life.  I had to block out everything and concentrate on making one brave step after another. It was only by sheer focus and willpower that I reached the end of the canopy walkway.  And when I did, it was exhilarating and I felt as if I accomplished something big.

the canopy walkway


Our adventure continued on a boat ride upstream Trenggan River, where we shot rapids that soaked us to the skin.  As the waters swelled and poured inside our boat, sudden whoops and shrieks of laughter filled the air. Remembering that wet, shaky, thrilling boat ride always makes me smile.


Back at our durian-scented inn for some much needed rest, I thought to myself, this shabby room isn’t bad at after all.  It may not have the amenities as other hotels do, but it has a bed, a bathroom and a view of the mountains. What else do we really need? What do we need wifi, TV, a swimming pool for if we have the entire Taman Negara within our reach?

the Mama Chop floating restaurant where we have our meals

Kuala Tahan, park headquarters

Our guide told me that only a few Asians visit the area.  I looked across our group, composed mostly of Europeans, and realized that only my boyfriend and I are the sole Asians. Until now, I’m still wondering why Taman Negara with its history and biodiversity is not a prominent an attraction for Asian travelers as it is for others.


Anonymous said...

that is my kind of vacation! away from the red light district. :)

Angeli said...

we should've gone to patpong before! sayang.. hahahah

witsandnuts said...

Exciting, especially the durian scented part. :) I am imagining myself crossing the hanging bridge, siguradong sobrang nerbiyos ako. But I would be willing to do that, huwag lang muna bungee jump. Haha.

Angeli said...

it sure was exciting, wits. and very, very tiring. :)

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