TAMAN NEGARA: 48 HOURS EXPLORING

Off we go for our second stop in the land of Sandokan: the jungle village of Kuala Tahan. We opted for a rental car from Kuala Lumpur to go there, it seemed for us the best idea to explore the country instead of taking a long journey by bus or boat. Only 4-5 hours driving through beautiful and green forests, sometimes we had to be careful with monkeys and cattle hanging around the edge of the road and many small towns where we could stop from time to time. Renting a car was definitely the best decision.

Taman Negara National Park
Taman Negara National Park entrance

In Kuala Tahan our guest Razali, the owner of our accomodation at Hana Guesthouse, was waiting for us already smiling (he never stopped). A big room, clean, smelling fresh, with bathroom and air-con would have been our budget accomodation for the 2 following days…not bad! Essential was to take off your shoes before entering into any of the rooms. Our new friend didn’t waste time and told us straight away which were the activities we could have taken part of. Since we got there in the afternoon, the only available one for the day was the “Night walk” through the forest, 2 hours with a guide in the forest looking for nocturnal animals.

Before starting this exploration we went to the river where we found different floating restaurants. Pointed one of them we had local food and we could not belive our tasting skills for how good it was in such a remote place! Chicken rice and beef noodles worthy a Masterchef price, buon appetito!! So after this satisfacting dinner, and full of energy, we were ready for the darkness of the rainforest of Taman Negara. During the exploration through a narrow wooden boardwalk we saw birds, monitor lizards, different spiders, a couple of scorpions and a baby snake. But the most beautiful part was listening to the sounds around you, an incredible experience. With plenty of pictures and still excited, we went back home to rest. The following day would have been very intense.

Animals in rainforest.jpg
Wildlife spotted at night

Riiiiing riiiiing the alarm went off at 8am that morning. After a quick breakfast we followed Razali’s suggestion to go to the “canoping”, the highest canopy walk in the world! We went back inside the forest through the same boardwalk we walked on the previous night, but with a whole different surrounding. The way to the canopy walk is well indicated and we had no problems in reaching it.

Canopy Walk Taman Negara

Insider’s tip: if you plan to go there on a friday, get there before 11.45am, it’s praying day for them, their sunday basically so they shut it down earlier. Usually they shut it at 16.30. (We didn’t know that, but do you believe that we got there at 11.44?!?! Lucky us!) On those small wooden bridges we felt actually very high, they were also moving a lot and we had to hold on every handle along the way. It’s a nice experience in between one tree and the other, almost like Tarzan does.

Done with the canopies we headed to another lookout (Bukit Terisek) suggested on the map. So many steps to climb up on a hill covered in forest, but it was totally worth it for the view from the top. Forest til our eyes could see. Beautiful nature!

Bukit Terisek Lookout Taman Negara
Bukit Terisek lookout

From the lookout we could choose if going further or back, we’ve chosen the second option because in a bit more than one hour we had another interesting activity: rapid shooting and visit a local tribe. So we speeded the way back not to miss it. In fact it revealed to be rich of discoveries, laughs and water. So much water! Jumped on a boat without our belongings and shoes (they told us to leave them safe on land unless they were waterproof) we left the jetty. Spectacular river surrounded by an amazing vegetation. Suddenly the boat started to zig zag letting water coming in with the help of the tourguide. We all got soaked playing with water and splashing eachother like crazy along the way. It might sound childish but it was incredibly funny!!!

Local man making fire Taman Negara.jpg
Indigenous man lighting up fire

We got eventually to the tribe where they taught us how they live, their traditions, how they go hunting and how they light a fire without anything else but WOOD! very very interesting! We also tried to use their favourite hunting weapon: the blowpipe. Lethal. Spent about one and a half hours we went back on the boat, and again splashing eachother like there is no tomorrow. No mercy!
To finish the day properly, we had dinner in one of the floating restaurants of the day before, so good and cheap.
Insider’s tip: have dinner before 9pm, they start closing up after that hour and you won’t be able to find food around.

Taman Negara Rainforest
Walkway through the rainforest

That was the end of our stay in Kuala Tahan, beautiful remote town with plenty to discover. The following day our third stop was waiting for us, Penang here we come!!

 

 

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