One of the most alluring places in the world that we have ever visited is the Taman Negara rainforest. The location is in Malaysia. Fresh air, plant species, and the rare wildlife make this an attractive destination. Add on to all those things, Malaysia exudes the rich Asian culture. You should definitely make it your plan to visit this Rainforest. This is a pre-historic rain forest which has the longest and most unique canopy walk in the world. Outlined below is a breakdown of everything that you need to know if you wish to travel to this destination.
Why You Should Visit the Taman Negara Rainforest
At first, we were hesitant about visiting this place. It is a long way from Kuala Lumpur and not the easiest place to travel to. We discovered that this is a virgin rainforest and one of the oldest in the world. We decided it was not something we wanted to miss. Taman Negara has existed for more than 130 million years. It has remained almost unchanged over the course of time. To think that this forest existed when dinosaurs used to roam the planet is astonishing. We had to see it for ourselves. For those who are planning to tour Taman Negara Rainforest, you will not be disappointed.
The forest gained its protective status in 1939. It's one of the most significant and renowned eco-tourism attraction sites in Malaysia. Like us, you will definitely enjoy every aspect of it. This is a place where some of the rarest animal species including birds, snakes, and monkeys live. If you are lucky like we were, you may come across the rarest form of Asian elephants. Note that you can access this rainforest via Kuala Lumpur.
Traveling pro tip: the term Taman Negara means a National Park. So do not get confused or get things mixed up because Malaysia has more than 30 national parks.
What you Need to Know
Planning to visit the Taman Negara Rainforest was one thing and getting to the place was another. We discovered that this rainforest covers an area of more than 4,000 square kilometers. It actually extends across three states which include Terengganu, Kelantan, and Pahang. Most people who tour this place usually use the southern entrance of Kuala Tahan. This area provides tourists with the right access to the walking trails. Additionally, the renowned Canopy Walk can be found and accessed from this side.
We planned to tour the Taman Negara Rainforest using a small budget. We stayed in Jerantut town, a small urban center which has cheaper accommodation. If you are planning to spend more, try the mid-range to classy hotels at the core of Taman Negara. We soon realized is that it's impossible to come here without engaging in long journeys. This is true especially if you are in Penang. To reduce fatigue, we recommend the use of a train which provides more comfort.
Forms of Transportation
There are many forms of transportation which provide versatility. Generally, visiting the Taman Negara Rainforest requires more than one transport connection. The cheapest and fastest way is by taking a bus to Jerantut. From here, travelers have 3 options. You can take a train, catch another bus to the Kuala Tahan Park Headquarters or sail using a boat. All these 3 options are effective but have different price ranges. If you want to visit the Taman Negara Rainforest and get a better view of the surroundings, then take a boat ride.
Hitching a Boat Ride With A Tour Company
This is one of the most common ways to access Taman Negara Rainforest. After landing in Kuala Lumpur, we realized that it is possible to travel from the city to Kuala Tahan by bus. Then to Kuala Tembling, (the park's headquarters) by boat. All the traveling costs will amount to around $22. But from our travel experience, these tour companies are like many others. It's cheaper to visit the Taman Negara Rainforest without using a tour company. Most of them will try to make you believe that you are running out of time. As a result, most tourists end up booking costly tours. We saved a lot of money by making our journey personal by using a train.
Using the Train
It's not possible to Visit the Taman Negara Rainforest using a direct train from Kuala Lumpur. Yet, this is one of the cheapest ways to get to Taman Negara. We used the Express train which stops at Jerantut. After that, we went past Malacca before we made another train connection to the North.
If you want to enjoy the Malaysian touristic side, the boat ride takes three hours to reach Taman Negara. It costs around $18.00. The reason why most people go for boat rides is because of the unique macaques which rest on the trees. Also, the water buffaloes which graze along the river banks.
Note: if you are going to Visit the Taman Negara Rainforest during the dry season boats are not available. You may not have access to boat rides because of the low water levels in the river.
Take a Bus Or Train
Most travelers who want to cut down their spending costs use buses. There are express buses for tourists to visit the Taman Negara Rainforest. They can be found in Titiwangsa's Perkeliling terminal and go all the way to Jerantut. From here, there are buses that connect Jerantut to Kuala Tahan and then to Kuala Tembeling. Tourists can thereafter use a ferry that connects to Kuala Tahan.
Travelling Pro Tip: this is a time-consuming culture trip. When you are short on time, you need to take the first bus from Kuala Lumpur. Avoid using the boat at Kuala Tembeling ferry. We also think that it's convenient for you to buy tickets online. You can print them out beforehand so that you can travel on schedule.
Try to Avoid the Crowds
One of the reasons why we used a train and not a tour company is the large crowds. Traveling to Kuala Lumpur is exhausting. The last thing we wanted to deal with is large crowds of other tourists. Most of them will delay you if you want to tour the Taman Negara Rainforest while the day is still fresh. The tour groups often leave at around 9 AM which is too late. As the day gets hotter the wildlife disappears into the bush. That is an important part of the visit you do not want to miss. So don't get on a bus or, the train.
The Right Path
Taman Negara has a popular canopy walkway, which is the longest and one of the most unique globally. At a height of 45 meters, tourists are able to see the eye-catching rainforest. It's very cheap to use this walkway without the local guide. You will find a detailed information guide about Taman Negara. The guide has color photographs which include birds as well as wildlife. There is a path which goes towards the Bukit Teresek high point. This place offers stunning views. This area has a steep angle of elevation so you have to be in good condition health wise.
Using these paths is very easy because they mark them for easy identification. You can take the journey alone. If you want to visit the interior sections of the jungle, you will need to hire a tour guide. We did the longer trekking all by ourselves, right from the park's center until we reached the canopy walk. There are lots of people along the boarded walk so there's no need to worry.
Deep Into the Forest
After the viewpoints, we moved deeper and this is where the real fun starts. There are trails but they lack boarded platforms. We didn't encounter anyone for over an hour. We did not come across the local tribes. Besides that, we did spot large birds, geckos, squirrels, butterflies among others.
If you want to get the best and true feel of Taman Negara Rainforest, wear clothes with long sleeves. You are going to come across biting insects, bushes, and water canopies. After reaching the junction, we had to turn back and go head to Kuala Tahan. This is a demanding trip that almost took five hours. We had to pause and hydrate hourly, so remember to take water with you.
Going Back to Kuala Lumpur
Still, do not try to use a boat while going to Kula Tembeling. Using a public transport system which is cheaper. We also had lots of fun using the local bus and it takes an hour to reach Jerantut. From here, there are air-conditioned buses which go back to Kuala Lumpur. Skipping the boat ride is worth it. There is so much about the Malaysian Life which Jerantut offers.
Visiting the Taman Negara rainforest is a worthwhile experience. We can say we don't have any regrets since the whole journey proved to be an eye-opener to us. The wildlife, hiking trails, tribes, and tropical rainforest are a great family vacation. Taman Negara is a must-visit tourist destination for everyone.
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