Taman Negara National Park is Malaysia’s first and largest national park. Located at the juncture of Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu states, Taman Negara covers about 4,343 sq. km. of protected tropical rainforests that is one of the oldest in the world with the richest ecosystems. It was established in 1925 during the British Colonial period and was named the Gunung Tahan Game Reserve, and renamed ‘Taman Negara’ in 1957 after Malaysian Independence.
Taman Negara is located around 3.5 hours drive by car from Kuala Lumpur. First, you would need to take a bus or drive to the town of Jerantut in Pahang. Once in Jerantut, make your way to Kuala Tahan, either by van or bus that are inexpensive and takes about 90 minutes, or going by boat from the Kuala Tembeling Jetty. Going by boat is much more expensive and takes about 2 to 3 hours journey, depending on the river condition that day, but it is the more scenic option.
As expected of a rainforest, Taman Negara expects rainfall throughout the year. The driest months are between March and September; and the best months to visit are the spring months of March and April as it is mating season for many species of birds, making them easier to spot!
At 530m long and 40m above ground level, Taman Negara’s treetop canopy walkway is the longest in the world. Thus, this is definitely a No. 1 must-do activity in Taman Negara. Enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding tropical rainforest flora and fauna.
The Gunung Tahan trek is the longest in Taman Negara! Starting from the Central Park HQ in Kuala Tahan, the trail is around 53km and usually takes visitors seven days and six nights to complete. It is the most challenging trail and should only be attempted by visitors with a strong level of fitness, and only with a licensed guide.
If you are less fit, but still want to challenge hiking in Taman Negara, you can go for an easy 1.7km trek from the main Wildlife HQ to Bukit Teresek. The hike to the summit of Bukit Teresek (334m above sea level) takes around 30 to 45 minutes. From its peak, you can look out over the neighbouring Gunung Tahan and over the lush rainforest canopy.
The Orang Asli (Indigenous People) who are still living in the forests of Taman Negara are made up of two different ethnic groups – the Batek and the Semokberi. Visit Kampung Orang Asli to see how the Orang Asli have lived, hunted and survived in the forest for centuries, and even learn how to use blow pipes for hunting and make a fire.
Rapid shooting in Taman Negara involves getting on board a wooden boat and floating down the rapids of the Sungai Tembeling River. Every visitor will be fitted with a life jacket, but do note that you may get very wet during the ride, so remember to dress accordingly. It is one of the most exciting activities in Taman Negara, so make sure to try it out!
Taman Negara has one of the most extensive cave systems in Malaysia, thus is a choice venue for cave exploration, or spelunking. Gua Telinga is around 2.6km from the Wildlife HQ, and is perfect for visitors who are looking for a half-day excursion. Gua Kepayang Besar has a bigger central chamber than Gua Telinga, and is also a popular exploration site.
Taman Negara is known to have about 380 different species of birds, the highest number in any part of Peninsula Malaysia. From May to August, popular bird-watching areas in Kuala Tahan and Kuala terengganu will be covered in colourful birds feeding from the many fig trees. Some of the birds you may be able to spot here include the majestic Rhinoceros Hornbill, Green Broadbills, Blue-winged Leafbird and even the Malaysian Peacock!
If you want to see nocturnal animals in Taman Negara, you can plan a Night Jungle Walk that starts from the main Wildlife Office to the Bumbun Tahan hide. Here, let your eyes get used to the pitch-black darkness and keep on the lookout for any nocturnal animals such as deers, wild boars or tapirs in their natural habitat.
If you are looking for a more relaxing boat ride instead of the thrilling rapid shooting, then take a boat cruise up to Lata Berkoh. You will go cruise upstream along Sungai Tahan River and arrive at Lata Berkoh, which is one of the prettiest spots in Taman Negara. You can also choose to stop off at the Kelah Sanctuary for some fish-feeding fun!
For those who want to experience real inner jungle life and to observe wildlife in their most natural states, you can consider trekking about 11km from Kuala Tahan via the Sungai Tumbling Trail, and staying for a night at the Bumbun Kumbang Hide. The hide has an attached bathroom and can accommodate up to 8 persons.
Floating restaurants are one of the delightful attractions of Taman Negara, it is also a totally refreshing experience to dine on a floating raft along the waterfront. Some of the more popular restaurants are Mama Chop, Family Restaurant, Lia Restaurant and Wan’s Floating Restaurant that are each famous for different cuisines and dishes.
Sunway Travel is offering ground tour packages to Taman Negara, inclusive of accommodation at Mutiara Taman Negara Resort, valid until 31st March 2021. You can choose between a 3D2N or 2D1N package, and get ready to explore Malaysia’s first and largest National Park!
Check out all the available tour packages for Taman Negara and other exciting destinations here: https://www.sunway.travel/packages/. T&Cs apply.
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