The name of this national park is an issue: Taman Negara translates as 'national park'; The topic is about Kuala Tahan National Park, Pahang, Malaysia, not Malaysian NP's in general. However, this national park is often referred to simply as Taman Negara.
Kuala Tahan National Park is the largest national park in Peninsular Malaysia. It is famous for its rainforest, birds, and insects. The Park headquarters is at the southern tip of the Park directly across the river from the rapidly growing village of Kuala Tahan (4.3769555,102.3880494) through which most visitors enter the Park. Inside the Park are fairly easy boardwalk circuits with the option of traversing the longest rope walkway in the world through to serious 100km round trip hikes. Visitors can enjoy the river and the tropical rainforest perhaps see some of the bountiful wildlife, (though with so many visitors it's not always easy to see) and it's also home to fairly undisturbed indigenous tribes.
The dry season runs from February to September, which is the best time to visit the park. The peak tourist season is from April to August.
The local language is Malay (Bahasa Malaysia or colloquially, Bahasa Melayu). English is widely spoken within the park.
Park entry permits can be purchased upon arrival: admission is RM1, and a camera permit is RM5. If you also want to fish, it is an additional RM10 for your entire length of stay. Permits can be bought at the park headquarters, just across the river from Kuala Tahan village.
The northern entrance is at Sg Relau near Merapoh. There is an express bus from Kuala Lumpur to Gua Musang which stops in Merapoh (RM26), and there is also a railway station. But Sg Relau is 7 km from Merapoh village and there is no public transport or taxis. This is normally only used for specialist walking and climbing activities arranged in advance.
Most visitors access via Jerantut, some 60km to the south. In the past, most tourists stayed here to access the Park but Kuala Tahan village now offers a good range of accommodation and restaurants so most prefer to go there. Buses run to Jerantut from Kuala Lumpur, from the Perkeliling Bus Terminal at Titiwangsa, cost RM18.40 (8:00AM, 10.00AM, 11:00AM, 12:00AM, 4:00PM, 6:00PM, 7:00PM, journey takes 3-3,5h), Kuantan from the Sentral Terminal, (cost RM18), and the Cameron Highlands. The local bus from Jerantut to Kuala Tahan takes about 90 minutes and costs RM7 (5:30AM, 8.30AM, 1PM, 5PM, but check these).
HAN travel service also operate daily buses to Kuala Tahan Taman Negara. You can contact their Jerantut office at No.9 & 10 Taman Jaya or call the at this phone number 092602150 to pick you up and make transfer arrangements. HAN Travel also have an office in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur located at Ground Floor, Bangunan Mariamman, 2, Jalan Hang Kasturi, Kuala Lumpur (Phone : 0320310899 or 0392234889). For an additional fee, they and other operators also offer composite tickets using their minibus and then transferring to other public services.
Make sure the boat works, because at the dry season there is not enough water for boats to operate.
Boat travel can easily be arranged by multiple tour operators in Kuala Lumpur. For RM95 you can get a through one way trip from HAN Travel office at Chinatown Kuala Lumpur at Ground Floor, Bangunan Mariamman, 2, Jalan Hang Kasturi (Phone : 03 2031 0899 or 03 9223 4889) by bus to Kuala Tembeling Jetty and then then by boat to Kuala Tahan, Taman Negara. Be aware that the boat trip takes almost 3 hours.
To arrange the boat trip independently, the river boat leaves from the Tembeling jetty at Kuala Tembling at 9AM and 2PM for Kuala Tahan and costs RM37. If you want to save some money (RM) you can go from Kuala Lumpur to Jerantut by public bus and contact HAN Travel at 9 & 10 Taman Jaya (Tel : 09 - 260 2150) as they can make arrangements for bus departure to Tembeling jetty (availability is subject to demand). The boat from Tembeling jetty to Kuala Tahan costs RM45. Be aware that if you want to catch the boat at 2pm it is safer to take 8.00AM bus from Kuala Lumpur.
There is a single train in each direction each day offering seats and sleeper accommodation.
First take a bus to Jerantut and then take a taxi directly from to Kuala Tahan which will take 1 hr and cost MR70. Ensure that the price is understood prior to departure.
A taxi can also be taken from Jerantut to the jetty at Kuala Tembling to catch a boat for RM16.
If you have your own transport, you can drive to Kuala Tahan. Parking is available at the hotels. From East Coast Expressway, exit at Temerloh and proceed to Jerantut. You will reach a T-junction. Turn right to Kuala Tahan - 75 km). The journey is a 3.5 hr from Kuala Lumpur. There are plenty of roadsigns so you shouldn't get lost. You will drive across estates of palm oils and winding roads. Beware of cows and buffalos. There is no phone signal in the estates.
It is easy to get around without any guide. You can easily explore the forest on your own as decent maps are provided. However, if you go into the deep jungle, especially by the Keniam, Tenol, or Tahan Mountain trails, it is better to go with guide, as you will learn a lot about the jungle and reduce the risk of becoming lost or disoriented.
- Lata Berkoh & Waterfall Cascades. A famous spot for swimming in clear and cool water. Beware of strong currents and not stray too far from the bank. You can reach Lata Berkoh by boat ride for RM160. The boat ride itself is a unique experience. You can ask the boatman to turn off the engine (on your way back only) and enjoy the sound and sights of the jungle. It is like being in a Rambo movie. Half way to Lata Berkoh you can stop by the Kelah Sanctuary. edit
- Kelah Fish Sanctuary. The Kelah fish is a culinary delight of the locals. They are known for their sweet flesh and is absolutely delightful when steamed fresh. You can feed these friendly fishes here with food that be bought from the Rangers. Stand bare footed in the river and watch as they come to nibble at your feet. edit
- Videos on Indigenous flora & fauna. Shown at the Interpretive Room at 9am, 3pm and 5pm daily edit
- Tahan Wildlife Observation Hide. You may see some wildlife at the salt lick. It is best to stay overnight. edit
- Climb Bukit Teresek (Teresek Hill). 334m high hill. The trail is relatively easy if you follow the boardwalk route east along the river. The route to the west includes a stiff climb up sometimes muddy and leech infested paths. At best it requires a moderate climb among ropes and tree roots. Get lucky and spot various wildlife including wild hog, rare birds, scorpions and others. Smell and drink the native Seranti tree, which is similar to a cola. When you finally reach the view point, you see the near entirety of the national park. edit
- Canopy Walk, (On Bukit Teresek). Walk across the longest Malaysian suspension bridge in the world, at 530 m. Walk across the canopy 25 m-40 m high, and view the rich and diverse flora and fauna at the summit of the forest. In late 2015 the frist section of the canopy walk is under repair, but no problem, the other 7 sections are good value for just RM5. Staff are on hand to ensure safe usage of the walkway. RM5. edit
The canopy walk in Taman Negara National Park
- Jungle Trekking. Jungle treks of various duration, some up to nine days, are possible. Trekking requires considerable preparations, a lot of water and a guide must be taken on all long trekking journeys. Although challenging, the jungle treks prove to be an equally rewarding authentic jungle adventure. edit
- Visit the Orang Asli Settlements. "Orang Asli" means "original people" in the Malay. The Orang Asli live a nomadic lifestyle in Taman Negara. Their settlements are found along the trails. Some settlements are accessible by boat. Let them teach you how to shoot a blow gun and drink the juices of the local fruits. edit
- Night Walking Safaris. View nocturnal plants and animals in an easy hour guided trek from the Ranger's headquaters. See flowers that only bloom at night, water dragons, snakes, glow in the dark fungis, stick insects other weird and wonderful creatures. edit
- Night 4WD Safaris. Go on a guided drive through the forest and supposedly view owls, leopard cats, snakes, and nocturnal birds. You can see kingfishers, hornbills, otters, monitor lizards and more. edit
- Fishing. It is estimated there are as many as 300 species of fish in the rivers. You may only fish the waters of Sungai Tahan below Lata Berkoh and Sungai Keniam below Kuala Keniam Kecil. Fishing tends to be best in the drier months of February to April and June to August. Permit costing RM10 per rod is necessary. edit
- Cave Exploration. Gua Telinga (Ear Cave) has a rock formation in the shape of an ear. Gua Kepayang and Gua Daun Menari (Dancing Leaves Cave) are a few of the limestone outcrops which you can explore alongside animals and insects that live in the caves. edit
- Shooting The Rapids. Travelling upstream on Sungai Tembeling from Kuala Tahan is an exhilarating experience. One must be prepared to get drenched as the boat has to negotiate 7 sets of rapids. edit
- Bird watching. There are over 350 species of birds in the park edit
- Climb Gunung Tahan (Tahan Mountain). You will need to carry your own food and tent on this 4-7 day journey to the top of the highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia at 2,187 m, . There is a slim chance of seeing elephants in the wild. Needless to say, guides are necessary. Months of physical fitness training is needed before most trekkers would attempt the climb. edit
There are floating restaurants at the riverside of Kuala Tahan, including Family Restaurant, Wan Cafe, and LBK. These cafes serve local delicacies such as toasted bread with kaya jam (a combination of egg and coconut), fried rice, drinks, sandwiches, and soups at a reasonable price. The floating restaurants are a memorable part of the Kuala Tahan experience and are quite good.
In the village itself there are about four small local style budget restaurants
There are no bars in Kuala Tahan as it is a Muslim village though it is available at one 'Chinese' store. Otherwise the small local restaurants and corner stores serve soft drinks.
Chess Corner', near the Tembeling Riverview Guesthouse is a nice bar style cafe where locals sing songs and play the guitar at some nights. However, this 'bar' does not serve alcohol. There are also several cafes on the main road in Kuala Tahan around the bus stop. They're much cheaper than floating restaurants. Travelers frequently get together over fresh juices in the evening.
One local drink you should try is the "Sirup Bandung", which is a blend of rose syrup and milk. It is a tasty concoction to drink after a day's trek.
Please note that the lower levels are subject to flooding and some accommodation may become unavailable fro time to time. h
Apart from Mutiara Taman Negara, which is in the park next to the park entrance, all accommodation is across the Tembeling River at Kuala Tahan. Most are within walking distance of the river and there are many boats to take passengers across to the park entrance. Cost is RM1 per person, per crossing. There are about 4 hostels, perhaps 10 guest houses, and at least 1 resort in the village.
- Hides & Campsites, ☎ +60 9 266 1122, . Book at the park headquarters. RM5. edit
- Agoh Chalet, Kuala Tahan, ☎ +60 9 2669570, . Twin room RM50, quad room RM80, family room RM100. edit
- Durian Chalet, Kuala Tahan, ☎ +60 9 2668940, . 10 chalets. edit
- Ekoton Chalet & Dorms, Next to the park entrance at Kuala Tahan, ☎ +60 9 2669897. From RM20-100. edit
- Liana Hostel, Kuala Tahan, ☎ +60 9 2669322. Basic hostel with lackluster bathrooms. Fan dorm bed: RM15. edit
- Mutiara Taman Negara, Next to the park entrance at Kuala Tahan (The only accommodation next to the park). Upscale resort. Wild hogs are a regular sighting and can be seen scavenging for food in the evening. Also features a restaurant. Dorm bed: RM80; Room RM300-1,820. edit
- Jerantut Homestay (Home away from home), 37 Taman Wawasan, Jerantut., ☎ 013-655-1388, . checkin: 12:00pm; checkout: flexible. The best way to experience the local is to book into JerantutHomestay. Visitor can look forward to a reputable host with clean, comfortable and reasonable rate. Air-cond room: from RM70; House (5 bedrooms) : RM350. edit
- Park Lodge Taman Negara, Kuala Tahan, ☎ +60197731661 ( whatsapp, call, sms ), . checkin: 12.00; checkout: 12.00. Budget accommodations. Lowest price in town. RM 60 Fan Chalets With Breakfast. edit
- Rainforest Resort, Across the river from the park entrance at Kuala Tahan (Continue along the road past Woodlands Resort), ☎ +60 9 2667888 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . No coffee or tea-making facilities, although can request an electric jug. Comfortable rooms, standard hotel-like facilities. From RM150 to RM450 if booked online. edit
- Rayyan Hostel & Cafe (previous place por Rippi hostel), Kuala Tahan (up the hill from Mama's Chop floating restaurant on the west side of K.T.), ☎ +60 126792637. checkout: 12noon. dorms-only place with a friendly owner and very young son. Very well maintained and very clean. Nice sitting for a chat, with a view to the river and rainforest. Cafe serves soft drinks and fresh fruit juices. 20 RM/dorm bed with fan, 25 RM with AC. edit
- Teresek View Motel & Hostel, Across the river from the park entrance at Kuala Tahan, ☎ +60 9 2669744, . Fan dorm bed: RM10; A/C dorm bed: RM20; fan R=room: RM60; A/C room: RM80. edit
- Travelers Home, Across the river from the park entrance at Kuala Tahan. Homestay style accommodation but with new, clean rooms at affordable rates. Owner may be rude, so visitors be forewarned. RM110 and up. edit
- Woodlands Resort, Across the river from the park entrance at Kuala Tahan (close to Rainforest Resort), . Standard (fan) and A/C (deluxe) rooms with TV. Questionable service, pool and room cleanliness standards. RM108-230. edit
- Nusa Holiday Village, (10 min upstream from Kuala Tahan), . Upriver in beautiful and quiet surroundings.Few waterfalls and hill trekkings only accessible from there. They have an office at the Jerantut Bus Station to book in advance. Dorm bed: RM15, A-frame: RM55, cottage: RM90, house: RM110; free boat transfer from Kuala Tahan for guests. Isolated from the main park entrance and where most of the trails start. Access is limited because you need to take a boat ride. First boat to the entrance is 8.30AM and last is 6.20PM. Each ride costs RM5 (sometimes they don't charge), they leave from the Nusa Restaurant at the pier.. edit
- Holiday View Inn, Kuala Tahan, ☎ +6013-9663850, . checkin: 1.00 pm; checkout: 12.00 noon. New chalet and comfortable room. Very privacy place and suitable for couple. Visit us at our website for more details. MYR130. edit
There is no violent crime in Taman Negara. As anywhere, do not leave valuables lying around unguarded. Beware of theft from hotel rooms and always monitor and secure your belongings
Wear footwear when outside. If you make a jungle trek on your own inform the park headquarters where you are going and at what time you will be back. People sometimes get lost or disoriented in the jungle. Be sure to take enough drinking water.
Leeches are very common in the park but are more annoying than dangerous. Leach spray is available, although you are likely to get used to them.
Schedule information and boat ticketing is available from the travel booths at the floating restaurants.
The public bus for RM7. Agency minibuses from RM15 to Jerantut. From Jerantut there are standard air-conditioned buses.
Boats run to Kuala Tembling at 9AM, 10AM, and 2PM, costing RM45. From there, you can catch a bus to Kuala Lumpur (RM18.40), Penang, Cameron Highlands, or other destinations.
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