Taman Negara (National Park) is the first and the oldest official
Protected Area in the country, which was originally named
King George V National Park. Declared in 1938 by the Sultans
of Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu (during King George's Silver
Jubilee), it was gazetted to preserve the land's indigenous
nature in perpetuity. The park was renamed Taman Negara after
the nation gained independence in 1957.
Taman Negara is the largest of all Protected Areas in Peninsular
Malaysia with 4,343 sq km. The Pahang section of the park
is the largest at 2,477 sq km, followed by Kelantan's portion
at 1,043 sq km and Terengganu's at 853 sq km. The Peninsula's
highest peak is Gunung Tahan at 2,187m.
Taman Negara is indeed one of the oldest rainforests in the
world, estimated at 130 million years old. The abundance and
diversity of nature is phenomenal, one of the world's most
complex and rich ecosystems.
Taman Negara is a 15-acre forest sanctuary. As one of the
oldest tropical rainforests in the world, the possibilities
for eco-tourism are immense. Here, visitors will never lack
for adventure or the opportunity to observe diverse species
of animal and plant life.
Here are some of the offerings to be found at Taman Negara:
Canopy walkway - The world's longest. Suspended 25 meters
above ground and stretching over 400 meters, it's an opportunity
to see the various plants and animals that inhabit the topmost
layer of the forest.
Jungle trekking and hiking - There are treks of different
durations, some last up to nine days. Pre-trek preparation
is considerable and a guide must accompany guests on long
Mountain climbing - The more adventurous can try climbing
Gunung Tahan, the highest peak in Peninsular Malaysia. This
challenge demands will power, physical fitness, good equipment
and a guide. The trail is 55km from MUTIARA Taman Negara.
Wildlife observation hide (Jungle hide) - Spend nights hidden
up in the trees while waiting for a tapir, bear or elephant
to appear. Most hides are built overlooking saltlicks, from
which some animals obtain necessary minerals. Except for Bumbun
Tahan, which is five minutes away, most require either a boat
ride or a few hours walk to get to it.
Orang Asli Settlements - "Orang Asli", the local
natives, are gentle folk who lead a nomadic lifestyle in Taman
Negara. They are called Batek and their settlements are found
along the trails, some are accessible by boat.
Cave Exploration - The Gua Telinga (Ear Cave) has an ear-like
rock formation, while Gua Daun Menari (Dancing Leaves Cave)
and Gua Kepayang are limestone outcroppings. Gua Telinga is
2.6km from Mutiara Taman Negara, while Gua Kepayang and Gua
Daun Menari are 17.7km and 20.9km, respectively, away.
Fishing - One of the main attractions of Taman Negara, it's
best carried out in the drier months of February to April
and June to August. Anglers will need permits, which are issued
at RM10 per rod.
Shooting the Rapids - Experience an exhilarating ride upstream
on Sungai Tembeling. Prepare to get drenched as the boat negotiates
seven sets of rapids along the 45-minute journey.
Bukit Teresek - Hike up this 334-meter hill and enjoy breathtaking
panoramic views of Gunung Tahan and the forest canopies that
cover the hills and verdant valleys below. Located 1.7km away
from the resort, it can be reached in 45 minutes.
Lata Berkoh - A spectacular cascade with a deep pool below
it and a rocky area overlooking the rapids. Located 8km from
MUTIARA Taman Negara, it's an ideal spot for a picnic.
Four Steps Waterfall - The eastern flanks of Gunung Tahan
and Gunung Gedong drop off very sharply into the headwaters
of Sungai Tahan. One of the tributaries in the Ulu Tahan plunges
and cascades spectacularly down the mountainside in what is
known as the Four Steps Waterfall.
Over 10,000 species of plants, 250 kind of birds. Local
mammals include mouse deer, barking deer, wild ox, and numerous
monkey species. Tapir, elephant, leopard and tiger also
present, though not easy to spot.
If you are traveling from Kuala Lumpur, enter Karak Highway
and E8 East Coast Expressway (LPT), 1 1/2 hour drive exit
to Temerloh (Exit 819). From Temerloh Junction, head north
to Jerantut town (45 minutes drive). It take another 50
minutes drive (70 KM) to Kuala Tahan (Taman Negara).
If you intend to travel by boat, proceed to Kuala Tembiling
Jetty Point (20 minitue drive). The journey by boat to Kuala
Tahan will take 3 hours.
Train services are available from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
The train passes Kuala Tembeling. From Kuala Tembeling,
there is a half-hour walk to the jetty.
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