Taman Negara is the Malay language for National Park and is the oldest national park in Malaysia with an area of 4,343 square km.
It was established in 1939 during the colonial time and was then known as King George V National Park. It got its new name after Malaya got her independence from the British on 31 August 1957. This tropical rain forest is believed to be more than 130 million years old.
If you are into eco-adventure and would like to go away from the crowded places in the cities, this is the place to go. You will find refreshing air, waterfalls, clean rivers, birds, fishes, mammals, reptiles and insects that you would not have seen in the cities. You will be fortunate if you could spot the Indochinese Tiger, the elephants, the seladangs or the Sumatran Rhinoceros.
The huge park is their place of refuge and usually the presence of human beings will drive them further away into the unexplored jungle. Family with children will enjoy this place as there are many activities that you can do. The more adventurous family may want to camp at the various campsite here.
For those who are into mountain climbing, you may want to consider climbing Gunung Tahan, the highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia with a height of 2,187 metre or 7,175 feet. Allocate about 1 week if you want to scale the peak of the mountain and getting a guide at the park is a must for safety reason.
The plants in Taman Negara lowland dipterocarp forest are dominated by the dipterocarpaceae tree family. A study showed that Malaysia has 400 of the world's 550 species. There are different type of plants at different elevation of the park.
Tall canopy type of trees reduce in number as you go up the mountain. Take some time to identify the flora here. It will enhance your knowledge of the plant world even if you are not into the study of plants.
Mammals and Reptiles
There are many animals in the park. The best way to sight them is to stay at the "hides", a tall wooden tower during the night. See how many of the following animals you can spot while you are here.
See the video of some of the wildlife in Taman Negara.
Spend some time to study the various birds of Malaysia before coming here. You will be glad that you did as there are many beautiful and rare species of birds that are found in abundance in Taman Negara. A study showed that there are more than 300 species of birds here. Some of them include:
Take your macro-lens camera and shoot some of the insects here.
Taman Negara Trails
Choose and explore some of the trails with different levels of difficulty. The trails nearer to the resort are simpler and a guide is not neccessary. However, it is always advisable to get a guide for longer and more difficult trails.
Things To Do
There are plenty of activities that you can do while in Taman Negara. Here are some of them:
You can choose to stay in chalets, hostel or camp here. The Mutiara Taman Negara resort is the most popular resort with guesthouses, chalets, bungalows or dorms to choose from. All the rooms are air-conditioned. There are other budget motels and chalets here as well. Get the online rates of this resort here.
There are four ways to enter the park. They are Kuala Tahan in Pahang, Kuala Koh in Kelantan, Tanjung Mentong in Terengganu and Merapoh in Pahang. The facilities are the best if you use the Kuala Tahan way. However, if you are adventurous and want to go where few have gone, you can try the other ways.
The best time to go is from March to October when it is not so wet. The months from November to March could be wet as it is the North-Easterly monsoon season.
#1 Kuala Tahan, Pahang Way
This is the most common and easiest way to the park. You can take a bus to Jerantut town after which you can proceed to Kuala Tembeling town which is about 15km away from Jerantut. An economical way to travel is by bus.
The other alternative is by taxi. The other alternative is to take the KTM train and stop at Kuala Tembeling Station which is just a short walk away to the jetty. Travel by train takes twice as long and hence is not the preferred mode of travel unless you have plenty of time to spare.
The boats depart from the jetty at 9am and 2pm daily. The 3 hours of scenic river boat ride from Kuala Tembeling will take you to Kuala Tahan, where the Mutiara Taman Negara Resort is. The return boat trip cost about RM50 per person.
If you prefer not to take the boat ride, you can also go straight to Kuala Tahan from Kuala Lumpur. The journey will take you 3.5 to 4.0 hours. Once you are here, all you need to do is take a boat and cross the Sungai Tembeling River. The resorts are located just across the river.
Use this way if you intend to climb Gunung Tahan.
#2 Kuala Koh, Kelantan Way
If you are in Kelantan, you will want to use this way. This is the north entrance to Taman Negara and the jungles are still virgin in nature. If you are coming from Gua Musang, take a bus or drive to Kuala Koh.
Visitors can either drive or take the public transport to Kuala Koh from Gua Musang in Kelantan. There is a road connecting this park entrance to the Gua Musang-Kuala Krai main road.
#3 Tanjung Mentong, Terengganu Way
If you are in Terengganu or is visiting Tasik Kenyir, this is a good way to go. The south of the lake is located in the park where submerged trees and caves can be seen here. Go to Gawi Jetty or Jenagor Jetty and travel by boat to Tanjung Mentong.
#4 Merapoh, Pahang Way
Use this way only if you are climbing Gunung Tahan. This is a short-cut way compared to Kuala Tahan way. You will pass the town of Kuala Lipis or Gua Musang if you are taking a bus. The KTM train also stops at Merapoh town. Take note that there is still a long trek or ride by boat from here if you are not camping here but staying in Kuala Tahan.
Wildlife Department Contacts
Call up the Department of Wildlife and National Parks if you need further query or if you want to check the weather condition of the park.
Kuala Lumpur: +6 03 9075 2872
Kuala Tahan: +6 09 266 1122
Gua Musang: +6 09 912 2940
Kuala Koh: +6 09 928 2952
The permit to enter Taman Negara is RM1 per person. Camera and video camera permit is RM5 each and fishing rod permit is RM10 per rod.
See the videos of the park.
A Typical Boat Ride Within The National Park