For the longest time, I've never considered myself as an outdoor person.
Rock climbing? Nope
Hiking? No way
Caving? Ain't gonna try
Since I'm starting the new year fresh, I decided to challenge myself to visit Taman Negara and most importantly, ask myself: Do I really hate the outdoors or haven't stayed long enough to love it?
Why Taman Negara?
Taman Negara is the ultimate nature destination in my books (and every other travel magazines I've read at the dentist). It is, after all, Malaysia's main national park and much older than the Amazon rainforest. So the real question is: why not?
Since I was travelling with my family, I didn't take the public transport to Taman Negara. If that's your plan, here's how:
- From KL, take the MRT or LRT to Titiwangsa station
- Alight at Titiwangsa station (exit Jalan Pekeliling Lama) and walk to Stesen Bas Pekeliling
- From Stesen Bus Pekeliling (Jalan Pekeliling), take a 2-hour bus ride to Jerantut Bus Station
- Once arrived at Jerantut Bus Station, take another 1-hour bus ride to Kuala Tahan Bus Stand
- Kuala Tahan Bus Stand is within walking distance from Kuala Tahan Jetty where most homestays and resorts are located.
- P.S. I recommend booking your bus tickets in advance at Easybook's website
For convenience, I booked a shared van transfer from Hotel Istana, KL to Kuala Tahan Jetty, Pahang through Mutiara Taman Negara Resort. It took 3 hours to get there and costs RM90/one way.
Once arrived at Kuala Tahan jetty, you need to take a 1-minute boat ride to Mutiara Taman Negara Resort. The fee is RM1 per person.
Where to stay
I stayed at Mutiara Taman Negara Resort, which is one of the only resorts located within Taman Negara. I booked a 3D2N Kembara package for Malaysians. The entire package costs about RM900 per person, which includes the following:
- 2 nights stay at a 3-bedroom chalet
- 2 buffet breakfasts and dinners
- 4 activities at Taman Negara
- Note: The package price varies according to the activities you choose and accommodations you stay
The main activities at Taman Negara
- Jungle trekking and canopy wallway
- Lata Berkoh waterfall
- Rapid shooting and visit the Orang Asli settlement
Since you're already entering Taman Negara upon check-in, you need to pay an additional entry fee. I paid RM1 (entry permit) and RM5 (camera license for my smartphone), and I only paid once during my trip.
Remember to keep the receipt at all times because you may be required to present it to the park officers at any time during your visit.
Jungle trekking and canopy walkway
Out of the 4 activities I signed up for, I was most excited for jungle trekking and canopy skywalk.
My hike began at 9.30AM and our guide led us to the wooden boardwalk to show us some trees around the park - a warm-up to the real hike to come.
My family and I spotted this really tall tree with large buttress roots named Mengkundur. It also happened to be the cousin of one of the tallest trees at Taman Negara called Tualang tree. Judging from this photo alone, you can imagine how huge this tree really is! You can also spot the exact same species at Angkor Wat. How amazing!
Now the real hike to the 334-meter tall Bukit Terisek begins! I wish I took some photos throughout my hike, but it was so tiring. That photo is part of the (almost) 1,000 steps that I had to climb to reach the first lookout point.
And I made it! This is me, trying to get my brother to pose for an Instagram-worthy photo but he was just as tired as I was haha!
Despite how exhausted I was, giving up was the last thing I wanted to do. From the first lookout point, it's another 15 minutes hike before I reached the peak of Bukit Terisek. So close!
It was tricky to hike while avoiding fire ants and finding a firm footing but I made it to the peak! I was so happy that the weather was really nice that day and I get to see Mount Tahan (the tallest peak in Peninsular Malaysia) surrounded by virgin rainforest. You can't get a view like that anywhere else.
I spent about 15 minutes at the peak before I made my way back to the resort. Before that, we stopped by at the Canopy Walkway, which is the world's longest suspended bridge! Do note that it closes every Friday for maintenance, so plan your activities wisely :)
Since the walkway can only accommodate four people at a time, we had to wait just like everyone else - look at the crowd!
Unfortunately, it rained heavily while we waited and I had to return to the resort because they closed the canopy skywalk due to poor weather :( Oh well, maybe next time.
Now that jungle trekking has ended...
Do I really hate the outdoors?
There's a proverb in Bahasa Malaysia that goes "Tak kenal maka tak cinta", which means "You can't love what you don't know".
I wish I can tell you more about my adventures in Taman Negara (another story for another day!), but that weekend truly unearthed a new love in me. To say that I'm a newly-converted outdoor person would be an understatement. Because one thing is for sure...
I'm in love with what I know now.