Taman Negara National Park is the ultimate survivor.
The ices ages came and went, miraculously leaving the forest unscathed…
Volcanoes exploded around the world, never touching the dense jungle…
And even the destruction of human over-development hasn’t faulted this protected land.
The pristine plant and wildlife that flourished in Taman Negara National Park for over 130 million years, should be respected and cherished for years to come.
Taman Negara National Park
Taman Negara, literally meaning “national park,” was established in 1938 and is thought to be the world’s oldest tropical rainforest estimated at 130 million years. Located in the center of the Peninsula Malaysia, the park covers three states and is operated under different legislations:
- Taman Negara Pahang spans 956 square miles (2,477 sq km, 57%),
- Taman Negara Kelantan spans 403 square miles (1,043 sq km, 24%) and
- Taman Negara Terengganu spans 329 square miles (853 sq km, 19%).
Taman Negara National Park offers several geological and biological sights and is the largest protected area in the country.
Taman Negara is a wildlife park and haven for endangered species such as Malayan Tigers, Clouded Leopard, Leopard Cat, Sumatran Rhinoceros and Asian elephants. However, the dense jungle cover makes sighting of these protected animals very rare. Animal viewpoints, situated deeper into the rainforest, allow for a higher chance of wildlife observation. Snakes, lizards, monkeys, deer, an abundance birdlife and rare insects are commonly spotted within the park.
The Batek are indigenous hunter gathers who primarily live in Taman Negara. It is estimated that 1,520 people make up the Batek tribe.
The rainforest has a rich plant life with over 1,400 species on record. Dipterocarp, koompassia, and instia trees cover the landscape with rattans and other palms filling the gaps. Flora such as luminescent fungi, rafflesia, orchids, and ferns are also present.
Taman Negara National Park: Entrance & Fees
A short boat ride across the river will take you right to the park’s headquarters. There is an information and educational center to help you plan your excursions.
- Entry permit- RM1 per person
- Camera License- RM5 per unit
- Fishing License- RM10 per rod
- Hide Fees- RM5 per night per person
- Camping Fees (Kuala Tahan Base Camp)- RM5 per person per night
- Camping Fees (Inside Park)-RM1 per person per night
- Canopy Walkway Entrance- RM5 per entrance
- Standard Tour Guide- RM250 per day
Teman Negara National Park: Activities
Teman Negara is loaded with fun activities to keep you engaged throughout your trip. Most of the activities can be done on your own, but the more intense activities will need a guide that can be booked near the park entrance. Here is a list of activities to get you started with your planning.
- Jungle trekking
- Nighttime jungle trekking
- Canopy walking
- Bird watching
- Wildlife observing
- Plant spotting
- River cruising
- Cave exploring
- Visiting the Batek (also called Orang Asli) natives
Most visitors select a mild hike, within a reasonable distance to the park headquarters. Here are some suggested activities within close range.
- Lubuk Simpon is a 20 to 30 minute walk (600 meters) to a swimming hole. It’s a perfect place to lounge for a couple hours, cool off and enjoy the sights and sounds of the jungle.
- Tahan Hide is a short 5 minute walk (200 meters) to a wildlife observation area where they put out a saltlick to entice animals to visit.
- Canopy Walkway is a little further out (1.2 km), but is a gorgeous walk with several signs along the way pointing out the various plant life. The canopy walkway was originally developed as a research platform but know is traversed by tourist. It is supposedly the world’s longest (530 meters) canopy walk, with 10 platforms, strung up to 40 meters above the jungle floor. The canopy walkway is a great way to experience the jungle from a much different perspective and only costs RM5.
- Bukit Teresek is a steep hill climb (1.7 km) that will get your legs burning. The views from the top are beautiful and make for some great pictures. Be sure to bring water for the journey.
- Tabing Hide is another wildlife observation located a 3 hour trek away from the park headquarters (3.1 km). This is a popular night destination as many of the animals in the area are nocturnal.
When To Go
The best time to visit Taman Negara National Park is during the dry season from March to September. The peak season is April to August so book your accommodations early.
The jungle climate is consistently hot and humid. The average temperatures range from 78 to 81°F (25 to 27°C) throughout the year.
October to January is the rainy season and the park receives upwards of 26 inches (671 mm) of rain.
Getting There & Around
There are four points of entry to Taman Negara National Park including Kuala Tahan, Sungai Relau, Kuala Koh and Tanjung Mentong.
Ninety percent of the parks visitors enter at Kuala Tahan, Jerantut Pahang where the headquarters are located. The journey to Taman Negara is long and arduous. Most people fly into Kuala Lumpur International Airport and then take a shuttle bus followed by a boat ride.
From Kuala Lumper to Kuala Tembeling Jetty: A shuttle bus departs from Hotel Mandarin Pacific, Chinatown – Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur at 8:00 a.m. and costs RM30. There is a stop in Jerantut for lunch.
From Kuala Tembeling Jetty to Taman Negara: A boat ride up the Tembeling River to Kuala Tahan departs daily at 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. (except Fridays only 1 boat departs at 2:45 p.m.) and costs RM22.
- Mid-range accommodations: $40-60
- Meals: $5-10
- Bottle of beer: Generally not available.
- Wear boots and check your shoes regularly for leeches. You can typically flick them off with a stick before they do any harm.
- Inform the park headquarters of where you’re going and for how long, if you trek without a guide.
- Bring and drink lots of water. The jungle is very hot and humid and it is easy to become dehydrated.
- Expect to see any of the endangered species – sightings are very rare.
- Plan only one day for the park. Give yourself at least three days to partake in a few activities.
- Forget to look up to the jungle canopy to see the wildlife at the top.
- Taman Negara was originally named King George V National Park but was renamed to Taman Negara after independence.
- Gunung Tahan at 7,175 feet (2,187 meters) is the highest point of the Malay Peninsula.