Taman Negara National Park
Trip Start Feb 21, 2010
40Trip End Aug 12, 2010
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Rachel left off with us having been given a lift to the correct bus back to Kuala Lumpur. Once we'd returned to KL we found ourselves some food, and then a taxi to Pekeliling bus station. The taxi we 'chose' was driven by a particularly chatty chap called Ronnie Chan, who spent the entire journey practicing his very good English with us. Upon arrival at the bus station, we again relied on a helpful local to direct us to the correct platform and counter for buying tickets. Our wallets 20RM lighter, we boarded a bus to Mentakab, where we hoped to catch the Jungle railway to Jerantut, where we would then catch another bus to Kuala Tahan, the main resort for tourists to the Taman Negara National park
The first stage of the journey went smoothly, and within two hours we arrived at Mentakab. Getting off the bus we felt like we were the first white people most of the locals had ever seen - people literally stared at us and schoolchildren approached us giggling and wanting to know where we were from. Slightly bemused from all this attention, we went off in search of the train station. Needless to say, it was very hot and with our packs on we were soon sweating like a couple of fat kids in a cake shop.
At the train station we asked for the ticket to Jerantut, but were told we had missed the only train of the day. We walked away, cursing the internet and it's web of lies, and back to the bus station. I then proceeded to buy two tickets to Jernatut, except I didn't; I brought two tickets back to Kuala Lumpur. Fortunately, a local overheard us talking and having seen my tickets recognised it wasn't the one I needed (and the one I thought I'd asked for) took them back for us and exchanged the tickets for the correct ones.
Back on another bus, and we were soon in Jerantut. At the bus station there was no obvious English-speaking local hero to save us, and with it getting to 4pm, and the bus leaving at 5 and not getting to Kuala Tahan until 7, we decided a taxi was the best way forward. I then made up for my previous transportation failure by hiring the oldest taxi driver in town, and haggling his price down from the stated fee
We found a nice room in the Tembeling River View Hotel, a semi-detached chalet. After the first night we discovered it had an en-suite, which was an added bonus! It was a really nice place, with outdoor seating and we spent a few evenings outside, watching the river, and listening to locals playing guitar as well as the sounds of the jungle.
While we were in Kuala Tahan we went on a few treks in the national park. The first day we walked along the canopy walkway and seen a big black squirrel. I'm not sure if that's the scientific name for it, but that's pretty much what it was. We then trekked up a huge hill, which almost killed us. A low point was when we were overtaken on the path back by four americans carrying massive packs.
The next day (Monday) we walked to some bat caves. It was about an hour and a half walk through thick jungle and on fairly well sign posted trails. The caves themselves were awesome - you had to crawl through them in places and there were thousands of little bats down there, fruit and round-ear (possibly). The caves were covered in slippery bat poo and stunk, and I slipped and cracked my knee. Fortunately I didn't need the non-existent air-ambulance and I walked away from the incident with only my pride damaged
Thursday we planned on going on a circular trek, but the path deteriorated from vague to non-existent so we turned back and ambled to the caves again. We both really enjoyed our time in Taman Negara and Kuala Tahan. The scenery was amazing, and locals and tourists alike were really friendly. We're now in Tanah Rata in the Cameron Highlands and will update you all soon.
P.S. I hope some of you didn't get too bored and managed to read to the end of this massive blog!