Taman Negara

Trip Start Jun 17, 2007
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Trip End Sep 16, 2007


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Sunday, July 8, 2007

Spent the majority of the first day travelling - 3ish hours on the bus, then 3 more on a longtail-esque boat actually into Taman Negara.

Leaving Kuala Tembeling Up the River

As we were nearing the resort a mass of black cloud descended on us and erupted into thunderous storms. It was crazy, but apparently an authentic rainforest experience!

Thunder Storm ahoy

As such, we took off on our night jungle walk, rain streaming down our faces, armed with only our flashlights and a warning to look out for leeches - a couple of which did end up on my shoes! We first went to an observation point, from which we saw deer, grazing by saltlakes, and then into the jungle, where we saw a variety of animals and wildlife, including a yellow snake - the oceanic whip - up a tree, some big spiders, a GIANT toad that was rather scary, some luminous moss, a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, crickets, squirrels, ginger plants, and flowers that only bloom at night.

The rain had stopped by the next morning, but it soon became apparent that this day, much like the others were characterised by disorganisation on behalf of the tour company. As we were a mass group, there was much waiting around, especially to go on the jungle canopy walkway, as we had to be 5m apart so it didn't collapse!

Walkway At the bottom View over the canopy

Anyway, once on there we were 45m up (don't look down!), there was little wildlife to see, but there was some good views of the canopy trees and onto the river. After that we trekked the 345 m up to the top of a hill to 2 viewpoints, from which there were awesome views into the mist descending over the rainforest valleys. It was completely knackering though!

Summit! At the top

The climb up was pretty amazing in itself, when we weren't concentrating on finding our footing or hauling ourselves up. We went past countless jaw-dropping trees, the best one being the parasitic ones, convoluted beyond belief.

Cobwebs Twisted tree Twisted tree

In the afternoon - after a long wait after lunch! - we did "rapid shooting" on the boats, which involved driving at high speed through some small rapids, with the guide splashing us so we got as wet as possible. Nice. Anyway, we travelled to an Orang Asli settlement, which was a village made up of thatch huts inhabited by local people.

Hut Settlement

They showed us how they made fire using special instruments they had constructed, and then how they used this fire to make poison darts and glue them together, and then how they used them with blowpipes to hunt their prey, which was how they caught their food. The authenticity of this experience was somewhat dampened by the fact that some of the members were smoking and wearing western clothes however... which remained unexplained!

Fire! Killing dinner

There was no night-time activity scheduled so we passed our time chatting to others in the floating restaurant. By this point I was completely sick of rice and egg which appeared for every meal and so went to the shop and bought a suspicious looking green nut and onion pastry item, which also happened to have sugar in - how?! Anyway, it beat rice for one night! And then we left the rainforest this morning, using the same long-winded transport, coupled with lots more waiting around in between, getting back to KL at approx 4pm.

In conclusion, the rainforest itself was spectactular, and surely a wonderful place to visit, but it was somewhat diluted by the poorly organised tour experience, and if we'd known we would have organised activities ourselves so we could have done more trekking and things in the time we were there.
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