Attractions and activities
Besides the abundant wildlife, Taman Negara also offers numerous trails, some are off the beaten path. The treks vary in duration; some are day treks while some take up to nine days. Trekking requires considerable preparations if you decided to take the longer ones. A guide for longer journeys is a must, Tahan Mountain for instance. You might not be familiar with the surrounding area. Trekking alone is not advisable. It is more educational and fun to travel in a group. Although challenging, the jungle treks prove to be an equally rewarding authentic jungle adventure. Here are some of the many trails available in the park.
This trail starts from the ranger's base camp at Sungei Relau and winds through 4.1km of lowland forest to Pasir Gelenggang. The journey takes 2 to 4 hours to complete. Crossing the Negeram River is necessary for this trail so be prepared to get your feet wet.
This 1.6km trail also starts from the Sg. Relau ranger's station and ventures only 300m along a rough, unkempt trail through peat swamp and flat ground. Not a difficult trek but you may need a guide as the entrance and trail is obscure.
Lubuk Simpon Trail
It is only ten minutes walk from Kuala Tahan,because of its close proximity, making it the most popular and crowded. It is a good place to swim.
535meters long, it's possible to venture off on this trail on your own. The trail is marked all along the way with signs and descriptions of fauna in the area. The self-interpretive trail guide is also available at the ranger's office.
Teresek Hill Trail
Located just 1.7km away from Kuala Tahan, the 334 m hill can be reached within 45 minutes. There are two rest stops, view 1 and view 2. One can see part of the Tembeling river and a view of the surrounding area. View 2, the national park itself and on a clear day one can see the tallest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia, Gunung Tahan(2,101m). It can be reached via many trails.
Tahan Mountain Trekking
It requires 130km return trek via Kuala Tahan. The whole trail takes about nine days, though fit people can do it in seven days or less. The best time to do it is in February through October. The Wildlife Department must be informed beforehand and a guide must be hired. Porters can also be hired at additional cost.
Night wildlife observation can be arranged. Almost all hideouts are built overlooking salt-licks, where plant-eating animals come for their mineral intake. Chances of spotting them are 50%. Even if no animals are be spotted, it will be worth your while to experience the atmosphere of being in the wild at night.
Here are some of the hideouts available.
Cegar Anjing Hideout
20 minutes by boat plus 10 minutes walk, located near Tabing. Hideout is on the opposite side of Tahan River. If coming from Kuala Tahan, it takes one and a half hours to walk, but in order to get there, you have to cross the Tahan River. During the rainy season, the current is really strong.
It is 5 minutes by boat downstream via Tembeling River and another 10 minutes walk or two hours walk from Kuala Tahan. One must cross the Tahan River to get there or alternatively use the taxi boat. Walk towards Gua Telinga, follow the sign and walk for another 30 minutes. There is an abandoned Orang Asli village near the turn off.
Located next to Belau Hide, it is 5 minutes by boat downstream plus a 10 minute walk or two hours walk from Kuala Tahan.
It is 20 minutes by boat plus a 5 minutes walk. If coming from Kuala Tahan, it is a one and a half hour walk. Boats can be hired from the wildlife department office. Anyone who wishes to spend the night at the hideout must book their place with the wildlife department as the hideout can accommodate only eight people. There is a stream nearby for natural drinking water. If time permits, pay a visit to the Orang Asli village nearby.
This is the most popular hideout. Chances of seeing the animals here are better than the rest because of its remote location. It takes 40 minutes by boat to Kuala Terengganu and another 45 minutes walk or five hours walk from Kuala Tahan. The boat can be hired from the wildlife department office or from the floating restaurants. Do book early if you are planning to spend a night there as places are limited. It is advisable to spend two nights at this hideout, allowing a day to explore nearby caves.
If you want to trek back to kuala Tahan, be sure that you have an ample breakfast, snacks to munch along the way and plenty of water. There are small rivers along the way to rest by, and do not walk alone. From Kuala Terengganu lodge, walk about 10 mins (along the trail to Kumbang Hideout), there is another trail on the left leading to Kuala Tahan. It is marked. The trails are seldom used and trees fall covering the actual trail. Be careful to choose the right path.
Fishing is a popular activity for Taman Negara visitors. Fishing permits are required and can be purchased from the wildlife department at Kuala Tembeling and Kuala Tahan. Permits apply only to waters of Sungai Tahan below Lata Berkoh and Sungai Keniam below Kuala Keniam Kecil. No fishing license is required if you fish along the river Tembeling.
Fishing is best in the drier months of February to April and June to August. Lata Berkoh is 8km and Kuala Keniam is 25 km from Kuala Tahan, which are the best places to fish.
Caves cover about 0.2% of Malaysia land are found only in limestone. More than 130 flora species such as Burmania championi, a semi parasitic plant that feeds on decaying plants and more than 76 species of snails are found in Malaysia limestone outcrops and nowhere else in the world. Most of the limestone outcrops are endangered as well as the flora and fauna. One of the fascinating things that make caving popular is the natural configurations of stalactites and stalagmites.
Limestone originated from shells and corals that lived in an ancient seabed more than 400 million years ago. Under intense pressure these sediments become rock, and with uplift of the land, the limestone is subjected to the erosive forces of wind, rain and streams. Here are some of the caves available at Taman Negara.
To get here from Kuala Tahan, you must cross the Tahan River using the ‘river crossing boat’, managed by the villagers (50 cents). Walk another two hours to the cave. Another alternative is from Pengkalan Gua Jetty. A 5 minute boat ride plus another 20 minute walk.
This cave is about 80m long and eroded almost to ground level. There is a rope along the way to assist cavers from getting lost. Be prepared to get dirty as you crawl through narrow passages and negotiate areas of deep bat guano for at least half an hour.
If it rained the previous night, expect to wade through the small stream running underneath in order to get outside. Be careful of the slippery entrance too. Sometimes cobras are seen at the mouth of the cave taking shelter or feeding on the bats and giant toad.
Generally, you will see at least seven of these animals:
Roundleaf bat, Thousands of these insect-eating bats roost in dark sections of the cave. The name refers to the shape of the 'leaves' of skin around the nostrils which help direct sound signals transmitted to assist the bat in navigation.
Dusky fruit bat, These are much less common, roosting where light enters the cave. They have large eyes and no 'radar' system, and are twice the size of the roundleaf bats.
Giant toad, Usually found high up, sitting motionless on a rock. The largest of these toads is bigger than a man's fist.
Black-striped frog, Usually down by the stream. Making a loud call of -urch! urch!
Whip-spider, Different from true spiders, these have large pincers on the head for gasping prey and a pair of very long feelers. They are not poisonous.
Cave cricket, Small wingless insect, pale creamy-brown with a hump back and very long antennae.
Cave racer, This snake can be up to two meters long. It is black and white on the head and tail and shades of creamy-grey in between. It feeds on bats. Its bite is harmless to humans.
Gua Kepayang Besar
This is the largest and most impressive cave. It is about 17km from Kuala Tahan. The best way to reach it is from Kuala Terengganu or Keniam. By boat, it is less than 45 minutes. A four hour walk if from Kuala Tahan to Kuala Terengganu. From Keniam, it is a half day journey by boat. It is advisable to spend a night in Keniam. An hour walk is needed to reach the cave from Keniam.
Gua Kepayang Kecil
It is a slightly smaller cave located next to Gua Kepayang Besar. A stream flows near the cave, making it a good camping site. However, permission is required from the wildlife department to camp there.
Located on the same stretch of limestone outcrop where Gua Kepayang Kecil and Besar is, Gua Luas is a small cave compared to others in the vicinity. It is at the tallest of all the limestone hills called Bukit Batu Luas where a steep path leads up to a rocky slope.
Gua Daun Menari
About 12 minutes walk anti clockwise from the base of the Bukit Batu Luas outcrop; you will find the entrance to Gua Daun Menari. A wind blows gently from the mouth of this large chamber, fluttering the leaves at the cave entrance. The opening is hidden from view, which is located high in the cave roof. In the pitch black live thousands and thousands of roundleaf bats. There are also millions of cockroaches, tones of guano, cave racer snakes and a few porcupines.
If you wish to cruise down the river to see the best of Taman Negara, you can hire a boat and crew at Kuala Tahan. Kuala Tahan is the entry point to the park and where most accommodations. River trips are one of the popular activities here. The 8 kilometer boat ride to the cascades at Lata Berkoh passes through some of the most magnificent tropical rainforest in Southeast Asia. Giant trees line the river banks, their massive trunks leaning over the river at a remarkable angle in an effort to reach the sunlight. In places these huge trees have crashed into the river where the strong current has undercut the trunk and it is festooned with epiphytic ferns, mosses and orchids.
Other river trips can be easily arranged at the park headquarters such as visits to Sungai Melantai and Sungai Keniam further north. Unless recent rains and landslides have muddied the waters upstream, many of the rivers of Taman Negara are crystal clear and refreshingly cool.
A daily shuttle service daily between Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Tembeling via Jerantut (the jumping off point to Taman Negara). Kuala Tembeling departs from the jetty at 9am and 2pm.
Alternatively you will have to take either private transport by van or public transport from Kuala Lumpur or Kuantan, and it takes approximately 3 - 4 hours from these points to Jerantut. From Jerantut, 16km ride in a bus or taxi brings you to Kuala Tembeling.
From the Tembeling Jetty, the Park's Headquarters at Kuala Tahan, is a 2-3 hour boat ride up the Tembeling River.
Train service run by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) is available to Jerantut town.
Tabur Hill, Quartz-Rich Ridge
Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary
Sungai Chilling Waterwall Trekking
Gua Batu Maloi Caving New