Introducing Taman Negara
Taman Negara blankets 4343 sq km (from Pahang to Kelantan and Terengganu) in shadowy, damp, impenetrable jungle. Inside this buzzing tangle, ancient trees with gargantuan buttressed root systems dwarf luminescent fungi, orchids, two-tone ferns and even the giant rafflesia (the world’s largest flower). Hidden within the flora are Asian elephants, tigers, leopards and rhinos, as well as smaller wonders such as flying squirrels, but these animals stay far from the park’s trails and sightings are extremely rare. Even if they do come close, the chances are you’ll never see them through the dense jungle thicket. What you might see are snakes (dog-toothed cat snakes, reticulated pythons, temple pit vipers and red-headed kraits), lizards, monkeys, small deer, abundant birdlife and perhaps tapir. Nearly everyone who visits Taman Negara gets an up-close and personal meeting with leeches and an impressive array of flying and crawling insects.
The more you put into a visit to Taman Negara, the more you’ll get out of it. Though they're feasible, fleeting visits only scratch the surface. Consider an overnight trek or at least a long boat-trip up one of the park’s rivers. Whether coming for an afternoon hike or a multi-day trek, you’ll need to buy a permit (park entrance/camera/fishing RM1/5/10) from either of the tour operators at the Tourist Information Counter.
At the time of research there was talk of raising the price of entry to Taman Negera substantially. Though nothing has been set, figures between 30RM and 90RM are being floated.
The park headquarters and the privately run Mutiara Taman Negara Resort are at Kuala Tahan at the edge of Taman Negara National Park; other accommodation and restaurants are across Sungai Tembing at Kampung Kuala Tahan. River taxis buzz between the two sides of the river (RM1 each way) throughout the day.