Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Taman Negara National Park

I spent the night in Jerantut and booked a ride to Kuala Tembeling from the guesthouse I was staying in. My plan was to go to Kuala Tembeling where I was going to take a boat for a 60 kilometer ride up to Taman Negara National park. I was up and waiting at 7:20 for my ride that was suppose to be there at 7:30. The ride never showed up and there was no one working in the guesthouse to ask about it. I tried calling the different numbers I had for the guesthouse and no one answered. At about 9 I just went back to my room and went to sleep. The lady that had sold me the ticket for the ride to Kuala Tembeling woke me up and said that my ride had an accident and I should take a taxi to Kuala Tembeling.

My guide book said that the boat only runs at 9 AM and 2 PM. I ask a taxi about the cost to get to Kuala Tembeling and it was more than I wanted to pay so I said I would take a bus. I went over and ask about the bus and the next bus was at 3PM so that was not an option for catching the boat. After having something to eat I decided I would wait by the taxi stand and see if someone else was going to Kuala Tembeling and if not catch the bus to the park at 3. While waiting the taxi cab rider that I had ask about getting to Kuala Tembeling came over to me and told me there was a bus going to the park at 1PM. I found this really nice of him so made it to the small town of Kampung Kuala Taman, which is across the river from the headquarters of Taman Negara National Park.

I did not think I would have problems getting a room but Taman Negara is a top tourist attraction and ever hotel/resort seemed to be full. If a place has a bunch of huts here they call themselves a resort. There were signs for place 500 meters away and it was full and another sign for a different place and another but all were full. I just kept walking and asking until I got to the end of the town and there was a sign for one more place that said it was 50 meters away. Malaysia must have a different meter than what I am use to because it was closer to 500 meters than to 50. It was also a trail and not a road that went down a really steep hill to a stream and then up to the place to stay. The trail was a bit wet and slippery and this was not the walk I was looking for with my backpack on. I made it to the resort and all I was thinking was I sure hope they have a room. They ended up having a room for one night but I would have to leave the following day.

I was able to find a place that said they had a room for the following day on my walk back into town and then caught a boat over to the park. This is a picture from the town of all the floating restaurants and stores and where the boats shuttle people back and forth.

I picked up a trail map and took a short walk down to a swimming place. While I was walking I saw a really bright bird fly right in front of me. It was bright yellow and bright blue but I could never find where it went once it went into the trees. Really all I saw was a blur of color. I visited the park headquarters and there were a few pictures of yellow and blue birds. I wanted to see a kingfisher so have decided that it was a kingfisher. I think part of the reason I wanted to see a kingfisher is because there is a beer with that name but now I’m saying that I have seen it whether I did or not.

After moving my bag from one place to the other I started a walk in the jungle heading to the canopy walkway. There were also 60 members of the Malaysian army walking the same direction. I stopped at a hide overlooking a salt lick for watching animals at night. The only animal I saw was a squirrel playing in the trees but here is a picture of the view from the hide.

Since the members of the army had arrived at the walkway prior to me it was a bit of a wait for all of them to go first. The walkways is up to 40 meters high in places and you are always suppose to allow 5 meters in between people and only have 4 people on the platforms so it takes a while for groups of people to walk along. I got ask for my picture from some of the army guys while we were waiting.

Here is a shot of the walkway.

The walkway really bounces and sways and it is not for anyone that has a fear of heights. I also would not recommend following a crazy Englishman that likes to jump up and down on the walk.

After the walkway I took the trail up to a peak that looks out over the jungle.

On the trail going back down from the peak there was a tail to the right that said it was 1.5 K to the swimming place I had walked to the day before. I thought this would be a good walk for me. This is another case where I think the meter is different in Malaysia. There is no way it was 1.5 K. It had to be at least twice that far. I have talked to some other people about this and they suggested it maybe 1.5 K for a bird. It took a long time but I made it to the swimming spot. This was a long trek up and down the hills through the jungle. The trail also crossed a stream twice. I think I sweated more than I ever have in my life.

I did see some monkeys and a boar near the park headquarters but really no animal life at all on the walk. Here is the picture I got of the boar.

I took a short walk the following day in a different part of the jungle. I just walked until I got to a point at the top of one of the hills and sat and enjoyed the sounds of the jungle. I seemed to notice a lot more plants on this walk than I did the day before. There were all sorts of plants with blooms or seeds that I have no idea what they are.

I booked a boat ticket for going to Kuala Tembeling that I had wanted to do to enter the park. I really enjoyed the 60K boat trip down the river.

From Kuala Tembeling I caught a bus back to Jerantut and then another on to Kuantan.

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