Tag Archives: Kuala Tahan

Taman Negara, Malaysia – Move to Kuala Tahan

   
   
8/3 – This morning we bade farewell to Nusa Village, and moved to a bungalow in Kuala Tahan.  Here we have a window, wifi, a kettle, coffee, air con, and hot shower  – a wealth of riches for about $17 a night – less than half the price we were paying at Nusa.  Plus, we have our choice of any restaurant in town!  Here’s our yummy lunch – there’s nothing shrimpy about these prawns! 

 
While we were eating lunch, the local school let out, and we watched as the children lined up to buy snacks.  Sugary soda was the number one choice, followed by French fries – I guess kids are the same everywhere! 

 
Cutest kids ever: 

 
Durian puffs, anyone?  They were pretty smelly… 

 When we got back from our hike today, Jim pulled off his boot to find his sock drenched with blood, issuing from a hole on the top of his instep, right at the vein. He felt no pain, and didn’t recall getting bit by anything. We washed it and dressed it, but it continued to bleed. The only thing I know that causes non-stop bleeding like this is leeches, but we couldn’t fathom how one could get under Jim’s boot and sock. A bandaid and pressure stopped the bleeding eventually. Very strange.

8/4 – Today was our last trekking day, and we hit the jackpot for wildlife. Early in the morning we spied a tiny moss deer, about the size of a rabbit. See the reflection of its eyes?      

Shortly after, some Dutch travelers pointed out a flying lizard resting on the trunk of a tree.   

Look close to see the feet and tail of a lizard  – his reflexes were quicker than my camera.  He was about a foot long. 

 We climbed into a hide – an elevated platform from which we could observe a meadow below, and watched a wild boar come out to graze, and a brown squirrel caper in the branches.    

As we walked back, we spied a family of monkeys feasting on jackfruit, high in a tree. We’ve come to understand that telling a Malaysian you want to see a monkey is like telling a New Yorker that you want to see a rat…  Oh well, I still think they’re cute.  Can you see the baby clinging onto the mother? 

   

  

Here’s another pretty big tree: 

 It rains mightily every night, and today we found that some of our floating restaurants had floated away!  Jim had to take off his boots and wade out to the place that sells the tickets for our bus ride back to KL tomorrow. 

   

When we got back to our bungalow, it was my turn to take off my boot and find a sock soaked with blood.  I had not felt anything crawl on my foot, but had the same leech-like round hole on my instep that Jim had yesterday.  How curious!

Taman Negara National Park, Kuala Tahan, Malaysia

7/31 – After a poor night’s sleep (I won’t whine about the air con dripping on our heads and the fan that only worked on ‘hurricane’ setting – oops, just did!), we were ready for some jungle trekking. Nusa camp is so far from from town that we have to be ferried by long boat 15 minutes to and from the village of Kuala Tahan to the entrance of Taman Negara national park. We had a hard time with the communication of what time the boat would drop us off and, more importantly, pick us back up. The boat ride downriver went over three sets of rapids, and was pretty exciting. Whoever sat in the front seat got the wettest!       

The tiny village of Kuala Tahan exists for the park and the tourists. It consists of a series of hostels, tourist agents and small floating restaurants, with water taxis ferrying tourists across the Tembeling River for one ringgit (25 cents) each way. IMG_1524

Once we entered the park, we had a choice of several trails to follow.  

  Today we walked the route along the river, mostly on raised boardwalks that preserve the flora beneath.IMG_1543

Here’s a pretty big tree!image

We saw evidence of wild boar – soil churned up wherever they root for truffles and such – but didn’t see any wildlife today.

The jungle really is dark, so much so that my camera flash often went off. Lots of mushrooms and fungi grow here.

Lots of pretty flowers too.

We walked to the river, and watched some people frolicking in the brown, muddy water… We’ve read that there are leeches in the river. Maybe we’ll swim another day…image

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Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Tahan, Taman Negara, Malaysia

7/30 – walked over to the Mandarin Hotel to have breakfast and catch our 8:30 bus to start our jungle adventure.  We are on our way to Taman Negara (translates as Country Garden), which is the Malasian National Park containing the oldest old growth rain forest in the world. 

Shades of British colonialism – the Full English breakfast was offered, with mushrooms, baked beans and tomatoes accompanying the eggs and toast.  Haven’t had that in a while!  Our bus left at 9:30, and was full of Italian and Dutch tourists. Off we go!

  We rode until noon, and were delivered to Jerantut, Pahang, where we queued up to pay for our entrance to Taman Negara  of 1 ringgit (25 cents) and our camera permit (5 ringgit) that will allow us to take pictures in the park. The man was very clear in communicating that this permit must be carried with us at all times and produced upon demand. Failure to have the camera permit results in a 5000 ringgit fine.

After a quick lunch, we hopped on another bus for the short ride to the jetty, where we were packed onto two long boats for the three hour ride up the Tembeling River to Kuala Tahan.   

   The brown water was opaque, but there were enough exposed trees and branches to show that the river was shallow. 

  We rode past a big clan of fat water buffalo snoozing in the sun, all piled up on one another.  

  

  We also saw some monkeys in the trees, and a big monitor lizard lumbering along the shore, but they were too far away to snap.

Halfway through the trip, the lead boat got stuck on a sandbar, and we watched with amusement as everybody jumped out and helped push the boat through the calf-deep water.  

  

As we should have expected, we got stuck a short time later, and all the guys couldn’t wait to jump out and help!  

A half hour before landing, the sky opened up for a typical tropical afternoon drenching. Unfortunately, our packs were all lashed to the front of the boat, and no one had thought, on a sunny afternoon, to put their pack covers on. We arrived at 5:30pm with wet packs, sore bottoms from sitting on the hard deck, and full bladders – no facilities on board the small boat of course, and we were all drinking water in the hot sun.  

We disembarked and walked over to the hut marked Nusa, where we expected to find a small boat that would take us to our camp, Nusa Holiday Village. All was dark and still – no one and no boat. We went to the floating restaurant next door, and were told to climb the hill and inquire about Nusa.  

 The travel agent at the top of the hill rolled his eyes and at first refused to help, but then thought better of it, and called Nusa on the phone. He apologized for his moment of pique, but said Nusa does this (leaving folks stranded) all the time. 45 minutes later, the Nusa truck rolled up to pick up the four of us who were waiting. We were wet and hot and hungry. Our adventure was not off to a good start.

Nusa Holiday Village was billed as a resort, and we had prepaid at a much higher rate than our normal budget allows, as it got high ratings online and was supposed to be ‘da bomb’. It’s the busy season for tourists here, and every budget place we had tried was booked solid. We talked ourselves into the high priced ‘resort’ as Jim was really eager to hike in this jungle. Imagine our surprise as we trudged up the steep hill, over the swinging bridge to find a dinky, musty cabin with no windows and no amenities whatsoever. Well! How about the restaurant, which also got rave reviews? We ordered chicken curry for supper, and got curry with chicken bones and skin. Ugh.  We’re captives here, with no other restaurant choices.  It’s going to be a long week!