Taman Negara, Cameron Highlands, North Malaysia
Taman Negara National Park canopy walk. Photo by Jacek Nowak.
Taman Negara National Park
This evocative big-tree jungle north of Kuala Lumpur has a rainforest ambience and no shortage of leeches though a bit short of larger beasts. Apparently there are 350 species of bird but we saw almost none. Most visitors hike self-guided trails over a few hours so there isn’t a sharp-eyed guide who knows where the interesting critters are. Long jungle treks or possible but require a guide.
There is a Tahan wildlife hide beside a salt lick but you’d need to overnight there for any real chance to see something sizeable, and me, I wouldn’t bet a night’s sleep on it.
I took my trainers off after a 3 hour hike in Taman Negara and two pints of blood dropped out. I thought I must have got some glass in my shoe bit then realised I had got a leech in it instead. The leech saliva de-coagulates the blood so it becomes runny and seems more than it is. Moral of the story: wear shoes without little holes and don’t stop walking! If you do, look very carefully at the jungle floor and you may see little excited worms wiggling towards you. They are leeches, they small blood and want it! Enjoy!
Best season to visit Taman Negara is the dry, from February to September. The park is busiest from April to August. Malaysia Climate
Getting to Taman Negara
The south entrance is at Kuala Tahan, 3. 5 hours from KL.
The main transit point from KL to Negara is the small town of Jerantut on Malaysia’s east coast so that’s step one for individual travelers (as opposed to going with a tour). Get there by bus or train from KL.
Boat: The most dramatic and appropriate way to travel there is via river boat from Kuala Tembling, a 60 km trip taking over just two hours. Take a short taxi ride from Jerantut to Kuala Tembling.
Bus: public buses do the run from Jerantut to Kuala Tahan three or four times a day.
Taxi: a taxi from Jerantut to Kuala Tahan will take about an hour.
Hire Car: the road is well signposted and the journey should take about 3-4 hours.