The bus journey to Taman Negara was pretty good fun. It was only Eva, Volker, Sophie and myself. I plugged the old iTrip into my iPod and we had a bit of a music session on the drive down. This was great fun and made the trip go a lot faster.
We arrived in Taman Negara and set about looking for some accommodation. We found a dorm room in Trembeling Riverview Guesthouse for RM10 a night, about £1.50.
After the journey, we were all pretty hungry so after a quick chat with the local guide about possible trips for the following day we headed down to get some food on one of the floating restaurants.
We also got chatting to a couple of guys there who had been in town for a few days and they recommended a guide for us. Because we didn’t have long, we were not able to do any of the standard tours, which usually involve a night in a hut, where you can (hope to) see some wild animals, such as boar, deer, snakes, squirrels, etc. They are not guaranteed, which sounds rather like the warnings I had been given that all the game has been scared off, and to see it, you really need to get off the tourist trails and deeper into the jungle.
We wanted to do the Canopy Walkway, which is one of the main attractions in Taman Negara and a short hike. There is a hill near the Canopy Walkway, which takes a couple of hours to hike up, so we opted to do that. That would get us back around lunch time and in the afternoon we could go to see one of the caves near the town.
After dinner we chilled out outside the dorm room and planned an early night as we had the trekking the following morning. I actually have a very funny story top tell here… but not one that I am going to share 😉 no matter how much you ask!!! That is something for me and someone else to keep to ourselves!! I just needed to write this so that I remember when I read back!
The actual trek in the morning was fine. It was a very easy trail with a slight steep section for about 40 minutes, then the rest of the trail was a well trodden path, and even some steps for part of it (which we didn’t use!).
Our guide, Armin, was very knowledgeable about the area and kept pointing out plants and trees to us, with information on how the Orang people (aborigines) use them for eating, building, medicine, poison, etc. His English was great and he was a good laugh.
I was mightily impressed as the guide was fasting for Ramadan at the time and to trek in that heat for a few hours and not even be able to drink water or eat anything is a pretty tough task. He said that he is used to it as he has done it for a few years, and can normally manage a 8 hour trek without water! Although he does carry some in case of emergency.
The final viewpoint at the top of the hill was rather uninteresting. We just saw a small valley and lots of trees. I am not sure what else I expected to see in the jungle, but there were no features of interest. Still, it was a nice walk.
If I had longer in the area, or ever came back then I would love to go on the 7 day trek they have up the mountain, which, I think, is the highest mountain in Malaysia, maybe even SE Asia.
After the walk we headed to the Canopy Walkway, which is a large suspension bridge about one foot wide held up with ropes through the canopy (top) of the jungle trees. Eva had some vertigo, so was nervous about it, but managed fantastically. It doesn’t look nearly as high as it is because you have a lot of trees beneath you, so you don’t get to see much of the ground.
I was a little disappointed here as well. We were in the canopy, and I guess the reason is to see what life lives at the tops of trees, like birds, squirrels, fruits and anything else. But there was nothing! So it was a walk along a high rope bridge and that was it. I wish I was more scared of heights, then it would have been more fun with the adrenaline flowing. Oh well. We still had fun in our group.
After the canopy walk our guide took us to where he saw a snake sleeping a few minutes before. We all wanted to go see it, so he took us 5 minutes back up the steps and there it was. The first wild animal we saw (apart from a bunch of HUGE ants!) a beautiful green Viper curled up sleeping in the tree. This snake was very poisonous so we needed to keep our distance. It had just eaten so would be sleeping there for a while. That was cool.
After a spot of lunch back in the floating restaurant we had a half hour sleep then headed back out to the cave. This was a 45 minute trek over a flat jungle path and then climbing through the rocks. It was fun… and dirty! And there was a hell of a lot of bats… hundreds of bats, every where! You just have to remember to keep your mouth shut when you look up at them, in case they drop you a small present!! We also saw another snake in the cave. A black and yellow one, but I forget the name.
After the cave we headed to the posh restaurant over the river. A high class resort where the cheapest room is RM320, going up to a few hundred for the bungalows. They did look very nice though.
The food was really good and it was nice to have a couple of beers at the end of a tough day… well, only tough because I have been so lazy over the last few weeks!
Another night and then onto the boat/bus to Kuala Lumpur