If you love nature and looking for an adventure into a tropical rain forest that won’t cost your life savings, Taman Negara National Park is the place to go. Located in Pahang, Malaysia it is the largest protected area in the country. When my collogues, friends and relatives and other travellers from different countries ask me what do you prefer as a must-visit place in Malaysia.
Indeed the answer can not be one place but Taman Negara would be on the top of the list. It is tremendously beautiful and one of the must-visit places for tourists.
Furthermore, the rainforest will give you Amazon-like feelings due to its huge area which you can’t cover in a day. Now let’s find out how you can explore the world’s oldest rainforest, Taman Negara.
Taman Negara is the Malay language which means National Park and this one is one of the most important National Parks of Malaysia. Situated in Pahang, Taman Negara has not only contributed to tropical life but it has historical significance as well.
It is a 130 million years old virgin rainforest, in other words, the oldest rainforest of the world. The park houses over 15,000 plant species, 250 freshwater species, 675 bird species, and many more natural attractions.
The rainforest is an ecotourism hotspot for tourists all over the world due to its ecological and geographical features as well as exciting activities.
This article will cover all the activities that you can do in Taman Negara, the best time to visit, places to eat, best staycations, and lastly some travel tips so that your Taman Negara tour would be effortless and easily accessible. Read the whole article to avoid important tips and instructions.
Activities to do in Taman Negara
The National Park has many outdoor activities and each is more exhilarating than the last one. Here are the activities to do in Taman Negara which will make you thrilled and wanderlust.
1. Canopy Walk
Canopy Walk is one of the major attractions and activities in Taman Negara due to its length which is 530 m long and renowned for being the longest canopy walkway in the world.
The walkway was built for research purposes, but in a short time, it has become the favourite attraction not only to locals but to international tourists as well. It’s situated 40 metres high from the ground, which is capable of giving a magnificent panoramic view of flora and fauna.
Of course, there is the Wildlife Department that always supervises the safety aspect of all visitors. As it is a must-do activity in Taman Negara, you definitely should not avoid Canopy Walk.
2. Jungle Trekking
When you’re in Taman Negara, you can’t skip Jungle Trekking as it’s the best activity here. The park has lots of paths and trails around the Wildlife Headquarters and Bukit Teresek is the major one for trekking.
To reach the top of the peak takes nearly 30 – 40 minutes and the view of it is so magnificent that you’ll forget all the struggles you had during trekking.
3. Real Inner Jungle Trekking
Real Inner Jungle Trekking is only for those who are physically fit and healthy. This one is the hardest and longest trekking distance that you need to go for. So do not participate if you’re not fit enough.
I am sure adventure seekers would not miss this trekking and you need to go on nature trails, ups and downs, hills & caves, and crossing the rivers.
There are many popular trails for inner jungle trekking including Kuala Teranggan, Chegar Anjing, Kepayang Besar Caves, Lata Berkoh, and Kumbang Hide.
4. Visit Kampung Orang Asli (Aborigine Settlement)
In this modern world, it is fascinating to watch people who are still living their lives through hunting. Kampung Orang Asli, also known as Aborigine Settlement, is a group of nomadic tribes living in the Taman Negara.
Here you’ll find two ethnicities of Orang Asli namely Batek and Semokberi and these tribes are far away from modernization. They are very kind and gentle folk with curly hair and dark skin.
These folks are respectful and hospitable to all visitors who come here to meet them. They will even teach you how to use bamboo for hunting, blowpipes, and how to make fire.
They speak their own language so to communicate with them you’ll be provided with a translator. If you want to take pictures of them ask for permission first.
5. Cave Exploration
In Malaysia exploring nature can not be completed without exploring the limestone caves. And do not think that Taman Negara which is the largest rainforest in Malaysia does not give you the adventure of exploring caves.
Taman Negara has many caves to explore Gua Telinga and Gua Kepayang Besar are the major two caves. Gua Telinga is located only 2.6 kilometres from the Wildlife Headquarters but it’s temporarily closed due to safety reasons.
To explore these caves you have to take some necessary equipment such as a caving Hamlet, a lamp, suitable clothes and shoes, a battery pack, etc. At first, you will be brief about your safety and then start your journey through the chamber by walking, crawling, and climbing.
All the caves are full of various types of bats, racer snakes, and many other insects. Be gentle with them otherwise, they may harm you. For a magnificent experience of cave exploration, spend a night in one of these caves and watch how beautiful it becomes at night.
6. Gunung Tahan Climbing
Gunung Tahan Climbing is not for those who are weak-hearted and physically unfit. You can only choose to climb this trail if you’re both physically and mentally fit enough as Gunung Tahan is the highest peak in Peninsular Malaysia with a 2187-metre height.
“Tahan” means endure and Gunung Tahan is the hardest and most challenging trekking trail in Taman Negara. There are two routes to Gunung Tahan that are open to the public for hiking.
First one is Kuala Tahan – Gunung Tahan – Kuala. The distance of this route is nearly 53 kilometres from the Wildlife Headquarters in Kuala Tahan and takes around 7 days and 6 nights to complete.
The second one is Kuala Juram – Gunung Tahan – Kuala Juram. It has been open to the public since 1999 and is comparatively less challenging than the first one. Because the distance of this route is around 32 kilometres and takes only 4 days and 3 nights to complete. And that’s why this route is getting more popular among climbers.
7. Rapid Shooting
You surely have experience getting wet at water rides in amusement parks. But those rides are artificial. How about a natural water ride?
Rapid Shooting is the activity in Taman Negara that will give you the same thrill as the water rides in amusement parks. Or maybe it’s more exciting and fun than any other ride as Rapid Shooting promises you to ride through seven rocky rapids.
The journey will be taken in a small wooden boat and the rapids are so rocky that you will get quite wet and shaken. The journey will start from Kuala Tahan to Kuala Terengganu and vice versa. You’ll be provided with a guide who will ensure your safety. You just have to follow the instructions and also put on your lifejacket throughout the journey.
You are better off leaving your electronic devices and expensive stuff at the camp or in a dry bag, otherwise, it could get wet.
8. Boat Cruise to Lata Berkoh & Kelah Fish Feeding
Rapid Shooting is a thrilling activity during which you clearly won’t take pictures if you don’t want to lose your camera. But there is another way to capture this beautiful flora and fauna while you’re in the water. And that is a Boat Cruise to Lata Berkoh.
Lata Berkoh is one of this park’s jewels and a spectacular place for boat cruising. Most visitors take the boat cruise for photography as it can give you the most iconic pictures.
Besides photography, you can also interact with freshwater fish as the journey will lead you through Lubuk Tenor, Kelah Sanctuary, and Sungai Tahan. These are the best places to watch Kelah or Red Mahseer which is the king of freshwater fish.
You can feed the fish and touch them with your bare hand. Trust me the feeling is so extraordinary.
Apart from fish feeding, you can also catch fish in Taman Negara if you’re a good angler. In fact, with numerous waterways, Taman Negara is the best place for fishing.
Though you cannot go fishing everywhere and there are certain rules that you must follow if you want to go fishing. Sungai Tembeling and Sungai Keniam are the permitted areas for fishing.
From the departure point at Kuala Tahan jetty, you need 2.5 to 5 hours to reach the fishing spots. Here you can catch Kelah, Baung, Gohok, Lampam, Patin, Tenggalan, and many more. February to September is the most suitable months for fishing in Taman Negara.
10. Visiting the animals
Taman Negara is a rainforest so whatever animals you see here are free and wild. So at any cost, you’re not allowed to hamper the privacy of these animals. That’s why the park authority has built some hides from where visitors can observe the animals.
There are many hides that are accessible from Kuala Tahan such as Tahan Hide, Blau Hide, Yong Hide, Tabing Hide, Kumbang Hide, and Cegar Anjing Hide. From these hides, you can observe animals like wild boar, reindeer, tapir, and so on.
To watch more wild animals, you have to trek deeper into the jungle and stay overnight in the hides. And don’t worry the hides are built in a safe position so that you would not get harmed by any wildlife.
11. Bird Watching
Any rainforest in Malaysia is majestic for bird watching and Taman Negara is the largest rainforest in the country so you can imagine why this park is best for bird watching activities. Not only that, this forest houses more than 380 species of birds which you can not see in any other forest in Peninsular Malaysia.
During the fruit season which is May to August, you’ll find birds like Rhinoceros Hornbills, Blue-winged Leafbirds, the Thick-billed Pigeon, Blue-eared Barbet, Asian Fairy bluebird, the Yellow-vented Flowerpecker, and Green Broadbill.
Kuala Tahan and Kuala Terengganu are the main bird-watching areas. Apart from this, you can also spot the majestic Great Argus Pheasant along the trail to Teresek Hill and also the six species of pheasants.
Tahan river and Lata Berkoh are also ideal for bird watching if you want to see birds like Masked Finfoot, Blue-banded, Rufous-collared Kingfishers, Stork-billed, and Blue-eared.
12. Four Steps WaterFall Explorations
Four Steps WaterFall is known as Malaysia’s most exquisite cascade because of its spectacular view. The waterfall has been created by one of the tributaries of Ulu Tahan and to reach there you have to trek through the Gunung Tahan trekking route.
The route is slightly detoured and quite challenging so if you’re stable enough, then a unique sight is waiting for you at the Four Steps Waterfall. It will take nearly 30 minutes to reach there via trekking.
13. Night Walking Safaris
The park is undoubtedly mesmerising in the daylight. Can you imagine how it becomes when the sun goes down? The entire rainforest takes a magnificent look at night and the sound of all the nocturnal animals starts to emerge when dusk falls.
During this time, Night Walking Safaris around the park are the best activity to get a memorable experience of the night. But be careful you can attract wild animals with your torch in the dark, and try to be quiet unless you could scare them. Always keep a local guide with you and watch the natural nocturnal habitat of these animals.
14. Camping in the rainforest
To explore Taman Negara and enjoy all the activities of this park, it’s obvious that you have to stay here for 3 to 4 nights. And when you’ll do jungle trekking and cave exploring, you must camp in the rainforest.
Camping in the rainforest is really fun and exciting because you get to learn so much about nature and the source of its existence. At the same time, you’ll be encountered magnificent birds and creatures that you have never seen before.
Just make sure you have enough equipment for camping and a local guide for instructing you throughout your journey.
Best time to visit
Taman Negara is a magnificent rainforest and in different seasons it looks different. You can visit the park anytime as it’s open for the public to visit 365 days a year.
But the most suitable time is spring when nature takes an entirely new shape and look. At the same time, in the spring month which is between March to April, the park remains significantly less crowded.
Address, Timings & Admission fee
Address: 27000 Kuala Tahan, Pahang, Malaysia
Timings: Everyday 09:00 am to 05:30 pm
Admission fee: to enter the park, the fare is RM1.00 but you have to pay an extra RM5.00 for the camera and video-making. The cost per activity is RM160.00 per person.
How to get there
Unlike before, Taman Negara national park is quite accessible in the present day. There are many transport systems available that connect Taman Negara to Kuala Lumpur such as buses, trains, cars, and taxis.
From Kuala Lumpur, the distance of Taman Negara is 240 kilometres and it takes 4 to 8 hours (depending on transport and traffic) to reach there.
Travelling by bus is the cheapest way to get to Taman Negara from Kuala Lumpur. But unfortunately, it’s not so convenient way as you will not get any direct bus from Kuala Lumpur to Taman Negara.
At first, you have to take a bus that will lead you to Jerantut. At Titiwangsa’s Parkeliling Bus Terminal, you will get a bus for Jerantut. Book your ticket from 12GoAsia to get the best deal.
After that, you have to take another bus from the Jerantut Bus Terminal that will lead you to Kuala Tahan, the centre point of Taman Negara. If you don’t get a bus for Kuala Tahan, then you should take a bus for Kuala Tembeling port. Then take a ferry to get to Kuala Tahan. Tickets are available at 12GoAsia, make your purchase online.
The whole journey will take approximately 4 to 6 hours and the cost starts from RM28.00.
The train is another cheapest way to get to Taman Negara but it’s a bit hustling and takes the longest time to reach. Currently, no direct train is available from Kuala Lumpur to Jerantut. So to reach Jerantut, you need a transfer to Gemas.
Firstly, take the ETS train from KL Sentral and get to Gemas, a town in Negeri Sembilan. The journey will take 2.5 hours and the ticket price starts from RM31.00. check train schedule and ticket price at 12GoAsia.
After arriving at Gemas Train Station, take an intercity train that will lead you to Jerantut. This journey will take 3 to 4 hours. For train schedule and ticket price click here.
From Jerantut, you have to take a bus to reach Taman Negara as I have described above.
By Car or Taxi
A private car or taxi is the most convenient way to get to Taman Negara from Kuala Lumpur. It’s totally hustle-free and you don’t have to change your transportation as well. But a taxi ride is comparatively expensive.
If you’re going to Taman Negara by self-driving, you take the route from Kuala Lumpur City Center to Jerantut to Kuala Tahan. Use GPS technology with the latest mobile devices to get better navigation.
Where to eat
To explore Taman Negara, you need to set camp inside the rainforest. So most of the time you have to prepare your food by yourself, especially during trekking and cave exploring. Because when you’re in the inner jungle trekking, you would not find eateries there and you need to survive on the stuff that you have brought with you.
Apart from this, the National Park has some restaurants where you can have breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Seri Mutiara Restaurant (Halal)
If you stay at the Mutiara Taman Negara resort, then Seri Mutiara Restaurant is the prime restaurant to have breakfast, lunch and dinner. They sell buffet breakfast and set meals for lunch and dinner.
In their buffet breakfast, you’ll get fried rice, fried noodles, sausage, potatoes, eggs, baked beans, and bread. For lunch and dinner, you will get more options of food items which you can select from their menu.
They never use non-halal ingredients to prepare food so Muslims can dine here freely. The only problem is all foods are quite expensive here.
- Address: 81, Jln Masjid, 27000 Kuala Tahan, Pahang
- Business hours: Everyday 08:30 am to 08:00 pm
Taman Negara Floating Restaurant
If Seri Mutiara Restaurant doesn’t fit your budget, you will always get a cheaper option. Taman Negara Floating Restaurant is an affordable restaurant that is located on the river.
Yes, it’s a river floating restaurant and you need to pay RM1 to get to the restaurant from the resort by boat. The restaurant serves simple but delicious food with a mesmerising view of the waterfront. And the price of the food is incredibly cheap.
- Address: Floating Restaurant, 27000 Kuala Tahan, Pahang
- Business hours: Everyday 09:00 am to 10:30 pm
Buloh On Taman Negara Pahang Kuala Tahan
In Taman Negara, if you feel a seafood craving, Buloh On Taman Negara Pahang Kuala Tahan is the best seafood restaurant that you can have. It serves fresh seafood at an affordable price.
The staff of this restaurant are very friendly, you can ask for their suggestions on food selection. The atmosphere and their services are truly remarkable.
- Address: Taman Negara Malaysia, 27000 Kuala Tahan, Pahang
- Business hours: Everyday 08:00 am to 08:00 pm
Where to stay
Kuala Tahan has lots of staycations in different ranges to match your taste and budget. So whether you’re looking for luxury, budget-friendly, or cheap accommodation, you will get it all here.
Despite having many dwellings, you ought to pre-book your staycation before you head over to the rainforest to avoid disappointment. Taman Negara always has thousands of visitors and it could be tough for you to find a shed for the night if you don’t book in advance.
The following accommodations are listed according to the budget range.
Mutiara Taman Negara Resort
For luxury lovers, the only high-quality resort in Taman Negara is Mutiara Taman Negara Resort. Though expensive, it’s the best place to stay in this National Park.
The resort offers facilities like air-conditioned rooms, free wifi access, tea/coffee maker in all rooms, buffet breakfast and dinner at the Seri Mutiara Restaurant, etc. But the most exquisite part of this resort is its accommodations that offer exclusive views of the Tembeling river and jungle.
You have options to stay either in a bungalow, dormitory, or chalet. But if you want nocturnal sightings, the chalet would be best to stay at night.
The resort has huge demand among tourists and the rooms get sold out very soon. So advance booking is the only option. In such a situation online booking is a relief, reserve your room from booking.com and enjoy your vacation.
- Address: Kuala Tahan, 27000 Kuala Tahan
Taman Negara River View Lodge
If you’re searching for a budget-friendly and moderate staycation, at the same time, you want to have the Tembeling river view, Taman Negara River View Lodge is your place.
Surrounded by lush greenery, Taman Negara River View Lodge has so many amenities to offer to its guests such as air-conditioned rooms, free parking space, free wifi access, and a terrace with mountain and river views.
Not only that, all of its rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV, cable channels, a private washroom, hot shower facility, tea/coffee making facility, and so on. Guests can dine at the floating restaurant that is located near the lodge.
Booking.com can ensure that you have the best deal on Taman Negara River View Lodge. It is advised to book your staycation in advance.
- Address: Kampung Kuala Tahan Pahang, 27000 Kuala Tahan
Wild Lodge Taman Negara
I also enlisted a staycation for lower budget seekers and that is Wild Lodge Taman Negara. As it’s cheap accommodation, you will get comparatively fewer facilities than the above two.
You have to stay in a dormitory that has 6 beds with a shared bathroom. The hostel has free Wifi access, and the units come with air-conditioning as well. From Wild Lodge Taman Negara, you can also enjoy the riverfront views. The price starts from RM33.00 and is available on booking.com.
- Address: Taman Negara Kampung Kuala Tahan, 27020 Kuala Tahan
From my personal experience in Taman Negara, I assume I should give some travel tips so that you can take care of certain facts and enjoy your exploration.
The rainforest is unknown to you, so don’t go anywhere without a local guide, and only a local guide can help you to get the best view of wildlife.
The rainforest has many mosquitoes and insects so it’s better to bring your insect repellent cream and wear full-sleeved clothes.
During night safari, make sure you bring necessary equipment like a torch, stick, etc.
During waterfall hiking and rapid shooting, you can get wet, so keep some extra clothes with you.
Q1. What is Taman Negara known for?
A. Taman Negara is a tropical paradise. And it is well known for being one of the oldest rainforests in the world.
Q2. What type of forest is Taman Negara?
A. Taman Negara is a tropical rainforest and the main National Park of Malaysia.
Q3. Why should I visit Taman Negara?
A. The answer cannot be given in one word because there are countless reasons to visit Taman Negara such as
- To reach the highest peak in Peninsular Malaysia
- To visit Orang Asli
- To explore the limestone caves
- To get a spectacular view of flora and fauna, and many more.
Q4. Is Taman Negara older than Amazon?
A. Yes, Taman Negara is older than Amazon.
Q5. What is the actual age of Taman Negara?
A. Taman Negara is nearly 130 million years old. And it’s assumed that the rainforest used to be inhabited by dinosaurs.
Q6. How many days should I spend in Taman Negara?
A. To explore the whole rainforest, you need at least 4 days and 3 nights.
Q7. Can I go to Taman Negara in December?
A. Yes, you can. But I prefer March and April are the best time to visit Taman Negara.