Visit the world’s oldest rainforest the Taman Negara – Hiking in the Taman Negara, Malaysia

When I was back in Malaysia, I wanted to take a longer hike in the rainforest. One of the oldest rainforest in the world, the Taman Negara. Hiking has become a hobby of mine then also in the oldest rainforest would be super, right? So I booked a 4-day trip of which we would go for 2 days hiking in the Taman Negara rainforest.

Hiking in the Taman Negara
Oldest Rainforest in the World – Malaysia

At the time of writing, I am living/living in Melaka for 5 weeks and so I was able to take this trip ‘just like that’.

I have a flat in Melaka at the Imperio Residence complex where I can study for the Life Coach course. I can recommend it to everyone to study, keep developing and learning. It is through this study that 2022 has been an incredibly educational year for me. But that’s another story..

From Melaka, I did a weekend trip to Singapore where I did several hikes. And now I also did a 4-day trip to the Taman Negara. I had booked the Inner Jungle Trip which also included a night in the cave but I will tell you later why this could not go ahead.

Visit the oldest rainforest of the world – Taman Negara

River view from Kuala Tembeling Jetty - World's oldest rainforest Taman Negara
River view from Kuala Tembeling Jetty – World’s oldest rainforest Taman Negara

Day 1 KL to Taman Negara

View of the river from Kuala Tembeling Jetty – Oldest The night before my trip started, I was in the big city of Kuala Lumpur. I ate some goodies on Jalan Alor, had a foot massage, visited the Petronas Towers briefly, of course, and walked around Chinatown. I think Kuala Lumpur is a nice city to be in for a while. The next morning we left around 8.30am from the Han Travel office in Chinatown – Kuala Lumpur towards Kuala Tembeling Jetty, here we transferred to a boat to spend the last hours in it.

At Kuala Tembeling Jetty, you get all the information about the days in Kuala Tahan, the village that serves as the starting point for your trip into the Taman Negara. If you have booked everything through Han Travel or NKS Travel, you will get the vouchers for your stay, the trips and an explanation of where to report when.Rainforest of the world Taman Negara

Both times I had booked everything through Han Travel, online. This went smoothly and without any problems. If you don’t want to book in advance, you can certainly book everything locally. You can still book everything through your hostel or the NKS agency in Kuala Tahan. In my opinion, you won’t really be more expensive if you book everything separately, or as a package.

Free hiking in the Taman Negara rainforest is also an option but then you have to limit yourself to the boardwalk. That’s several kilometres and then you stay in the Mutiara Resort area.

Visit the world's oldest rainforest the Taman Negara - Hiking in the Taman Negara, Malaysia

After a few hours on the boat, having seen a crocodile In my opinion, he was really too big for a monitor lizard but of course that could still be the case. I asked and yes crocodiles do occur. Not at Kuala Tahan because the current was too fast there, I was told. But yes where we passed by on the boat…. I also saw several beautiful Smyrna Kingfishers again. They stand out well because of colour and size of beak, beautiful they are! And on the shore, we saw water buffalo several times.

Off to go hiking in the Taman Negara rainforest

Arriving in Kuala Tahan, I recognised it right away. The boats moored at the edge, the restaurants and the boat to go across, into the NP. The way up and after that it all became different. There was a huge amount of additional construction of course. I was in the same road as the first time only now there were many more houses and hostels on it. This time I sat at Agosto Hostel, last time I had sat at the end at Tahan Guesthouse. There I had had my own squat toilet in the room for the first time 🙂

View on Kuala Tahan from the Taman Negara - Mutiara Resort
View on Kuala Tahan from the Taman Negara – Mutiara Resort

Agosto Hostel is a nice place to stay I must say. Ann is super nice and happy to tell you anything you want to know. We also had several conversations about her life and life in Malaysia. I can recommend this place for that reason. She has sleeping cabins and a few private rooms. The toilet is small and in the toilet is also the shower but a hot shower! I understood that Tahan Guesthouse still doesn’t have a hot shower…. And that is quite nice I think.

Tahan Guesthouse does have a great colourful look - Taman Negara
Tahan Guesthouse does have a great colourful look

Hiking in the Taman Negara, Malaysia

I took a picture of Tahan onbecause I liked it so much that I recognised it…. Now I see I didn’t take a picture of Agosto at all but I must confess to you that I was more comfortable there. In Tahan, I had my own room but can’t remember and I don’t see it now that you can sit outside nicely either. At Agosto, there are a couple of table, two benches and some stools to sit nicely.

There were many Dutch people and other backpackers in Kuala Tahan and that evening I ate a fine curry at Ann Restaurant. Not high class but it was cosy like this at a full table after a month of eating alone.

Hiking in Taman Negara at night

Like the first time, I now joined the nightwalk included in the programme. Of course, I went right along for a walk in the rainforest. I will always take that chance.

Don’t expect to see big animals because you are obviously walking on the edge of the park and in the part where there are people all day. The evening walk is more focused on insects and reptiles. Last time, I saw quite a lot of insects so I was again curious to see what we would spot this time.

Nightwalk in the oldest rainforest in the world - Taman Negara

This time we saw spiders, walking branches and a snake high up in the tree. We also saw a few scorpions but because they are only made visible in the dark by blue light, I couldn’t get them in the picture. But I also thought that was a very impressive sight. You can see the shapes super well and when they move you can see the tail very clearly. It was a really impressive beast though.

GPS coordinates of all spots of day 1

All sites visited from Day 1 are – GPS locatie Han Travel in KL where I got picked up that morning – GPS locatie Kuala Tembeling Jetty, location of the jetty where I got on the boat to Kuala Tahan – GPS locatie Kuala Tahan – My hostel that night was GPS Agosto Taman Negara – And the location from where the nightwalk started that evening was GPS Muitara Taman Negara

Adventurous hiking in the Taman Negara

Day 2 Long Trek – Teras Waterfall

Yesterday it had rained all day. Last night too, around 3am when I went to the toilet for a while I noticed it was raining hard and when I woke up it was still raining. Ann told us she doubted whether the trip to the cave could go ahead because of the high water level. When I went to the river to check, I saw that the boats were on the side. Er… on the shore? They were lying where the car park was yesterday. The river was almost twice as wide as the day before. The water was flowing fast! Hiking in the Taman Negara rainforest was in jeopardy this way, though….

High water at Kuala Tahan, Taman Negara

After breakfast, we would hear whether or not the hiking in the Taman Negara rainforest would go ahead. It kept raining and I could guess the answer. No it was not going ahead. We could, however, do a Long Trek to the waterfall. We would then be refunded the difference in price. So that’s what I’m going to do. A long trek into the ancient jungle of Taman Negara because walking in the jungle is what I was going to do, no doubt about that!

It is still raining when we finally went hiking in the Taman Negara jungle. We first walk quite a bit on the boardwalk, when it ends we end up walking on a sometimes quite slippery path. Every now and then I take a good look around me. I pause for a moment and hear the jungle sounds.

Very briefly I see a bird flying … You know one of those nice ones with a long tail where at the end of the feathers there are these striking bits. As if the rest is empty and there is still some feather there. I’ve been searching but can’t get to it. If you know which bird I mean I’d love to hear it.

Visit the world's oldest rainforest the Taman Negara - Hiking in the Taman Negara, Malaysia

Visit one of the oldest rainforest of the world – Taman Negara

Visit the world's oldest rainforest the Taman Negara - Hiking in the Taman Negara, Malaysia

And oh yes, when it rains in the jungle you get leeches. The French fellow tourist thought of that and looked at her shoe and actually saw one climbing up. After this, of course, we were all warned! Several leeches we fight off but eventually we all get caught by a leech at least once. The French one did have several on her…. And a super big one too, she only saw it when it was already full and up to 4cm long!

The weird thing about leeches is, you don’t feel them. You don’t feel them climbing on you, you don’t feel them sucking in and you don’t feel them sucking your blood. I only realised him when he tried to come out from under my leggings again but couldn’t. Of course, he was a bit thicker now and my leggings are tight…. Then I felt some itching and when I lifted my leggings I saw blood. Only later did the leech fall out. Fortunately, they are not suffering from any disease so there is no reason to panic.

Visit the world's oldest rainforest the Taman Negara - Hiking in the Taman Negara, Malaysia

After walking for a while, we pass a bee nest, it is the sweatbees is explained by our guide. The nest is quite long and sticks out almost at right angles from the tree. Super to see. The sweatbees are small bees and prey on people who sweat, hence the name. I read later that they are also called Halictidae. Other than that, they are not dangerous to humans, they don’t seem to sting you.

Visit the world's oldest rainforest the Taman Negara - Hiking in the Taman Negara, Malaysia

And we pass a beautiful big tree, the mengkundur tree. Here we all take a photo, the guide suggests, and I’m glad we took our time for this. It was still raining and you can see from the photo that a little moisture got into my case. We are walking, I am hot and it is hanging under my poncho. Still, I think it turned out to be a nice photo so I’ll share it here 🙂

After this, we walk on and at one point we get to walk up to a nice viewpoint. By then it is already clear that we won’t be able to finish the whole walk. The water level is too high and if we want to go to the waterfall we have to do it by boat. Totally fine, we opt for that and go up.

Visit the world's oldest rainforest the Taman Negara - Hiking in the Taman Negara, Malaysia

The clouds makes it a great view in the Taman Negara

Visit the world's oldest rainforest the Taman Negara - Hiking in the Taman Negara, Malaysia

A nice challenging hike to the top, part of which is quite narrow as well, so it takes some time to pay attention. It has stopped raining but everything is still very wet and therefore slippery. At the top, we enjoy the place, the view of the river and the fact that it is dry. I eat my tangerine and then have my picture taken at this beautiful spot!

After this, we head back down and walk to our final point…. This is unfortunately where we have lunch and where we have to cross a stream. That crossing has become tricky due to the high water level and we have to swim.

Chekc this clip in my Instagram highlight Taman Negara

Since the guides are starting to find it all exciting anyway, it is decided that we will not go to the waterfall either, but return to Kuala Tahan.

Visit the world's oldest rainforest the Taman Negara - Hiking in the Taman Negara, Malaysia
Normally, you can walk through here without getting your feet wet at all. I swam and in the middle section did not feel the ground beneath me

Then when we are all on the other side, already swimming we walk through the bushes and climb right out of the greenery into the boat that is already waiting for us. The current is fierce and the rapids are fun and some water comes in but we actually stay well dry…. Although we are still soaked from swimming hahaha!

Visit the world's oldest rainforest the Taman Negara - Hiking in the Taman Negara, Malaysia
Right out of the jungle into the boat. The water was so high that you could enter the boat straight out of the greenery.

Too bad we won’t visit the Orang Asli. Visit the original people who still live in Taman Negara. I did do that last time and I already understood that nothing has changed about the details of the visit. So, for me, less of a problem than for the other tourists who have not been here before. Too bad!

Hiking in the rainforest Taman Negara, Malaysia

That afternoon, Ann from Agosto Hostel was very worried. The people who did go into the jungle yesterday had not yet returned. Helpers had gone on their way and the real helpers were on standby and on call. She had no contact with the group that had gone upstream to pick up the tourists. So she did not know how things were going. It took quite a long time but early in the evening the group arrived home. They were welcomed like heroes!

Visit the world's oldest rainforest the Taman Negara - Hiking in the Taman Negara, Malaysia

What stories were told! They had had to cut a tree, build a raft and swim through several rivers. There was 1 tourist among them who could not swim etc etc etc.. Story of a lifetime! Somehow I regretted not having been there. Knowing myself and being resourceful, I would have loved it…. Obviously exciting too but then it’s about something too!

But okay, I was heading back to Kuala Lumpur a day earlier than expected and then right back to Melaka, back to my flat where I would stay for another 1.5.

Adventurous trip into the Taman Negara

Day 3 back to Kuala Lumpur

All in all, it had still been a fun trip. Didn’t see half of it, but I was comforted by the fact that I had already visited the Orang Asli village, and I like a waterfall but not a highlight. That night in the cave will come another time…. I still dream about that time I slept in a cave in the Harau valley!

Hiking in de Taman Negara

After taking a last look at the Taman Negara, I walked towards the bus station. The bus was booked for the return journey. Via a stop at Han Travel in Jerantut where I got some of my money back for not sleeping the night in the cave, we continued to Kuala Lumpur. There we were dropped off again at Han Travel Bureau in China Town.

Would you also go for the 2-day where you spend a night in the jungle, in a cave?

Read about my first visit to the Taman Negara

Tip: If you are partly self-driving and book this trip with Han Travel, it might be useful to know the exact location of the travel office in Jerantut. There is a car park and then you could board the van from this office. GPS locatie Han Travel in Jerantut

Will you share this adventure on your social media?

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I hope you enjoy this world as much as I do