Monday, April 8, 2013

Taman Negara

On March 31 it took us about 9 hours (a 3 hour bus ride, a 3 hour boat ride - about 69 km, and stops in between) to get to Taman Negara, Malaysia's premier national park and the largest in the country covering over 4343 square kilometers. A very scenic and peaceful ride up (despite the motor roaring). Taman Negara actually means "national park" in Malay. We booked this tour through Han Travel - one of many different tour companies who sell full board packages.

We traveled 3 hours along the Tembeling River

Walking down to catch our boat

Sitting in this boat for 3 hours was not very comfortable for Paul

But he was still smiling

We saw some water buffalo

Some locals fishing

The bow of our river boat

A panoramic view of the river

We also saw cattle kicking up some dirt

And local kids swimming

A typical river boat used to get around

More river boats

Upon arriving, we were picked up and driven to our hotel. Thank God because we later discovered it is a super steep hill!

In the back of the truck

After dinner, we went on a night hike where we saw a wild boar, spiders, porcupines, a tapir, snakes, stick bugs, and a praying mantis. I was only able to get a few snapshots.

Wild boar asked us if we were achin' for some bacon

This is a Malayan tapir...would you pet it? Someone did and it bit them good!

Stick bug

Another stick bug

Described as a medium sized spider

This one reminds me of the alien in Aliens right before they attached themselves to your face

On April 1, we had another busy day in Taman Negara. We headed over on a boat and hit the Canopy Walkway. Walking up to the entrance was brutal - no picture clearly depicts just how steep the steps were.

Back to the park

Just the beginning

Steps up

We had to keep 10 meters between each person

I'll admit, I was a little nervous. Along some of the walkways we were 30-40 meters high!

Here's the view of the Tembeling River from the top

After the canopy walk, we continued to hike. I thought I experienced steep but this was a whole new level. Along the way, we saw some more insects.

Empty cicada skeleton

Giant timber soldier ants


Our guide (Mr. Hermann) burned some sap from a tree which smelled like incense

Can you see all the ants on this branch?

We made it to the top!

We had to walk another 15 minutes to get to this view

And then we had to walk all the way back...down those steep steps

Paul was lurking behind me

Making funny faces, as usual

After 3 hours in the park, we headed back for lunch and a change of clothing - our shirts were completely soaked with sweat! The afternoon activity included getting drenched on the boat ride to visit the "Orang Asli" (aboriginal) village. I really enjoyed the village visit to this nomadic clan. There are 64 people and 12 families who live there. We met the chief and a few other villagers. They showed us how they make their weapons, start a fire, and how to use a blow dart.

Entering the village

Preparing the dart

Blowing the dart at an allusive target

After a couple of failed attempts, the chief tries to hit the target instead

I'm giving it a try and fail miserably

Blue bear was the target...I was nowhere near it...about 3 feet below it!

A proper hut

Hanging out

A different hut with a fire inside

Village kids running around

Blow dart and darts in their case

A different view of the blow dart - made of bamboo

Check out the video of how quickly they can make a fire:

On April 2, with really sore calves, we traveled about 6 hours back to Kuala Lumpur.

Bye bye Taman Negara!


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