During our time in Malaysia, Trent and I spent a few days visiting some very close friends (a blog to come on that too) and then we headed to the oldest rainforest in the world: Taman Negara. We set out early in the morning on an eventful journey that would last us most of the day. Beginning in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capitol city, we headed out by teksi to the China Pacific Hotel where we would board a bus that would take us to this esteemed rainforest. Fail #1- the teksi took us to the wrong Chinese hotel… China Oriental, not China Pacific. One is located near the Patronas Towers, while the other (the one we needed) was in Chinatown.
Thankfully the hotel workers were helpful and got us another Teksi to the correct hotel. Upon arrival, we booked and paid for our trip, and then waited patiently for our departure. As the others arrived, we set out in a comfortable, air-conditioned van. Three hours and a lot of windy road later, we had arrived in the small town Jerantut, where we would take lunch and then get on another boat into Taman Negara. First we finished registering for activities to do when we arrived and then we received our boat tickets. Then we had a nice lunch next door, Kung Pao chicken and Sweet and Sour chicken, both of which were very tasty. We still had some time to kill, so we wandered around this brightly colored, cute town. We wandered down to a mosque, took some pictures by the railroad tracks, and walked down to a park where we swung in the shade before heading back to the restaurant.
About an hour after setting out to explore, we left on another bus that would take us to the jeti station. This was a short ride, only about 20-25 minutes. When we arrived, we had more time to kill while our driver got all of our park permits and submitted all the necessary paperwork to the proper authorities. We bought a few snacks and lingered around, anxious to get to Taman Negara. We tried this fruit that neither of us had seen before, a rose apple. It had a very light taste, with a crispness similar to that of an apple. It was pretty good.
Finally, we boarded a tiny, low boat and set out on a three hour tour (sing it with me, Gilligan’s Island fans…).
As we set out, we noticed a lot of damaged trees that had been knocked down along the shoreline on both sides of the river. Debris was lodged in the trees or hanging from logs lodged in the river. It certainly appeared that there had been a recent flood. Only later would we find out that there had been a massive flood, the biggest they had ever seen, only about a month before we arrived.
As we went along, we saw a few groups of wild monkeys scampering out of water-side trees and lots of birds. We even saw some sort of large, dead animal lying bloated in a shallow part of the water. We weren’t sure what it was… maybe a wild pig or something. As we glided down the river, we waved to plenty of fisherman and other locals out and about.
The ride was really enjoyable- the breeze kept us nice and cool, we were shaded by the covered boat, and watching the gorgeous scenery kept us occupied.
We arrived around 5:30pm and we were exhausted from a full day’s travels. We were super thankful that we had booked our night walk for the following night when we would (hopefully) have more energy. There was a lot of damage even to the town where we were staying. After we arrived, we headed down the river a few minutes and up a super steep hill to check into our hotel, Teresek View Motel. It is a nice, quaint hotel that we really enjoyed.
Before heading to bed, we wandered back down the hill and ate our dinner at Wan Floating Restaurant, which served as our home base of operations. That first night we ate one of our favorite meals to date- Pataya Fried Rice. We tried this dish at subsequent restaurants during our trip and it was never as good as it was as Wan. This cafe also shows an informational video about Taman Negara every night at 8:00, so we stayed to watch the video and learn some cool facts about the rainforest where we would be venturing the following day. Then we headed back up the hill and headed to bed, ready for our canopy walk the next morning!
Read more about our canopy walk in the next post…