Thursday, February 18, 2010

Taman Negara (2)


From Taman Negara

This is a continuation of my Taman Negara post.

In this post, I would be blogging mostly about the activities we did while we were there.

Day One
When we arrived Taman Negara, it was already noon. After asking the guides there and after looking through the pamphlet we decided to check out Lubuk Simpon, which is just 20 mins walk from Mutiara. Lubuk Simpon is up along the river towards Lata Berkoh which just about 800m from Taman Negara entrance. It is quite nice and accessible easily if you want to have a quick dip in the water. The water is quite shallow at the side, but, be careful if you are swimming to the other side of the river. As it is a flowing river, and a lubok (hole) no less, the current may pull you back.
From Taman Negara

That night while we were walking to the hotel's restaurant, we sighted wild boars for the first time :) (though at that time, rasa takut gak)..

Day Two
We decided to go for Canopy walk in the morning and do Lata Berkoh in the afternoon. The Canopy walk can be accesible through the river or through walking along the jungle trek. We opted for the jungle trek since it wasnt that far. As soon as we had our breakfast we started towards the entrance of the canopy walk which was quite near our chalets. The jungle walk is about 1.5km, which was about 40mins walk. It was quite okay, BUT.... nearing to the canopy, you'll have to climb the stairs to go up to the Canopy post. According to the signs, it is only 100m, but gosh, I felt like it was thousand miles away!
And you know what, after ALL that climb, we were told that our turn would be like another 3 hours!! We deliberated for a bit but finally decided to just give it a pass. So off we went back down without actually go on the Canopy. A bit about the Canopy walk, it is the world's longest, strung up to 40 metres above the sea level. That is equivalent to 13 storey high! Unfortunately we were not able to experience it. But hey, that would just mean that we have to go back some day :)
Btw, you'll need to pay a small fee of RM5 to go on the Canopy. So if ur going, dun forget to bring a bit of cash, and go early.

Kepenatan after the climb
From Taman Negara

The trek...
From Taman Negara

When we came back, we rested for a bit. We wanted to go to Lata Berkoh but unfortunately there were no boats left. Rizal and I decided to go to seberang to find availabe boat and lucky for us, Uda (the boatman that took us to seberang) said he knows someone. Lata Berkoh was not an option anymore since it was past 3, so we asked for Rapid Shooting.

Rapid shooting was a lot of fun. I loved it. Its actually just a boatride through the rapids (duh!), but it was our first time up on the river, and the view was just astonishing. Beware though, when going for rapid shooting you will get wet, so dun carry camera or any other electronic devices with you. Rapid shooting costs RM120 per boat of 6 (about RM20 per person).

Day Three
As booked previous day, we went to Lata Berkoh the following morning. Lata Berkoh is nice, but to me the boatride going to the lata was the highlight. It is so mesmerizing I never knew we had such beautiful forest and beautiful river. So untouched, and water was cold eventhough its a scorching hot day.

Same goes with the forest. Though the sun is glaring down at us, in the woods it was cool, with only hints of sunlight peeking through. I now appreciate the mother nature even more and more. The trees makes such big difference, it plays a major role in making our planet cooler and at the same time absorbs all those toxic monoxide we produce.

Back to Lata Berkoh story, take note that you still need to walk about 700m from where the boat stops. So dont carry too much with you, as the walk goes up and down a bit.

Boat parking..
From Taman Negara

One more thing, if you were going to Lata Berkoh, you might wanna combine the trip together with trip to Kelah Sanctuary as the latter is just few mins away from Lata Berkoh. (We didnt go, cos didnt know it was near there and didnt make the arrangement).

Came back from Lata Berkoh we didnt do much, except that lepaking at the floating restaurant. We waited for sunset there, and then went back up to Mutiara for dinner. After dinner, Rizal, Akmal and I went to Night Fishing.

Night fishing was quite an experience. Rizal had asked me earlier if I wanted to go with him and Akmal or to just stay at the chalet. It wasnt very difficult to choose, as I would have been even more scared staying by myself at the chalet. huhuhu.

Anyway, we set out on the boat at around 10pm, which was already pitch dark. It was quite eerie, and being on the boat, without lights, was really a scary but amazing but experience. Imagine manouvering through the river with only the moonlight and the riverbanks as your guide. The only consolation thought was that all of us are together, and if anything we'd be by each others side.

While the daytime boatride was exhilarating, the night boatride was beautiful (once you get past fear of course). Looking up, the skies was just filled with gazillions stars. Masyaallah, I could not explain it, for it was simply just magical. To think, how much we've missed Allah's creation being out there in the city where all you get to see and breath is dust..

Nothing spectacular about the fishing part though (cos I didnt exactly fish hehe), but I think Akmal enjoyed himself and we were glad to have taken him out on an experience like this.

me, finding the best spot to lie down
From Taman Negara

Akmal and Saiful (our guide)
From Taman Negara

All in all, I'd say hats off to Perhilitan, the organisation that is managing Taman Negara. One thing commendable, it is very well kept and I hope all visitors will keep it that way. Of course there are still odd rubbish here and there but generally our Taman Negara is much much cleaner than some places Ive been to locally.

Day Four
As they say, all good things come to an end, same goes with our trip. As much as I enjoyed my days there, we all have jobs and home to back to. Not wanting to say goodbye just yet, we had asked Asri to take us for one last boatride and a quick swim. This time I had the opportunity to take all the beautiful photos of the river as the sun was high up and the boat trip was not a wet one (rupa2 nya boleh request taknak kasi basah2...hehe)

one of my fav shot
From Taman Negara

That afternoon, after checking out, we left Taman Negara with heavy heart.

All is not lost though, while we were there we met up with good people, really nice people. One of the boatman, Asri (can catch him at 017.9244.202 if you want his service) who took us for ride on his boat up the river.

He kindly let Akmal have a go at driving his boat too..
From Taman Negara

Saiful - totally supermulti purpose guy - he can be your boatman, your fishing guide or even your Mountain Climbing guide. You name it, he's done it. He can be reached at 012.9453.502 though I cant guarantee that he keeps his phone charged all the time ;)
From Taman Negara

And not forgetting Uda, the smiley chap who tirelessly shuttles visitors from one side to the other side of the river
From Taman Negara

oh and btw , while we were there, we didnt find even one single leech.. rupa2nya leech ni ada masa rainy seasons only, i think?

The journey


It is rarely that I find the need to write extensive post on travels. However, for this trip I have to make an exception, since this is the first time I actually go on this kind of vacation and therefore have a lot to tell.

First - How to get there (important ni)

I recommend those going to follow our route cos I think it is the most direct and easy way to go.
To make it easy on everyone here is the summarised route map.

1. From KL, go to MRR2 [route 28] (towards Gombak fr Ampang)

2. Turn to Lebuhraya Karak [route E8]

3. Continue on to Lebuhraya Pantai Timur popularly known as ECE -East Coast Highway [E8]. Keep going till Temerloh Exit. Estimated distance on [E8] is 125KM, toll charges = RM5 + RM3 + RM6

4. Exit out of [E8], continue towards Jerantut [route 98]. Estimated distance on [98] is 54km

5. At the end of route [98] turn to route [64] towards Maran. Estimated distance on [64] is 8km

6. About 8km away, turn left towards Kuala Tahan on small Kampung road. You should pass through Felda Padang Piol along the way. This road ends at Kuala Tahan which is the entrance to Taman Negara. Estimated on this road is 62km.

Note: From KL (Ampang) to Kuala Tahan it took us 4 hours with a 15mins pitstop break for toilet.

The journey ...

Saturday morning is finally here. We officially started our journey from Kayu restaurant in Ampang at 8AM. Despite the festive holidays, I found the traffic was not so bad. Maybe because it was still early. It was only busy between KL and Bentong but once we passed Bentong toll, traffic was good. Proceeded on East Coast Expressway, all the way up to Temerloh exit and continued to Jerantut. There are plenty of Tmn negara sign like below along the way, so no worries on missing the turns.

From Taman Negara

There are two ways to go to Taman Negara, one by boat and the other is through land (still need to cross with boat but its a 2mins ride). If you are going by boat, you need to take the boat from Kuala Tembeling and the ride is about 3 hours.

We opted to go by land, so we drove all the way to Kuala Tahan, which is about 70km away from Jerantut town.

Dina has arranged for us to park at the Police Station (courtesy of Uncle Bet) so we proceeded to the Balai once reached Kuala Tahan. Actually we wanted to lepak and have a coffee or something first but there were nowhere to park the car and the town was kinda crowded with cars and buses everywhere, so we had to just go to the Balai Polis to park. For those who plan to drive there, do bear in mind that there is no proper parking areas (ie secured , designated or shaded). So you will need to leave your car parked just somewhere in the small town. I think mostly are just open carpark so make sure you take precautionaries to ensure your car is safe.

There are plenty of accomodations on Kuala Tahan side of river, and only Mutiara hotel (which is where we are staying) is on the Taman Negara side. Its actually very near, berenang pun boleh but of course not recommended since it is like a boat highway. The boatride is RM1 per person one way.

Mutiara Taman Negara...

From Taman Negara

The hotel itself is nice, each room is actually a wooden chalet. There are various type, bungalow ( 2 storey with 2 rooms), Deluxe Suite and the standard ones like ours. If the place is not booked out, better choose the ones closer to the reception area. Ours is chalet no 89 , and to get there you have to walk 10 minutes each time. Penat woo... since their buggy only takes luggage not people... huhuhu. But nevermindla... after all you are at Taman Negara, so walking is kinda compulsory activity..

Not much can be said about the hotel, except that it is just a 4star, so you cant exactly expect luxurious environment. That being said, I think Mutiara's is probably the poshes accomodation there so nothing much can be done except just be prepared mentally to bear with the inefficiancy here and there.

Hot water is available, though water is not exactly clean. I wouldnt recommend boiling the water - its probably safer to use mineral water. Beds are so-so.. takde la Simmons beds or anything like that. But the whole chalet is kinda big, and is nicely designed. Macam rumah kampung, where you ada balcony to lepak2 etc.

see what i mean?

From Taman Negara

The package we took was inclusive breakfast lunch and dinner. Their food range is not so bad, catered more towards the foreigners. Only one or two local dish usually and the rest are western food.
I have a feeling the chef is not even local cos their western dish fares better than the local dish. But okay overall. I dont really have much complaint - but then again I am not a fussy eater ..hehe

note: this one is the family unit - double storey with two rooms i think

From Taman Negara

There is no other eating outlet at Taman Negara except for Mutiara's inhouse restaurant. So every now and then, whenever we feel like having tea tarik and snacks, we crossed over to Kuala Tahan. I was told that all those floating restaurants are usually open till 11pm. However, since we eat in most of the time, we didnt really have the need to explore all the floating restaurants out there. We only frequented the ones yang dekat2 like Family restaurant - which serves one of the best karipap I've ever tasted .

And also, if you are staying at Mutiara buy your things eg mineral water, snacks, etc b4 crossing. Mutiara Mini Market is not very well stock and things are quite expensive. Imagine, water small bottle costs RM3, 1ltr ones costs RM5.50. Though, some things such as the water bottle if u return the bottle u get refunds RM1.

Boat Service
The boat service to cross from Taman Negara to Kuala Tahan generally runs from 7AM to 11PM. There are plenty of boats there and usually they are there waiting for passengers. They charge RM1 one way per person. Honestly, I truly salute these guys who are able to shuttle back and forth 16 hours a day!!

the passenger boats
From Taman Negara

the river... (took from Taman Negara side)
From Taman Negara

Taman Negara Map
I will later one upload Here is the Taman Negara Map for those who wants to know whats around it, or if you want to get to know Taman Negara

About Taman Negara
Taman Negara is a 434300 hectar or 4343sqkm (seven times the size of Singapore!!) gazetted land situated at the northwest of Pahang. It is one of the oldest rainforest in the world, where some trees are estimated at 130 million years old. It is also the home and one of the entrance to Gunung Tahan (2,187 meters) , which is the highest peak of Peninsula Malaysia. Taman Negara is a protected National Park and therefore it is prohibited to damage or take anything our of the Taman Negara. In fact one of the guides told us that Perhilitan (the government agency who manages Tmn Negara) even have installed hidden cameras in there to protect it from theft or vandals!

It lies 4 and 5 north of the equator within the headwaters of three river system; the Tembeling in the south, the Trenggan in the east and the Relai-Aring-Labir in the north. It spans across three states Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang - and is situated in the centre of the Peninsula Malaysia. Taman Negara is the most extensive protected area of pristine, lowland, evergreen rainforest in the country.

Historically, In 1925, an area of 9,240 hectares surrounding Tahan mountain was gazetted as a Tahan Mountain Game Reserve by the British authority. Then in 1939, it was declared a National Park, through the states of Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu under an enactment in 1938/9. It was named King George V National Park, named after the King of England. After independence in 1957, it was named Taman Negara. The creation of this park was due largely to the persistence of one man, Theodore Hubback, Chief Game Warden of what was then the Federated Malay States. He pestered the colonial government relentlessly for 15 years until the region was set aside for conservation in 1938. His enthusiasm was carried on by subsequent state and federal governments, and by the Department of Wildlife and National Park.

In short, Taman Negara is really a haven for the nation’s flora and fauna. For visitors I urge you to adopt the Taman Negara Tagline :

~Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories!! ~

enjoy my photos of Taman Negara... (if wanna see all just click on the Taman Negara link below it)

From Taman Negara

From Taman Negara

From Taman Negara

From Taman Negara

From Taman Negara

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Taman Negara preparation...


CNY is finally near. Which also mean I need to start packing for .... our Taman Negara trip yuhuu...

Okay its been a long time since Ive gone camping and stuff so the trip surely going to be an interesting one. When I was younger, during schooldays I loved camping and all these outdoor activities. As I grew older somehow the preference has moved towards comfort rather than roughness.

For good reason.

For one, I am like 8kg overweight now. So doing all those activities that was easy to me before is an effort now. Like truly an effort sebab I am so lazy to exercise regularly.

Two, I am more penakut these days. I used to be braver before, but now I kinda get frighten easily. Maybe that is because I am actually aware of the dangers nowadays. To think back... what a wonderful life I had.... those carefree days kan...

Nevertheless. I am still (very much)looking forward to this trip. Not so much for the fact that I am going to be doing the outdoor stuff, but mainly cos I get to snap new photos... tee hee hee

So like any other journey I have taken, I normally like to plan ahead, at least to make sure I have all the gears I need..

Here comes the checklist.

1. Camera Bag. The one that I have is a slingbag, and its really not suitable to bring. So starting last month Ive been scouting and checking out on web for a new bagpack. At first I thought of buying Lowepro since it is a well known brand and has the AW (all weather) range. But after I looked at few models, I felt that it was a lil too bulky for me. Window-shopped around somemore, and finally I decided to settle for this wonderful Kata bag. I first saw it at Keat Camera, they are offering me at RM385. Looked online at Shashinki and Yamiya, sama jugak around RM385+. Checked out YL, its only RM330 and ada stock! so I went there and grabbed one. Tak sabar punya pasal, I have packed my equipment in.. hehehe -CHECK!

*gambar not clear cos taken with my lousy phone camera.
2. Cari Rizal's backpack. We were told that we need to take a boatride and carry the bags along to the hotel. Knowing that, then of course tamau la bring those suitcases kinda bag.

3. Buy socks. Long thick socks. To avoid the pacats. This one I need to buy. Going to soxshop tomorrow.

4. Insect Repellent. Also takde. Need to buy

5. Extra Batteries for flash

6. Flashlight

7. Gamecards

8. First Aid Kit

9. Small Knife

10. Swimming clothes

11. Memory Card for camera - Since I am not taking my notebook so need a big memory card. Just in case my 2GB + 1GB is not enough. I doubt it, but since I was already in LowYatt to scout for the bag might as well just buy the memory card. It was a pretty good deal, luckily I went around few shops before buying. I got my 4GB Toshiba SD at only RM36, while some shop quoted as expensive as RM70 just for a Sandisk and nonbrand. Shopname is BintangMaju, LotUG23 if u want to also buy one. -CHECK!

12. Raincoat/the pink jacket


13. I didnt realise that a lot of the activities in Taman Negara also revolves around the river and water, thought mainly will be in the jungle. So, I highly recommend you to also bring along Sunscreen for all those water activities.



From my phone



Thursday, February 04, 2010

Go kart


On F.T holidays we took Akmal out for Go kart.

Its not his first time, he's been on the track quite a number times but usually he is on his own cause neither me nor Rizal would ride as well. I won't do it simply because its panas but Rizal... i dunnolah why he doesnt want to go-kart. Anyway, sebab kesian Akmal having to ride just by himself we asked him to get his friend to go as well.

The track we frequent is at Morac Speedzone Go-kart track, situated along ELITE highway near/at USJ R&R. To get there you actually need to enter from Shah Alam and go towards USJ. Just enter the USJ R&R and go past the petrol stations and all, the track will be on your left.

Rate is quite okay I guess, they go by minutes - its RM55 for 20 minutes and RM30 for 10 minutes.

From Go-Kart 2010.02.01

From Go-Kart 2010.02.01

From Go-Kart 2010.02.01

For beginners I think this place is good, cause it is usually quite empty, and therefore is less dangerous. We've been to the one at Shah Alam stadium once, but it was quite pack and drivers were riding those super fast karts, so Rizal was not confident that it was safe enough for Akmal (being an amateur and casual go-karters).

So next time friends, if feel the need to speed.... head to Morac Speedzone!