Thursday, February 18, 2010

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