Thursday, October 30, 2008

TAMAN NEGARA REVISITED

I visited Taman Negara 22 years ago. That was in 1986. Then, I brought Rafeq, my eldest son when he was 8 years old. I had some friends from Peremba who joined me for the trip. I could not even remember whether the Kuala Tahan community existed then. So, at 36 (in 1986) I took the leisure ride in a boat to reach Taman Negara. Now, at 58 I cycled to Taman Negara. Not bad eh! Alhamdulillah.


Having rested well, and changed into out leisure outfit we were ready for tea. We wanted to try another floating restaurant. Our lucky day. The restaurant we chose was having an open house, more accurately an open restaurant. Remember it was still Syawal. We were not quite sure we heard right. We asked, to verify. "Betul. Jemput lah makan. Kalau datang besok, kena bayar lah" said the lady owner. So, apa lagi. We makan tak tertahan di Kuala Tahan lah. Mee Kari, Mee Hoon and assortment of delicacies plus coffee and cordial was laid for guests and we enjoyed the hospitality.



Took us a while to eject ourselves from the restaurant but we need to continue on and cross to Taman Negara. I can't help wondering why this ASTRO disk had no permanent installation. I was also wondering whether the pair of sports shoes was an added antennae to increase clarity of ASTRO programs in the interior.


And there was also this rather cute cub-chai, vying for attention with the ASTRO disk. EPY 77 number plate caught us guessing from which planet this cub-chai came from.


Anyway, we were soon on the passenger boat and within a minute we were across to Taman Negara.




First stop was the Jabatan Perhilitan to pay for our entry permit of RM1 and RM5 for a camera. The buildings are new, the hotel had changed management and there were additional chalets. I could only see foreign tourists as hotel guests. Local tourists opted for the cheaper alternative across the river at Kuala Tahan, us included. Anyway, I can't imagine spending RM200 a night when my entire 4-day cycling trip here cost much less! Apart from the new builings, Taman Negara had not changed much from 22 years ago.



The multiple language signboard to welcome visitors was an indication of the demography of foreign tourists. I passed several tourists. Some sounded Italian and some sounded German. Taman Negara is after all internationally known.


There were the other signages showing both directions and distances to places of interest.


I recalled on my first visit, visiting Bukit Teresek and taking a boat to Kuala Trenggan where we overnighted in a camp-site. There was no Canopy Walk then and this time around, we missed it too. We were 3 hours too late. It closed at 3pm. I wondered why it had to close so early.




I recalled dipping and bathing in Lubok Simpun. I envy those who had done the 55km trek to Gunung Tahan which would take several days. While I probably can "tahan" the adventure, my interests now lie not with extracting leeches from my body. My love is now on two wheels - have bike will travel.



This sign attracted my attention. "WHAT THEY BREATHE OUT, WE BREATHE IN. CONSERVE IT". I wished someone would etch out a bicycle on the signboard. Would complement the message well!


The chalets were well laid out, spaced in 3 rows. One row had the backs fringing the jungles. The middle row offered the garden view both front and rear. The other row had the backs overlooking the river.



The wilds are allowed to roam, rightfully so. Do not expect to see any tiger roaming in the compound. Monkeys generally are more adaptable species hence they had the right of way in Taman Negara.



We visited the hide. There was a lone foreign lady, patiently waiting for some animals to come out to the clearing for a drink. Armed with a video camera, she was hoping to capture some exotic animals so that back home she can tell all those arm-chair travellers what they had missed. She would be unofficially the ambassador to Taman Negara. That is why conservation and preservation is paramount.


It was getting quite dark by the time we left the hide. Lights from the floating restaurant across the river in Kuala Tahan were calling us back. It was a rather short visit to Taman Negara. More accurately, it was a short visit to the Taman Negara Park HQ. Taman Negara is huge. Activities are varied. Googling Taman Negara will provide you with tons of info.

I crossed back to Kuala Tahan with the pleasant memories that this part of the country is still well preserved. My wish was that the river was not of Teh Tarek color. Well, one can't have everything, but one can have most things if one set goals to get them.

Good-bye Taman Negara.

2 comments:

Acid said...

[Quote]My wish was that the river was not of Teh Tarek color. Well, one can't have everything, but one can have most things if one set goals to get them.[/Quote]

Its probably milkish due to heavy rain upstream. I noticed the water is higher than the usual height. I've swam the water from the floating restaurant before, it was much clearer and only chest deep. A group of us doing stunt jumps from the restaurant, it was sheer fun to be like kids once a while. That was during the dryier season. shall we come back, with Man and stay a week camping in the forest, fresh inland fish from his fishing tackle and wild fruits for meals? Anyone with a 4wd may join,.. as a courrier for Mcdonalds if Man tells us stories of the fish that gets away.. aha .

ARZ said...

ACID,

Our jungles had been over-logged. The teh tarek river is a result of that - man's greed.

A week in the jungle with you and Man seemed a little too long! I could settle for a 2-night stay and this time we go by a 4-wheel. Hatim has a 4-wheel and we may be able to excite him, i.e. after our Sulawesi Trip.