Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Tahman Negara


The adventure at Tahman Negara starts proper at the Jetty at Kuala Tembeling where we board a long boat with about 20 others for the 3 hour journey down the Tembeling River.

The river, muddy brown, wide and fast flowing, winds its way through the dense jungle that pushes right to the rivers edge for most of the journey with occasional sand bars and rocky outcrops on which bleached trunks of trees lay stranded. Not much to report on the little town and hotel except that there are several floating restaurants that all sit pretty low in the water with only minimal barriers to stop the diners from toppling into the strong current.

The following day we set off for the canopy walkway at 9.00am planning a shortish walk that turns into 6 hours of almost constant trekking that leaves us soaked and drained of energy. The entry to the national park is made via a river taxi that runs you across the short stretch of water. We then set off on the trail to the canopy walk. The trail is somewhat disappointing after those we have been following in the Cameron Heights as it is a totally sanitised board walk with handrails and yellow painted steps. However this only goes as far as the Canopy Walk and after that it becomes a proper trail with roots, rocks, climbs etc to tax us. The Canopy Walk itself is 40m above the forest floor and is a very wobbly suspension bridge affair which adds to the excitement of being so high up but was not quite high enough to allow a view just above the treeline. Still very nice though. Once down we set off along the unmade tracks which were far more what we were looking for and for the next 4 hours we

saw no one. Just us, huge trees, green leaves and a cacophony of insect noise. Walking in the jungle is hard work. Luckily it was a trail so did not have to cut our way through but even so the effort of moving was surprisingly difficult. The humidy is through the roof, the air often fetid and close and the heat of the sun, an rampant and rotting vegetation meant we sweated like never before. I am a sweaty chap at the best of times but I surpassed myself with no dry patches on my shirt, shorts, backpack or socks...both of us were just awash.

Just as were about to turn around we saw a marker to the top of a 500 metre hill called Bukit Indah (Indah Hill). To give the walk purpose we followed the trail and were soon hauling ourselves up fixed ropes, through rock clusters and  along a narrow root trapped path with 40m sheer drop on either side to the top where the magnificent view made the effort all worth it but took the last of our reserves so the walk back for the next 2 hours went on and on and all done with no more water so were parched most of the way.

This afternoon we have had a great time ‘shooting the rapids’ in the Tembelling river. Whilst not wild they were still great fun and our driver ensured that ever swirling mass of wave was expertly dumped upon us. For an hour we drove along the river in this wooden longboat with another couple and drank in the real beauty of the National Park.  Sunlight glinting on the often churning white water that ran between large boulders, long stretches of sluggish brown river drifting between the trees and occasional groups of the local village dwellers swimming or washing. We both got thoroughly soaked! On the way back the boat pulled up at a sandbar that ran between the river and the jungle and we spent a further hour swimming in the warm water and laying on the sand. Was lucky enough to find a jungle vine hanging from a tree over the river so clambered on some nearby rocks and was able to swing Tarzan stylee into the water. I was please to find that the vine, no thicker than my finger, was strong enough to hold me. So can now verify that Tarzan could possibly have
swung from tree to tree. Arrrrr Arr-A-Arrrr Ar-Ar-Arrahhhh! I can also confirm that Rachel swam in a brown river, with a squelchy bottom (the river not her) that has large fish, snakes and monitor lizards in it. Unfortunately today is our last day because we have ran out of money and there is no ATM so after doing a gentle jungle walk tonight (where we don’t expect to see more than spiders) will pack and head off to KL tomorrow to see our lovely friends Melanie and Gary who are here to spend a week with us Perhentian Islands.

Footnote on the night time jungle walk. We went about 1km into the jungle and back and it took about 45 mins. We sweated so much and it was 8.00pm at night and pitch dark - see photo on return to room.

Didn't see too much to write about - a few fire flys, moths, a dog ran out of nowhere and Rachel nearly crapped her self, a couple of lizards and, oh yeah, a bloody huge tapir. We were walking out of the Park complex at the start of the trail and suddenly we saw this fabulous chap although I dont think he was wild going by his proximity and his total lack of interest in us.



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