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One of the most popular places to visit in the Malaysian state of Pahang is Taman Negara, situated at Jerantut. The national park receives millions of visitors from around the world every year. Taman Negara is believed to be one of the oldest rainforest in the world. There are 4 entry points to the park. Kuala Tahan and Sg Relau near Merapoh in Pahang; Kuala Koh in Kelantan, and Tanjong Mentong in Terengganu. Kuala Tahan is the most used entry point. You have to pay an entry fee of RM1, and a camera permit is RM5.
Taman Negara has a total area of 4,343 km² and has a reputation as the world's oldest tropical rainforest. Taman Negara spans across three states, Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu, each with its own legislation. The Taman Negara Enactment (Pahang) No. 2 of 1939 is enforced in the state of Pahang, the Taman Negara Enactment (Kelantan) No. 14 of 1938 in the state of Kelantan and the Taman Negara Enactment (Terengganu) No. 6 of 1939 in the state of Terengganu. The enactments have similar contents. The rainforest is estimated to be 130 million years old. The national park was previously known as King George V National Park.
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There are many activities that travellers can do while visiting Taman Negara such as the canopy walkway, rapid shooting, jungle trekking, night safari, fishing, boating, caving etc. The trails around Kuala Tahan are signposted and you do not need a guide.
You can also climb Gunung Tahan, the highest mountain in Peninsula Malaysia, at 2,187 metres. The Kuala Tahan trail is the oldest and takes about 7 days. The trail from Sg Relau near Merapoh is shorter and takes 3-4 days. Or you can go a Kuala Tahan - Gunung Tahan - Merapoh route.
From Sg Relau you can visit the Kelah Sanctuary and feed the fish in the river. There is also an observation tower with good views over to Gunung Tahan.
Taman Negara is the home of some rare mammals, such as the Malayan Tiger, Crab-eating macaque, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Great Argus, Red Junglefowl, Malayan Gaur (seladang) and Asian elephant. Among the birdlife, the rare Malayan Peacock-Pheasant is still found here in some numbers. Tahan River has been preserved to protect the Malaysian mahseer (ikan kelah in Malay), a type of game fish.
Taman Negara has hot and humid conditions year round, typical for tropical regions. Temperatures are mostly around 30 °C during the day and around or above 20 °C at night. Being a tropical rain forest, you can expect some rain.
Trains from Kuala Lumpur to Jerantut leave on a regular basis and cost around RM20. To get to the Sg Relau entrance, take the train to Merapoh. From there it is 7 kilometres to the park, and there is no public transport or taxis.
Travellers can drive from Kuala Lumpur straight to Taman Negara, it takes around three and half hours. To drive to Merapoh from Kuala Lumpur takes about three and half hours, then it is another 7 kilometres to reach the Sg Relau entrance.
In order to reach the park, travelers can take an express bus from Kuala Lumpur to Jerantut for two and half hours. From Jerantut there are two bus companies to Taman Negara which cost around RM10. The name of the bus companies are Pengangkutan Latif and Lin Siong bus. Buses travel directly to Kuala Tahan and this is a cheaper option than the boat mentioned below.
To get to Sg Relau take an express bus to Merapoh.
After arriving in Jerantut, you have to take a taxi to the jetty at Kuala Tembling, costing RM16. The river boat leaves from the jetty at Kuala Tembling at 9:00am and 2:00pm for Kuala Tahan. The 60-kilometre-long journey takes 2-3 hours, and costs RM35.
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Travelers can enjoy their lunch or dinner at a floating restaurant, normally their cuisine would be a traditional one or local dishes.
At Sg Relau there is no restaurant, but you may be able to organise meals if using an agency. There is a small shop at Park HQ, and there are small shops and restaurants in Merapoh.
Don't worry about accommodation, there are several resorts and budget guesthouses at Taman Negara. The main resort at Taman Negara is the Mutiara Taman Negara Hotel. Other resorts are theWoodland Resort and the Rainforest Resort. For backpackers, they can choose to stay at budget guest house such as Liyana Hostel, starting from RM10 for a dorm bed.
You can also sleep in the hides and watch for animals at night.
At Sg Relau there is an aircon dorm, and fan and air con rooms.
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