The park has a number of blinds or hides ("bumbun" in Malay) for visitors to use for night observation of wildlife. These are built off the ground and are constructed of wood so as to blend in with the environment. The hides provide salt-licks for foraging animals, so your chances of seeing deer and tapirs is pretty good. I saw a family of deer in the area near the resort.
The hide nearest the park HQ has only benches, but those further out in the rainforest provide places to sleep. The hides are equipped with toilets, but as you may not light fires, it is best to take food you can eat cold. Make your booking ahead of time at the park HQ.
All blinds/hides are accessible by short or long hikes, but it is quicker to take a boat most of the way and finish with a relatively short hike to the hide. I visited the hide directly behind the resort and did not stay overnight in any of the others. The website below gives a listing of the hides and some tips for visiting them.
Like Murphy's Law says anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time. It's a chain reaction, we were slow, we were late to get out of jungle, guides rush us, girl sprained her ankle and shoe gave way.
Now that we are late, the sky getting dark and we have at least 1 hour boat ride downstream in the dark. Want to know how dark it is, click on the picture which I have adjusted the contrast to simulate the inky dark night we had.
I was on the first boat, one of the guides will shine a small torch light to look out for rocks in the rapids, and the other will operate the motor at low speed. Few times our boat bottom was scraping the rocky riverbed. We were told to sit low and hold on tight to both sides of the boat. The 2nd boat actually hit one medium size rock and almost gone capsized.
After good 2 hours of rapids (not rabbits) shooting in the dark, we arrive at floating restaurant across the Taman Negara HQ (same place we got our mee goreng). We were talking about tigers as we were being served with roti canai dripping with oils. We sucked oil from our roti canai using tissue papers and we continue to talk tigers until the ang-moes next table getting very excited and wanted to try out the next day. The guides quickly give excuses that they have other works to do the next day in one of the plantation near by. The guides were sh1tting bricks try to recall how dangerously we're spared from tigers and the super-dark rapids shooting. Phew!!
I survived Taman Negara, the story is being told in the net after 14 years. Please leave your comments to me if any.
As we leaving the cave, some of us sensed that our guides are really nervous and they keep depressing the empty drinking bottles. Later we came to know that they are actually producing sound that they believe can irritate and drive away wild beasts. Sure or not? (ask in Manglish/Singlish)
Then they (guides) start to walk very fast, so that we will be walking faster. Suddenly one of the girls sprains her ankle and two guys have to help her to walk out of the jungles. I inherited 2 more bags (one from the girl who sprained her ankle and the other from Kong who is helping her) beside my official trash bag.
Suddenly we hear some thunder bolts from the distance and we thought its going to rain soon but the sky is still very bright. Then the sounds of thunder come again and this time we hear it clearly. They are not thunder bolts but tiger roaring across the valley. All of us suddenly feel the chill running down our spines and we walk ever faster than before. Overtime we had broken into 5-6 smaller groups leaving Kong, Ping Yong and the sprained ankle girl at the last group.
Here's my pathectic attempt to ape a National Geographic shot I saw. Trees above and a wary eye of a fish below in Kelah Fish Sanctuary,Taman Negara. I shot this miserable photo using my Sony Camera in a Sony dive casing. Read on to see what I actually saw..
Kelah Fish Sanctuary, Sungai Tahan
Click B'packer's off the beaten path page to see more wierd and wonderful stuff in Taman Negara.
There were 11 of us and 4 boatmen, out of that 2 of the boatmen were our guides to Gua Daun Menari (Dancing Leaves Cave). We gathered at Taman Negara HQ side of the jetty around 8am, and the boatmen & guide services were pre-arranged the night before. Why we choose Gua Daun Menari? It’s because of the distance shown on the map is almost one of the furthest and we saw the map printed with black leopards and tigers and it really wakes up our adventurous self (or wannabe, whatever).
The boatmen were punctual and asking us whether we want to take away some foods for the trip and it only cost us RM3 (at that time) for a pack of mee goreng with egg. We said yes and they send us across the river and we have takeaway from restaurant possibly run by their family. After packing our lunch, our motor boats going up stream of Sungai Tembeling for a nice 1 hour 20 mins and we arrived at Kuala Trenggan jetty.
We were told of some safety precautions and final check on our belongings and tying up our shoes and etc. Some of us are spraying Baygon aerosol on our shoes with the intention of getting rid of blood sucking leeches.
Guides from across the river (Kampong Yong & others) may cost much less than those that arranged by Hotel. I cannot remember the price of the boat ride & guide, but it should be quite fun and more adventurous exploring caves which are further away from Park HQ as compare to nearer trip offered by hotel at comparable price.
It’s believed that Baygon mosquito aerosol will prevent leeches from suck up to you. But I would suggest you to obtain a pair of leech sock for morning walk or jungle trekking.
Please make sure you select Author's Order because these tips are written in chronological order. If you are reading it in any other order, you will be totally confused at the end of this page.
Those of you met me in person know that I am not that kind of athletic type of guy and with the extra bags I was slowly pull back and walking along with one of my best female friend. If you think that having one member with sprained ankle and hearing tigers roaring is bad. Think again, as Murphy’s Law is always ready to kick in.
Suddenly the girl walking with me having problem to walk fast because her right side of Nike’s sole gave way. She started to panic and cried asking me whether we will walk out of jungle alive. I wasn't too sure about our survival, but I assure her that we’ll be out of jungle in no time, unharmed. Seeing her having problem to walk properly I asked her to stop and remove her shoe, let loose the shoe lace, exchange my longer shoe lace with her and make few loops under the sole and tie the sole up so that she can walk properly.
While all these are happening, the tigers keeping roaring and you will never know whether some of those big cats are on your side of the mountain.
Step by step and finally walk out of the jungle and reach the Kuala Trenggan Jetty. Then you hear everyone asking each other whether those are tigers. We were worry sick for the last group of three to walk out of the jungle and they finally appear at the edge of the jungle 20 minutes after me walking out of that harimau place.
By now all our legs are soft like jelly and we actually walk (and run) out of the jungle in 1.5 hours. We don’t see and don’t care about leeches, the same track we use only 1/3 of the time as compare to this morning.
We reach Gua Daun Menari around 3pm and we are probably the slowest pace group these guides ever brought so deep into the jungle. The guide a bit nervous and wanted us to explore the cave really fast so that we can start moving out.
As the name suggest, the Dancing Leaves Cave should have some strange phenomena of dancing leaves or something. It's true that some leaves at the upper cave opening were sway from side-to-side as though they are dancing. If you climb up the cave, it will be quite easy for you to understand why these leaves dancing. It's because of wind gushed through the lower opening of the cave and gathers on top and the turbulent created at the upper cave opening sway the leaves from side-to-side.
In the cave, you will see thousands of bats hanging up-side-down and making those high pitch noises that you may not use to. The smell from their droppings, centipedes, roaches, dead juvenile bats in the cave ecology system is clearly shown in this cave. Be careful of those wet patches on bat ***s, your shoes could sink in if you're not careful. The dry portion of bat guano however is ok to step on, but they are quite soft and will sink a little.
I told you my guides were uneasy about us reaching the cave so late. In my next few tips, I will describe some of the problems we faced as we moving out of the jungle.
Be careful of those elephants’ ***s outside the Gua Daun Menari.
Listen to your guides if they ever ask you to move fast. The night animals (mostly predators) can become active as early as 5pm.
So far, we have traveled from Kuala Tahan (Point A - Taman Negara HQ) to Kuala Trenggan (Point B). Click on the first picture to see the distance we actually covered in 1 hour plus and our next aim is to reach Gua Daun Menari (Point C). The guides said we will be trekking for 2-3 hours depending on our pace. They warned us there will be lots of leeches and try not to stop too frequent or we may take much longer time to reach the cave.
So we all agreed and we were doing alright for the first 15 minutes, then some gals start screaming because leeches are crawling their way up and Baygon aerosol doesn’t seem to work as expected. So some of us guys start to develop becoming leeches’ removal experts and of course we ourselves were fall preys to those countless leeches as well. After awhile, we start to realize that the first 2 guys/girls normally do not get much leeches, but the 4th onwards getting more leeches and those who walk last don’t get much too. So the theory that we formulated as we trekking to the cave was first few guys alerted the leeches and the middle batch picking up most of the leeches and leeches along the track almost clean swept when the last few people walking pass.
Salt is most effective to remove leeches (provide they haven’t bite you, ever heard of don’t rub salt into the wound?) because it will dehydrate the leech. Make sure you didn’t soaked your shoe with too much salt or the life span of your shoe will be numbered.
Leeches are most likely to come up when the surrounding is cool. The same track that full of leeches in the morning may not have leeches at all when you return in the afternoon. Leeches will normally hide in wet soil to prevent dehydration. They may even waiting for preys on leaves after the rain, so you are not just vulnerable waist down but also anyway from head to toe. Unless it’s well explore track or you have never-say-die attitude, else you better cancel the trekking when leaves are wet.
Ok. So much on leeches may be I will quickly mention what was happening between leeches to tigers and how we survived Taman Negara in next few tips.
We took almost 4.5 hours walking from Kuala Trenggan to Gua Daun Menari. Girls were screaming for leeches’ removal service all the time, my Nike track suit got a big hole at my thigh level being picked by a branch when I try to rescue a girl screaming for help. And I was fearful of leeches myself after my thigh was exposed and my undie was exposed when I climb the stair made of tree trunk into the cave opening (Gua Daun Menari).
We stop for lunch by the riverside, we saw kelahs darting pass us as we refill our container with mountain water. We “take-away” all the trash after our lunch and guess which bag pack is the official trash bag? Yes, it’s mine.
Other interesting things happened during the walk:
- Frankie stepped into big pile of elephant crap
- we explore few smaller caves before we reach Gua Daun Menari
- girls were guessing the color of my undie as I climb the stair
If you're afraid of leeches, try to walk in front or be the last person when you are doing trekking.
Did you know?!
Barbers were once responsible for treating patients with leeches - the red stripes on barber poles symbolize bloodletting. (more fun facts about leaches found here)
Other than Hornbills, you can also see plainer looking birds in Taman Negara (Pahang). This pheasant is a good example.
Name: Crestless Fireback (Female)
Scientific Name : Lophura erythrophthalma erythrophthalma
Composed on my DSCP70 camera
Click B'packer's off the beaten path page to see more wierd and wonderful stuff in Taman Negara.