Taman Negara, Malaysia

Taman Negara Malaysia World’s oldest rainforest

A 130 million years old, Taman Negara is, in fact, one of the world’s oldest rainforests. It sits in the centre of Peninsula Malaysia and makes for a fascinating and unique experience when travelling in Malaysia. It was the first rainforest I had ever been to.


Getting to Taman Negara, Malaysia

Many people thinks the only way to tackle Taman Negara is, of course, with a tour through them. In reality, it’s not too difficult to head there by yourself in a rental car. We travelled by car from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Tembeling. We parked our car at the jetty and took our small bagpack out of the car. Our large suitcases needed to stay behind because there was no room on the boat for them. From Kuala Tembeling jetty to get a boat, up the Tembeling river, to Kuala Tahan, which sits across from the Taman Negara National Park. This is a great way to approach Taman Negara: our wooden boat chugged past towering trees and ever-thickening vegetation, aboriginal Malaysians, monitor lizards and buffalo.

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Making the most of Taman Negara

This is our first trip to a rainforest. I wasn’t really sure what to expect in Taman Negara. We pre-booked a night tour in the jungle. That is quite scary…. Strange noises, shiny eyes in the far distance and really big, big spiders.  The next day we hiked into the rainforest, from the entrance of the national park. Because we pre-booked everything in advanced we had a experienced guide who walked with us the hole time. The highlights of this hike were the canopy walk. The walk around the entrance of the national park are interesting and give you a taste of the rainforest but they are nothing to the experience of getting deeper into the jungle. The first boat trip, up to the Kuala Tahan, had been great but this immediately felt like more of an adventure: our small wooden boat crashing against the flow of the river, past Orang Asli (the native Malay people) villages, the trees getting taller, the forest denser. Our hike took over more than 5 hours of walking. Even with a guide, who had walked the path many times before, you can’t help but feel a sense of isolation and insignificance when confronted with the enormous mass of jungle: centuries-old trees, giant roots, vines thicker than your entire body falling from a patchwork of ancient green and dazzling sunlight. Our guide pointed out the tracks of wild animals and, at one point, we saw one of the most deadliest snakes of Malaysia.

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