Route 185 Wildlife Sign Posts
The Second East-West Highway, is one of the Malaysia’s greatest touring routes, winds through the backbone of Malaysia namely Titiwangsa showcasing stunning rainforest landscape blending with multiple altitudes across Aborigine’s towns, local villages, limestone hills and local food between Simpang Pulai and Jerantut via the rustic towns such as Gua Musang and Kuala Lipis. If you are looking for the similar legendary road tour – Route 66, this is the Malaysia’s own version – it’s Federal Route 185. And this is THE route where one can spot ‘Tapir’, ‘Elephant’ or wildlife sign posts on the road!
Towns Around The National Park
To fully enjoy the weather and scenery variation, it is best to travel during bright day light. And the dramatic mist-capped mountain scenery fosters a sense of adventure and discovery with rainforest roads making it easy today to gain the first hand experience into Taman Negara via the second entry point via Merapoh, a village near Gua Musang.
This story is about my turn to quench my passion for the great outdoors that began at Simpang Pulai (a hot spring town near Ipoh) meandering through Blue Valley in Cameron Highland, then Lojing (apparently a controversial logging zone), Pos Brooke (an Aborigine’s town), Gua Musang (a limestone ‘town), Kuala Lipis (the first capital of Pahang state) and Jerantut (used to be the one and only gateway to National Park) before ended up at Taman Negara with some easy hikes and boat experience on the pristine Sungai Tahan. Since my last visit more than two decades ago, this peaceful and quiet area at Kuala Tahan is still packed, full of action.
Sits next to river bank at the fork where Sungai Tembeling meets Sungai Tahan, Kuala Tahan is a small village, also the oldest entry point into Taman Negara. Home to motels and hostels, this humble neighborhood also has their own primary school (SK Kuala Tahan), a health center (clinic), laundry service, convenience stores, eateries, bus station, tourist information booths and a jetty (Jeti Taman Negara).
The official land of Taman Negara is merely steps away. In order to step foot on Taman Negara, one has to take the motorized wooden sampan to cross Sungai Tembeling, a stretch less than 100 m away and pay RM1 (one-way) to any boatman that operates during daylight, anytime. Just wait nearby the floating restaurants that run at the waterfront, then wave to signal for service, and here it goes. As simple as ABC.
The Oldest Rainforest
Home to 130 million old virgin rainforest, Taman Negara is no doubt the home to several timber trees such as Seraya, Mengkundur and Merbau, also great variety of palms and many kinds of rattans. We were lucky enough to greet peacock at the Wildlife Park Centre and to see squirrel, birds, fresh water fish, spider, bugs, butterflies of extraordinary colors and even glimpsed a wild boar hunting for breakfast next to the wooden boardwalk trail heading up to Bukit Teresek. And of course the view of Mount Tahan (2187 m) – the highest peak in Peninsular Malaysia!
From the lookout at the peak of Teresek Hill, it was a blessing that we soaked up glorious views as far as the eye could see on top of the accomplishment when a 5+ yo preschooler was trekking along for 2.5 km route with 334 m in elevetion! Mount Perlis (1280 m) at foreground is commonly sighted while the peak of Mount Tahan is only visible on clear days.
Stay tuned for more blogging stories and pictures of Taman Negara!