PAHANG - EAST COAST REGION OF PENINSULAR MALAYSIA
PLACES OF INTEREST : General Info
 
 

TAMAN NEGARA

NATIONAL PARK

 

Taman Negara, Malaysia?s premier park sits astride three states in the peninsula, namely Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu. The largest national park in Malaysia at 4,343km2, it is also the oldest. It was declared a conservation area in 1939 for the sole purpose of protecting and preserving the unique indigenous flora and fauna.

 

Initially called King George V National Park to commemorate the silver jubilee of the British monarch, it was renamed Taman Negara on Malaya?s independence in 1957. Taman Negara, in the Malay language, literally translates as national park. The forests of Taman Negara are reputed to be the oldest in the world and were already flourishing when the world?s tectonic plates were still moving fast, forming the continents that we now know. Taman Negara contains virtually every kind of Malaysian forest habitat except the coastal forest. Although mainly located in the state of Pahang, it also extends into Kelantan in the north and Terengganu to the east. The major mountain chain runs through the park on an east to west axis, in some places forming the borders between these three states. The Peninsula?s highest peak, Gunung Tahan at 2,187m rises in the Pahang sector of the park.  Taman Negara is indeed one of the oldest rainforests in the entire world, estimated at 130 million years old, The abundance and diversity of nature is phenomenal in Taman Negara, one of the world?s most complex and rich ecosystems. A veritable treasure of the planet, it is to be saved for priority.

 

Managed by Jabatan PERHIILITAN (Department of Wildlife and National Parks), Taman Negara?s future is secure, with stated objectives as follows:

 

  1. To protect and conserve the flora and fauna in Taman Negara and to maintain the tropical rainforest ecosystem.

  2. To propagate species of flora and fauna.

  3. To manage Taman Negara as a sustainable recreational area.

  4. To conserve all objects and places of historical, aesthetic or scientific interest.

  5. To provide a natural lab for research on species and habitat found in the tropical rainforest for management purposes.

 

The south side of this watershed is home to some of the most beautiful rivers in the country. The streams and rivers flow through luxuriant rainforest in the undulating foothills passing through lowland dipterocarp forest before joining the mighty Tembeling River. Rivers to the north and south travel across limestone territory and often produce spectacular waterfalls.

 

 
 

FLORA

 

 

Plant life in Taman Negara proliferated over the past 20,000 years. It is not a carbon copy of previous epochs, but a stage in the evolution of a tropical rainforest. The park itself spans a variety of environmental zones. The lowland forest is composed of evergreens. A single tree family predominates in these forests ? the family dipterocarpaceae, with Malaysia being home to almost 400 of the world?s 550 species. A single hectare plot in these forests may hold over 100 species of tree including the tall, buttressed tualang (Koompassia excelsa) the third tallest species in the world. These lowland forests are also rich in epiphytes and liana. The height of the forest canopy reduces as you reach higher elevations where oaks (Fagaceae spp), laurels and conifers (Dacrydium spp and Agathis spp) predominate. The upper montane is mainly shrub cover and the cloud forest begins at about 1,600m. Here, plants take their moisture directly from the moist air. At this level, the epiphytic orchids and ferns give way to lichens and mosses, which cover live trees, fallen logs and even the ground.

 

 
 

FAUNA

 

 

Virtually all of Peninsular Malaysia?s large mammal species are found within Taman Negara at elevations of up to 500m above sea level. The list is long but sightings are rare due to the density of vegetation and the shy nature of these creatures. The largest are the elephants; the rare Malayan gaur or seladang, a native wild cattle; three species of deer, the sambar, barking and mouse deer are also found. The tapir, Malayan sun bear (the only bear species in Southeast Asia) and wild boar also exist within the park.

 

 The prime species, however, are the tigers and Sumatran rhinoceros. Other wild cats such as the black panther, clouded leopard and the flat headed cat are also found within the park along with civets, martens, scaly anteaters, porcupines and the Asiatic red dog. Primates, of course, abound. The white headed gibbon, the only ape species in the peninsula, keeps to the forest canopy. Long-tailed macaques tend to inhabit the riverbanks while leaf monkeys and siamang prefer the upper canopy from where their loud calls can be heard. Other well-represented species include amphibians, reptiles and most small mammals. The park is also home to around 300 species of birds. The most commonly seen are the hornbills, eagles and kingfishers. However, the masked finfoot, drangos, broadbills and bluethroated bee-eaters are fairly common. The insect life is also spectacular. Stag beetles, rhinoceros beetles and many species of butterfly and moth, as well as stick insects are but a few of the insects to be found in the park. Beautiful and colourful centipedes and millipedes are Stag beetle found mainly on the forest floor.

 

 
 

ATTRACTIONS & ACTIVITIES

 

 
  • Prime tropical rainforest

  • A series of well laid out trekking trails

  • The world?s longest canopy walkway

  • Numerous hides for viewing wildlife

  • Orang asli settlement

  • Canoeing

  • Cave exploration

  • Bird watching

  • Fishing

  • Camping

  • Swimming

 

Treks vary in duration and difficulty but if you are going for those close to the resort you do not need a guide. However, trekking alone is not advisable. Two trails start from the rangers? base camp at Sungai Relau. The 4.1km Negeram trail requires the trekker to cross the river, while the 1.6km Palas trail traverses fairly flat peat swamp. The Lubuk Simpan trail is only a 10 minutes? walk from Kuala Tahan and is the most popular as it also has a good place for swimming. The interpretive trail is well marked with signs as well as descriptions of flora and fauna. A detailed trail guide is also available.

 
 

ACCOMMODATION

 

The Mutiara Taman Negara at Kuala Tahan offers excellent facilities. Bungalows, sui tes, chalet s as well as a hostel and campsite are available. Tents can be hired at the Recreation counter. Additionally, there is a restaurant and many other facilities for dining at the resort. There are also a few floating restaurants near the resort across the river that offer local and continental cuisine.

 
 

GETTING THERE

 

The most popular entry to Taman Negara is via the town of Jerantut, Pahang. From Jerantut, you can drive, or take a taxi or bus to the Kuala Tembeling Jetty, which is 16km away. From there, you can take the threehour boat ride to Kuala Tahan, where the park?s only resort is located. Trains from Singapore and south of Malaysia stop at the Kuala Tembeling station, which is just a short walk from the jetty. Boats depart from the jetty at 9am and 2pm daily.

 

Merapoh (Sungai Relau) is primarily used by those who wish to climb Gunung Tahan, the highest peak in the peninsula. Facilities, however, are limited at these entry points. Alternatively, you can drive to Kuala Tahan and wait at the river bank opposite of the resort where a water taxi will ferry you across the river. There are other entry points in Kelantan (Kuala Koh), Terengganu ( Tanjung Mentong) and Pahang (Merapoh).

 
 
 
PLACES OF INTEREST : General Info
PAHANG - EAST COAST REGION OF PENINSULAR MALAYSIA