Taman Negara National Park
Taman Negara National Park © Vladimir Yu
Taman Negara contains some of the oldest rainforest in the world and spans thousands of square miles of protected land. Its richly diverse fauna and flora have evolved over a staggering 130 million years. The best way to explore the diversity of plant and animal life is by 'trekking' along the jungle trails. Although seldom seen, a small population of nomadic Orang Asli people still live in the rainforest, their makeshift shelters appearing in clearings among the jungle growth. Guided tours to tribal villages are available from several operators. Besides trekking, the park's other attractions are fishing, river rafting or bird watching and climbers can explore the Peninsula's highest mountain, Gunung Tahan, at 7,175 feet (2,187m). The best time to visit Taman Negara is between March and September. There are numerous canopy and trekking tours offered but it is ideal to avoid the tours and do your own thing to really experience this jungle world. It is easy to self-guide in Taman Negara. Hiking the main path across the park takes about three days and there are wooden refuges to camp in at night to keep you safe. The jungle sounds at night are incredibly special, if a bit unnerving for the uninitiated. There are several luxury lodges within the reserve, but budget accommodation can be found on the outskirts.