Nature Escapes

Taman Negara Kuala Tahan

"New Adventure In Malaysia's Ancient Rainforest"

One of the great rainforests of the world, Taman Negara stands as a testimony to conservation and wildlife protection.

Established in colonial times in 1938, Malaysia's first and largest national park teems with biodiversity:

  • Over 300 bird species flourish in its forests, including nine magnificent hornbills with striking features.
  • It remains a stronghold for the threatened Malayan tiger sought by poachers for pelts and medicinal products.
  • Dense habitats shelter shy tapirs, Asian elephants and the endangered and rare Sumatran rhinoceros.
  • Primates such as gibbons and leaf-monkeys and wild cats like the golden cat or clouded leopard thrive in virgin lowland rainforests.
  • Three species of wild deer and wild pigs forage in the forest and provide prey for tigers and other cats.
  • Flying lizards and flying lemurs glide in silent escape from one massive old tree trunk to another.

You can either rough it or just relax in the serenity of the ancient rainforests of Taman Negara. Travel upriver and absorb the scenery and sounds of the deep forest. Walk the trails and explore lowland habitats full of amazing plant and animal life.

Test your fitness and climb to the summit of Gunung Tahan, a nine-day jungle trek. Spend a day caving one of the limestone outcrops or cross the plank of the Canopy Walk high atop the trees for a new jungle view.

As the main attraction, rainforest animals provide wonderful wildlife watching opportunities on any jungle trail. Spotting jungle animals sometimes requires a good guide, good luck and good timing. Wildlife sightings offer rare chances to marvel at large mammals, cryptic reptiles, colorful birds and butterflies, and intriguing insects.

Remember that wildlife survives by camouflage and cunning, so take your time in the jungle to discover a true wild experience.

Natural Things To Do

Taman Negara Map

Taman Negara

Map Courtesy of Outskirt Outreach

Taman Negara: Nature Attractions

Jungle Trekking

An ancient jungle full of fascinating creatures and plants evolved to survive, usually by staying hidden, over millions of years. Taman Negara
Photo: ighosts

Discovering what the jungle has to offer mostly requires time and persistence. Trails around park headquarters are shorter and well-trodden, where you can encounter the most common wildlife.

Get further away with long day hikes to avoid the crowds and improve your chances to view more wild animals.

The best treks are with guides to venture deep into the jungle and travel upriver to more isolated sections of the park.

Stay close to HQ trails if you're not sure of your fitness level or are new to the rainforest. Tropic heat zaps your energy and jungle conditions can be harsh. Be aware of some general jungle safety tips and a few facts about Malaysia weather.

Here are some of the more popular trails to entice you into visiting one of Malaysia's more magnificent natural treasures:

Kuala Tahan to One-Way Trek Time Wild Features & Field Notes
Canopy Walk 30 minutes A stroll along Sungai Tembeling on the main Bukit Indah trail passes by the popular Canopy Walk.
Jenut Muda 30 minutes Cross streams, ridges and muddy grounds to reach this natural salt lick where pigs, deer and sometimes tapirs come to consume minerals. A good trail for birds and primates too.
Bukit Teresek 1 hour Scramble along a hill ridge to reach outstanding views of Sungai Tembeling and Gunung Tahan in the distance on this good birdwatching and rainforest primer trail.
Bumbun Tabing 1.5 hours Pass the Lubuk Simpon swimming hole and follow the way to Lata Berkoh over some steep hills and streams to visit the hide. Observe rainforest birds along the trail and encounter deer, wild pigs, and tapirs on overnight stays.
Gua Telinga 2 hours Go on a well-marked trail through lowland forests to view birds before entering the limestone cave to see several bat species, frogs and the cave racer snake. Take a 10 minute boat ride to river jetty, plus a 30 minute hike to cave as alternative.
Bukit Indah 2.5 hours Over flat and hilly terrain with varied vegetation, the summit offers great landscape views of Sungai Tembeling.
Lata Berkoh 3-5 hours A hardy day hike with stops at Bumbun Tabin hide, river crossings and a side trip to a swimming hole before reaching the scenic cascades. Take a boat ride one-way as an alternative.
Gunung Tahan 8-9 days (return) Climb to the summit of Peninsula Malaysia's highest mountain with an arduous trek over rivers and hill ridges, lowland to montane forests, under rainy and humid weather and rationed food and water supplies. Tough and terrific at the same time. [Climb from Taman Negara Merapoh for a shorter 4-5 day trail.]

Wildlife Watching

As a wildlife haven, Taman Negara protects big jungle animals, their habitats and prey species. But the rainforest also protects them from us. Slow Loris
Photo: Wild Asia

Smaller creatures such as lizards and frogs, civets and squirrels, wild pigs and leaf-monkeys, arboreal snakes and slow loris, flying lemurs and barking deer are easier seen than the big megafauna stars like tigers, elephants, wild cats, rhinos and tapirs.

Insects also offer endless photographic opportunities with technicolor butterflies, cryptic leaf and stick insects and bodacious beetles.

For variety and sheer joy, become a birdwatcher and observe a colorful display of barbets, bulbuls, pittas, broadbills, eagles, kingfishers, pigeons, bee-eaters and the ever satisfying hornbills that swoosh over the forest like regal residents.

Accessible by foot or boat from Kuala Tahan and Kuala Trenggan, six wildlife hides (bumbun in Malay) built near salt licks and grassy openings help to conceal visitors from wild eyes to increase your chances of seeing a seledang, a tapir or one of the three deer species. Spend a day or stay overnight to capture a special snapshot and enjoy the sights and sounds of the jungle.

Gunung Tahan

For those looking for jungle adventure, the climb to the highest peak (2187 meters) in Peninsula Malaysia remains a tough and special rainforest experience. Hiking nine days crossing rivers, navigating steep slopes and hill ridges, and camping out under the forest canopy tests your physical and mental fitness. Taman Negara
Photo: ighosts

All treks up the mountain, a 110km return to Kuala Tahan, are lead by guides with careful attention to conserve food, water and energy.

Tropic heat and humidity of lowland forests can easily change to cold and wet conditions on upper hills and windy plateaus. And pesky mosquitoes and bothersome leeches attack without warning.

Soaking up the scenery and sighting wildlife tends to lift your spirits up over the exhaustion and extreme elements. The journey traverses over twenty hills and valleys, scrambles up rocky outcrops, and crawls over muddy earth banks before reaching the summit. Are you ready?

There are three trekking route options to climb Gunung Tahan: Kuala Tahan (8-9 days), Taman Negara Merapoh (4-7 days), and Taman Negara Kuala Koh (16 days).

Canopy Walkway

Rising 40 meters above ground and meandering through centuries old tropical trees, the Canopy Walkway gives visitors a unique perspective from which to engage the rainforest. Taman Negara
Photo: wazari

Wild animal diversity results from using the vertical architecture of niche habitats from forest floor to forest canopy.

Walking the 450 meter aerial trail allows for great lowland dipterocarp scenery, a chance to view canopy birds, monkeys and orchids, and a little bit of adventure.

Crowds swell during peak hours and holidays with one-hour waiting times normal. Try to have an alternative activity, such as hiking the surrounding trails, planned if delays or rain occur.

The walkway is accessible by foot or boat from Kuala Tahan and open:

  • 9:30am to 3:30pm (Sat-Thur)
  • 9:00am to 12 noon (Fri)

River Trips

Wild forest rivers carve through the rainforest and make passageways for both animals and tourists. Two dominate rivers - Sungai Tembeling and Sungai Tahan - converge at Kuala Tahan and offer easy access to the park's fabulous interior beauty. Taman Negara
Photo: wazari

River trips are particularly enjoyable due to exceptional scenery along tributaries with overhanging trees, quick times to popular sites and a chance to view wildlife seeking food near the river.

While drifting downstream at a slower pace, keep an eye out for sunning monitor lizards, darting kingfishers, circling fish eagles and sounds of hornbills, gibbons and macaques.

For fishing, boats and guides for hire ferry you to deep fishing holes to catch a variety of freshwater fish only in selected areas of the park.

The river ride entry into the park lingers past Malay and Orang Asli villages, local fishermen and other scenic rural vistas that gets you in a natural mood.


Carved out by underground rivers eroding limestone rock, caves are unique habitats that shelter bats, bat-eating racer snakes and some interesting insects able to survive guano covered cave floors. Taman Negara
Photo: ighosts

Several caves (gua in Malay) located near Kuala Tahan, upriver or in more distant areas of the park are all ready for exploration.

  • Gua Telinga is just a one-hour walk from the lodges at Kuala Tahan with the option to take a 10-minute boat ride.
  • Gua Duan Menari, Gua Luas and Gua Kepayang require at least a 2-hour boat ride to reach a remote part of the park at Kuala Keniam Lodge.
  • Venture deeper into the park with cave exploration groups like MNS to survey other limestone outcrops.

Give caving a try if you've never ventured into one. It may take a bit of scrambling to enter these unique habitats, but the experience is usually worth the effort.

Taman Negara Hotels

Whether on a budget, with a school group or wanting some remote rainforest luxury, there are plenty of accommodations either at the park headquarters or across the river at Kampung Kuala Tahan. With floating restaurants and mini-markets nearby, all the activity centers around the jetty entrance at Kuala Tahan, where sampans ferry visitors through the evening.

Mutiara Taman Negara Hotel

At Mutiara Taman Negara, you can choose from cosy timber bungalows and rustic chalets equipped with all the comforts of home, to dormitory-style accommodation. Or just set up a tent at our camping site! Taman Negara Mutiara

Providing 108 Malaysian styled wooden chalets and bungalows, the hotel overlooks the Tembeling and Tahan Rivers. The four-star hotel provides guests with an endless amount of activities such as swimming in Lata Berkoh, boat rides, cave exploration, jungle treks, and visiting the night market of the local settlements.

Both nature lovers and thrill seekers will enjoy the fascinating sights, sounds, and smells of this ultimate rainforest getaway.

Seri Mutiara Restaurant offers sumptuous international fare and local delicacies whilst the Anjung Teresek Bar lets you unwind after an exciting day on the jungle terrain.

Check prices and book your holiday at Taman Negara Mutiara Hotel

Rainforest Resort

There are places that promise opportunities to commune with the environment. But at Rainforest Resort Taman Negara you can truly be at one with nature. Taman Negara hotel

Enjoy natural wonders from the resort?s cosy, guestroom or lounge and enjoy activities like jungle trekking, caving, and white water rafting, to bring guests closer to nature and fully appreciate its beauty.

Adventure, comfort, and relaxation are the essential ingredients for a great holiday where the forest views are simply captivating.

The resort's 100 guestrooms were designed to blend nicely with nature, with large windows or balconies that open to the lush jungles or hills. What better way to enjoy the captivating views of the verdant Taman Negara than in complete comfort?

Check prices and book your holiday at Rainforest Resort

Wau Hotel & Cafe (Jerantut)

Located in Jerantut, the town nearest the Taman Negara jetty in Kuala Tembeling, Wau Hotel and Cafe offers a good place to prepare and pack before heading upriver. Jerantut hotel

Within walking distance you can find amenities such as a bank, bus, taxi and railway station, supermarket, money exchange, food, restaurant, tourist attractions and a small town atmosphere.

Housed in a double storey building, the colorful hotel comprises sixteen tastefully decorated and cozy rooms. Each room is spacious and adorned in a contemporary and chic style, with modern facilities including TV, hot and cold showers, DVD player along with essential air-conditioning.

The hotel has a small and comfortable cafe area where breakfast is served. We welcome guests from all ages and cultures and are more than able to meet the needs of the most discerning traveler.

Check prices and book your holiday at Wau Hotel & Cafe

Taman Negara Kuala Tahan: Getting There

Get to the park by bus, train, boat and/or car. All roads lead to Jerantut in Pahang where the jetty at nearby Kuala Tembeling ferries visitors upriver to the Kuala Tahan headquarters.

By Car (4 hours)

Taman Negara
Photo: wazari
  • From the East Coast Expressway, exit at Temerloh and proceed to Jerantut town on Route 98, about 50km from exit point.
  • Follow the signboards to Kuala Tembeling jetty if you choose to continue the journey by boat to reach the jetty about 15km from the town junction.
  • Or choose to drive up the road to the park by turning right to Kuala Tahan (75km) from the town junction and travel another 2 hours from Jerantut.
  • Do not confuse the Jerantut jetty with the Kuala Tembeling jetty, the latter one is your destination for boats to Taman Negara.

By Bus (6 hours)

Coach buses depart daily in the morning from several locations in Kuala Lumpur:

  • Daily departures at 8:30am from Hotel Istana and Crowne Plaza Mutiara to the Kuala Tembeling Jetty.
  • Daily departures from Pudu Raya bus staion in downtown Kuala Lumpur.
  • Departure from the Jerantut bus station to Kuala Tembeling jetty reach within one hour.
  • Alternatively, buses travel direct from Jerantut to Kampung Kuala Tahan four times per day.

By River (3 hours)

Entering the park by riding upriver on a boat exposes you to the elements and sets the scenery for your journey into the rainforest.

  • All boats depart from the jetty at Kuala Tembeling, with taxi and bus service from Jerantut town just 15km away.
  • Depending on the water levels the boat trip (70km) should take from 2-3 hours to reach Kuala Tahan.

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