After breakfast at the hostel we were transferred on a 30min bus ride to Kuala Tembeling Jetty where we boarded our wooden boat for our 3hr journey up river through the jungle to Kuala Tahan Village, the local village in Taman Negara.
Taman Negara is 130 Million years old therefore making it older than the Congo and Amazon Jungles. The Malaysian Government has protected this as a national treasure and all the land, totalling over 4,000 square km's to one side of the river cannot be cultivated.
With very sore bums we arrived and checked into the Mutiara Resort, situated opposite the local village within the jungle and headed for our guesthouse accommodation, which was in fact right next to the jungle and all the critters!
After a quick lunch at Tahan Corner Floating restaurant we met our guide who suggested we change our clothes before going on our rapid shooting tour as we were going to get wet. David thought the guide was only being cautious just in case you get splashed a bit but instinct told me otherwise, so I persuaded David to go back to the guesthouse and get changed into old clothes and put the valuables into our day pack and made sure it went in the dry bag onboard the boat. We started off nicely just cruising up the river and came across our first rapid which looked harmless until our guide rocked the boat and took on the waves sidewards and within seconds we were soaked! David then spent the next few minutes frantically taking off his valuables and putting them into the dry bag and thankfully he did! It was excellent fun and we struggled to keep our mouth's closed from laughing so much in fear of swallowing the river water!
After the 5th rapid and "wash", we pulled alongside the river bank and walked to the Orang Asli Village ('orang asli' in Malay means original people), where the Batek tribe live a nomadic lifestyle in the jungle of Taman Negara. We didn't realise but there are aboriginals in Malaysia, exactly the same looking as those found in Australia. We have heard many a bad thing about the ones from Oz but these people were lovely and very friendly people and their chief (also the Medicine Man) showed us how they make fire without matches, bamboo shoots (weapons) and darts which are later dipped in poison from tree sap and used for hunting (Ray Mears eat your heart out). We also had a go at shooting the darts using a blow pipe and boy it isn't as easy at it looks!
Anyway after a huge thunder storm and rain burst from which we couldn't get any more soaked we headed back to our guesthouse for a much needed hot shower and after dinner we met our guide for our night jungle walk. It had rained an hour or so before our walk, so we were warned that leeches would be out in force and there was no way we wanted these little things sucking on our blood, so made sure we covered up from head to toe and sprayed our boots and clothes with insect repellant. Indeed there were lots of leeches but we found only one on me during our 3 days here and luckily he was attached to my trousers...phew! The night trek took us to the Tahan hide which overlooks a small waterhole, and as Taman Negara doesn't have many big animals we still got to see 5 deers while listening to the jungle noises in total darkness. We continued our walk for an hour or so into the jungle where our guide pointed out stick insects, a large cricket, a small local night owl, a few nocturnal brightly coloured birds, a huge spider, loads of huge timber ants and a small leech which had jumped onto his neck!!
The next day, our guide took us by boat to the canopy walk - the World's longest hanging canopy walkway at 570m long. Here we started our canopy walk gradually increasing to the highest point at 45m, it was fantastic being so high up in the trees and all you could see down below were more trees and foliage...great feeling!
Even though it's the rainy season at the moment it luckily didn't ruin or disrupt any of our tours, and the Taman Negara jungle and our resort were very quiet so we had a guide to ourselves and were the only 2 people on the canopy walk and through the jungle....perfect!
Our guide then took us on a small trek to Teresek Hill stopping here and there to point out the many species of trees used by the aboriginals - its amazing how self sufficient one can be in the jungle! Our first view point over Mt Tahan was beautiful but our second view point at Bukit Terisek - the highest point at 344m was breathtaking, the clouds had lifted and you could see way into the distance. It might have been only 344m but it was very hot and humid which David loved no end.
After lunch we decided to visit Kuala Tahan Village and it took all of 2 minutes to see it. The village comprised of very little, mainly local guesthouses, chalets and a small shop.