Taman Negara National Park is a popular national park in Malaysia and sits across Pahang, Kelantan, and Terengganu. The park is often referred to as Taman Negara, and this is one of the best places to come to in Malaysia if you want to get back to basics and enjoy some of the most beautiful unspoiled flora and fauna in the country.
The park unfolded over some 4,343 square kilometers and was first discovered in 1925 when it was called the Gunung Tahan Game Reserve during the British colonial period. It was briefly called the King George V National Park when it became the first official national park in Malaysia and was renamed Taman Negara in 1957 after independence.
This is also one of the oldest areas of tropical rainforest in the world. On tour here, you can see a fantastic range of local flora and fauna. This is also the home of an indigenous group called the Orang Asli, Malaysia‘s original inhabitants.
Here are the best things to do in Taman Negara National Park!
Have breakfast at Mutiara Restaurant
If you want to fill up on a big Western-style breakfast before you spend the day trekking in Taman Negara National Park, then head to Mutiara Restaurant, one of the most popular international restaurants in the area. Here you will find large breakfasts as well as salads, sandwiches, burgers, and pizza.
There is also a delightful kids’ menu for younger trekkers and they also serve beer if you happen to stop by at the end of a long trek.
Hike to Bukit Teresek
The central part of Taman Negara National Park is called Kuala Tahan, and most of the hiking trails are found here. If you want to go for a leisurely walk, then one of the most famous and enjoyable tracks is from the main Wildlife Headquarters to Bukit Teresek.
This trek takes you through the lush rainforest, and you can walk for around 1.7 kilometers and take in all the beautiful flora and fauna of the region. The hike to the summit of Bukit Teresek takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes, and the peak soars to a height of some 334 meters above sea level. You can look out over neighboring Gunung Tahan and look down over the rainforest canopy.
Hike to Gunung Tahan
The trek to Gunung Tahan is the longest in Taman Negara National Park and usually takes visitors seven days and six nights to complete. The mountain is around 53 kilometers from the central park headquarters in Kuala Tahan, and this is also known as the Tenor Trail.
As you would expect, this is the most challenging trail in Taman Negara National Park and should only be attempted with a licensed guide by visitors who have a strong level of fitness. However, if you genuinely want to explore the inside of the park away from the crowds, this is an experience not to be missed. If you are looking for a (slightly) more leisurely hike, then there is also a trail from Kuala Juram to Gunung Tahan, 32 kilometers long and takes four days and three nights.
Grab a drink at Lia Restaurant
This makes a great snack before you head off on a hike, and you can also get some delicious fresh juices here, which are the perfect choice if you have just got back from a hot and sweaty hike.
Go rapid shooting
As you cruise along, you will encounter seven different areas of rapids, and this can be quite a ride, so make sure that you hang on, so you don’t fall out of the boat. You can either travel from Kuala Tahan to Kuala Terenggan or vice versa and hike or drive back. All participants will be fitted with a life jacket but know that they will get very wet during the ride, so dress accordingly.
Feed the fish at Kelah Sanctuary
If you choose to take a river cruise to Lata Berkoh, then one place you can stop off is the Kelah Sanctuary for a spot of fish feeding. The sanctuary is located at Lubuk Tenor on Sungai Tahan River and is the kelah fish home, which is also known as Red Mahseer.
These are said to be some of the most majestic freshwater fish in Malaysia, and you can feed pellets to them, which will bring them up close so that you can take in all their beauty and grace.
Have lunch at Mama Chop
Mama Chop is one of the most serene of all the floating restaurants in Taman Negara National Park as it is located a little way away from the main strip. However, they make an excellent lunch, so it is well worth seeking out if you are in the area.
The lunch menu is made up of vegetarian Indian fare, which is excellent for any non-meat eaters and also makes a nice change of pace if you want something a little different from the standard dishes served in the rest of the park. In the evening, the menu changes, and you can get equally delicious traditional clay pot rice dishes.
Hike to the Four Steps Waterfall
The Four Steps Waterfall is one of the most beautiful and easily accessible cataracts in Taman Negara National Park. The waterfall lies to the east of Gunung Tahan and Gunung Gedong, which plunge into Sungai Tahan‘s waters.
Climb the Canopy Walkway
Perhaps the most famous attraction in Taman Negara National Park is the stunning Canopy Walkway conveniently located close to the park headquarters. This has the claim to fame of being the longest suspension bridge in Malaysia and spans some 530 meters.
The canopy stands at the height of 25 meters and rises to 40 meters in height in certain areas. From the walkway, you can take in all the majesty of the park, including the wonderful flora and fauna.
Sleep at the Bumbun Kumbang Hide
If you want to see the animals in Taman Negara National Park up close then, the best thing to do is a trek to a hide and sleep there overnight. One of the most popular hides is called Bumbun Kumbang Hide as this is far enough away from the central park headquarters to feel secluded, but it is also not too far to trek.
The journey takes around four hours, and the trail stretches for some 11 kilometers. However, once you get there, you can sleep in the structure and peep out as day turns to night and observe the animals that emerge from the forest to nibble on the salt lick.