Encompassing 1,677 square miles (4,343 square kilometers) of lush tropical rain forest, Taman Negara is the largest national park in peninsular Malaysia, famous for its rich biodiversity. Sprawling through the peaks and valleys of the Titiwangsa Mountains, it’s one of the oldest rain forests in the world.
For many years, Taman Negara National Park was only accessible by boat, and jungle cruises remain one of the most popular means of wildlife spotting. It's possible to take in the highlights on a long day tour from Kuala Lumpur. A typical itinerary includes a boat ride along Tembeling River, a trek to Bukit Teresek (Teresek Hill), and wildlife watching from the suspension bridge Canopy Walkway.
More intrepid travelers can hire a tour guide for treks into the rain forest that vary in length from a few hours to several days. Multi-day tours offer plenty of time for activities such as hiking, rapid shooting (cruises over the river rapids), and exploring Orang Asli settlements, and often include nearby sites such as the Cameron Highlands or the Batu Caves.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Visitors are not allowed to enter the park or fish without the appropriate permit or license, so it is best to go with a guide.
- The national park has a number of accommodation options, including the popular Mutiara Taman Negara resort.
- Bring comfortable hiking shoes, mosquito repellant, sun protection, a light rain coat or poncho, and plenty of water.
- There are few public amenities in the national park, so it’s best to bring everything that you need with you.
How to Get There
Taman Negara National Park is about 155 miles (250 kilometers) northeast of Kuala Lumpur. The main gateway to the park is the small town of Kuala Tahan, reachable by boat. To get there from Kuala Lumpur, it’s around a 3-hour drive to the village of Kuala Tembeling, just outside Jerantut, then a 2.5-hour boat trip to Kuala Tahan.
When to Get There
Peak season runs from May to August; to avoid the crowds, opt for a multi-day tour, allowing you to make an early start before the day tours arrive. The dry season (February to September) is the best time for trekking, while visitors in monsoon season (December to February) are advised to keep a close eye on the weather forecast and only visit with a guide.
Wildlife Watching in Taman Negara
Taman Negara is home to an enormous variety of exotic and endangered species including elephants, sambar deer, wild boar, leopards, and numerous bird and insect species. Night walks and 4WD safaris offer some of the best opportunities to admire the rain forest wildlife, with sightings including nocturnal flowers, glow-in-the-dark fungi, water dragons, and monitor lizards. If you’re really lucky you might even spot a tiger or leopard.