Rain, Rain Go Away!

Trip Start Oct 30, 2012
Trip End May 30, 2013

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Where I stayed
Yellow Guest House Kuala Tahan
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Malaysia  , Pahang,
Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A long journey day consisting of several hours on the bus followed by 3 hours on a boat. Now we've arrived at the rain forest. The 'town' is a very small place that really only consists of a few very beat-up accommodations and a couple (mostly empty) restaurants and a few local food stalls (very busy). Across the chocolate milk river is a wall of green – the national park. This town is also DRY – so no beer for Brian after a day of hiking!

We've been lead by the idea of walking in the rainforest surrounded by all sorts of wild animals such as tapir, clouded leopard, sun bear and tiger...The chances are probably quite slim, but still we walk as quietly as we can and imagine all sorts of sounds in the bush, movements and smells. We definitely heard boars, birds and even termites (yes, we could HEAR termites eating - almost like raindrops falling.  It's what alerted me to their presence in the first place). Other spottings include prints of tapir (closest we got were prints) and lots of wild boar. We also saw some strange insects that were bright orange. Supposedly when threatened they spray 2 types of fluids that when mixed together create a terrible smell and heat! There are also giant ants  here (over an inch in length! I guess that's almost as good as tiger)! We were also playing with the poor leeches on the trail. They seem to stand up straight and wait for something to walk by. Then they quickly attach their free end, let go of what they're standing on and hang on for the ride!

Everyone told us that it's rainy season AND the NW monsoon would effect this area, but so far it's been all right. Because of the rain means that there are many different fungus in full bloom. It did rain a little bit, but barely made it through the canopy to the ground. Speaking of canopy, there is a canopy walk through a part of the jungle. It was interesting being up so high, but a little gimicky as they had over 2/3 of it closed and that seemed like the most interesting part.

We went for a scheduled night walk while we were there. I was a little hesitant as we had a large group and most of them were only concerned with flirting with one another. But despite this, we saw a lot! We know wildlife sightings can't be guaranteed, but we saw tons of spiders and crickets. Some spiders were really large (like hand span) and one was big and hairy like a tarantula. There were several poisonous centepedes and some harmless milipedes. Two big moths with glowing orange eyes. A scorpion which we were able to watch hunting. The eyes of small lesser mouse deer in bush (only get to the size of a cat!), and 2 larger deer at the hide. On the walk back bats were flying through the tunnel that was made by the walkway.

On the second day, we took another path down the river. Saw some enormous trees and leaves and some interesting roots. Stopped for a picnic on the water and sat on a fallen tree and hung out in a hide (bumbun). Even though it wasn't an success as far as large wildlife went, I was glad we came. This area had a very authentic feel to it. The road to our guesthouse was little more than a footpath walking past people's doors. There were some nice little food stalls where we could both get roti and dahl for breakfast with coffees and some take-away nasi lemak wrapped in banana leaves for about 10 ringette (about 2 pounds). The park entrance fee was just 1 RM – not even per day, but 1 RM for your permit. Don't think we'll get prices like this ever again! It was a wonderful non-complicated system. To get across the river, you just walked to the water's edge and waved to someone with a boat, gave them your ringette and they took you across. No worries about schedules or queues or anything – just simple!  I love it!

A dramatic change will come when we skip from this to Kuala Lumpur!

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