The Jungle Train and a trek

Trip Start Jun 09, 2003
Trip End Jun 02, 2007

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

I'd just finished this entry and somehow managed to lose it all, so here goes again.

It was another very early start to go and catch the jungle train. The first hour was quite a novelty riding through the dense jungle and watching the sun rise and wondering how on earth they ever managed to build the railway, it's quite an engineering masterpiece. After the novelty wore off we had another 8 hours to go. It got very hot very quickly and the fans on the train weren't working so it wasn't quite the spectacular journey the Lonely Planet makes it out to be. We eventually arrived in Jerantut, found somewhere to stay and went to watch the Malaysian Grand Prix. The following morning we jumped onto a boat and headed up river into the Taman Negara National Park, one of the oldest rainforest jungles in the world, 130 million years old. We were told that there had been no rain for over 2 months and everything was getting very dried out. The river level was very low and at one point the boat became grounded. Some people got out to push, I was wearing my hiking boots so couldn't get out but they did manage to eventually push us off the stones. A bit further up river we got stuck again, this time I had to take my boots off and get out to push. The driver went back down river, turned the boat and gunned the engine and we just made it over.

That afternoon I went for a walk up a nearby hill with Lukas and 2 other swedish guys we'd met on the train - Daniel and Carl. It was really hot and the hill was really steep, it was hard work. The guys were trying to talk me into taking a longer, 2 day walk through the jungle but I was having none of it. I can't remember who it was, either Carl or Daniel that said the walk was quite gentle alongside the river. I told them I had no food and Lukas offered to share his with me. Little did I know that the only food he had was tuna fish. Anyway they eventually managed to twist my arm and the following morning we set off via the longest tree top walk in the world. About half an hour into the walk I realised that it was not the gentle walk I had been told it would be. We had to go up and down around 20 ravines using ropes to pull ourselves up and lower ourselves down. We had to crawl under and over huge fallen trees and cross rivers on rickety wooden bridges that would've made Indiana Jones proud. We eventually made it to the turn off to our hut for the night but decided to take a detour down to the river for a well deserved swim. For an hour and half we just sat in the river and giggled as the fish nibbled our toes. It began to get dark and it started to thunder so we decided to make a move. It was fun walking through the jungle with thunder rumbling overhead, as it got darker the jungle noises were getting louder. We made it to our salt hide - a wooden hut on stilts with a gap along one wall where you could sit and watch for wildlife. There were 12 of us altogether and we sat for an hour or so until it got too dark to see. We didn't spot any animals. We went for a quick walk through the jungle in the dark which was fun but as there wasn't much else to do everyone was in bed by 9.00pm.

We had planned to walk back but we'd run out of water and none of us could actually be bothered to walk back and I was totally sick of eating tuna fish so we decided just to head back to the river and see if we could get a boat. After some heated negotiations with a local man we were soon sitting in a boat and heading back down river. It was really nice to see where we had walked along the day before. Once back at the park headquarters we heard that someone had spotted an elephant and her baby, we'd seen the droppings but not the actual elephants. We then decided to head back down the river to Jerantut. Luckily this time the boat didn't get stuck. I went to bed that night but couldn't sleep, I was getting bitten so I got up and covered myself in insect repellant. I was still getting bitten so I finished the bottle of repellant but to no avail as I was still being bitten. I got up, put the light on and noticed lots of horrible little bug things crawling around on the bed and up the walls - eeehhhh! I ended up going down to reception and sleeping on the sofa. Woke up really early and went to catch my bus back to KL only to be told it had broken down so I had to sit around for a couple of hours before the next bus came.

Next stop Singapore....
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