The Oldest Rain Forest in the World

Trip Start Nov 10, 2007
Trip End Nov 15, 2009

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Saturday, February 23, 2008

Taman Negara, literally "national park", is the site of the oldest rain forest in the world and is estimated to be 130 million years old!  Since I only had a few days, I decided to go with  a tour to simplify getting there.  The trip started with a 2 hour bus ride to Kuala Tahan where we ate lunch while waiting for our boat.  There were several buses with tourists here as well as a birding group - all awaiting a boat to the park.  There were quite a few boats lined up on the river bank and slowly all the luggage was ferried down and the passengers made their way down as well.   We were jammed together on the floating dock and I watched as boat after boat was piled high with incredible amounts of luggage and then filled with people heading downriver. The boats were long and narrow with wooden benches and a roof.  The luggage was piled at the bow and I really thought several of the boats were in danger of capsizing with those loads!  Slowly the dock emptied until there were only myself and one other tourist!  How wonderful!  Just the two of us, our two small packs and our boatman.

I was sitting in front of the other tourist so I had an unimpeded view of the river ahead of me.   I saw monkeys, horn bills, farmland and jungle.  The water was low and we passed several large sandbars including one with what appeared to be a large branch...but was actually a 6 foot long monitor lizard!  COOL!  We passed through a few small rapids on this 2 hour ride and eventually reached an area where there were several lodges and floating restaurants and we docked here to let off the other passenger.  And then it was just me.  Motoring down a remote river in the oldest rain forest in the world all by myself...felt totally adventurous! 

About 20 minutes later I was let off at the Nusa Holiday Lodge.  Here I checked into my bungalow - very sweet!  With AC - thank god!  Did I mention hot and humid?  The lodge is beautiful and the food was really good as well.  The only thing that was a bit weird was that I was the only guest but I decided I would just take advantage of the peace and quiet.  And quiet it was here.  And dark.  Beautiful!

The next day I went for a hike with my young guide.  We walked up a trail that is so steep you sometimes have a rope to hang on to.  Needless to say, I was sopping wet with sweat within minutes...My guide showed me a variety of edible and medicinal plants along the way.  We heard some gibbons but didn't see any wildlife.  Apparently this was not the best time of year to see wildlife but oh well.  It was a beautiful and strenuous hike and I felt happy I could do it! 

In the afternoon we went to the famous canopy walkway in the park.  Of course the best time to go is early morning so I had no expectation of seeing many birds and I didn't.  But it was fun to walk this high in the trees.  It was amazing to see how thick the vegetation is below - you don't see the ground!

That evening I was joined by two women and we went on the night jungle walk together.  We saw a variety of insects and several frogs on this walk.

On Monday I returned via boat and bus to Kuala Lumpur.  I decided to check my departure info and good thing I did because I discovered that my flight was not at 2 pm was at 2 AM Tuesday!  Not only that, in the foresightful planning of my return trip to the airport I did not realize that my Air Asia flight had landed at the so-called LCCT (Low Cost Carrier Terminal) and not KLIA (Kuala Lumpur Internaitonal Airport).  So, I cancelled my hotel reservation, figured out how to get to the airport at 11 pm (easy) and then went for a massage.  Turned out to be the best massage I had in all of Asia!  Good way to say goodbye to Asia for now.  From KL I would fly to London and spend a few couple o days there before heading over to Holland for a getaway with Jack.
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