To The Rainforest

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Ekotan Chalets

Flag of Malaysia  ,
Sunday, January 22, 2006

A couple of days is more than long enough for one location so it was time to move on. I had been planning to visit the Perhentian Islands after the Cameron Highlands but it was still rainy season so there is not much point visiting a paradise island in the rain is there? Can't say I was that bothered really as I'd just spent a month on the beach in Thailand and there were far more interesting diversions to be had inland.

We were heading to Taman Negara, the oldest rainforest in the world! Survived unscathed from the ice ages and has hardly changed at all in 130 million years! Should be an interesting few days.

We could have mini bused the whole way but for the same price, we got ripped off by the way, we could also ride on the jungle train and thought it would be more interesting. So we were up early and packed into a minibus to take us to the train station. There was a great English couple on the bus and I spent most of the trip getting every last bit of information about their 2 months in India as possible. Definitely going to visit there sometime in the not to distant future.

The train station was in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere called Gua Masang. We had about 50 minutes to kill before it arrived so we could have a wander round town. 1 short street but even this place couldn't avoid the introduction of a KFC! Nothing else in town so we went there and had a terrible burger. Seriously if you are in Asia avoid KFC like the plague. They are always bad but very appealing after non stop fried rice everyday.

The English couple had a load of new magazines with them and the local men were very interested in the copies of Nuts and Zoo. Doubt they had ever seen a magazine like it and they kept borrowing them throughout the train journey for another look.

The train journey was dirt cheap but we had paid far more than the advertised price. First time we've really been ripped off and we probably could have done it much cheaper on our own.

The train journey wound through the jungle for 3 hours before we finally arrived in Jerantut, still not our final destination. Had to sit around in a travel agents for an hour waiting for them to collate all our passport details and get us to fill in forms for the national park fee. We were starving and all I had in my bag was a box of Pringles and some cookies, not really what I was after. Lars went over the road and bought a roti (pancake bread like thing with curry sauce) which was dirt cheap and delicious!

Back on a really funky looking bus for yet another hours travel before we finally arrived at Kuala Tahan in Taman Negara. The second we arrived some woman jumped on the bus and tried to get us to all check into the most expensive hotels and book their overpriced tours. We declined and walked to the nearest cheap place, Ekotan Chalets, which was actually really good.

A 2 minute walk from the chalet was the river which housed a row of floating restaurants and shops, plus the 5 second river taxi to the posh hotel on the other side. We had to venture over to the hotel side to validate our park permit but quickly headed back to the cheap side again. Our side of the river wasn't allowed to sell alcohol, which was great seeing as we weren't drinking anyway and wouldn't be tempted.

When we got back to our chalet there was a weird buzzing sound coming from around the corner. The wall was covered in huge beetle like creatures (that we had called demon bugs in Cameron Highlands) and they were so loud! The sounds of the jungle.
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