Taman Negara - trekking in a jungle
When I was planning my trip to Malaysia this year I was sure that I wanted to see Taman Negara. I enjoyed Cameroon Highlands last year so much as well as the rainforest with Kenching Waterfalls and I was sure that my next stop would be Taman Negara, the oldest protected area in Malaysia.
Since I travel on my own, I thought that going for a package trip would be a good way to meet people. You can also arrive on your own and book the accommodation yourself as well as the activities that are interesting to you. I'd say that would be a better idea. The package turned out to be pretty expensive, it was much cheaper to book separate activities, accommodation and buy the food yourself. The food offered by the package was not the best so a lot of people ended up ordering what was not included in a package. Also, I could have easily stayed 1 night instead of 2 nights as the itinerary was just not well planned.
When it comes to Taman Negara itself, I really enjoyed my stay. We had a guide that was taking us on hikes, explaining all the animals that we encountered. To enter the rainforest, you need permission so make sure you take care of it as soon as you arrive. You need to cross the river (a boat is 1RM), climb the stairs and there is an office where you simply ask for permission to enter the forest. If you intend to use a camera, you need to pay 5RM for device (a smart phone that use to take pictures counts as a camera). Don't forget about it because if there's a random control in the forest and you don't have a permission paper with you, then you'll likely face a huge fine.
There are different activities available in Taman Negara - from night walk, day hike, a trip to a waterfall, rapid shooting, night safari to sleeping in a cave. I hadn't done the latter one but I've met people who have done that and they were over the moon. It is quite challenging on the body as during 2 days you do like 17 km. You are provided with food and water and sleeping bag and the idea is that you sleep in a cave. Of course there is a guide with you.
When it comes to accommodation, there are two options. You can either sleep in a village that is separated from Taman Negara by a small river or in the rainforest itself. I saw resorts over there and they really seem to be cool. I believe that the number of mosquitos is the same. There are various types of accommodation, from a budget friendly shared dorms to luxurious resorts.
Foodwise, there are a lot of places where you can eat and it's pretty affordable. Those on a plant - based diet will find something to eat too (rice with veggies, noodles with veggies, soups, dhals). If I had to go again to Taman Negara I would definitely plan it myself instead of choosing a package and I would add sleeping in a cave at night experience. I thought I was not fit enough but the tour is designed to all people, you trek a lot but you also rest so I feel that it's doable.
Have you ever slept in a jungle? What's your experience?