Taman Negara (National Park) – The Oldest Official Protected Forest Park Area in Malaysia

Taman Negara (National Park) is the first and the oldest official Protected Area in the country, originally named King George V National Park. Declared in 1938 by the Sultans of Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu (during King George’s Silver Jubilee), it was gazetted to preserve the land’s indigenous nature in perpetuity. The park was renamed Taman Negara after the nation gained independence in 1957, which literally means “national park” in Malay.

Taman Negara encompasses three states, Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu, each with its own legislation. The Taman Negara Enactment (Pahang) No. 2 of 1939 is enforced in the state of Pahang, the Taman Negara Enactment (Kelantan) No. 14 of 1938 in the state of Kelantan and the Taman Negara Enactment (Terengganu) No. 6 of 1939 in the state of Terengganu. The enactments have similar contents.

Taman Negara Pahang is the largest at 2,477 km², followed by Taman Negara Kelantan at 1,043 km² and Taman Negara Terengganu at 853 km². The total area of Taman Negara is 4,373 km².

The park has been developed into a famous ecotourism destination in Malaysia. There are several geological and biological attractions in the park. Gunung Tahan is the highest point of the Malay Peninsula; climbers can use Kuala Tahan or Merapoh as their departure point. Taman Negara is the home of some rare mammals, such as the Indochinese Tiger, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Malayan Gaur (seladang) and Asian Elephant. Tahan River has been preserved to protect the Malaysian mahseer (ikan kelah in Malay), a type of game fish.

Others attractions found near Kuala Tahan (Park headquarters for Pahang) include a canopy walkway, Gua Telinga (cave system), Lata Berkoh (rapid). Visitors can enjoy the tropical rain forest, birdwatching or jungle trekking (e.g. Tenor Rentis) and the river views along the Tahan River.

The most popular activities at Taman Negara are river cruises and jungle trekking. The canopy walk is also a must-see, offering a fantastic close up view of activity in the rainforest canopy. Observation hides are another great way to observe wildlife. Simple huts built high above the ground allow guests to stay overnight to catch opportunities to observe animals in their natural habitat. Cave exploration is also available, either by boat or by foot.

All visitors to the park must get permits from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks. There are many hostels and hotels nearby.

Taman Negara is actually one of the oldest rainforests in the world, estimated at 130 million years old. The abundance and diversity of nature here is phenomenal, making it one of the world’s most complex and rich ecosystems.

Key tips

Wear light, loose clothing; comfortable long-sleeved shirts and long pants for protection from insects and abrasions. In certain conditions, the forest can be very cold. Bring a waterproof jacket for comfort. When jungle trekking, choose a trail that you can complete before dark and do let someone know when to expect you back. It is best to stick to the marked trails in the jungle.

How to get there

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By Train

Kuala Tembeling – the jump off point for the park – is also accessible from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or Kota Bharu (via Tumpat) by rail. Trains from these stations stop at Tembeling Halt, about half an hour’s drive to the jetty at Kuala Tembeling.

By Boat

The staging point for visits to the park is Kuala Tembeling, from which a 3-hour boat ride upriver takes you to Kuala Tahan at 9 am and 3 pm daily, except for Fridays when the afternoon departure is at 2.30 pm. Mutiara Taman Negara Resort also operates a speedboat service that takes only 45 minutes to reach Kuala Tahan. The speedboat leaves Kuala Tembeling at 10.30 am and 1.30 pm daily. The most accessible gateway to Taman Negara is either through Jerantut, a 3-hour trip from Kuala Lumpur. If you are driving a four-wheel drive vehicle, you can take the logger trail right up to Kuala Tahan, where you need to take a boat across the Sungai Tahan (Tahan River) to enter the park.

By Bus or Taxi

Jerantut-bound taxis are available at the Puduraya Bus Terminal in Kuala Lumpur. Alternatively, buses to Jerantut are found at the Jalan Tun Razak Bus Station in Kuala Lumpur. From there, hop on a local bus or taxi to Kuala Tembeling.

Contact details

For more information, please contact:

Department of Wildlife and National Parks.
Km 10, Jalan Cheras, 56100 Kuala Lumpur.

Phone: +603-90752872
Fax: +603-90752873.
Email: pakp@wildlife.gov.my/ pro@wildlife.gov.my
Website: www.wildlife.gov.my

Accommodation overview

There are chalets, hostel-style rooms, a camping ground and a resort in the National Park area.