I woke up today and realised that it was finally the day of my long-awaited trip – six whole months of planning, and the day is finally here. We’re heading to one the greatest natural wonders of the world: Taman Negara.
We woke up at 5am and jumped into our Ford Everest for the three-hour journey. Mummy packed a picnic basket filled with cookies, sandwiches, packets of nasi lemak and a flask of hot coffee. Even though I was still a little sleepy, the excitement of the trip kept me up.
We headed towards Jerantut, Pahang to catch a boat from the Kuala Tembeling jetty. On the way, we savoured all the goodies from the picnic basket. After about three hours on the road, we arrived in Jerantut.
It was a small town and the residents were very friendly. The town was definitely different to what I am used to; it had a two-lane road that was narrow, but there was no traffic. After about an hour of walking around, we decided it was time to make our way to the jetty.
It was a short drive. The jetty was not very big, but well-maintained. We bought our park permits and paid for our boat fares, and off we went upstream towards the park. After three-hours I disembarked, looking slightly green from the turbulence of the boat-ride.
We headed towards our chalet, which was amazing as it was located within the forest. The hotel staff got our baggage out and showed us to our chalets, which overlooked the river. The view was just breathtaking.
I guess a nap amidst the sound of birds chirping and the cool breeze was inevitable. I woke up to the sound of crickets as the sun was setting. Dad hollered for us to get ready as we were going for a walk in the jungle at night. I pulled out my faithful jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt to protect myself from the mosquitoes.
But first, we had dinner at a little restaurant that served Malaysian food, very simple yet absolutely tasty. We had rice with fried fish and a heap of fresh vegetables, which included mint leaves, four-angle beans, and our all-time Malaysian favourite, sambal belacan.
After our simple dinner, we started our walk.
It was scary at first, as we couldn’t see a thing as our eyes had not acclimatise to the dark. After about 10 minutes I could see, and I saw my first insect for the night – a bamboo spider. The guide was great as he explained the different types of insects we came across. Unfortunately, there were no animals in sight.
The walk took about an hour or so. By then, I was ready for a good night’s sleep. We headed back, washed up and tucked ourselves into bed.
I was awoken the next day by the sound of water from the river below our chalet and the birds chirping. There was no air-conditioning but the weather was cool with the morning breeze blowing through our window.
We got ready and headed for our canopy walk. The canopy walk is a 450m, swaying bridge set 30m above ground. The bridge connected 250-year-old Tualang trees.
When we first started the walk, I was terrified as the bridge kept swaying from side to side and it was really quite high. Falling down was not an option! After a few minutes, I noticed the beautiful birds – green pigeons, fairy bluebirds, noisy hornbills and bulbuls. It was certainly a walk worth taking.
By the end of the walk, I was certainly ready for lunch. Our guide, Samu, brought yummy packets of nasi lemak, bananas and mineral water. It was definitely a meal to remember as we enjoyed it while sitting on the tree trunks.
Samu made sure that nobody littered. We had a huge bag where we collected all the empty packets of nasi lemak and banana peels.
After the canopy walk we headed to Lata Berkoh. It took us three hours by boat to get there, and when we reached the area, I was absolutely amazed! There was a deep pool below the cascade and a rocky area that overlooked the rapids.
Our guide miraculously pulled out a stash of food for us once we arrived, so amidst the cool water we enjoyed packets of mee goreng. We spent the rest of the day frolicking in the water and lying down on the cool rocks to rest our weary feet.
After a few hours, Samu said we had to head back before it got dark. Again Samu made sure that we left no rubbish behind. We helped him pick up all the empty packets.
The next day, we bid goodbye to the beautiful forest and headed back to Kuala Tembeling. Strangely, the ride back was a rather calm one. We arrived at Kuala Tembeling with a deeper love for nature and the need to preserve it.
This was definitely a trip that I will remember. After a short rest, we got into our car and headed back to Kuala Lumpur – yet another journey made possible by our Ford Everest. – By Nina
This article is brought to you by Ford Everest.