We left on Friday morning and took a leisurely drive East into Pahang state. We turned off into Bentong town to rest and found a sign leading to the Chamang waterfalls. An 8km drive along bendy roads eventually brought us there. The waterfalls were a magnificent sight! Here are the photos:
Mum and I floated around in the pool further downstream from the falls, which was awesome because it was a hot day and the water was icy cold. After an hour or so, we got out and looked for a bathroom to change. We spotted a small brick building and were approaching it when a local guy came out and asked where we were going. We told him we wanted the toilet, and he told us it was 20 cents per person.
Well, we only had our towel and clothes and no money, so we said we'd pay later. What a crappy bathroom it was! The ceiling was leaking, the toilets didn't look remotely clean and there was no shelf to hang our clothes. It was so awful, we decided to change with the doors open because the doors were too gross to touch! Good thing there was a shady tree and a wall to block the view.
Soon enough, we were back on the road, hungry and looking for a place to eat. I remembered that Reyhan and Denise had told me about a famous ice-cream shop in Bentong, so I started looking out for it. We stopped in front of a shop selling ice cream, but it wasn't the right one. I phoned Reyhan to ask for the name of the shop and for directions, but couldn't make out exactly what he meant, so we decided not to waste any time and to just continue the journey.
We drove by a row of shops and suddenly, Syamilah spotted the ice cream shop, Kow Po! I took a quick left and parked at a gas station. Luckily for us, there was also a restaurant on the same row, so we decided to have lunch and ice cream later.
My favourite part of every meal - dessert! This is the famous Kow Po ice cream in Bentong. Clockwise from left: a scoop of chocolate and one of peanut-flavoured ice cream, Ice Kachang, and just plain peanut ice cream.
After the yummy ice cream, we made our way to Taman Negara, a two-hour drive away. We stayed at the Woodland Resort, which is on the 'mainland' side of the Tembeling River.
Mum, Aunty Lina and I shared the triple-sharing chalet. It's a little small, but that wasn't an issue because we're not in the room much. The triple-share has a fridge, which the dorms do not. Good thing too, as we had chocolates which needed chilling!
Mutiara is the only resort in the National Park. If you're planning to stay at Mutiara, be prepared to lug your bags up the steps. The lights toward the left is the resort's dining area.
Once we reached Woodland and unpacked, we got ready to walk to the river for dinner at one of the floating restaurants. The food was simple Malay-style cooking, but special mention goes to the fish, which was so fresh I almost expected it to jump out of the bowl and splash back into the river!
After dinner, we went for a night jungle walk, where a guide showed us lots of little night-time critters such as stick insects, spiders, ants one-inch long, grasshoppers, moths and fireflies. We walked to a hide in the jungle which overlooked a man-made salt lick.
The hide is a two-storey hut which people use as a lookout point to spy on wild animals, and a salt lick is a salt deposit which these animals find and lick in order to get their nutrients. In the pitch black of night, the most you usually see is a pair of eyes reflecting the light of your torch but that night, we were lucky enough to see a deer come out of the foliage. We also saw a gecko on the ceiling of the hide which was, I swear, as big as a kitten *shiver*. If one of THOSE fell on me...
I went back to the chalet that night pretty happy with the adventure.
We had an early start the next morning, walking out of our chalet to this view:
After breakfast, we grabbed our bags and headed over the river and through the Mutiara resort into the day's adventure - a 4.5 hour trek through the jungle.
At 400 metres in length, it is the longest Canopy Walk in the world. There was a half-chopped tree along the way below me, and sitting pretty on it was a giant iguana happily sunning himself. I couldn't take a photo of it though, because I needed both hands to grab onto the ropes.
After the trek, we had lunch and then took a boatride upriver to Lata Berkoh. There's a really nice part of the river which is great to swim in, complete with natural water massage. After sweating off the pounds from the morning's jungle trek, the dip in the river was just awesome. The boat back was great as well because it began to rain and the wind and water in our faces was a nice new experience.
That evening, some of us had dinner at the Mutiara Resort where I tucked into a buffet of mussels, lamb, pasta and chocolatey desserts. Mum bought our tour guide, Aliff, dinner because he was a really nice guy - very knowledgeable, patient with us city people huffing and puffing up hill and down dale and was quite obviously passionate about his job. He even had a nickname for me, the cheeky guy. He called me Laila throughout the trip and teased me a lot. I guess it was because I was such a retard at the outdoor thing.
The next morning, we went rapid shooting - riding in a boat over choppy waters and getting smacked in the face by pillars of water. We also stopped at a little cove and splashed about in the water, before heading home to shower, change and check out.
I paid 385 Ringgit for the two-night stay at the National Park plus all activities. If you'd like to experience Taman Negara for yourself, these are the rates:
Triple-sharing room at Woodland Resort : RM192 per room per night, incl. breakfast for three.
Aliff told me that our activities cost about RM100 per person:
- Night jungle walk
- Daytime jungle trek up Bukit Tembeling
- Canopy Walk (this costs RM5)
- Kelah fish sanctuary and Lata Berkoh waterfalls
- Rapid shooting
to choose from. Our buffet dinner at the Mutiara Resort cost RM65++ per person. I imagine you'll have to make a reservation if you'd like to dine there, though.
I'll update this post later with Badrul's contact details. He's the manager of the Woodland Resort. Or check out Mutiara Taman Negara's site if you'd like something more cosy and classy.
If you'd like Aliff as your tour guide, don't forget to mention that Laila recommended him ;)
Name: Mohamad Aliff bin Abdullah
Mobile: +6017 966 9221