The Jungle of Taman Negara

 

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed reading the stories written by my son about his travels around the world.   So I thought it was about time I shared one of them for my blog readers to enjoy (with his permission).  I hope to post more stories that he has written about his travelling adventures.  Today’s piece is about their experience in a wild jungle of Malaysia:

“After a long trip by bus from the Cameron highlands in west Malaysia we stood by the wide brown river that lead into the jungle. Not just any jungle, Taman Negara, one of the oldest jungles on earth.

Malaysia Jungle © Marty Mellway

Malaysia Jungle

After gathering our things we climb into a long thin boat with the other travellers heading up the river toward the park headquarters. There were 4 of us travelling together at this point. We were off at once, flying up the river into the unknown. On either side, great trees soared, exotic birds called, our eyes were wide searching for movement at the banks. We all know under those dark trees countless eyes were watching us roar past. Elephants, tigers, bison, snakes, spiders, leeches, monkeys, boars, giant ants. After three hours through the jungle on the boat, we arrived at the park headquarters and the small riverside town of Kuala Tembeling. We set up in one of the few hostels and packed it in. 

We awoke early in the morning excited to get across the river and into the jungle. Leech proof socks on, into the boat, and away we go. We crossed the river by a small motor boat for 1 ringgit (about 30 cents) and headed towards the park headquarters. After gathering some information there, we headed off down the path to get our first taste of the jungle. Only 100 meters into the jungle we spotted some beautiful blue ground birds with blue faces. It didn’t take long before we encountered the giant ants which were, well, giant. Some of them were an inch long – each body segment the size of a pea and pinchers that looked like they packed a nasty bite. We saw leeches soon after but our socks and boots seemed to be holding up well. We wandered down many paths until the distant thunder warned us of the afternoon rains which come around 2 p.m. everyday like clockwork. Its called a rainforest for a reason. Everyday we awoke early and took a new route through the jungle, the diversity of insects was what really amazed us. At first we were excited about elephants and tigers, but we never could have imagined all the incredible and sometimes terrifying insects. 

Giant Insects © Marty Mellway

Giant Insects

 

Jungle Insect © Marty Mellway

Jungle Insect

 

Beautiful Insects © Marty Mellway

Beautiful Insects

Nearing the end of our trip and only having spotted one deer, we decided we wanted to go deeper into the jungle and stay there overnight. We organized to stay alone in a hide high in the trees but we would have to trek to get there.  My partner wasn’t feeling well so she stayed behind, it was just me and Christina. We took another boat 1 hour down the river and trekked from there into the jungle. The trek was hard mostly because we had to bring all our food and our sleeping mats. The hide was about 20 meters high and had a good view of a clearing with a salt lick to attract animals. We arrived to the hide early on the first day and spent all afternoon staring out at the empty clearing watching for any sign of movement. Just knowing that at any moment a jungle tiger or elephant might walk out was very exciting. We kept watching as the light faded. With every passing minute the darkness grew and with it the sounds of night. I can’t even begin to describe the sounds of a jungle at night but I’m sure we are meant to have an innate fear of these sounds because even though I had never heard many of the sounds they were unsettling to say the least. Into the evening we kept watch with a big flash light. At one point we were sure we heard a cat of some kind but we couldn’t see anything. Eventually we went to sleep, or at least tried – on the ceiling only 3 meters away I could see this giant spider bigger than my hand and even though it wasn’t moving I was sure the moment the light went out he was coming for me. I think I checked to see if he was still there with my flash light every 20 mins for the first 2 hours. Each time praying he would still be there.” 

 

Jungle Nomad © Marty Mellway

Jungle Nomad

 

 

 

 

 

 

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