Taman Negara National Park’s Amazing Hiking, Caves, and Rapids

Boats on the Tembeling River at the Taman Negara National Park

What's In This Guide?

The Taman Negara National Park is a 130 million year old ancient rainforest covering almost 4500 square kilometres across the provinces of Pahang, Kelantan, and Terengganu on Peninsula Malaysia.

While many other rainforests around the world (and particularly in Asia due to palm oil) have seen vast devastation, Taman Negara remains relatively untouched thanks to its ‘protected’ status being granted back in 1938.

Located a few hours north of Kuala Lumpur, the national park provides an amazing spot to experience Malaysia’s true untouched wilderness filled with its unique wildlife and plants.

In this article I’ll dive into the various things to do in the national park, explain how to get there broken down in stages, and recommend a few places to stay nearby in Kuala Tahan.

Planning a trip to Malaysia? Check out my Malaysia travel guide.

Hiking Trails in the Taman Negara National Park

Taman Negara National Park has various hiking trails for all different levels of fitness. The following trails vary in difficulty and length while offering the opportunity to be fully immersed in the jungle’s ecosystem.

Canopy Walkway Trail (1.2km, 30min): This trail leads to the iconic Canopy Walkway providing you an elevated view of the rainforest. Wander the 40 metre high suspension bridges through 530 metres of jungle treetops watching for birds and other wildlife.

Bukit Teresek Trail: (1.7km, 45min): This is one of the more accessible trails which provides amazing viewpoints overlooking the rainforest and the Tahan River. It’s a relatively short hike suitable for most visitors.

Bukit Indah Trail (3km, 2.5hrs): This trail offers a moderate hike through the jungle up to Bukit Indah’s peak. You will love the panoramic views of the rainforest canopy from the lookout at the end.

Bumbun Tabing Trail (1.5km, 30min): Ideal for wildlife enthusiasts, this trail leads to an observation hide called Bumbun Tabing. Visitors can quietly observe and photograph the surrounding wildlife from this hideout.

Lata Berkoh Trail (3-5km, 2hrs): Leading to the picturesque Lata Berkoh waterfall, this trail provides an opportunity for a refreshing dip in the cool waters after a moderate hike through the forest.

Gunung Tahan Summit Trail (55km, 7-9 days): The trail to Gunung Tahan takes you to the top of Peninsular Malaysia’s highest peak. This challenging multi-day trek involves steep mountain ascents, descents, and river crossings. This trek involves proper planning, permits, and experienced guides due to its difficulty and length. A typical trekking package costs around 500 USD including guides, camping permits, and 4WD transfer to/from the trail.

Cruise Along the Tembeling River

Cruising down the Tembeling River is a great way to see the lush forest landscapes of the Taman Negara National Park without spending hours hiking. Perhaps do this on your day off after a big hike while resting your tired legs.

Guided tours from Kuala Tahan also make stops at wildlife observation points along the river, giving get the opportunity to see local animals and plants without hiking for hours on end.

For a similar jungle river cruise check out the Kinabatangan River in my top things to do in Sabah, Malaysia.

Ride the Jungle Rapids

If you’re after an adrenaline rush, then go ride the rapids down the Tembeling River. Nearby Kuala Tahan there are seven sets of river rapids with rough waters, strong currents, and fast turns. Expect to get soaked on this trip, so wear quick drying clothes and bring along a waterproof bag for any valuables.

There are multiple tour operators based in Kuala Tahan where you can book locally. You can often ask your accommodation to help you arrange the trip as they maintain contact with these operators also.

Explore the Caves

Taman Negara is home to several caves each with their own unique feature. Here’s an overview of some notable caves in the park, though there are even more to explore.

Gua Telingga (Ear Cave): This is the closest cave to the park entrance and most accessible for a short trip. You can get here by taking a boat ride along the Tahan River which can be arranged at Kuala Tahan. Allow about 30 minutes to explore the cave.

Gua Kepayang Besar and Gua Kepayang Kecil: These caves are located deeper in the jungle of Taman Negara. You are best off joining guided tours to explore these caves. Tours take you on a boat Tembeling River to Kuala Keniam (1.5hrs) followed by a roughly 2 hour hike to the caves. A popular option is the 2-day 1-night trip which includes a unique overnight camp inside the cave.

Gua Daun Menari (Dancing Leaf Cave) and Gua Luas (Wide Caves): These caves are also located further upstream nearby Kuala Keniam. From here, tour guides will take you through the Gua Daun Menari Cave where you can see the intricate stalactites and stalagmites formations said to resemble dancing leaves. Then, Gua Luas Cave has a large underground chamber with limestone formations.

How to Get to Taman Negara from Kuala Lumpur

There are no buses or trains direct to the Taman Negara National Park, nor the closest town Kuala Tahan. So there are a few stages to the trip if coming for Kauala Lumpur.

From Kuala Lumpur to Jerantut you can take a 3 hour direct bus, or 7 hour train with a change at Gemas.

Then, from Jerantut you’ll need to get to Kuala Tahan. There are two options for this:

  1. take a van from Jerantut directly to Kuala Tahan
  2. take a 30 minute van to Kuala Tembling followed by the 3 hour scenic boat rode down the Tembeling River to Kuala Tahan. If you’re not pressed for time we recommend this option.

Kuala Tahan is the closest town to the national park where you will find a handful of guesthouses.

Best time to visit Taman Negara National Park

The ideal time to explore Taman Negara is during the drier months between February and September. You will have better weather conditions for jungle trekking and spotting wildlife. However, if it is an exceptionally dry season the river levels can be considerably lower.

And just because you visit in the dry season does not mean you will not get attacked by leeches, so remember to bring along your insect repellent and leech socks.

Nearby Accommodation (Mid-Range)

For mid-range accommodation nearby, consider these options:

Mutiara Taman Negara Resort: Located in the rainforest along the banks of the Tembeling River, this resort offers a range of chalets and guesthouses. Rooms are equipped with modern amenities such as airconditioners, which provide a comfortable stay in the jungle.

Rainforest Resort: Nestled by the riverbank, Rainforest Resort offers cozy chalets and an authentic rainforest experience, complemented by guided tours and dining amidst the lush surroundings.

Xcape Resort Taman Negara: Situated right along the river, Xcape Resort provides comfortable rooms and an array of recreational activities, making it an excellent base for exploring the rainforest.

More Hiking Destinations in Malaysia

Visit the Belum Rainforest for more jungle trekking on Peninsular Malaysia.

Climb Mount Kinabalu on Sabah, the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia.

Explore the Maliau Basin Conservation Area for Sabah’s ancient lost world.

Or explore Pulau Sipadan’s incredible underwater nature trails (scuba diving).

Photo Credits: Cover Image by Iszarizal Ismail from Pixabay

Author Bio

G'day I'm Josh (some call me Fishtank) and on this blog I'll show you how to travel Asia beyond what you thought was possible. We'll explore the highest waterfalls, most remote islands, eat the best street food, and plenty more!

Josh Shephard

Follow on Instagram for Daily Travel Secrets

It's totally 100% amazingly free (for now).

Send To A Friend!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp

Nearby Destinations For You!

Discover Places Like This

Follow me on instagram

for my personal insider travel tips