Monday, 7 May 2012

Taman Negara - National Park

Picture © Lachlan Gunn 2012

A large part of 'Merdeka' is set in Taman Negara National Park.  Located on peninsular Malaysia, it was known as King George V National Park from 1938 (when it was first formed) until independence.  On the slopes of Gunung (Mount) Tahan there are some old concrete base slabs where Gedung Camp, mentioned in 'Merdeka' could have been situated......

Picture © Lachlan Gunn 2012

Covering 4,343 square kilometres of what is believed to the oldest jungle in the world (130 million years?), the park spans the states of Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu. 

When I first visited the park the only way in was upriver by boat, following a route not dissimilar to the one used by Ishmail in 'Merdeka'. Today you can get in by road too, although the boat trip is highly recommended.

Picture © Lachlan Gunn 2012

If you want to experience unspoilt jungle country, it's well worth a visit - and for the fit and energetic climbing Gunung Tahan is a must (7,175 feet or 2,187 metres)! In my youth I did it in 3 days and two nights, although the trek was finished at the jog after nightfall on the third day.
 At Kuala Tahan there is a range of accomodation, but for those wanting a little touch of luxury the Mutiara Taman Negara National Park Resort is worth considering.  If you decide to go, don't forget to take a copy of 'Merdeka' with you........

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