From the sea off the coast of Terengganu I am taking you next to the lush tropical jungle of Taman Negara Kuala Koh. An unfamiliar name to you? To some yes but to the anglers who had been religiously coming back for more fishing, Taman Negara Kuala Koh is a heaven for them. Ever since it was opened in 1995, the only entry to Taman Negara via Kelantan has been a popular fishing point for the most sought after fish called kelah or by its scientific name of tor tambroides. Known for its figthing spirit as well as delicious flesh, anglers will brave whatever the jungle have in store for them for a go after them for the sheer pleasure of it. A live fry fetches more money by the grams than a dead one by the kilogram. That is how precious they are as an aquarium fish.
Actually I was on a mission to Taman Negara to write something about this 1013 sq kms of jungle which is part of the larger Taman Negara covering a total of 4343 sq kms straddling the corners of Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan. Pahang has the lion share of 2477 sq kms and Terengganu the remaining 853 sq kms.
Puan Bariah of Global Media Channel Kota Bharu branch engaged me to do a story of Taman Negara Kuala Koh for a soon to be published magazine to be called Qiadah belonging to the Kelantan State Government. I wonder if I am up to it to do a job which I have never done before.
Leaving my Pasir Mas home early on the morning of 30th August 2007, I did manage to reach Taman Negara Kuala Koh's resort office in time for lunch. A detour through the Felda Aring's oil palm plantations made the distance from my home in Pasr Mas to be 196 km and requires 3 hours of travel due to the poor road condition in the plantation. Anyway we managed to reach the resort in one piece without any mishap.
Ample signages to show the way.
Since my days with Kesedar, I have been somehow associated with Taman Negara Kuala Koh. One way of association was for me to bring guests to Taman Negara either for fishing or to enjoy the facilities and the jungle ambience, I have to do this due to the nature of my job as the manager of a travel company belonging to my employer. That was when the resort was newly opened in 1995. So going there again now isn't really something unfamiliar to me.
The Park's office
The resort has changed so much for the better since the days of old. The change was for the better. It seems to be better maintained and most facilities were in good shape. There seems to be additional buildings in the form of a hall with audio visual facilities, a new guesthouse, the hanging bridge reopened after the last great flood which damaged its structure due to crashes by floating logs, the 300 meters canopy walkway is serviceable again, the trails being upgraded and sufficient wooden boats to cater for the many anglers who prefer to find their own place to cast their rods. That is great changes! A new bridge has replaced the rickety wooden one at its very entrance too.
The first thing you have to do upon arrival is to register at the Park's office. If you are tired you can stand on one leg and rest the other leg rest like this fellow did.
Checking into chalet number 4, I found the beds to be of much better quality than previously. The attached restroom has been refurbished too. This is comfortable by any standard especially at a rate of RM50 pernight per chalet.
This how the chalet looks from the outside.
Comfortable beds inside with attached bathroom.
The dorms has 74 beds. Ample sleeping facilities for bigger group
If you are the outdoor types you can always sleep in tents and they have proper camping sites with sheltered cooking places.
With my wife tagging along we registered at the parks office and paid our entrance fee of RM1.00 each and a camera fee of RM5.00 a unit. If I have brought a fishing tackle that would cost me RM10.00 each and both lasts for a month. After paying for the chalet rental of RM50.00 and a deposit of RM30.00 we checked into the chalet. We did not waste too much time in the chalet as I need to start looking around and taking pictures.
We crossed the suspension bridge spanning the Lebir River and there you are, we were in the jungle of Taman Negara.
Across the river via the suspension bridge you can find the Canopy Walkway, The Ficus Trail, Impian Hide, Rafflessia Trail and Sinar Rapids
Walking across the suspension bridge is no problem because unlike the canopy walkway, it is very stable.
I wanted to take some pictures of The Ara Trail over there but didn't quite manage to do it when my wife freaked out after seeing a friendly leech had managed to attach itself to one of her foot. I had to send her back to the chalet after picking the leech from her foot. Leaving her at the chalet I proceeded to the Parks Office and met the Ranger to request permission to take some photographs at the canopy walkway at 5.00 PM.
A new group of anglers arrive and they wanted to proceed immediately to the fishing spot upon registration. Zaki the boatman allowed me to ride with them to the spot. I grabbed the opportunity.
A group had brought along a nest of crickets to be used as bait for fishing.
Anxiously waiting to take the boat ride.
Enjoying the boat rideView along the wayCikgu Rosli putting the bait to his tackle.
An angler at his favourite spot.
He caught a kelah
How not to be captivated by the tranquility of the jungle?
This is where and how they spend the night. They are truly nature lovers.
On the return trip I saw this monkey scampering away from his perch. He must have been fishing too when we pass by.
Back at the resort I met up with Nik Nora and asked for some pictures from her.
Nik Nora the resort manager transfered some pictures to my pen drive. The following pictures were given by her. Looking on are the two boatman Zaki(standing) and Mat (sitting)
A new baby being born among the Batik tribe that lives in the jungles of Taman Negara (Photo by Nik Nora)
Do you think he can tell the time? (Photo by Nik Nora)
A lady of the Batik tribe. (Photo by Nik Nora)
Some games they are playing (Photo by Nik Nora)
Having a whale of a time bathing in the river. (Photo by Nik Nora)
A picture of herself on the canopy walkway (Who took this shot of her?)
This rafflessia flower is courtesy of Jabatan Hidupan Liar dan Taman Negara
Merdeka Day was observed at the Resort.
When 5.00 PM came, The Park Ranger En. Khairol Ridzuan took me to the canopy walkway across the river.The track to the canopy walkway. This is part of the Ficus (Ara) Trail.
The entrance to the canopy walkway is locked. You will have to request permission to walk on it.
Ranger Khairol Ridzuan came with me for the ride. To him I am forever indebted.
Pictures of Taman Negara Kuala Koh.
Wild fruits that seems to be so succulent. Since the fruits were not eaten by the wild animal, it is best to leave the fruits alone. They could be poisonous.
Abandone rafts along the river. The orang asli will raft down the river to the resort and walk back home upstream. So the recent increase in price of fuel didn't hurt them at all.My friend Roy, Lan and Boy of the Batik tribe.
At least once in your life time you must come and experience the jungle. Man's greed will ensure that it wil not be here forever to wait for you.
For those who are interested to visit Taman Negara Kelantan, please contact: Nik Nora Hiryani (Manager)
Resort Taman negara Kelantan
She can arrange transport from Gua Musang if you are not driving to the resort. She has packages for you to select.
Read more of Taman Negara Kuala Koh by En. Azam here.
For more informations about all the Taman Negara please contact En. Azam of Greenpark Adventure by visiting his website www.my-greenpark.com