17 Top Things To Do In Taman Negara, Pahang [2024]

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Going on a Taman Negara trip and want to know all the best things to do in Taman Negara, Pahang? We have you covered! Below you will find our guide to all the best activities in Taman Negara to plan your ultimate trip.

As the largest national park in Malaysia, Taman Negara is a popular destination to visit. Estimated to be over 130 million years old, it is among the world’s oldest rainforests.

The park is spread across three states and contains within it some of the oldest land on peninsular Malaysia. As such, the park is home to a diverse range of geological formations, flora and fauna – many of them rare and endangered.

first section of the Taman Negara Canopy Walk
The first section of the Canopy Walk

Animals like tigers, leopards and elephants as well as numerous species of birds make this park a top spot for seeing wildlife in their natural habitat. Plus, a stunningly diverse tropical rainforest, complete with hills and mountains, makes this a top spot for hiking.

It’s a beautiful part of Malaysia and so easily accessible from places like Kuala Lumpur.

There is a lot to do in Taman Negara, and this guide has been written to help you explore the park yourself whether that’s on a day tour from Kuala Lumpur or on an extended trip.

Below, you will find everything you need to know and exactly what to do in Taman Negara, Pahang, what you can do for a Taman Negara day trip as well as the best Taman Negara attractions for your ultimate holiday!!

I also share a video overview of what you can experience in Taman Negara so you can quickly and easily see what to expect.

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Top 17 Things To Do In Taman Negara, Pahang [2024]

Taman Negara Park Centre map
Map by the Park Centre

Here are the best Taman Negara, Pahang activities. Read through and select the ones that fit your interests and timeframe.

Some of these activities you can do yourself and some require a tour.

There are travel agencies in Kuala Tahan, the town where you stay to access the park, or some hotels, like the Mutiara, that can book these tours for you.

However, the best way to visit Taman Negara is with a special package tour that includes all your meals, transport, accommodation and activities. This gives you the best value and the easiest experience. You can find our list of these here.

Before you do anything in Taman Negara, whether it’s a solo hike or a tour, you do need an entry permit.

Taman Negara Park Centre at the entrance to the park in Mutiara Taman Negara Resort
Taman Negara Park Centre at the entrance to the park in Mutiara Taman Negara Resort

Permits are just RM1 per person currently and last for the duration for your stay. It’s an extra RM5 per camera/smart phone you want to take in as well.

There is talk that this will increase dramatically soon. I find it surpising how cheap it is now. If the money is pumped into the park, this would be a good thing.

These need to be bought at the Park Centre which is in Mutiara Taman Negara Resort.

If you are short on time, the main things I recommend you do is get out on the water – primarily to Lata Berkoh. This way is just so beautiful and much prettier than the journey to an Orang Asli village – and go on a hike. Heading to the Canopy Walk and Bukit Teresek is a good way to tick this off.

You could do this in a day easily.

Take A Hike To Bukit Teresek

Taman Negara Walking up the hill to the start of the Canopy Walk
Some of the many steps up Bukit Teresek

As it’s a national park, one of the best things to do in Taman Negara Malaysia is hiking. A particularly good hike is the trail to Bukit Teresek, where you can admire the surrounding forest and mountains. 

At 334 metres, Bukit Teresek is a modest hike and takes about 45 minutes to reach the summit from the park headquarters at Kuala Tehan. There is wooden boardwalk the whole way.

There are both flat and steep sections of the track. The first section is relatively flat and follows a boardwalk through the rainforest. It is an excellent area for bird watching with many species found here. The final section of the track becomes quite steep and follows a set of stairs. You will get very sweaty – bring plenty of water!

From the summit, you will have lovely views of the forest below. When the weather is clear, it’s also possible to see both Gunung Perlis, and Gunung Tahan – Peninsular Malaysia’s tallest mountain.

To get here, follow the signs for the Canopy Walk and keep going up when the Canopy Walk turns off to the right.

You can see more details about this trail in my full guide to the Canopy Walk here.

You do not need to do a tour to do this walk. It is quite straightforward. It is possible to do tours that visit here and the Canopy Walk if that’s what you would prefer though.

Go Rapid Shooting

Taman Negara National Park rapid shooting

One of the more unique activities to add to your Taman Negara itinerary is rapid shooting, where you jump into a wooden boat and shoot the rapids of the Tembling River.

Most people experience this Taman Negara activity on their way to an Orang Asli settlement. These thrilling boat rides involve high speed turns with crews aiming the boats straight into the rapids. There are seven sets of rapids down the Tembeling River.

Be prepared as you will be splashed by water from all directions! Dress appropriately. Life jackets are provided, but a waterproof bag for valuables (and a change of clothes) is recommended.

Enjoy A Night Jungle Walk

Taman Negara national park at night

When it comes to Taman Negara what to do at night, one of the best options is a jungle walk. The jungle changes at night and is vastly different from the daytime, with strange and interesting sights and sounds.

Usually jungle night walks are done on tours where you can walk from here to Tahan Hide, where the salt lick attracts native animals. It’s not uncommon to see reindeers, boar and lizards.

You will also see a range of plants and insects more active at night. It’s advised to bring a torch so you can make the most of your jungle night walk.

Visit An Orang Asli Settlement

Orang Asli settlement in Taman Negara
Orang Asli settlement in Taman Negara

Taman Negara has two tribes that live in the mountains – the Batek tribe and Semokberi tribe. The Orang Asli, or native people, are distinct from the Malay population and meeting with them is one of the top Taman Negara things to do.

These nomadic tribes live simple, traditional lives, moving from place to place in search of food and resources depending on the season. They hunt food from the forest and live in huts of leaves and ratan.

However, these days about 70% of their food is bought with money they make from tourism.

These settlements live by their ancient traditions and have a strong community spirit and visiting them is both unique and fascinating. You’ll be introduced to some of their practices such as lighting a fire (difficult in the rainforest) and shooting a blowpipe – a traditional weapon the Orang Asli use for hunting.

They also showed us how they sand the wood and make their weapons using natural resources from the jungle.

To visit an Orang Asli settlement, you need to join a tour where a guide will introduce you to the settlement and help translate the local language into English and also help you do activities in the village.

Your tour will take a boat ride to the settlement. This can be combined with rapid shooting, as above, or you can take a less thrilling option.

Cruise To Lata Berkoh

The gorgeous scenery on the way to Lata Berkoh Taman Negara
The gorgeous scenery on the way to Lata Berkoh

An excellent option of the things to do at Taman Negara is cruise the Sungai Tahan River to Lata Berkoh. 

The main attraction of this cruise is the beautiful scenery and it’s honestly beyond stunning. I absolutely loved it and it was my favourite thing to do in Taman Negara. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU DO THIS TOUR!!

The water is also quite clear and you can see fish from the boat as well.

However, it’s not just sitting back and soaking it all in. You also get to stop and visit the Tualang Tree along the way and the Kelah Sanctuary (more information about these attractions below).

Part of the hike to Lata Berkoh Taman Negara
Part of the hike to Lata Berkoh

To actually get to the final part at Lata Berkoh, you need to hike for about 20 minutes. There’s no boardwalk here but the path is in good condition. We hiked it with a 6 year old without a problem.

At the end, you reach Lata Berkoh. Lata Berkoh is a stunning spot with its deep pools and cascade.

Lata Berkoh Taman Negara
Lata Berkoh Taman Negara

You can swim here which is what we planned to do. However, our guide did not come with us here and it was very unclear where it was safe to swim with plenty of rapids and fast running water. Upstream seemed safer but there were big rocks to climb over to get there.

With a 6 year old, I did not feel safe giving it a go. I would have loved to though!

After the hike back, the cruise takes you back to Kuala Tahan. It’s a great activity that takes 2-3 hours all up depending on how long you spend at the swimming place.

The water is shallow in a lot of places so you can only do this in a very flat boat that take up to four passengers. We had a man sitting at the front of ours (as well as the guide and driver at the back) to get us through some shallow sections.

Feed The Fish At Kelah Sanctuary

Kelah Sanctuary Taman Negara
Kelah Sanctuary

On the way to Lata Berkoh, you can stop at Kelah Sanctuary and feed the fish. This research and conservation centre is located in Lubuk Tenor and is only 20 minutes away from Kuala Tahan. You could also hire a boat to take you here specifically.

Pellets are provided so that you can throw food at the fish and watch them swarm to eat it up. The clear water makes seeing the kelah a delight and, in the dry season, schools of fish can be seen. 

However, sometimes there are no fish so this activity can’t be guaranteed.

Visit The Huge Tualang Tree

Tualang Tree Taman Negara
Tualang Tree

With a 130 million year history, there are bound to be some big trees in Taman Negara. Among the largest and tallest of all the trees in Taman Negara is Tualang Tree, and it is worth visiting. At a height of 65 metres, this tree is as tall as a 20 storey building. 

Stop at Tualang Jetty down the Tahan River to capture a picture of this enormous tree, although it’s hard to appreciate the full size from close up. Its size lends the area a special and ancient feeling.

Eat At A Taman Negara Floating Restaurant

Floating restaurant Kuala Tahan Taman Negara
Floating restaurant

With quite a few floating restaurants around, one of the things to do while in Taman Negara is eat at one of them!

You can find floating restaurants offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. Although I did find most shut at lunch time when I was there during Ramadan. Most floating restaurants are located at the jetty of Kuala Tahan where you can watch the Tembling River sweep past.

Options include the Taman Negara Floating Restaurant, Arissa Floating Restaurant and Kuala View Restaurant among others.

Go Fishing

Fishing at Taman Negara
Fishing at Taman Negara

If you’re keen on fishing, Taman Negara can be an excellent spot. The dry months are best for fishing, and the deeper you head into the jungle, the better the fishing gets.

Popular fishing spots include Rincing and Kuala Perkai. Of course, bringing fishing gear into the jungle is difficult for tourists, and so there are tours you can do that include gear and transport to fishing spots.

There are many other fishing spots, some located up to 5 hours away by boat, but the pristine jungle setting makes fishing there one of the best things to do in Taman Negara Malaysia.

Take The Plunge At Four Steps Waterfall

If you’re up for a challenging hike, follow the track to the phenomenal Four Steps Waterfall. This hugely powerful waterfall can be reached by following the Gunung Tahan trail (which leads to the highest point on Peninsular Malaysia) and detouring to the Four Steps Waterfall. 

Rarer wildlife can be spotted on the way as you delve deeper into the jungle, and part of the journey takes you through the river. When you reach the waterfall, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views and the sound of the powerful falls. The waterfall can be fierce and swimming is definitely not advised.

This hike should only be done as part of a tour. It is notoriously difficult and best done by people with hiking experience.

This is a less explored track but one where you can be rewarded with a stunningly beautiful natural environment.

You can also take a boat tour here.

Go Bird Watching

Taman Negara National Park bird

With hundreds of species of birds in Taman Negara, both native and migratory, one of the top things to do Taman Negara National Park offers is bird watching.

Kuala Tahan, close to the park headquarters, is one of the best places to spot birds. You can stay in a hide and wait to spot birds or see them on a walk. It can often be easier to hear birds than see them, which makes the hides super useful for this purpose.

Many endangered species like the Masked Finfoot, the Wreathed Hornbill and the Large Green-Pigeon can be found in Taman Negara, and you may be lucky enough to spot one.

May through to August is the best time for bird watching.

Admire The Views On The Canopy Walkway

Taman Negara Canopy Walk
Taman Negara Canopy Walk

When you’re planning what to do in Taman Negara Malaysia, no Taman Negara to do list is complete without a walk on the Canopy Walkway. It is arguably the top attraction the national park offers.

The Canopy Walkway is a series of suspension bridges that was originally built for research, and whilst it wasn’t intended as a tourist attraction, it is now certainly one of the most popular things to do in Taman Negara. 

At around 550 metres long, the Canopy Walk is one of the world’s longest suspension bridges and is a great place to admire the views below, and surrounding the area.

Reaching it takes about 30 minutes by foot from the park headquarters on a boardwalk. The suspension bridge is up to 45 metres above the ground, and you’ll see the stunning rainforest below. There are birds and wildlife like the long-tailed macaques.

The walk is decent and there are quite a few stairs to reach the start of the walk. It can be a little confusing, but it is straightforward enough to do without a tour. It is closed on Fridays.

Click here for our full guide to the Canopy Walk.

Enjoy A Night 4WD Safari

Night 4WD Safari

As an alternative to a night jungle walk, why not try a night 4WD safari? 

These 4WD safari tours save you from walking and allow you to penetrate deeper into the forest. They start at night from Kuala Tahan and take you to the best places to see wildlife. You are likely to see wildcat, wild boar and all the sights and sounds of the jungle at night.

Tours usually go for two hours and are affordable. 

Go Swimming At Lubok Simpon

Lubok Simpon Taman Negara
Lubok Simpon

The hike to Lubok Simpon is one of the easiest in Taman Negara and offers a great introduction to the national park.

From Kuala Tahan, it’s only a 1 kilometre walk to Lubok Simpon. You’ll see birds and walk along the river before reaching the natural tannin dyed pool at Lubok Simpon. 

This is not only a lovely spot to relax but also a nice spot to swim with a sandy beach area.

Explore The Limestone Caves

Rainforest Cave in Taman Negara

Taman Negara is an excellent spot to explore some caves, and the national park has its fair share of interesting limestone caves.

An easy walk from the park headquarters in Kuala Tahan is Gua Telinga. This cave is just 3 kilometres away and is known as the ear cave due to its unique shape. You need to crawl through an underground tunnel to enter, where bats inhabit the inside.

Deeper in the jungle are several other caves. These caves are usually visited as part of a multi-day tour where you can explore, hike the trail and spend the night inside a cave.

Gua Kepayang Kecil is one such option, as well as Kepayang Besar where people often camp overnight.

You need to take a tour to visit these caves.

Hide In A Wildlife Observation Hide

One of the reasons Taman Negara is great for seeing wildlife is the wildlife observation hides. Built like little huts, Malays refer to these hides as “bumbung” and they aid in observing animals without scaring them away.

Tahan Hide is just a short distance from the park headquarters and is an excellent spot to wait and see birds and other wildlife, especially at night, attracted by the nearby salt lick. 

Deer, porcupines and birds, wild boar and numerous insects can all be seen with patience. 

Head on a boat ride to another spot like Kumbang Hide. Located deeper into the jungle, this is a great area for spotting your sights on rarer animals. Rarer species like tapir, leopards and elephants can be seen in other hides located deeper in the jungle. 

Arrive By Boat From Kuala Tembeling

Taking the boat to Taman Negara

Kuala Tembeling is where both the Tembeling River and the Jelai River meet, and the jetty is about 17 kilometres away from the town of Jerantut. This town is a popular entry point to the national park, and if you’re entering from here, the way to go is by boat.

Both locals and foreigners enjoy this scenic boat ride to Taman Negara. It takes about three hours. The ferry is a simple wooden boat with a roof on top and whilst the trip is long, there’s no denying there are some wonderful views along the way.

Taman Negara Tours And Packages

Since it’s a little more complicated to get to Taman Negara and many activities require guides and equipment, it is recommended to do a tour to Taman Negara or a package tour over multiple days.

You can find our guide to all the best tours here.

Taman Negara Video Review

You can see a quick overview of what it’s like in Taman Negara in the following video.

We walk you through the journey here from KL, staying at the Mutiara Taman Negara and some of the most popular activities like the Canopy Walk, Lata Berkoh and visiting an Orang Asli settlement.

You can find more videos like this on our YouTube channel. Please subscribe here!

Taman Negara Activities Map

Things To Do In Taman Negara, Pahang map
Click the Map to open in Google Maps. You can then access directions to each of the locations discussed in this article.

Best Place To Stay In Taman Negara

Taman Negara is a wonderful place to stay overnight. There’s nothing quite like spending the night in an ancient rainforest. It makes for both a relaxing and rejuvenating stay.

There isn’t a huge range of accommodation options, but there are a number of hotels and guest houses that cater towards all budgets. 

Below you will find our Taman Negara accommodation recommendations including the best pick, a mid-range and a budget option.

BEST – Mutiara Taman Negara Resort Review

Mutiara Taman Negara
Mutiara Taman Negara

Mutiara Taman Negara Resort is the top spot to stay in Taman Negara. It’s the only resort to be located within the national park and the Park Centre is located here with trails starting from here.

This resort offers a range of rooms with all the creature comforts you need for a convenient stay. Options include both chalet and bungalow accommodation. Chalets include air-conditioning, an in-room safe, a balcony with chairs, flatscreen TV and a hot shower in a private bathroom, as well as a lovely traditional aesthetic. It is on the simple side, but very well done.

Up to 6 guests can stay in the one bedroom and quad chalets. WiFi is also available. We were surprised by how great it was actually, even in our chalet which was a solid 5-minute walk from reception.

A buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served. Many rooms are half board, meaning breakfast and dinner are included. The accommodation can help to organise all your Mutiara Taman Negara activities like a jungle safari, an Orang Asli visit, as well as fishing permits and cave tours.

We found this a very easy place to stay.

Click here to see the latest prices or click here to read our full review.

MID-RANGE – Xcape Resort at Taman Negara Review

Xcape Resort is located in Kuala Tahan before crossing the Tembling River to the park headquarters. The resort offers guests free parking, in-room WiFi, an onsite bar and a daily housekeeping service.

Room options include double, twin and family rooms. Rooms are simple and minimalist, with no TV, safe or minibar, however they do have air conditioning. Some rooms include a balcony. Dorm rooms are also available for guests on a budget. Some of the rooms have private bathrooms whereas others are shared. 

The accommodation serves light snacks and refreshments in the bar, Malaysian fare in their onsite restaurant, and can also organise bicycle rental for guests to explore the area.

Click here to see the latest prices.

BUDGET – Balai Serama Guesthouse Review

Balai Serama Guesthouse is located further away from the park headquarters in Kampung Padang. Here you’ll find a spacious guest lounge, guest laundry facilities, an onsite restaurant serving local dishes and a buffet breakfast as well as rooms with half board.

Room types include standard rooms and one bedroom chalets with private bathrooms. The property is very clean and offers free parking for guests and a beautiful on-site garden.

Chalets are well equipped with a sitting area in the one bedroom chalet, as well as a kitchen with cooking equipment. Standard rooms are more basic. There is also good onsite WiFi.

Click here to see the latest prices.

Click here to see all our recommendations for the best hotel in Taman Negara.

How To Get To Taman Negara

Kuala Tahan Taman Negara
Kuala Tahan

It’s easy to get to Taman Negara by bus, train or car. However you get here, note that you are aiming for Kuala Tahan which is the town next to the entry point of the park.

Once you get to Kuala Tahan, you need to take a quick boat trip across the river to access the park itself. Kuala Tahan is home to shops, restaurants and sleeping options.

If you have your own car, great! You are good to go. You can also hire a car to get you there by clicking here.

Otherwise, the fastest way is by private taxi. You can find out prices and book a taxi from anywhere in Malaysia here.

If you are coming from Kuala Lumpur, your next best option is by shuttle bus. You can book it here.

The cheapest way is by bus from Kuala Lumpur to Jerantut. This takes longer and you’ll still need to get a taxi the final hour to Kuala Tahan. Click here for the latest timetables and bus prices.

Trans Malaya bus KL to Jerantut
Trans Malaya bus KL to Jerantut

Want more details? Find our full guide to getting from KL to Taman Negara here. Or you can find our guide to getting from Cameron Highlands to Taman Negara here.

If you are coming from Singapore or Johor Bahru, you can consider the so-called jungle train. Warning though, the departure and arrival times are not convenient, and it only takes you as far as Jerantut. You’ll still need to get a taxi from here to Kuala Tahan. Click here for more details.

The last time I took the taxi between Jerantut and Kuala Tahan, the price was RM80.

To get into the park itself, you simply go to the jetty and hop on the next boat departing. These cost RM1 per person and only take minutes. They depart frequently.

Taking the boat across the river to Taman Negara
Taking the boat across the river to Taman Negara

Finally, if you are short on time or want things organised for you, read our full guide to Taman Negara tours here. It’s possible to visit Taman Negara on a day tour from Kuala Lumpur and all the options are listed there as well as some multi-night package options.

Taman Negara With Kids

Taman Negara Canopy Walk trail with kids
Walking to the Canopy Walk with my 6 and 11 year old

For the most part, Taman Negara is very kid friendly. You may just want to avoid rapid shooting or the other longer hikes if your kids are young.

There are many walks from the Park Centre that take around an hour return, such as the canopy walkway and the hike to Lubok Simpon. Plus, the experience at an Orang Asli settlement can be very eye opening for kids and adults alike. My kids loved trying the blow dart!

A night jungle walk and observing animals from an observation hide are also great activities for families. I found the cruise to Lata Berkoh worked well too.

Kuala Tahan Taman Negara
Kuala Tahan Taman Negara

Final Words

I hope this Taman Negara guide has given you plenty of ideas for your visit.

Taman Negara really does have a lot to offer visitors while still being easily accessible to Kuala Lumpur. In a couple of days, you can do a lot and experience this very different side to Malaysia.

Whether you decide to visit for the day or spend a few nights, you’ll have plenty of Taman Negara things to do!

You can check out all the best accommodation in Taman Negara here and all the best Taman Negara tour packages to get here. Read our full travel guide to Taman Negara here or listen to our podcast episode all about Taman Negara here..

Planning a trip to Malaysia? Have any questions? Join our Malaysia Travel Planning Facebook group here now! It’s the perfect place to ask any questions and to be inspired!

By Sharon Gourlay

Sharon is a certified Malaysia travel expert and can't get enough of travelling and talking about Malaysia since she first visited 21 years ago. She travels around Malaysia multiple times a year both alone and with her kids. She used to call Penang home and especially loves this food paradise. Sharon also has a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies, a Certificate III in International Travel Sales and has been certified by Tourism Malaysia as a Malaysia Travel Expert. Through this site, she'll help you have the perfect trip to this amazing destination.