JENUT HOLIDAYS SDN BHD  (KPL 5390)
Taman Negara Tour Specialist
 

TAMAN NEGARA RIVER SYSTEM

 
 
 
 
 
Tembeling River
 
Three tributaries of the Tembeling are within convenient reach for Taman Negara visitors: Sungai Tahan, flowing from Gunung Tahan, the Peninsular’s highest mountain, and joining the Tembeling at Kuala Tahan; Sungal Trenggan, in the valley to the east; and Sungai Kenyam, to the east again.
 
The nature of the water in the Tahan and Kenyam is derived from the peaty soils of their mountain catchments. Both of these rivers are navigable by smaller (3-4 seater) boats. The Trenggan is generally too shallow, but sections of it can be explored on foot from the trails.
 
Rain-forest rivers such as these, flowing from virgin-forest catchments with no cultivation or human settlements along the banks, are rare indeed in South-East Asia today. Although the water may become muddied after heavy rain, these rivers flow clear again after a day or two, with the pebbly bottom visible a metre and more deep.

 

Trips by outboard—powered boats
 
Boat Cruise along Tahan River

Bookings for boat trips should be made in advance, especially during peak season in July and August; and during public holidays. If your journey is by open boat, a waterproof coat or poncho will protect you against cool early-morning winds, rain, and splashes in the rapids. You carry a camera or binoculars at your own risk! On the Tahan and Keniam trips it is best to wear lace-up footwear, as you may be asked to walk in places over the stony river bed.
 
 
From Kuala Tahan to Lata Berkoh
 
 

Boat Cruise along Tahan River
 
This journey on Sungai Tahan takes about one hour depending on the water level. Sungai Tahan is in many places lined with huge, leaning neram trees (Dipterocarpus oblong ifolius), forming an archway over the water, their trunks and branches festooned with ferns and orchids.
 
 
Lata Berkoh Cascade

Natural Jacuzzi at Lata Berkoh
 
 
Lata Berkoh is a spectacular cascade that marks the limit of easy navigability on the river. There is a deep pool below the cascade, delightful for swimming; and a rocky area overlooking the rapids offers an ideal site for a picnic lunch.
 
 
Lata Berkoh Boat Stop

 

The boats stop about 1200 metres below the cascade, and an easy walking path leads along the river bank, past a visitor lodge.
 
When coming back downstream it is well worth asking your boatmen to drift with the current, so you can enjoy the sounds of the forest and have a better chance to see kingfishers, fish-eagles, straw-headed bulbuls (Pycnonotus zeylanicus), monitor lizards (Varanus salvator). If you wish you may opt to walk back-from Lata Berkoh (five hours), Lubuk Lesong (two hours) or Kuala Tabing (one hour).
 
 
Kelah Sanctuary Lubok Tenor
 
 
Lubuk Tenor Fish Sanctuary
 
The Department of Wildlife has set-up a Fish Sanctuary at Lubok Tenor en-route to Lata Berkoh as part of research and conservation program for the Kelah fish, also known as Malaysian Mahseer.
 
 
Fish Feeding
 
The Kelah
 
 Kerai Jelawat
 
 
Among the activities available at the sanctuary is fish feeding the Kelah, apart from swimming and playing with freshwater fishes.  The visitors can also view schools of Kelah fry swimming in the crystal-clear water and it is fascinating to watch the Kelah's lightning reaction as it feed on the pellets, which are thrown onto the water surface.


Kuala Tahan to Kuala Trenggan and Kuala Keniam
 
Rapids Shooting from Kuala Tahan to Kuala Trenggan
 
Travelling upstream on Sungai Tembeling from Kuala Tahan, boats must negotiate eight sets of rapids in steep hilly country before reaching the Ranger Post at Kuala Trenggan.
 
 
 
Be prepared to get drenched
 
This section of the river is known as the Tembeling Gorge. The journey upstream usually takes about 45 minutes and in the rough water, be prepared to get drenched.

Look for hornbills and fish-eagles along the way. Long-tailed macaques and monitor lizards may also be seen. The cable stretched across the river half way through the gorge marks the dam site for the Tembeling Hydro-electric Project, first proposed in 1972.
 
Research Station at Kuala Keniam
 
Further up from Kuala Trenggan, the river passes through flatter country. In an additional one hour or so you can reach Kuala Keniam Ranger Post. Here, there is a Research Station by Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) and Department of Wildlife. This place provide an excellent base for bird-watchers, anglers and cave enthusiasts.

 

Kuala Keniam to Kuala Perkai
 
Boat negotiating Sungai Keniam
 
Sungai Keniam is similar in character to Sungai Tahan, although very much less frequented by visitors. A journey of about two hours through small rapids and long deep pools brings you to the Fishing Lodge at Kuala Perkai. This is Taman Negara’s most isolated outpost.
 
 
Fishing Lodge at Kuala Perkai
 
 
It is possible to travel further upstream when the water level is sufficiently high. Here there are an excellent campsite and a fishing lodge, and good opportunities for wildlife observation.

 

Other Destinations

Boats may also be used to shorten the overland journey to hides and other points of interest. A short trip up Sungai Tahan can drop you off close to Bumbun Tabing or Bumbun Cegar Anjing. Down the Tembeling you can disembark at Pengkalan Gua, for access to Gua Telinga, and Pengkalan Belau for access to Bumbun Yong and Bumbun Belau.
 
Up the Tembeling, a boat can take you to the foot of Bukit Indah; and many people going to Bumbun Kumbang travel by boat to Kuala Trenggan.
 
In all of these instances you may choose to walk one leg of the journey and use a boat for the other. In this manner, those wishing to avoid covering the same ground twice on longer treks can use boat transport to Kuala Trenggan or Kuala Kenyam, and return to Kuala Tahan on foot.

 

Swimming

The most popular swimming places along Sungai Tahan are at Lubok Simpon (15 minutes walk from Kuala Tahan), Lubuk Lesong (1 ½ - 2 hours) and below the cascade at Lata Berkoh.
 
 
Lubok Simpon
 

 Swimming at Lata Berkoh
 
 
The safest bathing place for non-swimmers is at Lubuk Simpon above the rapids, on the upstream side of the promontory (or island when the water is high where the slope into deeper water is very gentle).

Fishing

 Fishing at Tembeling River

 
The sport of fishing is one of the principal attraction for visitors to Taman Negara. There are a number of good fishing areas in Taman Negara. At present, fishing permits issued to Park visitors cost $10.00 per fishing rod and apply only to the waters of Sungai Keniam below Kuala Keniam Kecil.
 


Catch of the Day

 
Most fishing is done with artificial lures on a spinning reel. But in season local fruits such as buah manis can be used as bait. Fishing tends to be best in the drier months, February to September.
 
 

Kerai Jelawat
 
 
The fish most commonly caught are the sebarau (Hampala macrolepidota) and the kelah (Tortambroides). Both are from the carp family. The toman (Channa spp} or snake-head is from the murrel family, and is a slender, scaleless fish, dark in colour, with the dorsal fin extending the full length of the back.

 

Temoleh (probarbus jullieni)