This was one of the best transfers to date – the AC Van drive from Taman Rata in the Cameron Highlands to Jerantut was not too arduous then after a bite to eat we boarded one of two Longboat ferries for the trip to Kuala Tahan which was just the other side of the river from the Taman Negara national park – our intended place to explore.
The weather was warming all the time so by the time we boarded the boat it was really quite hot but this was an excellent relaxing trip by any standards – we both managed a kip along the way. However, just before we left Jerantut we were informed that the area of Kuala Tahan had been hit by some flooding but now the river level had dropped considerably so at various points our captain had to slow and carefully negotiate his way through the sandbanks. As we passed further along the river there were growing indications that all had not been well. On the banks of the river quite a few trees were down and there was mud high up the banks but it was only when we got closer to Kuala Tahan and Taman Negara that we actually saw firsthand how bad the flooding had hit them.
The initial indication was that the first floating restaurant we came across was actually perched somewhat precariously on a hill that was part of the bank – it really did look like it could be used as a seesaw!
When we got off the boat and were welcomed there was a lot more damage about the place as well and were told one of the hotels we had seen in the Lonely Planet was no longer in use as a good few cabins had been washed away! We went to our digs but there was nobody around so we waited and phoned to no avail so we were lucky that when we were coming away we stopped at another guesthouse on the way back into town and they had plenty of rooms and after a bit of sharp bargaining we got the same price as well.
We took the time we had to quickly explore our surroundings – the town of Kuala Tahan is on one side of the river whilst the Taman Negara National Park is on the other so a constant stream of ferrymen transfer passengers from one side to the other for a minimal fee. The water is very fast though and some of the manoeuvres the ferrymen made were a work of art in themselves. Across we went to the Park and once there we took time to do a short walk to one of the closest hides – even in the book it said not to expect a great deal and so we were not disappointed but the jungle seemed very nice (lol) if a little loud and when we got back to the town side of the river we immediately booked ourselves on a 2 day jungle tour including a stay in a cave – sounded great as it had a lot of the things other tours did as separates all included in the same tour – this was real value for money!