Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pahang : Taman Negara Day 3 - Rolling Down The River

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Pahang : Taman Negara Day 3 - Rolling Down The River
Day 3 - Kuala Tembeling to Kuala Tahan : 22nd June 2014
Medium-size Group River Ride : Kuala Tahan (Taman Negara)>Kuala Tembeling
Distance covered : approx. 49.0 km.
Time : 12:25 am - 2:50 pm
Time Taken : 2 hrs. 25 mins (river boat ride only)
Route Recommendations :
1. Life jackets is a must, to be worn at all times while on the boat.
2. The boats are motorized long boats seating up to twenty people. Try to sit at the front-most if you want a good view. If you want to snooze sit somewhere in the middle to avoid the sun's glare and the loud motor at the back.
3. Many snooze while along the ride, I would recommending staying awake so as not to miss the jungle view and sights of the locals along the river.
4. Be prepared to get wet. You may need to come down and help push the boat if it gets stuck at the shallows.
5. If you are not up to carrying your bicycle the three storeys up from the Kuala Tembeling Jetty up to the road level, there is a hoist that can do that for you. The operator charges RM3-00 per bicycle.
6. Go for a nice lunch at Jerantut, the food is delicious and the pricing reasonable. The added bonus is that many fishes available there are hard to find in the cities.

This is a three page blog, click on the following to go to the other pages:
Taman Negara Day 1 : Road Trip PJ to Jerantut
- Taman Negara Day 2 : Dragonslayers!


The previous day we had cycled from Kuala Tembeling to Kuala Tahan (Taman Negara) on a gruellingly 60km roller coaster ride covering many dragon-backs (... see Taman Negara Day 2). It was a tough ride that ended with an exhilaration of achievement.
 Today we will be taking a river boat down the Tembeling River back to Kuala Tembeling. We could have rode back (... and face those dragon-backs again?), but a river boat ride would be a nice change.

View from the canopy walkway.
In the morning, most of my buddies had taken a short boat ride to have a walk along the tree-tops canopy walkway. From there on can have a scenic panoramic view of the river and the surrounding jungle. Their enjoyment of the view was however marred by a efficacious and "self-righteous" Gweilo tour guide who claimed to be from National Geographic. This ill-mannered guy rudely told them off for being too noisy, whilst he himself was talking loudly to his guests. Hey, this is a canopy walk, not a jungle walk! We are here to view the scenery and not the animals, for the later it's best to hike further in to one of those elevated jungle hides.
You must be wondering while all this was going on, what this AhPek was doing?
Er.... well I was in bed.... these old bones need more rest than those of the younger fellows.


View River Ride Down Tembeling River(48.71 km) in a larger map
River Ride Route : Kuala Tahan (Taman Negara)>Kuala Tembeling
Starting from the confluence of the Tembeling and Tahan rivers we took a long boat down the Tembeling River to its confluence with the Pahang River at Kuala Tembeling.

12:00 noon - With the rest of the gang back from their morning canopy excursion, me and a few friends (Yes, I am not the only lazy-bone who skipped the canopy walk) cycled down to the riverside. It is possible to cycle down almost close to the river bank, but note that there is a short stretch of steep slope just before reaching the river bank. It's best to come down and push the bikes down this slope as at times its surface is sandy-slippery.
The boats did not stop at a jetty but at the river bank, so some carrying of the bicycles across the sandy and stony shore is expected.

First priority, our bicycles. Everyone folded their bikes and ensured that they were loaded onto a separate boat that will carry them down river. We love our bikes and definitely do not want leaving them behind. Yes this boat was full of our precious cargo, fortunately Siew Yung and Alex had volunteered to ride on this boat to make sure it did not go "astray".

The rest of us boarded two other boats. This couple here is playing it "safe" and was wearing their helmets. Actually, it is easier to wear the helmets if there is lack of space in the bags. They do look cool, don't they?

And we are off! The long boats are shallow keeled. Sitting laid back, one can just reach out and touch the water.

Even though going downstream, the river ride will take us about two and a half hours. For some it's time to be laid back and relaxed...

... for others the constant humming of the boat's motor and splashing of water on its sides lulled them to sleep.

I snoozed a bit but mainly looked around to observe the surroundings like these rainforest trees silhouetted against the blue skyline...

... and activities on the river - fishing enthusiasts dogging it out waiting for the fishes to bite.

Riverside fish-rearing OR are these fish traps?

Children bathing and treading water.

A mother and her children taking a boat ride. For many the river is the fastest way to travel between spots along it's banks.

A local family having fun on a make-shift plank raft. Life is simple and idyllic here, encumbered by the trappings of modern day life.

In this present dry weather, the river levels is lower exposing many sand-banks causing the river to meander a lot. More difficult to avoid were those shallows below water-level and invisible to the naked eye. 

Even more dangerous were the jagged rocks sticking out from the river. The boatmen were experienced and familiar with these treacherous shallows and rocky out-crops, they navigated a zig-zagging course to avoid these.

Well... we almost made it scot-free. The boat-man of the other boat misjudged one of the shallows and the boat got stuck there. Our buddies inside were quick to jump out and help the boat-man push the boat out of it's predicament. It looked like the third boat (the one carrying our bicycles) seems to be getting stuck too; fortunately that one was just sailing close by to help out.
We were rather concerned about the situation, and a question popped into our minds "What should we do if the boats sank?" Chris was quick to joke - "If that happens, let's save our bicycles first, then our friends!" We bikers are a crazy lot!

After that hilarious moment (looking back, it was hilarious moment and the highlight of our boat ride), we sailed on peacefully without any further incident, passing by the Kampong Labu Jetty. This one leads up to the Labu Sentral gourds rest and recreation area which we stopped by the previous day.

As we neared the Kuala Tembeling Jetty, another boat was heading out, taking tourists to Taman Negara. Their bags were hanging precariously up front as the boat bounced on the choppy waters. Taman Negara seems to be a popular destination for foreign and local tourists alike. I hope they will enjoy the place but at the same time keep it as pristine as possible.

Watch a YouTube video of a river boat ride down the Tembeling River from Taman Negara.

2:50 pm - Arriving at the Kuala Tembeling Jetty, we quickly disembarked and waited for our bicycles to come via the other boat. Notice the ramping railway tracks on the left, that will come of use later on.

The tracks are for a motorized hoisting bin to carry luggage up. It conveniently lugged our bicycles up, just a bit of self pampering at the end. For RM3-00 per bicycle, a porter unloaded our bikes from the boat and had it sent up via this.

With our bikes loaded into our car, some of us headed for the New Tokyo Restaurant in Jerantut where we had this vicious looking but delicious tasting Tapah Fish.
After that we all headed our individual way back home with our minds filled with wonderful memories of this trip.


This is a three page blog, click on the following to go to the other pages:
Taman Negara Day 1 : Road Trip PJ to Jerantut
- Taman Negara Day 2 : Dragonslayers!

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