Welcome to Taman Negara (literally: ‘The National Park’) – home of our mascot: the Malayan Tapir. The chances of seeing one in the wild are pretty slim. So don’t be bluffed by fancy leaflets of tour operators in KL and do not book a tour or package. Most activities are fillers, not killers. You’re better off doing everything yourself. Just follow da Tapir.
Apart from the NSK and Han shutlle services (RM 75 to 95), there are no direct busses to Taman Negara. The trip happens in 2 steps:
From Kuala Lumpur to Jerantut
Busses to Jerantut leave from Pekeliling Station, which is right next to Titiwangsa LRT station on the Ampang line.
There’s only one company to Jerantut: Metrobus Ekspress – Ticket: 18.40 RM person/way – a pleasant 3 hours journey. Ideally, take the early bus at 8 or 10 AM and buy your tickets upfront.
When you arrive at the Jerantut bus station, the first you do is buy tickets for the return journey. Remember, there’s only 1 company and on school holidays, busses do get packed. If you’re planning to come back to Jerantut by boat, buy tickets for the 2 PM bus. You can try the 12 o’clock, but that might be a very close call.
From Jerantut to Kuala Tahan (Taman Negara)
For this second leg, you have 3 options: public bus, boat or minibus.
- The cheapest way: public bus. 7 RM, leaves around 11u20 AM, 1u20 PM (so synchronized with bus from KL) stops a few times along the road. Half the price but twice as long (1.5 to 2 hours) vs minibus.
- The most scenic, but tiring way: boat. You’ll be greeted by NKS people the second you step off the bus. They actually offer a correct deal: 35 RM for the boat, 5 RM for the minibus to the Jetty (20 min). FYI: A taxi to the jetty costs 20 RM.
- The fastest and easiest way: minibus, there’s one from Danz Travel or NKS stand-by when you arrive. Ticket: 15 RM, 1 hour drive. Go for it. And keep that boat trip for the way back.
Arrange this once you’re in Kuala Tahan. There are only 2 companies: Han and NKS. They both have their ‘offices’ on the restaurant boats. We picked NKS and contrary to all the reports, service is correct, efficient and punctual. Buy your ticket upfront. Same price: 35 RM + 5 RM for the minibus from the Jetty to Jerantut bus station.
The boats leave at 9 AM sharp. Be there half an hour upfront. The journey downstream took us 2 hours. Extremely scenic, beautiful and boring … after 1 hour.
Once you arrive at the Jetty, there’s the NKS minibus, taking you back to the Jerantut bus station. Remember your tickets for the 2 PM bus back? If you’re early and lucky – you might exchange those for the 12 o’clock bus. If not, enjoy lunch at one of nearby cheapo rice ‘n noodles stalls. Or walk to Pizza Hut in the parallel shopping street for airco, clean toilets and oh yeah, pizza.