Home > Exchange > deep in the heart of the jungle

deep in the heart of the jungle

First off, Happy Chinese New Year! This year is the Year of the Rabbit. In Singapore, CNY is as big as a celebration as Christmas is back home. With 2 holidays from school and everything closed in Singapore, I decided to go to the jungle for the weekend!

Taman Negara is located in the middle of Malaysia and is the oldest rainforest in the world! I am not a big nature person but I thought I would give trekking in the jungle the benefit of the doubt and try it.

Trekking in the jungle

I did not see any animals the first day but I did see some unique plants and weird insects. Elmi, my group’s tourguide, showed us a tree where another root grew out of it and essentially created a vine. Here’s a pict:

Elmi and the long vine

After some more trekking, we finally reached a cave where we cooked dinner (on a portable gas stove that Elmi brought) and spent the night there. I took a picture of the sun rays beaming in the morning:

Inside the cave

That morning, Elmi pointed out elephant tracks in the cave before we continued our trek. Apparently, elephants take shelter there when it is raining! We moved on to another cave where we saw bats and some other weird insects.

Bats and lots of them!

Our trek had us walk in alot of mud and across small streams and logs etc. Unfortunately, I slipped once and grabbed a fallen tree that had spikes. I had several spikes in the palm of my hand but got them out and then had some splinters. Everything is all good now though.

The 16km trek wrapped up with a visit to see the Orang Asli, the original inhabitants of Taman Negara. The inhabitants have learned to live with both modern and traditional lifestyles. They buy their clothing and some food from the local town but choose to live in their straw-made huts. I took a picture of some of the kids playing:

Kids having fun in a simple way - throwing rocks along a tarp and catching them.

I also learnt how to use a blowpipe and practiced hitting a target. The needles that are inserted into the blowpipe are dipped in a posionous tree sap that paralyzes the animal when they are hit.

That night our tour wrapped up and we had dinner back at the river restaurant where we started from. We had such a great time with our tour guide Elmi that he invited us to sing some tunes on the guitar with his friends and him.

Listening to Elmi and his friends play some tunes

Overall, it was pretty cool to trek through the jungle and sleep in the cave overnight. I definitely recommend it if you are looking to lose weight. The long trek, hot weather, and big backpack means you will sweat alot. Comparing it to my other camping experience at LAMP, there were no mosquitos to worry about. I did have to worry about leaches but luckily I did not get any of them on me!

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