Moving on from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur I was able to fit in a 3 day weekend and
go to Taman Negara in the rainforests of central Malaysia.
The bus trip to the small village where I boarded a 10 +/- metre long canoe
with an outboard motor took about 3 hours and then the canoe trip was about
another 3 hours. I was the only person going to a small “resort” called Nusa
Camp so had the whole canoe to myself – all very Katherine Hepburn African
I had made a mistake with my bookings. I had meant to book to go to the
government “resort” which is a good 4 star. Nusa Camp is so far from the star
rating system I doubt they have even heard of it. It is way out in the jungle
with a few little cabins with just a fan for cooling. The beds are small and
wire framed with a bit of a mattress and the floor of the bathroom is tiled
with a shower in one corner, a toilet in another and a washbasin. All very
The mistake worked out well though as when we reached the boat dock for the
trip up river there were bus loads of European tourists all heading for the
govt resort. At Nusa there were about 6 guests altogether.
Birding was brilliant with 4 types of hornbill and swags of birds with weird
names like Fulvetta, Barbet, Niltava, Shama etc. There are even real live
Leafbirds! And of course really cute things like the Fork-tails and the
Babblers (not like ours, they are tiny like wren-type things). Total count for
the three days was 56 species. Best birds, to my mind, were the White-crowned
Hornbill and the Black Magpie; but then off course the sight of an ultra-cute
Fork-tail bouncing over the moss-covered rocks of a tiny rainforest streambed
is always very special.
Another highlight was coming back down the river. We left the camp at about
9:00 and for the first hour and a half there were huge numbers of raptors
migrating overhead. I would look up and see one bird and then, as I watched,
others would slowly rise out of the trees, often as many as 15 or 20, and
spiral up on thermals before drifting off to the north. During the hour and a
half of watching there would have been hundreds. Magnificent sight.
And the most frustrating thing? There is a cicada in those forests that sounds
just like a bird – and it took me 2 days of crashing around in the forest,
dodging barbed vines and gooey mud before I found out that the noise wasn't
coming from a small bundle of feathers in the top of a tree but a hard backed
flying beetley thing.
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