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Volunteering at Kuala Gandah and Taman Negara

Trip overview

Learn about Asian elephants and get a taste of what it takes to care for these friendly mammals in Pahang, Malaysia. Your volunteering at Kuala Gandah includes feeding and bathing elephants, get close to deers and experience the Orang Asli way of life. Then, go “forest bathing” in one of the oldest rainforest in the world. At 130 million years old, Taman Negara has more than just wisdom to share with you. Go for night walks, trekking and even river rapids ride.

Highlights

    • Make friends while travelling in a small group of 6 people
    • Participate in the only volunteering program at Kuala Gandah
    • Observe the elephants interact and socialize with each other and their Mahuts
    • Bathe with the baby elephants
    • Explore Taman Negara forest at night and seek out nocturnal animals and insects
    • Walk on one of the longest canopy walk in the world

What’s included

      • 1 night stay in local homestay with air-conditioned
      • 1 night stay in air-conditioned chalet in Taman Negara
      • 2 Breakfast, 2 Lunch and 2 Dinner
      • Bathe with the elephants
      • Visits to Orang Asli Village
      • Canopy walk in Taman Negara
      • Return transfer from Kuala Lumpur
      • Local Guide throughout

Itinerary

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Day 01 - Meet up in Kuala Lumpur for National Elephant Conservation Centre, Kuala Gandah

Meet up with Head of Trip at Jalan Duta bus station in Kuala Lumpur. Arrive Lanchang after a 2 hour bus ride at the National Elephant Conservation Centre.

Observe the behaviour of adult elephants as they interact and socialize with each other and their Mahuts, before we get to look at baby elephants. Although big in size, they will win you over with their innocent and playful nature.

After lunch, we continue the day with an elephant informative show, hand feed the giant mammals, watch them bathe in the river and even watch a baby elephant bottle feed.

Now that we’ve learnt more about the elephants, we can start with the volunteering activities. Visit and clean the elephants’ “crib” where they spend the night or when they’re “off duty”. You will also help with the preparation of their food. These big guys need a lot to eat, they can consume more than 100kg each day!

Stay like a local in one of the homestays and call it a day. If you’re still up for some adventure, you can choose to go for a night walk in the forest surrounding the sanctuary.

Early call time today as we begin the work of volunteering at Kuala Gandah. Our ele-friends are counting on us to prepare them breakfast and clean their pens. In between, we break for some grub to fuel us for the rest of the day.

And then off we go to make more furry friends at Deerland. Feed and watch deers roam happily in the large enclosure. Get up close with Javan Rusa, Sika Rusa and even mousedeers!

Located not far away is the Orang Asli village of Che Wong and we have the opportunity to experience their way of life by paying them a visit. Make new friends and maybe pick up a new skill from the Orang Asli.

Back at the sanctuary; be prepared for a splash as we bathe baby elephants in the river. That’s the end of your experience of volunteering at Kuala Gandah elephant sanctuary. Then dry off and we board the bus to Jerantut for Taman Negara.

After settling in, we have dinner and watch a video show at the park’s Interpretive Centre.

Nighttime isn’t just for sleeping when you’re in the jungle; it’s time for exploring! With a licensed guide, we will venture into the dark forest and seek out nocturnal animals and insects.

Rise and shine to birds chirping and the fresh air of the tropical forest. After breakfast, we trek the Kuala Tahan trails to Bukit Teresek. At its peak, the bounty is the spectacular view of Gunung Tahan at more than 300m above sea level.

At about 40m above ground and 530m long, Taman Negara has one of the world’s longest canopy walkway. Besides the beautiful aerial view of the surrounding, don’t forget to look down as you walk above the lush jungle beneath you.

Besides the monkeys, boars, deers and insects, these woods are also the home of the Orang Asli. They have lived here for many generations and still hold true to their traditions and practices like blow pipe hunting. Learn to make fire and make some new friends while you’re at it.

We end the expedition with some speed and blood pumping action doing rapid shooting. We dart through the rapids along Tembeling River in a wooden boat under the skilled hands of the boatman. If you’re still dry after the ride, you’re not doing it right!

After check out, hop on the bus back to Kuala Lumpur.

 

Travel Tips

      • Covered shoes
      • Rubber sandals
      • Insect repellent
      • Flashlight for night jungle trekking

      • The currency of Malaysia is called the Malaysian Ringgit.
      • Make sure to bring enough cash as local restaurants only accept cash and ATM machine is not within reach.

The weather in Pahang are consistently hot and humid all-year-round with occasional rainfall and cloudy skies.

Kuala Gandah and Taman Negara temperatures range from 26 celcius to 35 celcius all year round. On average, Taman Negara receives 12 hours of sunlight in a day. Make sure to wear lightweight clothes.

In the month of November till February, monsoon season often brings more rain to both places. Nevertheless the park is still open to the public. Only canopy walkway will affected by the rain. It is closed during the rain for safety reason. 

Even though it’s the month of monsoon season, the weather here is unpredictable where the rain comes and goes and within minutes, the sun shines again. So don’t let this stopping you from having a lifetime experience in this beautiful state.

 

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