Taman Negara is well known for its absolutely pristine habitats and full spectrum of native animals, including critically endangered Sumatran rhinos and tigers. Sightings of rhinos and tigers are exceptionally rare, but you can be pretty sure of occasional catching some of the park’s 400 elephants or maybe an oddly snouted Malayan tapir or two. The park’s infrastructure includes a series of hides on stilts that overlook important waterholes and salt licks that increase your chances of spotting unsuspecting wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for muntjacs (barking deer), seladang (wild oxen), serows, sambars, mouse deer and wild pigs.
When you’re not staring into the dense jungle in the hope of glimpsing large mammals, turn your eyes upward to look for monkeys, 1.5kg giant squirrels, yellow-throated martens or a sampling of the park’s 360 colourful bird species. You won’t be able to miss the ponderous and remarkably noisy hornbills, one of the park’s most distinctive animals. Another favourite are the ground-loving pittas, especially the stunning garnet pitta with its brilliant mix of red and blue feathers. Meanwhile, bird experts seek out the Malaysian rail-babbler, a strange forest-floor dweller with no clear taxonomic affinities to other birds
The rainforests of Taman Negara are extremely rich because they have been growing and evolving without disturbance for over 130 million years. As a result, the diversity of trees is higher than nearly any other site in the world, with 240 tree species and hundreds of epiphytes counted on a single one-hectare plot.