Malaysia // The interior //

Merapoh (Sungai Relau)

The small market township of MERAPOH, served by road and rail 80km north of Kuala Lipis, marks a 7km-long access road east to Taman Negara’s western entrance, officially known as Sungai Relau. This is the only part of Taman Negara where a proper vehicle road runs deep into the park, providing access to the trails – most famously, that to Gunung Tahan. Although there’s accommodation and the local park headquarters at the entrance, even with your own car there’s not much point in turning up here unless you’re prepared to arrange for a guide and transport, as the 14km-long park road is closed to private vehicles. What might make it worth the cost is the above-average chance of seeing elephants and even tigers (though don’t get your hopes up), plus leopard cat, civets, otters, huge monitor lizards and even packs of dog-like dhole.