Local Village by the Jungle

People have long lived along the Tembeling River by Taman Negara National Park in Malaysia. Tourism and local life are well blended in the friendly tropical atmosphere.

A long boat is used to cross between river banks and plays an important part of their daily life. In about 15 seconds on the boat, one can travel back and forth between the national park entrance and where lodges and restaurants are. This long boat is one of the important public transportation for both locals and tourists.

Floating restaurants and long boats.
This scenery is common for miles along the river.

Floating restaurants are run by locals.
Many locals a
s well as tourists eat there every day.
Though they are not fancy, I liked the friendly and accepting atmosphere of these restaurants.

I had a lunch special(?) of squid and vegetable marinade.
It was truly delicious and very reasonable. (about US$1.50)
Because the high percentage of the population is Islamic, there are many restaurants in Malaysia where no alcoholic drinks are served.

A snapshot of the village near the jungle of Taman Negara.
When the time of Islamic prayer begins, synchronized Quranic verse is heard from afar. The sound of the nature and the note of Quran are mixed in harmony, creating a mystic moment.
Walking past a wing of houses, there is a trekking entrance to the Taman Negara jungle.

Mini market in Kuala Tahan on the floating restaurants' side of the river.
It is not a sophisticated store, but daily commodities, camping items, and food are sold there.
Among locals, tourists also come to shop by ones and twos.

A hair salon in Taman Negara. I was not adventurous enough to get my hair cut there, but it might be a good option for backpackers who have been traveling for months.

At dawn in Taman Negara. All around was covered with sickly blue moist air.
Deep in the jungle, it was about time birds started waking.

As early as dawn breaks, children are already on their way to school, taking the long boat.

Engagement in tourism businesses and profit-making by locals lead to community development. When foreign capital enters, facilities and services are often upgraded and become more convenient for tourists. However, the profit is hardly seen among local communities, and environmental degradation and exploitation often follow to create more problems.

In the jungle, forest dwellers, or indigenous people, have lived in harmony with nature for centuries. Immigrants have also resided in villages nearby the jungle for generations.

By traveling with respect for the life style of locals,
the true character of each place shows itself and the trip experience becomes more fulfilling.

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