6/8/18: A Pod In The Malaysian Jungle

I woke up so tired. I think I only got a few hours of sleep. Party hostels are the worst.
When Amanda and I left for our run, it was still completely dark out. The sun rises so late here!
There were some sketchy characters— KL seems to have a lot more people on the streets than in other cities I’ve visited.

Empty Petaling Street
We ran about 4 miles, showered, and packed up.
We got a Grab to the company that would be taking us to Taman Negara.
Once we were at the company, I ordered a coffee as we waited until the 8:30 departure time.
At 11:30, we got dropped off at a town where the boats would leave from to take us on the 3-hour boat ride to Taman Negara.
But first we had to purchase a boat ticket and bus ride back, get our entry permits to the park, and we also purchased a night walk around the jungle for the night.
We ordered lunch at the attached restaurant and ordered rice with vegetables.
The “vegetables” were just cabbage. It was one of the saddest meals of my travels. Being vegan is so fun sometimes!
So sad
Our boat left at 2, nearly spilling over with backpacks.
It was a long ride, but also very relaxing and nice.
We got to the Han Travel office at Taman Negara around 4:30, and they pointed us in the direction of the Danz Eco Resort office.
We went up a few flights of stairs and found the office. We gave the receptionist our name, paid for the room, and then waited for a truck to come pick us up and take us to the resort.
While we were waiting, a Belgian couple came in. As they were talking to the receptionist, they told her they needed a vegetarian breakfast. She asked if they eat egg, and they told her no.
“Are you guys vegan?”
Amanda asked. I was wondering the same thing.
They turned around.
Yay for more vegans!
The truck arrived a few minutes later, and we all piled into the back. The road to the resort was not paved at all, which made for a crazy ride. We had to go down a super steep hill with huge rocks laid down in place of a paved road. We had to hold on for dear life— otherwise we would have just slid off the end.
We got to Danz at 5:30. We had booked a pod, which was this tiny capsule room that just barely fit a queen-sized bed. It touched the wall on both sides, and left about 2 feet of room for our luggage. It was a cute concept, but a bit of storage would have been appreciated.
Our pod!


Our tiny space for the bags

The pods were the midrange option— the cheapest were the tents that you could sleep in for about $10 a night, and the most expensive were the bungalows which cost about $30 a night.

The resort is right in the jungle, making it a really fun spot to explore. There were tons of huge trees, a private beach area long the river, and hammocks to relax in.
Outside our pod
Huge tree!


The beach

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Amanda and I took the truck back to “town” for dinner because we had to leave from there for the night walk anyway.


Kuala Tahan
We went into the restaurant with the most people, figuring it would have decent food. But then we realized that the people eating there are probably the same clueless tourists that we are, so it wouldn’t really matter where we ate.
Family Restaurant, the place we chose, had a few occupied tables when we walked in.
However, by the time our food came 15 minutes later, it was really starting to get packed. By the end of the meal, it was completely full. I guess everyone had the same strategy as us. Either that or we are trendsetters. Probably the latter.
Our vegan noodles and side veggies were good, but not quite enough food for me.



We decided to go find some dessert since we still had some time before the night walk. There was a place down the river that had roti, so we ordered a  banana roti to share. I loved it! It was like a mix between a crepe and tortilla, with nicely caramelized bananas on top.


Done with the roti, we still had about 30 minutes to spare so went up to Danz office to use their WiFi (the resort didn’t have any WiFi).
At 8:30, we walked down to Han Travel for the night walk.
There were 3 Germans in our group, one of which was obsessed with taking pictures of every little ant and grasshopper we saw.
Our guide showed us stick insects, some birds, a lot of termites (I can’t believe they can build such huge mounds! I don’t think I could even do that, and I’m a thousand times bigger than a termite), some massive ants, geckos, and huntsmen spiders. But the coolest thing we saw was a glow-in-the-dark scorpion: the guide shined a blacklight on a black scorpion, and it became completely white. It was so cool! I wonder what makes that specific type of scorpion glow in that light.
Glowing scorpion
There’s a centipede in there somewhere
So many people!
Although the stuff we saw wasn’t particularly life-changing, I wouldn’t have seen anything without the guide so it was definitely worth going with one. Sometimes you luck out and see a bunch of monkeys, sometimes you don’t.
While we were waiting for the truck back to Danz, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw my sister post a status about Anthony Bourdain’s death. I couldn’t believe it. I knew he had struggled with substance abuse and depression, but I thought he was doing better. And he has a young daughter!
I was really upset. I hadn’t felt this upset over a celebrity death in a while– probably since Heath Ledger’s suicide a few years ago. I really idolized Bourdain. His writing and storytelling abilities are truly incredible. It’s so sad to know that he was struggling to the point of suicide.
After the night walk we caught the truck back to Danz and went to bed in our cozy little green pod.

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