Taman Negara

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From what we can gather, ‘Taman Negara’ translates to national park. There are a number of them in Malaysia, but we can’t find whether each has a name to distinguish one from another. As a day trip from Old Town Penang, we visited the park at the other end of the island. A long bus ride toured us first through the wealthy resort district along the northern coast before stopping in a small town outside the forrest.

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Taman Negara had more to offer than we could fit into a day, so we chose the hike out to Monkey Beach since it sounded the most intriguing. There was no fee at the park entrance, and we were surprised to see how well the trails and forrest were kept. The trail ran along a hill looking out at the ocean with floating villages in the distance. We watched monkeys swing from tree branches as we crossed a suspended bridge, and saw monitor lizards crawl to the seaside for a swim (something we had no idea they did so gracefully).

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We also were privy to the entertainment of watching a couple stupidly decide to feed the remainder of their picnic meal to two curious monkeys. Within minutes, at least 30 more monkeys seemed to come out of nowhere and inundated the couple. The poor people screamed and swatted at them in vain, eventually retreating by climbing up on the picnic table (which of course did no good). The monkeys left once every scrap had been ripped apart and every morsel was gone. Watch out for these cute little guys! There are always hundreds of them around.

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