The Mutiara Taman Negara is one of the pricier options but in this case I think it’s well worth it as it’s the only lodge actually inside the park. You can get up at the crack of dawn and wander down to the Tahan hide and watch the birds wake up! If you’re in Malaysia for birding, you really need to stay here!
I was impressed even from across the river with the stunning rainforest setting. We took a shuttle boat across (1 ringgit pp) and were greeted by the Mutiara’s staff.
Luggage gets a free ride but unfortunately humans have to walk up the stairs!
We just missed this Bird Count by 2 days which was a bummer. It would have been fun to join in, not to mention there would be some expert birders on hand to help us find the birds. I did ask about hiring a guide but the reception asked for a shockingly high price – 800 ringgits! That is probably what they charge groups and I had been hoping they had birding group tours that anyone could join but that wasn’t the case. You have to already be in a group or pay the full guide fee by yourself. They do have organized night walks that you can join as an individual but we had to get up early for birding so didn’t go out at night.
After checking in, we were given an orientation of the property and escorted to our chalet. They accept all major credit cards and you can charge purchases from the mini-mart and restaurant to your room and pay when you check out.
The chalet is gorgeous! While still having a few mod-cons such as AC and TV (no wifi), it still felt like a rainforest retreat.
We had a nice deck overlooking the rainforest so we could relax and look for birds during the down time.
The grounds are beautifully landscaped with chalets and one building that serves as a backpacker dorm.
The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating. We always went for the outdoor tables because of the view and possibility to see birds.
The food was pretty good. It was a bit pricy and some people choose to go across the river but after a hard day’s birding we were glad for the convenience of being able to charge the meals to our room and enjoy a spectacular view.
The hiking trails into the park branch off the footpaths throughout the Mutiara’s grounds. I’ll be going into more detail on other posts.
If you get lost, ask the friendly staff for directions.
The last day of our stay, it started to get busy, probably in preparation for the bird count.
The trolley took our bags back down and we took a boat across with a plan to get public transport back to Kuala Lumpur (covered on a separate post).
Bottom line – we loved this place and I think any birder would too! As an added bonus to miles collectors, the Mutiara Taman Negara is on most major booking sites at the same price. We booked on Rocketmiles and got 4000 United miles!