Gunung Rajah, Bentong, Pahang
Height 1685 m / 5526 ft
December 5-7 2010
Usually during the months of Nov - Dec we would take leave from going camping up in the mountains because of the monsoon season. That means lots of rain. When it rains the trail is slippery, muddy and filled with leaches. Not to mention the rising river when during river crossings sometimes are dangerous or difficult to cross. Setting up tents in the rain pose another challenge. And by saying that I would usually trek less and less means lower stamina.
When David of G7 Hash invited us for this trip, I was feeling reluctant but when it was mentioned a 3 days 2 nights trip, the feeling of reluctance change to anticipation. How fast things can changed in split seconds. What this means is that 3 days 2 night trip would signal a relax holiday trek to Gunung Rajah which for an out of shape guy like me wouldn't mind at all.
Hok Mew, KC and myself met up with them at Seri Kembangan food court just across the road from South City Plaza for planning the trip. Everyone was in a jovial mood and especially for KC as for the first time she doesn't need to cook. The campsite is quite spacious and just nice for 22 of us.
The plan was simple as day 1 trek 4 hours to campsite, day 2 trek 3 hours to summit and back, day 3 trek back to car park and home.
Gunung Rajah became infamous for a lightning incident that happened many years ago where 2 campers lost their lives. But Still... like they say... trekking and camping in the mountains is safer than traveling on Malaysian roads. Aren't you glad to hear that!
Gunung Rajah trail is through The Chamang Waterfalls which is about 8km from Bentong Town.
At Bentong Town in the morning the happening place is at their morning market where it is crowded with traders selling various foods and products. We meet at 8.00 am in the morning and had our breakfast there. Dim Sum here is quite popular and the other is the Wan Ton noodle at the corner shop. From nasi lemak to local delicacies you can find it here. The chinese here are predominantly of the "Kong Sai" dialects which is Cantonese but with a different pronunciation. After the walk about in the market and buying some local sweet delicacies like the "Sa Kae Mah" which is a sweet biscuit and tasty and the famous "tau foo pok" or the famous Bentong ginger.
We continue towards Chamang Waterfall carpark. Standing in front of Chamang Waterfalls gives you the feeling of energy and a great force as tons of water comes gushing down. Double check your backpacks and make sure what you need is there and gather for group photos. Take lots of photos otherwise you will forget some of the details. The start trail is about an hour following the old logging trail which will pass by a mini hydro electric dam and a small 'orang asli' community. All along the trail you would be able to hear or see the river and waterfalls. KC and myself were the last to trek. We have another group of friends Ah Meng, Ah Onn and friends who is on a 1 day trek to Gunung Rajah Summit and back to carpark had started the trek at around 7am. They were so nice to lay pieces of paper trail (biodegradable off course!) all the way to the peak. After passing the mini hydro electric dam 5 mins later we heard the sound of a 4wd behind us and suddenly stop to offered us a ride to the end of the logging trail. Without hesitation we jump in as this will save us a 1 hour trek and along the way they started picking almost half the group, Lucky us.
We continue on following the paper trail and finally stop at a river crossing for lunch break. About 10 mins later the rest of the group arrived. The river is clear and inviting us to jump in for a swim. Ate our lunch snack biscuits and the rest of the group trickle in.
Our next stop is to our campsite only to discover its half an hour away. This campsite is probably big enough for about 30 campers and with good clear swimming areas and a 3 storey high water fall below. Weather was fine with everyone finding their spot to pitch tents. It was too early for dinner so we took our bath and ate some biscuits snack, took more photographs till dinner time. Later Siow Lee and friends prepared dinner for 22 people and they make it so easy. Dinner was delicious and there was no left over.
The weather was just nice cool but not cold but the sand flies made their presence felt by giving almost everyone a bite. Tonight we rest early as tomorrow we will trek to the peak.
Day 2. Morning call and a quick breakfast of 'teh tarik' biscuits and bread. Pack a light pack of snack food and tea leaves. We started at about 8.45am and the weather was perfect. We just followed the paper trail placed by Ah Meng yesterday so it was kind of leisurely pace with plenty of time for taking photos. The trail is quite opened and clean with occasional large fallen trunks to cross over. We reached the usual bonsai peak and can actually view Gunung Rajah and here there are good opportunity to take photos especially with bonsai trees with its exposed red barks making the picture interesting. Another half hour we have to climb the steep almost vertical slope on the rock face using fasten ropes, roots and uneven rock for a slow ascend.We reach the peak at around 11.45am after trekking for about 3 hours and in a relaxing mood for photos and snacks and more photos. Stanley Chan with another group pointed to the various locations for Genting Highlands, Gunung Benum and other peaks. Later more photos and a slow trek back to camp to enjoy the waterfall and cool weather for another night. As for tonight KC brought her home made fruit cakes to celebrate my 50th birthday or half a century. Thanks to her for a wonderful birthday memory. Tonight everyone will sleeping late to enjoy the jungle and waterfall environment.
3rd Day, Breakfast simple with snacks and drinks. Pack up and leisurely trek out to the carpark and since its a holiday, Chamang Waterfall Recreation Park is full of visitors. You can take a nice bath by paying 30 cents or jump in the river for free. With so many other visitors I just pay 30 cents and for some they like the waterfall. Later we Lunch just outside of Bentong town before going home with good memories of another successful climb.
Click Play below for photo viewing
Dec 26, 2010
Aug 27, 2010
Gunung Tapis & Pelangi Waterfall
1502 m / 4957 ft
August 5-9 2010
At our last climb to Gunung Benum Uncle Lim suggested Gunung Tapis and See Tho answered "I 'Tapid' first" (meaning I surrender). See Tho suffers from high attitude sickness during the Gunung Benum climb and promised himself that this will be his last mountain to climb.
Gunung Tapis peak is about 1502 meters or 4,957 feet above sea level. It is the 18th highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia. The start trail is situated on the 4wd trail to the Pelangi Waterfall or Rainbow Waterfall (photo courtesy from Taman Negara Web) from Sungai Lembing. Sungai Lembing is situated 42Km North West of Kuantan, Pahang The Journey from Kuantan to Sungai Lembing is about 1 hour.
The normal trek to Gunung Tapis is about 2 days 1 night and due to the long drive from Klang/Kajang we decided to arrived 1 day earlier and stayed at Wong's home stay (019-9878631 A-3294 Lrg Kubang Buaya 4, Kuantan) which offers affordable and comfortable stay of about RM$20 - RM$25 per head room sharing.
Arriving a day earlier is more relaxing and an opportunity to dine at Restaurant T & L nearby. And also to distribute the packages which include our stove, gas, food and flysheets. Morning call at 5.30am and Uncle Lim will meet us at the home stay by 6.00am and proceed to Sungai Lembing food court for our breakfast. Sungai Lembing is famous for their soft 'tau fu' so don't miss it when you come here. I park my car in front of the police station and hop onto Ah Onn's 4WD Hilux. Usually they charge about RM$35 per head for a 4WD to Pelangi Waterfall or a minimum charge of about RM$ 350 - RM$400 which can seat approximately about 12 persons. You can enquire when you arrive at Sungai Lembing Town.
Day 1Pelangi Waterfall or Rainbow Waterfall has become very popular with visitors where the best time to view is 10.00 am when the sunlight hits the correct angle to setup a beautiful rainbow scenery. The waterfall itself looks like a misty curtain of water droplets free fall from a height of about 2 to 3 hundred feet. The 4WD will stop before the river. Crossing the river on foot and about 30 minutes to the Pelangi Waterfall. Unfortunately the weather was cloudy and we did not get to see the rainbow. Later we stop at our start trail to Gunung Tapis at another river crossing. Sometimes during dry season and with proper tires you can drive your 4WD until Camp 1 which can save you about 90 minutes of walking.
We started trekking at about 10.45 am. following a old logging trail which followed the river until Camp 1 where we turn right towards Camp 2. You can find the Ikan Kelah or the Masheer fish (a gourmet delicacy) here and many locals will come here to fish. From Camp 1 to Camp 2 the trail is open flat terrain covering about 7km and just our luck the sun is shinning brightly and it gets real hot. After Camp 1 you will start to notice lots of elephant dung (fresh one) and freshly flattened trees and and bamboos which indicate that a herd of elephants are nearby and judging from the foot print they are of rather large size. Its midday and the hot afternoon sun is wearing us out. Finally after 3 hours from the start trail we reached Camp 2 around 1.45pm covering about 11km to stop for a snack lunch. There is a stream nearby and we sat in it to cool down and a school of fish (small) of the red kelah variety swam nearby. Our original plan was to camp at the Gunung Tapis Peak which requires another 5 hours covering 6.5km and ascending 4000 feet. After trekking for about 30 mins towards Camp 3 we decided that it was too ambitious to reach Gunung Tapis peak on day 1. We felt if we had avoided the morning trek to Pelangi Waterfall we would have save about 2 hours.
Its uphill trek to Camp 3 and its a hot afternoon and we reach our campsite by 4.30 pm. This campsite could fit about 30 campers fortunately only 7 of us here. The water stream nearby provides and excellent supply for our needs. There is a memorial plaque fix onto a small boulder found here. And uncle Lim would always place a small lighted candle at the memorial plaque. Upon enquiring the memorial plaque is dedicated to Mr. Joseph Cheong You Sang who promoted the Gunung Tapis trek had pass away on his last and final climb in 2004 at the age of 65. May he rest in peace.
KC prepared tea and biscuits for snacks while the others found their good spot to set up camp. Quickly took a bath before it gets too cold and KC prepared dinner to be served later. Dinner was a simple rice, eggs and vegetables. Later for supper hot ginger sweet potatoes were served. Tuck in our tents by 10.00pm.
Woke up early, had tea and noodles for breakfast. Did some packing and started trekking to Gunung Tapis Peak at 7.30am. Today's climb is ascending 2000 feet covering 3.5km that will require approximately 2 hours to Gunung Tapis Peak. Trekking at a steady pace we reach the peak at around 9.30am. It was a clear sky and Gunung Tahan can be seen towards North-West direction and Gunung Benum is noticeable towards West direction. We rested and enjoyed the mountainous view with tea and snacks. We started descending around 10.15am and reach Camp 3 around 12.30 noon. We pack up and continue towards Camp 2 about 2 hours later. By this time our body heat started heating up and when Ah Onn and Wong saw the river they quickly jump in like water buffaloes and soak in to cool themselves. From Camp 2 to our car park is another 11km of hot sun which will take about 3 hours trek. Its just walking and walking. Each time we cross a river we will find opportunity to soak in it. Along the trail we notice some fresh elephant foot prints. Ah Onn told us if we see our friends (at the front) running towards us we should quickly put our backpacks to the side and run for your lives. This is because they are being chased by elephants. This sounded serious and stressful but on the positive note KC told Ah Onn that hopefully it won't happen. By the time we reach Camp 1 our legs felt sore, tired and very hot. Finally the last river crossing to our car park at around 5.10pm. Took a bath and head out to Sungai Lembing town for dinner and boy! we really felt hungry. We have been trekking since morning. Gunung Tapis height may look short compare to other G7 mountains in Malaysia but it does have its own challenging long trail.
Jul 13, 2010
Gunung Benum 2107m Pahang
10th Highest Peak in Peninsular Malaysia
9th July - 11th July 2010
A year ago we were invited to join a day trip to Lata Berumbun Waterfall (Sungai Chalit, Raub Pahang) and the highlight was the 45 minutes 4x4 adventure ride from Sungai Chalit town. Sungai Chalit along with Sungai Klau, Sungai Ruan and Tulai are famous for their agricultural produce and especially the Durian variety of the 'Mou Sang Wong' or Raja Kunyit. Durian plantations here are produced on a large scale and wholesalers can be seen along the road receiving durians especially in the mornings where they have to be transported out. Gunung Benum should not be confused with Belum Forest which is situated in Perak.
The 45 mins 4x4 adventure ride on the Jeep modified to turbo charged engine provides a thrilling ride and especially if the driver is motivated by screams from the passengers. The driver spoke of the Gunung Benum (10th highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia) which is tough to climb. There are very few local Gunung Benum guides and they charge about RM$150 per person excluding 4x4 trasportation (RM$250 - $300 per vehicle). Our guide Mr. Lim from Kuantan who has taken us to Gunung Tebu (Terengganu) and Cemerong Waterfalls has agreed to take us up to Gunung Benum on July 9th - 11th without any charge.
This trip our group consists of Ah Onn (Klang), See Tho, Michael (driving from Kota Bharu), Wong, KC and myself. We left Kajang at around 5.00 pm 8th July to stop at Bukit Tinggi for tea and snacks. Later arriving in Bentong to buy the famous 'tau hu pok' as one of the ingredient for a 'bak kut teh' dinner which KC plans to cook for dinner during the first night at Camp Tikus (our campsite). We meet at the Restaurant Lo Yong for dinner. Later Lim from Kuantan and another 3 campers join us for the famous 'mou sang wong' durian which was priced at RM$16 per kilo (The price is like share market, sometimes up sometimes down). Later we camp at the Kuan Yin Temple in Kampung Cina Sungai Chalit for the night.
Pack up and breakfast in Sungai Chalit Town before heading back to Kuan Yin Temple where we will park our cars and take the 4wd at around 9.00am to Lata Berumbun Waterfall. Dark clouds can be seen circling around the mountains. It had rained the night before so the 4wd trail gets muddy near the Lata Berumbun Waterfall. We were pack 5 to a vehicle together with our backpacks. It was a bone rattling ride like riding a wild horse. Upon reaching the muddy trail the first 4wd stalled and had to be winched. With the turbo charged engine throttling at high speed with the wheel spinning we were soon splash with mud. 10.00am Finally at Lata Berumbun Waterfall park we disembark and started warming up for the trek to Camp Tikus which will take an averaged 4 - 5 hours. Lim and his friends are strong trekkers and have treked Gunung Benum to camp in one day. They have also trek (small day pack) Gunung Benum and back to Lata Berumbun Waterfall in one day. These people are like commandos.
The start trail (2,000 ft above sea level) goes into the jungle and soon we become aware that this is 'leech' country. At the small river crossing, Lim and his friends started to mark the trail with pieces of paper because tonight at around 9.00pm another 8 campers will start night trekking to Camp Tikus. The others started to check for leeches. Along the trail there are many thorny plants which needs be to cut or chop. There are not too many trekkers to Gunung Benum so the trail tends to get overgrown with plants, thorns and fallen trees. The first day climb is a gradual steep 3,000 feet climb and for the first 2 hours leeches big and small are waiting for you. So walk a little slower to let them have their meal.
I was told that the trail towards Gunung Benum you can find 3 distinctive 'items'. 1st is the large pitcher plants usually after the Camp Tikus. 2nd Large millipedes and 3rd Large rats usually near Camp Tikus (Rats Camp). I didn't seen any large millipedes and rats, maybe its their off season but lots of leeches to be found. Luckily I wore knee length ladies stockings and full length tights. Leeches cant penetrate the ladies stockings so sometimes there are some adventurous leeches that will climb all the way up and find a juicy spot around the belly to suck blood.
We reach Camp Tikus around 2.30pm and quickly found our spot to put up our tents. Up in the mountains sometimes the weather changes quickly so it is better to set the tents. Water source is downhill about 2 mins just beside the trail towards Gunung Benum. The water is tea brown in colour probably due to tree trunks and dead leaves but nonetheless very clear. Have tried drinking it and taste like light chinese tea. Its better to be boiled for those with weak stomachs. You can take a bath further down from the collected pool of water (still tea brown in colour) and its icy cool at 5280 ft high. From the campsite you can see Genting Highlands and probably Gunung Rajah on a clear day or night.
KC as usual will be preparing ceylon tea and instant noodle. After a long trek the meals and drinks up here always taste different. As for dinner tonight KC has planned 'bak kut teh' vegetables, mushrooms and fried chicken feet (fried and supply by Onn) with 'bak kut teh' herbal ingredients from Klang famous 'mo sang ko'. Later a sweet desert of longan and 'lo hon go' to cool down.
We just had tea and noodles at 5.00pm and then dinner by 6.30pm! Talking about losing weight with mountain climbing is not possible here. A hash member once told me that he join hashing to lose weight and had four blocks of muscle around his abdomen. After running for about 6 months his four blocks of muscle now becomes only 1 big block and that is his beer belly.
After dinner it rained and we collected water using our flysheet which can be use for drinking and washing. See Tho did not sleep well and he felt chilly throughout the night. Around 1.45am the group of 8 arrived trekking throughout the night. I am thinking to myself another group of commandos. These people are tough.
Woke up at 6.00am. Today's climb is suppose to be tough and comparable to Gunung Chamah as there are about 35 hills to climb which consist of small hill and big hills. Small hills from 100 ft to about 750 ft covering about 12 km. We had tea and 'mee suah' for breakfast and carried some extra water to make hot 'milo' drink at the peak along with bread and snack bars. There are no water source from here onwards so you have to ration about 1.5l of drinking water. We started our trek at around 7.30am. We started at altitude of about 5,280 ft and for the next 2 hours we will be going up to 5,800 ft and back to 5,250 ft. Strange huh! but that is the nature of the toughness of Gunung Benum trek.
After an hour we started to notice large pitcher plants about 15 inches in height. They grow all over the place from ground level to tree top level. We started to take photos with the standard pose to ridiculous pose (which I will avoid posting, you know 'lah'). There are about 2 viewpoint of far away mountains which I cant identify.
For the next hour its just trekking and walking and walking until you reach a 'left behind' campsite maybe from past expedition and that will be another 1 hour plus to the peak. There are about 2 false peaks of about 750ft in height and the 3rd peak shall be the Gunung Benum Peak. Arrive at the peak at about 11.45am. See Tho looks pale and he then realized that he has high attitude sickness. That explains for his headaches and high heart beat rate. Took photos and hot milo, bread and biscuits for lunch before descending at 12.30 pm to campsite. It took about 3.5 hours to reach campsite at about 4.00pm.
Since it was early KC started chatting with Lim from Kuantan and possibly which mountain for the next climb and it was suggested Gunung Tapis and Pelangi Waterfall at Sungai Lembing, Kuantan, Pahang. Pelangi Waterfall is also known as rainbow waterfall. A little while later sand flies started appearing and what they do best is bite and suck blood. Either you wear socks or apply some anti-insect cream. KC prepared leek fried with sardine and french beans with anchovies which was quickly eaten with nothing to spare. Retired to tent at around 10.00pm and it started raining heavily after midnight. Our flysheet collapsed due to overload of water and my tent in particular was drenched. Had to re-tighten the 2nd layer flysheet for my tent so that water stops seeping in. Went back to sleep in wet and cold condition.
Woke up early and started packing while KC prepared a simple breakfast of hot milo with biscuits and snack bars. All pack and ready to go at 7.45 am. It was most downhill and the trail was slippery due early morning rain. Slip a few times and hook by thorns. Leeches were plenty and they were better prepared and got their fill of blood. Reach the river crossing at around 10.15am. Going downhill is definitely easier and faster. Some of us went to the Lata Berumbun Waterfall to wash up in the icy cold water. There were a group of campers who was packing up and getting ready to leave at the waterfall. Our 4wd was schedule to pick us up at around 12.00 noon. We heard the trail was quite inaccessible due to the heavy rains which had made the trail muddy and later Ah Ngah (HP 019-946 0807) our 4wd driver came and told us to walk out towards the next river crossing where they will ferried us back to our parking at Kuan Yin Temple about 45 mins away.
By the time all of were packed and ready to leave Kuan Yin Temple after taking a good bath it was around 1.30pm. The whole group dispersed to different restaurants for lunch. Our group of 6 went back to Restaurant Lo Yong to have our lunch. Later we contacted a local farmer for durians of the 'mou sang wong' variety along with mangosteens and bananas.
Overall it was a good weekend reaching home sweet home.
1. 45 mins 4wd to head trail near Lata Berumbun Waterfalls.
2. 4-5 hours to reach Camp Tikus (full backpack), distance about 8km with elevation of 3,200ft
3. 4-5 hours to reach Gunung Benum Peak (small day pack), distance about 12 km
with elevation of 1,700ft covering 35 hills.
4. 3-4 hours from Gunung Benum Peak to Camp Tikus.
5. 2-3 hours from Camp Tikus to Lata Berumbun Waterfalls.
6. Total distance to and fro Gunung Benum is about 40km
Click on play below to view slide show of trip to Gunung Benum
Mar 25, 2010
Gunung Bintang (Mount Star) (1862 m/6,144 ft March 19-21 2010 )is located on the border of Kedah/Perak near Kulim. The gathering point is at Sungai Sedim Waterfall or Sungai Sedim Forest Recreation Park. This is the highest mountain east of Penang Island. To reach Sungai Sedim Forest Recreation Park from Kuala Lumpur via the North-South Expressway exiting the toll at Bukit Merah to Selama. Alternatively it would be better to exit the toll at Alor Pongsu to Selama.
Sungai Sedim Forest Recreation Park has many attractions including the The Tree Top Walk or Canopy walk which is over 900 metres long and highest point at 50 metres. White water rafting is available here and it offers two packages. The most challenging being 6 hours ride from Level 1 to Level 4. Level 1 being easy to Level 5 which is considered too difficult or impossible. Other activities include mountain biking and team building events. In fact TV3 Explore Race final was held here in 2006.
Our journey started from KL and stopping in Sungkai at 1.30pm to meet up with another 5 friends to have lunch. The distance from KL to Sedim park is around 450 km and its better to take breaks during the long drive. After lunch we stop in Ipoh to have Ipoh famous white coffee and tea and finally dinner in Selama. While getting ready to eat in Selama the local council decided to fog the town and thus we had to stall our dinner awhile later. Guided by our GPS we pass through Mahang town and then towards Karangan town. Turn right before Karangan town and arriving at Sedim Park around 8.30pm. There was scattered showers and the ground was wet. Another group had camped at the trail head to Gunung Bintang. Sedim Park guide offered us accommodation in the wooden chalets back at the Park for RM$30 per chalet (max 6, comfortable for 4). We quickly took the offer as tomorrow will be a tough day ahead and after the many hours of driving this offer we couldn't resists. With bathing facilities it felt like 5 star and after refreshing ourselves, KC brought out the red bean desert for everyone to enjoy. We place an order for 20 'nasi lemak' at 60cents a pack for tomorrows breakfast. We chattered awhile before we repack our backpacks for tomorrow's trek and slept around 11.30pm.
Sleeping in the chalet was comfortable but it gets chilly and cold after midnight. 7.00 am rise and shine to have Sungai Pelek 'charcoal' bake bun for breakfast with 'teh O'. The 'nasi lemak' we ordered didn't arrive on time until much later at the start of the in trail. After packing we parked our cars near our chalets and were ferried by Toyota 4wd to join with the rest of the group (total 24 pax). The 4wd trail takes about 15 mins or 1 hour by foot to reach the headtrail. 3 4wd were use to ferry all of us and finally to begin our trek at 10.00am. Our next stop was a Campsite 1 which is currently under construction to build a hall with other smaller gazebos beside the waterfall. The head trail begins with a fairly flat gradient through what looks like a old logging trail with occasional bamboo grove overhanging the trail. And along the trail you will notice wild ginger flowers (reddish in color) and elephant droppings. The height here is around 1200 ft above sea level. Leeches are 'seen' along the trail and what's not 'seen' may have already started biting you. Along the way I rested a few time leaving my backpack on the ground and later found 1 leach already had its fill near my belly and the other at the back. They probably came up via the backpack. At around 11.40 am we reach Campsite 1 which a slow trek would require about 2.5 hours. We stop for a short snack and rested at the waterfall while others took pictures.
The trail to Campsite 2 is a gradual steep climb of about 3000 ft with occasional short downhill. One good thing is that the trails are well kept (by guides) and clean. From here onwards it gets tougher and with little sleep from last night we had to take more short stops to rejuvenate our strength. Along the way 'Siow Lee' from Serdang, Selangor was busy pointing out the many various wild orchids. Finally we reach Campsite 2 at around 3.15pm, the clouds looks menacingly dark even though we read in newspapers that Northern Malaysia was dry. My knees aches, it was injured three weeks ago and looks like it haven't recovered. Michael reach the campsite much earlier and 'book' a good spot to set up tent and cooking area. As usual we put up our tents and emptied our backpack contents into the tent and wrap up the backpack in big black garbage bag. This was shown to us years ago by a regular camper from Malacca (Chee Eng Pow). Keeping your backpack in garbage you can either tied it to a tree for safety and dry instead of keeping it in your tent which will definitely "smell". And of course more space in your tent means more comfort. Water source is about 50 m downhill (steep) and the guides told us that the water is crystal clear and icy cold even fishes cannot survive here. Not believing we went down to take a bath and collect water. Mark his words the water here is really icy cold. On second thought a sponge bath sounds more warm. I had the 'pleasure' to carry 10 liters of water uphill and its tiring. KC was already preparing hot water to make tea and a quick 'instant noodle' to satisfy our hunger which everyone quickly finish. And after that 'power nap' but KC was excited because she is preparing "all in one" dinner called Herbal Fish Vegetable Soup serve with hot piping rice. Sounds Delicious? What took about an hour of preparation was consumed in less than 15 mins. 7.00pm still bright but from a distance dark clouds gathered with the sound of rumbling thunder. Chit chat time... till about 9.00pm and it started to rain so..... crawl into tent to sleep. "listen to the rhythm of the falling rain.... pitter patter pitter patter..wouuuh woh..." nice song.
Wake up 7.00am KC went out to prepare our simple breakfast Fish Porridge (getting very fishy) while the rest started packing their stuff. The weather is fine and fresh from last nights rain. Today's trek to the peak will take about a "slow" 2 hours or a "fast" 1 hour. Just bring enough drinking water and snacks in a small backpack. We left campsite 2 at around 8.15 am. The ascend up is gradually steep again with a few downhills and our first stop was at the Bonsai Garden (8.35 am). The trees here takes up many slanting shapes and sizes as with most mountains due to strong winds and cold weather. There was tree with its bark almost completely strip off on one side possibly due to bears or even big cats. I call this the "scratching pole" for these big four legged friends. Next stop is at Gunung Bintang Kecil (9.20 am Mount Small Star) again taking many photographs and it is noticed from the last stop that there are many species of wild orchids with some of them blooming. Gunung Bintang is another half and hour away. All the way the trek is clean and wide, no climbing involved and this mountain is popular with trekkers from Penang Island. Finally we reach Gunung Bintang around 9.55 am. On a clear cloudless day you can catch a glimpse of Penang famous Komtar Tower and Penang Island but it was not to be as today it is cloudy and misty. Spending time here to relax to take more photos. There are small communication poles with solar charged batteries located around the peak. Most of them damaged by elephants. According to the guides, usually a small herd of elephants would normally arrive from Grik from June onwards for food. And on seeing this man made structure like the communication pole or the signboards they will destroy them. Amazing! And when they go back to Grik they will usually leave behind a young bull elephant to guard the area (outpost guard). Interesting! Now for some hot milo prepare by KC (the ever willing cook) to go with cakes and biscuits. After enjoying the mountainous view its time to descend. My injured knee starts complaining but still have to walk. Returning back to the camp takes a shorter time and more opportunity to take photos. Once we reach Campsite 2, a final pack up took about 20 min and reach Campsite 1 around 1.30 pm. Stop here for a quick lunch and to soothe our sore legs in the cool water of the waterfall. The weather turns for the worse with menacing dark clouds circling above. Left Campsite 1 around 1.40 pm and it started pouring. All along the trail it became slippery downhill from the rain water flow off. This time leeches were having a '24 person' high tea with enough for a second round. Finally reaching our head trail around 3.15 pm. By this time our muscles really ached because of walking in the rain with the muscle cooling down fast. At the 4wd gathering point everyone was inspecting for leeches and was especially found on most juicy part of the body. By the time everyone was ferried to the Sedim Recreation Park it was around 4.30 pm.
Since it is a Sunday the park was filled with visitors. Bath time at the river but be careful since it rained heavily and you will never know when the river would suddenly rise. Left the Sedim Recreation Park around 5.00pm for Nibong Tebal to have sea food especially the "Tu Boo Sung" in hokkien means small octopus and mini sweet & sour sting rays. Since it's the last day of the school holidays we took an extra hour to reach home with the heavy traffic.
Nov 2, 2009
Gunung Hantu Besar (1,450 m / 4785 ft) and Kecil is located north of Titi, which is situated in the Kuala Kelawang, Jelebu district, Negeri Sembilan. Titi or also known as 'titi kong' in chinese was the place where a nearby village of about 1,500 villages were massacred during World War II by the occupying Japanese forces. Today it is famous for its fruits and vegetables. Titi pineapples are much sought after and its durian are also delicious. You can drive to Titi either through the Cheras/Ampang junction, 9th Mile Cheras/Pekan, Semenyih/Jalan Kacau and Broga/Lenggeng road for those coming from Kuala Lumpur or Kajang area. It takes an average time of about 1.5 hours to reach Titi.
A hike up to Gunung Hantu Besar and Kecil could be achieved in a day. Our group after initial consideration that to travel more than 70km and then through 1 hour of 4wd road to reach the Lata Kijang waterfalls it was better to camp somewhere near the peak with the last water point.
Our meeting point usually starts with a meal at the Hakka Restaurant at Titi for lunch. Upon reaching there only to find out that the Hakka Restaurant only opens after 3.00pm. We had to adjourned to the opposite Restaurant which also serves Hakka style cooking. As more friends started arriving and having their meals the others just chatted away until it was time to depart. Just a short distant away you could find famous Hakka desserts like 'chu yap pan' which roughly translate as 'rough leaf pancake' which is dark greenish in color and excellent as a snack during our hike.
From Titi drive towards Kampung Kongkoi and then towards to Kampung Chennah and on the left the start of the 4WD trail which on dry days is passable with normal sedan cars but not on rainy days. If you miss this left turn (4WD trail) there is another left 4WD trail. The 4WD trail to Lata Kijang waterfalls is about 15km but takes about an hour of driving passing through Kampung Esok, Kampung Tohor and finally Kampung London. And finally the Lata Kijang waterfalls which has very narrow parking and take care to allow other cars to turn out. Our 4wd vehicle Suzuki SJ410 (2 door) driven by Wong HM with full backpacks and 2 passengers wasn't luxury but bumpy without air-con and KC at the back was really cramped up. One of those Toyota Hilux would really make our day.
We started unloading our backpacks and into 'ready to trek' mode. We started trekking crossing the waterfall with a full view of Lata Kijang waterfalls. The time is 3.15pm and walking 352 steps (more than Batu Caves) straight up with steep gradient (take your time). It takes about half and hour including some photo takes to reach the end of the stairs, it may sound easy but try it and you will know. Then another 1/2 hour following the logging trail and upon reaching a small 'orang asli' community and turn right following a distinct trail. There will be another small river crossing and from here onwards the trek is gradual.
From the Lata Kijang waterfalls to the Camp Orchid will take about 3 hours. Camp Orchid is about 1000m above sea level and is fairly flat and can accommodate about 40 tents depending how you place them. We quickly set up our tents and sensing it might rain soon we went to the water point which is about 5 mins away down slope. Collect the water before it rains otherwise it will be brownish in color. At this height the water is cold and as we started to take a bath, it started raining heavily and it gets very cold (you might consider taking a sponge bath). Take care on your walk from the water point up the slippery trail to Camp Orchid. Tonight dinner is a simple 'nasi goreng kampung' or fried rice which was precook and frozen. So it takes a short while to heat it up and 'voila' ready to eat and the rain stopped in time to enjoy a comfortable meal. The other members were still cooking and meanwhile KC started preparing dessert for supper which is a mixture of 'longan, tung kua, pak kor and others' a sweet desert or in Chinese called 'tong sui'. After having our dessert we retire early for the night and it started raining heavily again. We were nicely tuck in our warm tents while the rain made a nice sleepy tune.
7.00am wake up time. Other campers were already complaining about water seeping through their tent (Always make sure you have a real all weather tent). Breakfast with mushroom soup, bread and left over fried rice. 8.15am started trekking to Gunung Hantu Besar and there is only one trail to the summit and we took about 1hour. The morning air was fresh and cool and it helps a lot to ascent 1500 ft in 1 hour. The peak is small fairly flat terrain and there was already a group of campers who arrive last night and was getting ready to descend. It was very windy and clouds covered the view every now and then. From Gunung Hantu Besar peak you could see Gunung Hantu Kecil, Genting Highlands and KL Tower. We spent some time taking more photos and with KC preparing tea and butter cake (made by her) for lunch.
Next stop to Gunung Hantu Kecil. From Hantu Besar when you view Hantu Kecil especially the earlier campers who just reach the peak of Hantu Kecil you could faintly see them among the bonsai trees. We trek back the trail (our IN trail) from Hantu Besar and there is a junction turning right which leads to Hantu Kecil. It will take about an hour and upon nearing the peak of Hantu Kecil it will become steep and in some places you have to use both your hands as well (reminiscence of Gunung Korbu) Hantu Kecil peak is covered with thick vegetation and with only a clear view of Hantu Besar.
Trek back to camp orchid to pack up. It's noon and getting hot. Reach the orang asli community around 2.30pm. KC had ordered a basket weave from bamboo and they wanted RM$10.00. We emptied our extra food to them and continue to the Lata Kijang waterfalls arriving at 3.30pm. Relax and took a good bath while admiring the waterfalls and the surrounding area. Dinner at Titi's Hakka
Restaurant ordering the popular hakka dishes and back home riding the bumpy 4wd Suzuki.
Sep 29, 2009
Gunung Tebu - 1,037m (3401 ft)
Hutan Lipur Lata Belatan (N5 38.330 E102 35.195)
Actually we were supposed to climb Gunung Benom but our guide Lim from Kuantan (Cemerong and Gunung Berumbun guide) informed us that Gunung Benom trail has a small campsite and seeing our large group of more that 30 members making it difficult to accommodate. While we thought about it, Lim suggested Gunung Tebu. Gunung Tebu or literally translated as sugarcane mountain is located in the Besut District. This mountain on a clear day can view the South China Sea together with the famous Pulau Redang, Pulau Lang Tengah, Pulau Perhentian Besar and Kecil. Furthermore this mountain has many legends and mysticism surrounding it. Some people would spend months up here in solitude and meditation. You can find graves up there and there's one near the campsite overlooking the South China Sea. This grave, I was told belonged to Tuan Haji Tok Singh which cannot be confirm. There are many various wildlife, herbs and bonsai trees found here. During the monsoon season the winds and storms are fierce so make sure your tents are well peg down.
The road distance from Kuala Lumpur is approximately 530 km passing through Bentong, Raub, Kuala Lipis, Gua Musang, Jertih and finally Besut. Our usual team member Michael Lim could not make it and instead a new member Sabryna Lim (nature tourist guide from Kuala Tahan, Taman Negara) join us (includingWong, KC and myself). We had a smooth troubled free drive especially using a GPS which guided us here. We left Kuala Lumpur around 7.00pm and arrived at Hutan Lipur Lata Belatan at about 2.30pm driving at a leisure pace including stops for breakfast, tea breaks and finally lunch at Jertih town. Breakfast near the morning market in Bentong is the popular 'wan tan mee' or you can buy the many local snacks around the market. Traffic was relatively low and probably due to the fasting month for muslims. It is interesting to note that to arrive at our destination we cover 4 states (Selangor, Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu).
Lata Belatan Recreation Park has good facilities from campsites to toilets with water supply. It has a wide waterfall area surrounded by park benches and gazebos. From Hutan Lipur Lata Belatan where the trail head starts it takes about 3 to 4 hours with backpack to the peak. For those who prefer to camp at Hutan Lipur Lata Belatan can hike up to the peak probably less than 3 hours without backpacks. This time estimation are for those who trek regularly. Especially after the long drive it is better to camp at Lata Belatan Recreation Park. We were first to arrive and chose a nice cozy spot (gazebo with opposite bench) at the highest point near the waterfall to camp for the night. Since it was early we laze around at the waterfall while waiting for the others to arrive. As night fall KC started preparing dinner. Dinner consisted of salted chicken (pre-pack by Wong's wife), chicken and vegetable soup with rice. Delicious mmm! We slept early around 9.30pm. Since the 2 benches (opposite sides) were taken up by Sabryna and Wong, we had to pitch our tent in the middle. At around midnight there was heavy thunderstorm and strong winds and everyone woke up, rainwater started coming in. With quick thinking we started tying our floor sheets around the gazebo like a hut to keep us dry. We woke up around 7.30 am thinking that it was still dark, actually it was dark because of the floor sheet covering our sleeping area. We had noodles with soup and tea. Packing quickly and started the trek at around 8.30am, Lim (our guide) had arrived one day earlier and camp at the peak, he was very helpful by laying a paper trail guiding us to the top.
The trail is also well marked with fairly flat terrain and after a river crossing the trail has moderate gradient. In the earlier part of the trail there are many campsites by the river for small groups. After trekking for 2 hours we arrived at Batu Mat Hassan for a short break and for some snacks. From here onwards the gradient becomes steeper a short while you will reach another stop call Jendela Pandang or view point. And another 10 mins to another stop where water source is about 120m downwards for crystal clear drinking water. This point onwards another 2km to the peak. Usually campers don't camp at this peak and instead take a left trail down towards a bigger campsite and it is here you can view the South China Sea and the islands. There is a water source towards the right and about 15 mins. Upon arriving in the afternoon it is hot so we found a nice little spot near to the rocks for some shelter. A better choice would be relax at Lata Belatan and start trekking after lunch so that you arrive at this campsite around 5 where it is cooler.
The previous night Lim (Kuantan) and his friends that camped here had a nasty experience as it rain heavily with very strong winds and one of their tents which was not peg down was blown away. Luckily they managed to retrieve it back. As I reach this campsite I met 2 gentlemen and their told me they had been here since the start of the Puasa month and will only return to Kuala Terengganu on Hari Raya. One of them Mohd Shuib was very kind to peg down all our tents by cutting branches into pegs for our tents and warn us about the strong winds. Dinner for tonight was special rice soup with vegetables and dry shrimps that was eaten commonly during the post War World II. Since rice, meat and vegetables were scarce so most people ate sparingly whatever that can be saved. People back then were lean with not much fat unlike today where the obesity level has reached alarming stage. Immediately after dinner, KC started preparing for supper (talk about exercising to slim down) ginger and tapioca sweet dessert which was served piping hot and under the clear night and a slight cool breeze really sums up what camping is about. After that we just laze around on the big boulder and chat away till our eyes became heavy to call it a night. From a distance you could see flashes and the sound of thunder but luckily no rain for us.
Morning rise and shine, a simple breakfast of hot tea and biscuits. After that everyone started packing and getting ready to leave. Well any extra food was left behind for the two gentlemen. The trek down was fairly fast and we reach the Lata Belatan park within 3 hours. Took a nice cool bath and change to a fresh set of clothes. And back to Jertih for a delicious lunch. As it was still earlier we decided to detour to Gua Ikan and Jelawang Waterfall (Stong Waterfall). Dinner in Kampung Sempalit, Raub and back home. What a long drive but another great camping holiday and very economical. With food, accommodation, toll and fuel works out to about $120 per person.
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Aug 6, 2009
July 24 - 26 2009. We were informed by our organiser 'Lau Lee' that Cemerong Waterfalls would take about 4 hours. On checking on the website, the time taken from the carpark of Hutan Lipur Cemerong or Cemerong Recreation Park to Cemerong Waterfalls would take only 45 mins. Excited that it requires less than 4 hours of trekking that I decided to invite new comers to join us for this trek. We even offered to carry all the food and floor sheets to lighten their load. Tempted by the offer 3 couples and San Kow's (Wong) wife San Yong decide to go along. Even TJ from Ipoh join in the trip.
Due to the long road trip from KL to Kuantan, we decided to stay overnight in Kuantan before driving about 2 hours to Hutan Lipur Cemerong. Had a delicious seafood dinner at one of the many restaurant here and then help to repack their backpacks optimally to suit the new comers. We retired early to make sure we rested well for tomorrow's climb. We arrive at Hutan Lipur Cemerong around 10 am and started trekking in around 10.20am. Thats when we realised that we underestimate this trail as for the next 7 hours there were river crossing, many steep uphils and downhills. The new comers look really tired. We trek with them at their pace which gave them confidence and finally reaching Gunung Berumbun 3,405 ft (1108m) around 3.30pm. Thats when we told them it was another 1.25 km to Lansir Waterfall and our campsite. The ladies were complaining, well who wouldn't as they have never experience such difficult trek. Well after resting awhile and cracking some jokes, they felt better and continue for another 45 mins before reaching Lansir Waterfall.
As our group numbered about 40+ there weren't enough space to set up the tents. So we decided to camp over the boulders, overlooking the waterfall and valley which turns out to be the best spot. Easy access to water, good clean places to sit and a great view of the valley and in the night full view of the stars. Well after 7 hours of trekking everyone was hungry. So instant noodle to satisfy their stomach and a hot cup of tea. Dinner for tonight consists of 'pan mee' or mee made from flour and eggs with vegetables and anchovies soup for flavoring. As for supper, hot ginger sweet potatoes really make our day and at the height of about 3000 ft it becomes chilly after chatting for a while we all went to bed around 10 pm, very early.
Morning rise and shine, simple bread and peanut butter for breakfast and hot tea. Took some photographs of the wild orchids seen near downstream. We started our descend around 8.30am and our next stop is at Cemerong waterfall with more uphills and downhills to climb and finally reaching the junction at around 1.30pm .This junction is a small river crossing which is about 3 mins to Cemerong Waterfalls. KC and myself reach first and started preparing hot instant noodle and waited for the rest to arrive. By this time they all look really really tired. After resting and eating hot instant noodle they manage to smile and for a moment forgot about their fatigue. We urge them to soak in the cool stream which really made them relax. Then off to view Cemerong Waterfalls which is estimated to be about 1000 ft high or less than 300m, (can someone confirm on that?). Cemerong Waterfall is worth a visit and looking impressive. We took photographs but the sunlight from that angle makes it difficult to set the exposure setting of the camera. After spending a short time we started trekking back to our carpark which is about 45 mins away and back to civilisation.
After taking a good bath and into a new set of clothes we headed to Kemaman to have seafood before driving back home with wonderful memories.
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Aug 1, 2009
Gunung Irau (6,924 ft - 2,110 m) or Mount Irau, sometimes also called mossy forest is situated beside the Perak - Pahang border near Cameron Highlands. At 2,110 m it stands as the 9th highest peak in West Malaysia. Usually a mountain at this height will require about 3 days/2 nights trek but since you can drive up to Cameron Highlands it has become a 4-6 hours trek. We drive up using the Tapah - Cameron Highland Road and drive down using Cameron Highland - Simpang Pulai road. And 'camp' in comfort from the many accommodations available in Cameron Highlands. Even though a 4-6 hours trek might look like a tame affair but don't be mislead by its nickname mossy forest as the trails past through many steep terrains, muddy trails and because of the many 'bonsai' trees with exposed roots makes it difficult and sometimes hands are also required for the trek to Gunung Irau. From the car park (trail head) to the Gunung Irau peak the straight line distance is about 3.5 km but actually may be about 5 km.
Sometimes if space permits you can actually camp around the car park area but water source is not available and you have to bring your own water with extra for cleaning yourself up after the muddy trek. Needless to say it will be muddier when it rains. Things to bring are a good trail shoe, rain jacket, torch light (small led type) if you go in after 12 noon, whistle, first aid kit, snack food, camping gas and stove are optional unless you like to enjoy a hot drink and perhaps instant noodle, about 1.5 liter of water, optional gloves.
This trek will be different as in addition to our usual team of 4, we have 19 friends who were lured to join us especially being told that we would be staying in apartments with hot water and nice warm beds. Together with the rest of other members it was estimated around 60 people trek up to Gunung Irau. The trail will be noticeable with so many trekkers but for safety reasons the lead group laid small pieces of paper (biodegradable) along the way to mark the trail. As experience shows sometimes people due to tiredness may sometimes end up trekking the wrong trail. As early from 7 am people were trekking in, so as to avoid 'trekkers jam' (traffic) so you can see people walking in and out from Gunung Irau. Today's weather was sunny, the air was cool and the trek was fairly dry and clean except for some muddy paths.
As we started trekking in, you can see the excitement for newcomers with much anticipation and pace but for our regulars we just took our time and especially with lots of photographs. Man Tuck (Puchong) and TJ Tan (Ipoh) were photography enthusiasts and were having a field day. After about 1 hour, hah!.... you start to see tired faces and muddy shoes, we reach baby Irau after 2 hours. Another less than 1 km to Gunung Irau peak which will take about 45 mins. For new comers they started to complain about 'pain', 'my arms and legs are tired', 'why so long havent reach yet', 'how far more', 'look my hands and feet are shaking' and the best 'I dont want to go anymore'.
Now is the time to motivate them to go another 1 hour of trekking. You have come so far and the peak is yet so near, 'don't give up', 'we will wait for you', 'take your time its still early'. You can really see the look on their face. Most of them continue but for the few they will wait for us on the return trek but having doubts about them waiting which I later confirmed that they trek back to the car park when we continue to Gunung Irau peak.
Upon reaching the peak, it was already crowded but nevertheless we still found a good spot to make a hot cup of tea and some biscuits to go. Practically everyone was taking photos with the movable sign (Welcome To Gunung Irau 2110 m). Once we took enough pictures and rested enough and started descending to the car park. Along the way you could see 'new trekkers' applying counter pain ointment to their muscles with hint of cramps coming. Finally to the carpark around 4.00 pm and like most mountainous regions it will get misty and cold. We wash off the mud and dirt (spare water for this purpose) before getting into our cars and back to our comfortable 'camps' with hot water waiting for us.
One of the best meal you can have among friends is the hot steam boat in cool and cold Cameron Highlands prepared by the ladies. After our satisfying dinner we went to the night market in Brinchang where food, vegetables, fruits, clothings etc. are available. We laze around sipping hot chinese tea and chat till bedtime. Breakfast in one of the many coffee shops and off to buy vegetables and a leisurely drive back home to hustle and bustle of city living but with good weekend holiday. (our next stop in July to Cemerong Waterfall in Trengganu)
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May 17, 2009
800m (2640 ft)
Trekking to Bukit Kledang or popularly known as RTM trail in Menglembu. Menglembu is a small township in Ipoh but lately there have been development especially residential and shophouses. Menglembu or in chinese Wan Li Moong which stands for "view of ten thousand miles". From the many trails leading towards the peak you can view far and wide.
Kledang hill is very popular with the locals from around Ipoh where hundreds each day come here to trek up the many trails and descend usually through the tar road. You can actually drive a car (4wd preferable) all the way up to the broadcasting tower or popularly known as RTM station at the peak.
It is so popular that sometimes during Sundays or public holidays from dusk till dawn people will be trekking the many trails. There are four distinct trail known as 4-2 (1 hour), 4-3(1.5 hours), 4-9(2 hours) and RTM Trail(4 hours).
Our friend and guide TJ invited us to trek RTM trail. There are plenty of spaces to park your cars (park orderly) and we started around 1.15pm. It was a hot usual afternoon and we walk near trees to shield the sun whenever we can. For about 10 mins there were no shades so we hurriedly along the trail until we reach the entry point going into the jungle. A steep 10 mins walk we arrive at a junction where the left is 4-2 trail which is an exposed trail and very hot. And the right is where the 4-3, 4-9 and RTM trails are. It is shady, good clean trail until we hear water gushing (small waterfall). Here there is another junction where turning right is the RTM trail and left 4-9. There are plenty of markings so it's difficult to go off trail unless you have a wondering mind. From this point the height is around 1000 ft and after that is steep all the way to the peak at 2640 ft.
Along the way we snap photos of geckos (lizards), millipede, Gibbons of the Siamang species and miss the (photo) 1 metre green snake . I hope I am correct as these siamang or tree monkeys (they spend most of their time on trees) are black and hairy without tail. Finally around 3.00pm we reach the RTM station to have some chocolate and rested awhile.
Followed the road towards the car park. Along the way you can noticed milestones on the road shoulder with names like "Spooner's Rest, Isherwood's Avenue and Foong's Fury". I can only speculate that it was left by the engineers build before Merdeka (Independence). After walking for about 20 mins it started raining and that's when the umbrella became handy. Its pouring and it takes about 1 hour plus of walking.
Finally to carpark and its still raining which makes us hungry. And Ipoh is famous for food.
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Apr 29, 2009
Gunung Batu Putih is the 8th highest peak in Peninsula Malaysia (West Malaysia) standing at 6,993 ft (2,131 m) above sea level. So after conquering the G7 mountains (mountain peaks above 7,000 ft) next will the the G10 (10 highest mountain). It is situated in the state of Perak-Pahang border. Our meeting point at 8.30am on 24th April 2009 at Tapah Toll exit. We had to wake up at 5.00 am (something most of us dread doing) and sleeping around at 2.30 am the night before was no help either. Our sub-group of four that is Michael Lim, Wong Hok Mew, KC and myself was going to meet the rest of the group of 18.
Our spirits were with high expectations and in the best shape, enjoyed our breakfast at Sungai Chua New Village, Kajang. Gunung Batu Putih trail starts at Kuala Woh Recreation which is about 10km from Tapah along the Tapah road to Cameron Highland. As we pass Kuala Woh Recreation there is a road passing the Kuala Woh Dam and along the way you can see modern looking Orang Asli huts (houses) on both sides that finally ends with a signboard that says Bukit Tapah Forest Reserve. There were about 9 cars which about occupies all available parking space and of course the very reasonable parking fees to ensure your vehicle's safety.
As we assemble our backpacks (which was already pack), the four of us had decided to engage a orang asli porter (RM300 for 3 days). We provided a 55+10L backpack and put our food ration and cooking utensils weighing a total of 15 kg. The porters clothing would be around 4-5 kg. Our group size is 22 climbers, 4 orang asli porters and Chin Man our chief guide. Chin Man says that it was not necessary to carry tents as they could sleep under the big boulder with overhanging canopy and enough space for everyone. Well, we brought our tents as we felt more comfortable. All the necessary paper work was done by Chin Man and a group photo before the climb.
Day 1, we started at 9.45am taking the trail just behind the guard house. The trail followed the river and occasionally moving inwards and then back to the river, after an hour of trekking we arrive at the river crossing which requires most trekkers to get their feet wet. I beg to differ and remove my shoes and socks and move up river and tried crossing by jumping from rock to rock. Almost! Almost but alas! still wet my feet as all rocks towards the other side were under water. And by the way be prepare for leeches (our buddies for all Gunung treks). The river here has crystal clear water and everyone made up their mind to swim here on the way back. The height here is around 1000 ft above sea level and once after this point we started trekking upwards gradually passing by streams taking short 2-5 mins break before stopping for lunch around 12.30 pm at a stream which is the source for our drinking water. This is where I noticed a mountain crab swimming in the stream. I wonder whats a crab doing up here in the mountains. We took snack bars for lunch while other climbing mates took the rice dumplings (bak chang). After this stop its steep upwards to our campsite at 3600 ft. With a 12-15 kg backpack and rice dumpling with all the tireless effort trekking the steep terrain gonna' give you indigestion. This trip was a bit relax because the four of us shared a porter lightening our loads by 3.5 kg. When we approach the campsite at around 3.30pm you suddenly notice there is big boulder with empty spaces beneath. This boulder with the canopy reminds me of the Sepang F1 Grand Stand. The first thing is to search for a suitable place to set the tents and cooking area. The cooking area is the entrance to a long and narrow hole that looks like a torpedo launch site. Our tent site area is a bit uneven but manageable. Our source of water is a minute walk down below where water gushers out from the rock. The water is icy cool and it tastes better than any mineral water. KC cook a quick meal of teh'o'and instant noodle, somehow up here everything tasted delicious. Dinner was served at 7.00pm with pre fried chicken, mixed vegetable soup and fried eggs. Since it was the first night we decided to tuck in early around 8.30pm, something difficult doing at home.
Day 2, woke up around 7.00am, KC shouted what happened to our 2 jumbo loaf of bread. 1 was missing and another with the top torn opened. Very hungry jungle rats ate our breakfast and lunch and 2 sticks of candles, mmm.... rats! Well not to be alarmed, usually we would pack an extra day of food. Todays climb 1st hour very steep then gradual, then steep again, then gradual then some climbing. Just pack about 1.5 litre of water and some lunch snacks for trek to the peak which will take about 4 hours. We started at 8.30am, rest at the botak hill (usually most gunung will have a botak hill) and a view of mountainous surrounding with Gunung Batu Putih within sight. Estimated to the peak less than 2 hours. The trek up pass by mossy forest and some areas with strong winds makes it cold. Just trek at a steady pace, those at the front would lay some papers marking the trail, we usually try to walk in two's or three's for safety and conversation. Reach peak at 11.45am and a tri-post marking Gunung Batu Putih, clear skies and beautiful weather. We spend about an hour on food, photos and to enjoyed the surroundings. Descended after 12.45pm, reach the campsite around 3.00pm. The descend is always faster than the ascend. Took our bath and rested till dinner time. After dinner we just lazed around looking out into the dark jungle and listened to the Gunung Batu Putih Philharmonic Orchestra performing continously till morning. Our thoughts on how lucky we here, to be able to enjoyed nature as it intended to be, no tv, no handphones, no radio and not going anywhere. The creatures of the night played many tunes somtimes to a roar and sometimes to soothing sound of flute, I wondered thats how Mozart, Bach and others must have got their inspiration for their classical pieces.
Day 3, after breakfast, pack up and left Gunung Batu Putih with good memories of a good climb and relax atmosphere Trekking at a steady pace we reach the guard house at around 12.00pm. Some came later as they were swimming at the crystal clear water. Lunch at Sungkai famous salted chicken. And yeah with body aches and pain to go.
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