Jul 23, 2007

Cave Kandu, Gopeng, Perak

We have made a booking for 30 persons at Rumah Rehat Adeline on the 21st and 22nd July 2007. We have make arrangement to gather at Gopeng toll Exit at 10 am. There are 12 of us from Kajang, 12 from Klang and 6 from Setiawan. We proceeded to Gopeng town to have breakfast for those who missed their breakfast while waiting for the Setiawan group to join us. Finally when everyone assembled we convoy into Adeline Rumah Rehat which is 6KM away from the town. The road leading to the Rumah Rehat is narrow and winding and you have to keep blasting the horn at blind corners to warn oncoming cars. When we arrived at Rumah Rehat we were shown to our sleeping areas. The main (first) building with two big rooms which can accommodate 10 person each. Adeline has prepared 6 extra tents for us for those who wants to enjoy nature at ground level. Some occupied another 4 rooms at the north side. It is durian season and our trip includes 4 meals (1 lunch, 1 tea break, 1 dinner and 1 breakfast), it also includes durian, rambutan and mangosteen on the house for RM$102.00 per person.

Cave Kandu with slopes and tunnels and KC posing with a LION Head rock formation.

Our lunch is at 12.30 and while waiting for our lunch we went around looking for durians. We managed to collect a few and ate them right away. After lunch only 16 of us registered for Gua Kandu (Cave Kandu - additional RM$30.00). Cave Kandu was once occupied by the communist just after the WW II and till today you can see communist poem being written in Mandarin and vandalized by visitors. We boarded a lorry to ferry us to Cave Kandu and riding at the back is first experience for many of us. Our caving started at 2pm and ended at 4pm. This cave which was once occupied by the communist and there are many chambers and tunnels which would require a full day tour if you wish to visit all of them but only for the physically fit. Therefore you need an experienced guide to take you around. The Guide instead of the normal entry and he took us the back way. The 'stick insect' which we found in Broga (posted in YouTube) was also found here. It look exactly like a twig when it lies still. We were told this insect can be found in many places and its difficult to see them because they looked like twigs. It is a 100m steep climb and the reason why he took this route because if we were to exit this way it would be very steep and slippery after the rain.

After caving we were brought back to Rumah Rehat Adeline to have our tea break. We have 'teh tarik' and 'kuih udang' (prawn fritter). Later we assembled the rest of them for the next event, waterfall and body rafting. Instead of making 2 trips to the waterfall, all of us were squeeze into the lorry. Other then the famous 'white water rafting' which cost RM150 per person, the body rafting is free of charge but must have courage for the first attempt. Only 8 of them tried the body rafting. To body raft safely, you must lie flat with both hands loosely spread out for guiding, do not sit up or you will have sore bums, don't stand up while floating down and finally relax for a exhilarating ride down. The first time most of us will gulp some of the water and after that you will be more experience. The rest will enjoy the cool water either wading or swimming around the area. Later back at Rumah Rehat we took bath and the water feels icy.

Dinner is at 7pm and durian party at 9pm. After dinner we didn't wait and started to have our durian at 8.30pm even though we were still full after the heavy dinner. KC opened almost 65 durian fruits and most us of have no problem eating them, greediness knows no bound. We have tea 'O' after eating durian. Later some of them who have been friends for 30 years chit chatted till 2am and their children played card games till 3am in the morning. Morning breakfast is at 8am and after breakfast is free and easy. Some prefer to skip breakfast and sleep till 11am. Many commented that in Rumah Rehat Adeline one has no chance to get hungry and there are plenty of good food cooked personally by Adeline.

We left Rumah Rehat at around 11.00 am and our next itinerary was to have lunch at the famous "Yong Wai" Roasted duck and also to buy "Heong Pang" (a local biscuit delicacy) a few shops away from the restaurant. After our heavy lunch we went to visit "Kek Lok Tong" Temple Cave. We spent almost 1 hour there enjoying the cool breeze and decided to abandon our seafood trip at "Tualang" because of too much eating. Before we left Ipoh we went to have their famous coffee at one of the food courts. It started raining and some of us convoy using the old trunk road to avoid paying toll (save RM$20.00) by going back into the highway through Rawang.

Have fun and be happy! ♥

Body Rafting down a small rapid.
Posting by KC

Jul 20, 2007

Sungai Lembing, Kuantan, Pahang

On 1st Oct 2006, our friend Yvonne Kew from Kuantan volunteered to bring us to climb the famous Bukit Lembing (Lembing Hill) which is about 42 km northwest of Kuantan. Bukit Lembing offers a beautiful sunrise view as well as the surrounding sleepy town of Sungai Lembing (Lembing River). It is rainy season in October and if it rains in the morning we will continue with our sleep and do the climbing in our dream. We were lucky that it was not raining but unlucky that we could not continue our sleep at the beautiful Swiss Garden Hotel resort. Our morning call was at 4am, imagine the best time to sleep. The journey to Sg. Lembing will take almost an hour. The climb or rather walk up the hill is almost 45 minute in the dark along the concrete steps with railings at the side. Hoping to see sunrise but unfortunately it was drizzling and too misty to view. We plan to have 'tea tarik' up there and enjoy the scenic view of Lembing town. You can see the whole Lembing town and the Sg. Lembing. The river at one time flooded the whole town. Imagine the whole town was submerged in water. Many villagers had to climb this hill to escape the flood. Until today you can find the marking of the flood level, marked as a red line on the shop front. After our 'tea tarik', we waited till it was brighter before walking down. All the way down to the morning market to have our breakfast. This town is also famous for 'tow foo" (bean curd) soft and 'slippery'. The folks here produces the traditional coconut biscuit 'yer pang' which is popular among its visitors. There is not much activity in this town because most of the younger generations have left this sleepy (really sleepy) town and only to come home during weekends or the festive holidays. This town is prone to flooding especially during raining season. After eaten the famous Lembing 'tow foo', we shop for the "yer pang" and took a photo of the flood markings on the shop front. In the morning it is cool and refreshing in Sg. Lembing and we decided to explore the town from one end to other.

There is a muzeum in Sg. Lembing and we didn't get to visit it because it was weekend. The largest underground tin mining in the world is in Sg. Lembing but today sad to say has stop operation. We will plan to come again and this time during the dry season hopefully we will catch the sunrise.

Jul 14, 2007

Betung, Southern Thailand

It was a 3 days 1 night tour to Betung, Southern Thailand. This place is famous for communist's tunnel - Piyamit Tunnel. This is the main attraction of Betung other than the usual visit of Thai temple. Our mode of transport was a 44 seater bus and we started our journey from Kajang at 10pm. We were expecting to reach the border early in the morning. Our bus is the first to reach the Malaysia immigration and waited for a while for them to open. The border crossing is normally close from 11.oo pm to 6.00 am. After getting our passports stamped at the Malaysian Immigration and the Thailand Immigration . We were introduced to the local guide named Ah Meng, an ex-communist. Most of the Chinese here were once communist. When we reached Betung town, we went for our breakfast and later checked into our hotel. The only 3 star hotel in Betung and later we assembled at the lobby to visit the communist's tunnel. The guide told us that Betung was also confused with Bentong, Pahang and a long time ago when relatives came from China some went to Betung, Thailand and some to Bentong, Pahang. Therefore it is not surprising that there are many relatives on both sides of the border. The organizer had arranged a big 'tut tut' (transport) for us because the roads cannot be access by bus, further more it has to be a 4 WD.

Piyamit Tunnel is the Malaya Communist's base build for bombshells and storing food supplies, the battlefield bases are located on the mountain top in the midst of the deep forests which separates the boundaries of Thailand and Malaysia which includes the area of Yala provinces. The Piyamit Tunnel was build in 1977 with 1 KM in length and 5 - 6 feet wide and it took 3 months for excavation of 50 man. There are 9 entrance/exit paths. To tour the tunnel you need to pay an entrance fee which is not included in the package.

The big "tut tut" which can carry almost 30 to 40 passengers. There are 2 rows at each side and 1 row in the middle. The road leading to the tunnel is narrow and winding and sometimes muddy. There are a few souvenir shops and for those who are not interested to visit the tunnel, you can shop around and take photos. We bought a wood carving with a herd of elephant made from chengal wood which cost us RM90 only. The next stop a visit to a hot spring on the way back to the town and you can buy hard boiled eggs which were cook in the hot sulfur pond (suppose to make you "strong"). Every time when you visit Thailand try their local delicacies such as 'tom yam' soup, chicken feet, desserts and etc. After lunch, we visited their famous garden and temples. Dinner is provided in the hotel with live singing. It was free and easy after dinner. You can walk around town and do some shopping or try the various types of local food. There are many entertainment outlets that provides live band performance, pubs, traditional Thai massage, foot massage and others.

Next morning after breakfast visit the morning market to do some last minute shopping. There are various local products such as coconut candy, biscuit, sweet cakes and glutinous rice dumpling. Check out by 12 noon and proceed to the Thai immigration and later to Malaysia immigration where all baggages are check by the customs so it will take some time. The trip to Betung was an eye opener of sorts as we understand how it came about due to the early communist years. We had our lunch in Ipoh where we shop for our Malaysian snacks and the famous salted chicken. We reached Kajang almost 10 pm at night. It was a good and affordable trip.

Have fun and be happy. ☺
This posting by KC

Jul 9, 2007

Mount Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia

Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in South East Asia (4095m/13,435 ft). We have heard and read so much about it and when we talk about mountain climbing, this question always been asked "have you climb Mt. Kinabalu?" Some of our friend have scaled it successfully and some have not and some have been there more than one time. Those who don't reach the Low's Peak will be given a black and white certificate. Despite its height it is one of the easiest mountain to climb and even my father (64 years old) got a color certificate, so it is "sap sap sui" (easy).

On Oct 2004, we decided to scale this beautiful mountain. I won't call it a camping trip because no heavy backpack to carry, no need to pitch tent and not many uphill and downhill to reach the peak. That is the reason for thousands of all ages and fitness levels scale it every year. We booked 2 air tickets from Air Asia during the offer period at RM230 per person (to and fro) and book our stay for Laban Rata (base camp just before the peak) through telephone. We reach Kota Kinabalu one day earlier and stayed overnight at one of our friend's house (Catherine Ringingon) and she is Kadazan. Next morning she and her assistant drove us to the Kinabalu National Park headquarter where our climb started (1563M/5163ft). October to December is the raining season and it was raining all week but luck await us, it stop raining on the day of our arrival and started raining after our climb. Our plans were to abort if it rains at the Laban Rata base camp
After the registration and paying the necessary fees, Catherine R. sent us to the Timpohan gate (1800m/5900ft), entry point to start of climb and agreed to pick us the following day after the decent.

The walk to Laban Rata hut can be accomplished in 3 to 6 hours and it must always be accompanied by a registered guide. Our guide name is Dawat, he share his experience as a porter before qualifying as a guide. Being porters they can carry baggages weighing between 40-60 kilos. Climbing at such high altitude you have to take it easy (you have plenty of time) to avoid high altitude sickness where you will suffer headaches and dizziness. So we took our time to trek up and took many photos. We started around 10am and reach Laban Rata around 2pm. It was bright and cold up there. After checking in and got our heated room which is quart sharing. Laban Rata restaurant provides a la carte food as well as buffet spread. A good advice is to eat moderately. We ordered hot drinks and shared one portion. Later we went out to take sun sets photos. We were advised by our guide to rest early because morning call will be 2am. Throughout the night we could hear some other climbers vomiting (high altitude sickness). The last 800m (2600ft) climb to the summit takes about 2 to 4 hours. It was dark, cold and we were lucky because it was not raining but very windy. If it rains heavily they (guide) will cancel the climb. We need to have our own head lamp or torch lights. The climb was very slow because it was dark and our muscle have yet to warm up. Don't rush and take your time to ascent to avoid altitude sickness. We carry hot 'Milo' (thermo flask) to drink at Low's Peak and after the photo session at the peak we were advised to decent otherwise it will be sunny hot. The last part of the climb is on naked granite rock and we will be guided with ropes. It was advisable not to wonder alone. Took many photos and the especially the gorilla rock face.

When we reach Laban Rata hut, we slept for about 2 hours before descending all the way down to Timpohan Gate. We should have stay another night. After 3000m of descending, most climbers will have sore legs (knee joint, foot and toes). When we reached Timpohan Gate it started to rain heavily and we have to wait for a while for a van to transport us to the headquarters where the guide will report our successful climb to the Low's Peak and only then the certificate will be given. Later Catherine took us to Poring Hot Springs where we spent a night there. We visited the local Kadazan farmers the next day and had lunch with them and they were surprised to see us able to walk effortlessly after the Mount Kinabalu climb.Our legs felt very sore but bearable. The vegetables here are fresh and tasty. We were served 'Tarap' a local fruit. You must visit the Tamu (open market) where the local farmers will display and sell their farm produced together with other handicrafts. Any visit to Kota Kinabalu (State capital of Sabah) should include Gaya Street which is famous for selling all types of goods ranging from food to local products.

Have fun and be happy!