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.
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