Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Amazing Rock Canyons

River trekking is one of my favourite past times. Nothing makes me happier and utterly satisfied than to see a crystal clear river flowing gently in the midst of the rainforest. Add to that some fishes darting in and out under the roots of trees growing on the banks and a few fallens logs and stand alone boulders just for some cascading effects. How nature works is brilliant.
I absorbed all of that in this solo trip after trekking against the river flow for more than an hour in search of a mysterious canyon. My Tevas was stretched to the limit but Tevas being Tevas, they performed beautifully in these kind of conditions.
Already reaching the one hour limit and alone, I was going to give myself another half an hour to explore until I notice the rocks on both sides of the river bank getting larger and larger.
What's at the corner?

RIght at the end was a corner and when I reached the corner, I knew I have found what I was looking for:

As I proceeded inwards, the water became deeper and extremely colder. A waterfall right at the end of the canyon was one of the reason for the cold water as well as the covered surroundings. Water was just surging out from the narrow path and making my way towards the waterfall was impossible. However, I could only reached 150 metres from the waterfall as the surge was too great. I could barely hold on to the rocks for stability and once I let go, I was swept away by the current out of the canyon to the flowing river.
In awe
Deep and mysterious

One part of the canyon clearly projected a biblical shaft.A biblical shaft to my definition is a visible ray of sunlight. Imagine you're in a church or mosque and a ray of light shines through the window, thus creating a ray of light...... it's hard to explain but you get the idea.
My biblical Shaft

1300km of East West Highway, Banding Lake & 7 Waterfalls Part 3

I headed off for our final leg of the East West highwat epic journey. The Gua Musang - Simpang Pulai route.

Gua Musang boasts the tallest waterfall in South East Asia , Stong Falls and I was raring to go. However, it started raining heavily and instead, I opted for Lata Berangin, also another powerful waterfall in the Gua Musang district. It is quite difficult to get to Lata Berangin since there were no signages around. I had to stop every few km and ask strangers for

directions.Most of them knows the place but do not know how to get there. Their usual answer is "Mu belok kiri,pahtu lalu gertok(BTW, the word gertok means bridge in Kelantanese), sapa situ tanyo ore kapung". And that's what I did. I asked kids, granfathers, grandmothers until I reached the destination.
Budok kapung

Along the way, I spotted a small sign "Jeram Pauh". A sudden brake and a reverse later, I find myself driving towards Jeram Pauh much to the annoyance of YC.
Jeram Pauh

After Jeram Pauh, I finally reached the entrance of Lata Berangin. Before entering the junction,I was told that the road leading to the falls is now closed due to landslides and just totally inaccessible. I have driven this far deep in the heart of Gua Musang and be told I couldn't access due to landlsides!!Screw it. Life is short.The heavy rain at that time made matters worse.
Landslide Pertama
Landslide No.2

I reached Lata Berangin after braving through 6 landslides and it was well worth it because only one word can describe Lata Berangin - Majestic.

I didn't spend a lot of time there due to obvious reasons and headed to the next waterfall, Lata Rek. By golly, this waterfall was even more majestic than Lata Berangin. It was only 11am and I've seen two majestic waterfalls already. I heart Kelantan.
Lata Rek

I was now on our way back to KL using the Gua Musang - Simpang Pulai highway. There's not much publicity being thrown towards this 300km stretch of desolated road and because of that you can only see 2 -3 cars every 15 minutes. To be honest, I can't really relate to this highway because I have a nostalgic natural bonding towards the Gerik - Jeli one. However, in this highway, there are several bridges that cuts across huge rivers , something which the latter does not possess.
Huge river
Red River

After passing by Cameron Highlands, there were a number of waterfalls on the right hand side of the highway which I explored a bit vowing to return some other time.
Like a kid who wandered into Disneyland

You do see a lot of hill segmentation to make way for farming and vegetable sites and that wasn't easy on my eyes.
I stopped by Ipoh for some excellent chicken rice to fill our bellies before leaving for KL.
Yummy Ipoh chicken rice

I'm glad I took this trip right here in Malaysia. There's so much to see and explore in this awesome country of ours.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

1300km of East West Highway, Banding Lake & 7 Waterfalls Part 2

I was taken by a small aluminium boat to one of the islands which has been converted to a simple yet charming resort.
Awesome view

Since I brought my tent and baked beans along, I didn't mind camping overnight. The island gives you a view on the vast unruffled surroundings of the area and it's not everyday I have this view.

Break of dawn

Before I left, I went for a swim and
To jump from this height or not?

swam near a tree. This tree is probably older than the Cretacious period and by touching it, I'm touching a 130 million year old tree, much older than the trees in the Amazon and the Congo.
A 130 million year old tree

The next morning I met my parents at the car park of the Belum Rainforest Resort. They were coming from Penang. Since ala carte from the resort will only be served at 11am, I decided to eat on the bonnet of my father's car.
Mummy brought some char siew
I took a picture together because this moment was indeed very special to me. You see, my parents have been travelling the East West Highway for nearly 30 years. From the time I was a baby to the moment where the change of guard took place. Instead of my father driving us, the day I turned 18, it was my time to drive my parents along this nostalgic highway, hence the change of guard. I will post a separate blog on this issue later.

After Papa, mummy and I took a picture in front of the Banding Lake, I went on our separate ways. While Mummy and Papa headed home. I was :
Elephant Hunting
Thought I saw something greyish moving in the undergrowth ....but no pacyderms

I stopped several times along the remaining highway which leads to Jeli. I even went further into this mini waterfall to investigate the source of the waterfall. If I do find a waterfall, I'll call it Lata Moss due to the growth of moss virtually everywhere.
MOss everywhere

A few km ahead was a hot spring and I stopped there as well. What's unique about this hot spring is that the area has natural cold river flowing and hot spring water joining together at one pool. I submerged myself in this pool and the sensation I got was WARMTH, just like 5am after a downpour under your comfortable duvet.
Hot spring water on the right + Cold flowing river near the top


I started seeing development and I knew that the East West highway was nearing it's end. Then out of the blue, I saw a sign - "Lata Janggut". To my bewilderment, I had never seen this waterfall featured in the website and decided to investigate. The waterfall was easily accessible and once I laid our eyes on the waterfall, I coudn't believe what I saw. Words just cannot express the beauty of this place. Take a look.
Lata Janggut
FYI, I nearly drowned in Lata Janggut.Check it out in YouTube

I spent an hour here telling ourselves, I'd be back the next time round. By 6pm, I arrived in Kota Bharu and Mummy knew the why it took me so long to reach - bundle shopping again. Papa took us to curry gear box for dinner that night and the next day, I had the usual Kelantanese breakfast, lunch and the fake Victoria Station.

What an amazing trip!!! And it only costs us a paltry RM300.00. I explored 4 waterfalls, camped overnight in one of the oldest rainforest on the planet, had a nostalgic moment with my parents at Banding Lake, hunted elephants on the oldest highway in Malaysia, soaked in the most awe inspiring waterfall ever and had Kelantanese food. Awesome maximus trip !!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

1300km of East West Highway, Banding Lake & 7 Waterfalls

During the Xmas holidays, I embarked on my epic journey through two East West Highways in Malaysia..
1. East West highway (Grik - Jeli)
2. East West Highway ( Gua Musang - Simpang Pulai)

I started off from KL at 6am, stopping by Bidor to have breakfast. I stopped by this famous herbal duck mee soup restaurant and I wallop my wan tan mee with gusto after finding out the whole wan tan was fully packed with shrimp.
Soupy breakfast

After the sumptious breakfast, I headed to the Kuala Kangsar exit where adventure and uncertainty awaits me. Once I entered the kawasan kampung, everything was different. There were less Cars , mountains were more visible, bridges spanning across numerous lakes, more greenery and definitely less people. My first stop was at Lata Perahu in Kuala Kangsar. A beautiful and cascasding waterfall, it has a pool that's refreshingly awesome to swim in. And the best part, no one was there.
Lata Perahu
Mexican cliff diver

I spent around an hour exploring the regions of this waterfall and found
it to be in pristine condition with not much damage done. On the way out, I stopped by this abandoned kampung house located next to the kampung road.
Eerie Kampung House

I ventured in for a bit to take some pictures when an old man emerged telling me that this rumah is berhantu. His next proposal shocked me !!!
Rumah ni berhantu tau!
Notice the knife on the pakcik.He wanted to skin the cute kitten!!

After denying the old man's proposal, I headed on to Lenggong for some awesome freshwater fish. Lenggong is famous for their freshwater catches. But before I reach Lenggong, I stopped by a lake and took some pictures.
Raban Lake
Moving on, I saw a sign "Lata Kekabu". I made a sharp left turn and ventured into my 2nd waterfall for the day. Again, there was no one there and had the waterfall all to ourselves. At Lata Kekabu, I tried the art of cliff diving perfected by the Mexicans but I didn't quite mastered it yet.
Off I go with my chest slamming on the water's surface
What a rush!!!

Goofing around 2 waterfalls sure made me hungry like a wolf and how I satisfied my insatiable hunger was a stop by Sin Hup Lik Restaurant.
Sin Hup Lik Rest in Lenggong
My whole family has always been frequenting this restaurant for the past 30 years now and by golly, the fish is oh so fresh. I ordered a freshwater ikan(the stomach part) and the moment you out them in your mouth, the meat melts away.
Thought I Died And Went To Heaven Meal
The amazing lunch puts a nice touch to the impromptu fun trip I had. The next journey was to the awe inspring and breath taking East West highway which spans from Gerik to Jeli. Along the way, I couldn't help but be amazed by the images of lush rainforest and grand mountain ranges as far as the eye can see.
Lush rainforest
My father calls this Green Mountain

An hour passed and I arrived at Banding Lake and it's either I stay in Banding Lake or drive straight to Kota Bharu. I've always wanted to see and stay at the grand Belum rainforest resort built by Emkay Berhad but after finding out that it costs RM200 a night,
Nice chic Belum Rainforest Resort
I opted for something cheaper, a RM10 campsite in one of the islands at the lake.
RM10.00 campsite

Campsite View

It's not that I cannot afford it but it's such a waste to spend RM350 for just 13 hours. Moreover, it's always my dream to swim and take a cruise on this mind boggling lake.