Monday, November 14, 2011

Jeram Penitih

As I have been travelling quite regularly to the East Coast, I decided to make quick stop at Jeram Penitih which was first explored by our Godfather Of Waterfalls, Mr Jan Stuivenberg.
Using Jan's info as a guide, I also obtained info from and called up the number to ask for general directions since it's a kampung road. Iinitially just wanted to meet up with the guide and have him point out to me the direction but he vehemently insisted that if I went on my own, I would not find the falls. Sigh, little did he know, he was talking to Malaysia's No.3 ranking waterfall hunter. When I asked for payment, he said I could give him any amount I liked but usually he charges RM180 per person. Sigh, again, little did he know, I have a waterfall named after me.

We went in 2 cars as he has his plantation and fish farm inside. At the beginning of the road going into the plantation, I suddenly braked because the road ahead was filled with huge potholes. To those who has driven into Lata Kijang, the road leading into Jeram Penitih is 10 times worst and I've driven a couple of times into Lata Kijang with my Proton Boneshaker. So , go figure.

Like Jan's picture depicts, you can see the border between palm oil plantation and pure virgin jungle. The fine line between safety and lawlessness. Halfway in the jungle, the guide stopped his car and got out to show me tapir footprints. I'm not an expert in tapirs so I just accepted what he said and truth be told, I got a little excited.

We stopped and crossed the stream. Super duper clear. Like Ayer Hitam kind of clarity.

Along the way, he pointed out to numerous herbs and even memorized their scientific names. Very impressed. My initial token of payment went from RM30 to RM50 now. He also showed me that if someone is lost, they should use the back of a parang and knock on the giant tree root and when he did so, the sound resonated throughout the whole jungle. He said this is the way to be found. RM70 now. Right before we reached the first fall, he asked me to find my bearings - North, South, etc. I couldn't tell because the sun was covered by the canopy above. He said all I have to do is ask the trees. Just ask the trees. So we went closer to one tree and he gestured me to come to the other side. I could see moss growing only on one side and the other side had no moss whatsoever. He explained that the side that had no moss is the side where the sun shines, therefore, that is your East. Wow...increased to RM120.
First Fall

The first fall was not tall nor impressive but the the water was magnificently clear. The pool could fit at least 4 people and it was deep too. From the starting point to the first fall took half an hour.
First Fall

If the guide did not stop every 5 minutes to inform me that a labisa pumila could enhance the penile function, we would have made it in 10 minutes.
Kacip fatima?

OUr journey continued to the 2nd level which was a cascade and reached the 3rd level in 5 minutes. The 3rd level was more impressive. Slightly higher falls but no pool.

According to the guide, there are probably 30 more falls above but level 5 was the limit. I wanted to continue but he said it may take some time and looking at my schedule, I agreed and we turned back. On the way, he showed me his fish farm and how he would like to turn it into a homestay complete with fishing, waterfall and jungle trekking. Currently, his fish ponds and shack are extremely basic but he has already hired 3 security guards

to protect his property. I gave him a few advice like to add in night walk services, etc and wished him luck. He sent me back to my car and I bid him adieu. All in all, it was a very informative trek seeing that I always trek alone and he went out of his way to accomodate me. At the end, I gave him RM100 for his effort.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


If you are in the Jordan, do one thing and one thing only and that is to visit the enchanting and imposing facades of Petra. I’m not talking about the Malaysian company , the Petra Perdana Group of Companies which was sued by Bruce Willis. I’m talking about Petra – one of the recently nominated 7 new wonders of the world which was famously shown during the final scene of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. Petra can stir up some raw emotions I tell you. IMG Skip Amman, the capital city of Jordan if you have to. Every foreigner tells you so at the bus station and they were right. Cairo and Damascus trumps Amman any given day. Imagine Amman as Seremban. Exactly, nobody goes to Seremban.

It takes 5 hours by bus from Amman to Wadi Musa, the village surrounding Petra. Riding on a somewhat shabby bus, it is hard to ignore the merciless sun searing through the thin black curtains hung by the window. It is also hard to overlook the sight of countless discarded mineral water bottles strewn along the highway throughout the journey. PLUS Highway, we are not worthy. Not only that, the endless desert landscape was too much to bear. There was sand everywhere. Not a single blade of grass. You see, I've been in the Middle East at that time for 3 weeks already and I’ve ooo-ed and aaaah-ed at the dramatic desert landscapes, jagged mountains and endless spaces in Syria and Lebanon. So yes, I was a bit sick of the scenery. Just like visiting the temples in Thailand. Gung ho and filled with zeal while at the first two temples but by the third temple, one will heave a sigh so loud that it can be heard all the way to Sungai Golok.

I arrived at Wadi Musa and as with all backpackers, headed to Valentine’s Inn. The worst part about Valentine’s Inn is that the proprietor replays the above said Indiana Jones movie on an everyday basis just to emphasize the obvious. But the pleasant part of Valentine’s Inn is that you get this sunset view everyday.
Glorious Sunset

If you like me and this blog and you’re going to Petra, trust me with this advice: be at the gates of the Petra ticketing office by 6am. The ticket for a one day entrance is JD50 which converts to RM215.00(It is expensive but worth it). Locals pay JD1. So, be there at 6am and try to be first person to walk into Petra.
Practice Makes Perfect

I did so. I was alone and traversing through the winding sandstones of Siq gap. The whole gorge was quiet and peaceful and it helped in building up the thrill and excitement as I walked along this impressive rose colored chasm. The walls tower up to 200m overhead and narrows to about 5m at some parts. I let my hands feel the walls as I stared upwards and sideways marvelling at the Nabatean engineering and artistry of the Siq.
Entering the chasm

Towering Gorge

Traversing through the Siq

There was a sudden rush of anticipation and zeal in me and I wondered why. Gazing ahead with my beady eyes, I caught a glimpse of the Treasury. What an introduction!!!
Be warned again. A one on one standoff with the magnificent and imposing Treasury at dawn can strip your soul back to basics