Taiping & more

By now my interest in the history of Taiping, my 2nd hometown,  must be clear to followers of this blog..:-). I am a member of the Taiping Heritage Society , which has about 600 members. It is a closed group, but you are welcome to join, if you are interested in the history of Taiping.

Surfing the Internet, I recently came across the FB page of Encik Anuar Isa, the curator of the (now closed) First Galleria . I was intrigued by this entry, published in 2014:

Old_house

Intrigued but also puzzled. The Hj Abdullah mentioned by Anuar Isa is Abdullah Muhammad Shah II , the 26th sultan of Perak. In 1875, he was accused of being involved in the murder of British Resident JWW Birch and exiled to the Seychelles in 1876. Could this be his house?

I published the picture on the THS whatsapp, asking if anybody had more info about this house. A few weeks later another THS member, Amril, also interested in the history of Taiping, replied that he had found the house and more information about it. The house was built in 1926 by a famous bomoh. Interesting but not related to Hj Abdullah and Isabella Bird never visited it.

A good reason for me to visit Taiping again and visit this house..:-)  I decided for a 3D2N trip and, as Aric was busy, asked my friends Paul and Fahmi to accompany me. Here is the report, actually about a lot more than Taiping..:-)

We left KL Friday morning and only had to be in Taiping in the afternoon, as we were invited by Amril to attend the Open House of his father, the OBJ of Larut, Matang and Selama. We decided to visit Kellie’s castle, as Fahmi had never been there.

For a history of the castle, click here. It has been renovated and embellished in recent years, making it a popular tourist attraction, although it has made the atmosphere less romantic. But still worth a visit.

Kellie's Castle

Our next destination was the Ulu Lecin waterfalls near Beruas, but when we arrived there, it started raining, so we decided to skip this and continue to Taiping where I had booked rooms in hotel Furama. Close to the Lake Gardens and within walking distance of the town center.

After a short rest and a change of clothes, we drove to the residence of the OBJ. The open house was held between 3 and 6 pm, I was expecting Malaysian timing, i.e. that it would start later. Mistake, when we arrived around 4:30, most of the food was finished already and many guests were leaving…:-)  No problem, there was still enough food and friendly company…:-) Amril was there to introduce me to his parents and I met  Abdur-Razzaq Lubis and his wife Salma, authors of many books about the history of Perak.

The Residence of the OBJ  was built in 1893 for the wife of Ngah Ibrahim. Before that time she had been living many years in what is now Kota Ngah Ibrahim in Matang. Of course both the Kota and this house have been enlarged and renovated many times. Interesting to note that the present OBJ is actually a descendant of Ngah Ibrahim.

The exterior of the residence and the main hall on the first floor.

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After the open house we went back to our hotel and walked to the Lake gardens. It often rains in the afternoon in Taiping, but this day it was very beautiful weather. Shall we make a boat-ride on the lake?  , I suggested. I have visited the Lake gardens numerous times, but never rented a paddle boat! It was fun, but more tiring than expected…:-)

A visit of Taiping is not complete without enjoying the food. Often it is Chinese food I have there, but this time it was it was mostly Indian/Malay/Mamak fare.

The next day I had arranged with Amril to meet him in the afternoon to visit the bomoh house. Our plan for the rest of the day was to visit the region around Batu Kurau, north of Taiping. Main target: the Air Hitam waterfall

We parked our car at the gate of the water catchment area.  When we were preparing for the hike, a friendly local passed us with the durians he had just harvested. He offered us one for free, and we could pick more, if we saw them on the ground.

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It is an easy walk along a clear trail until you can see the waterfall. A small trail brings you down to the river. It was a Saturday, but there were no other visitors and the waterfall was pristine, no rubbish!Air Hitam fall

It is a nice, powerful waterfall. We spent quite some time there, taking many pictures, making coffee and of course enjoying the durians. A very enjoyable morning.

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On our way back to Taiping, we had a look at “my” barbershop, near Anak Kurau. I call it “my” barbershop, because I have been there three times for a haircut and the barber knows me…:-) The shop is built against the limestone cliffs and the last time I payed RM 5 only. During my recent Taiping trip it was closed because of Ramadan. This time it was closed too, the neighbour explained that the barber had gone our for lunch. Next time, better luck..:-)

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Near to the shop, there is a cafe and a small cave. A good location to take pictures.

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A trail starting from the cafe, follows the river for a while. Beautiful limestone formations, where Fahmi could not resist to show his climbing power…:-)

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Then it was time to go back to Taiping, where we had a simple lunch in the Saiful restaurant at Changkat Jering, while waiting for Amril. He took us first to his friend, Encik Zamberi, living nearby. Zamberi could be called the local Taiping historian, he has written many books and knows a lot about the local history.

He showed us his beautiful library, apologised that it was a bit messy, because one week later there would be a wedding dinner. Then he took us to the bomoh house. The present owner, a descendant of the bomoh, is a friend of him. The friend had gone for the Hajj, the house was closed, but a caretaker opened it for us. Beautiful interior.

After this visit, Zamberi suggested to visit another old Malay house, with interesting interior details. Although coming unannounced, we were warmly welcomed by the couple living there, Malay hospitality at its best…:-)

As it was getting late, we skipped a visit to Long Jaafar’s tomb, where Amril’s ancestors are buried. It was a nice afternoon, a real pleasure to meet Encik Zamberi and Amril, I hope and expect it will not be the last time.

We went for dinner to a Yong Tau Foo foodcourt. Many shops, all serving yong tau foo. Malay style, quite different from the (Ampang) yong tau foo I am used to.

The next day, before driving back to KL, I had to show Paul the “Shame of Taiping”. Some historical buildings in Taiping (presenting itself as a Heritage Town!), are just left to themselves, decaying slowly. And not in a remote part of the town, no, just opposite the prestigious King Edwards school. Pictures without comment

The Town Rest House (1894) is another example. It has been fenced off, the fence is decorated with posters, promoting the many “Firsts” of Taiping, but one of the posters was torn. Again! In my 2nd hometown report I also wrote about a torn poster and that it was replaced after I had complained about it. Let’s wait and see if this happens again …:-)

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We had breakfast at the January cafe in the Old Railway Station. During my last visit I met Mei Chong who, with her sister Mei Chee, is running this cafe. I admire their energy and want to support them…:-)  So, when you visit Taiping ( or live there), have a coffee or some waffles in the January Cafe!  There is also a gallery next to the cafe with historical pictures of Taiping, and outside the building they have collected some old bicycles. Which we had to try of course…:-)

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After our breakfast we drove back to KL. I still had many ideas about places we could visit on our way (Pasir Salak, Batu Gajah, Papan, the Tualang tin dredge). But we had done already a lot and were getting a bit tired.

Then I got an idea. I had heard a lot about the “mysterious” Tasik Cermin, in Ipoh. Also seen pictures of this “Mirror Lake”. I knew that it was somewhere around Gunung Rapat, and could be accessed only via an active quarry and a tunnel. .According to some reports. the quarry owner did no longer allow access to the lake. Why not try to find it

How to go there? Surprisingly, by just following the Waze app on my smartphone…:-) The wonders of the Internet. When we arrived at the entrance of the quarry, there was indeed a No Entry sign. But no security guards, and we noticed a few more people walking in. So we did the same..:-)  A big quarry, we had to ask a friendly worker where the entrance of the tunnel was.

And here it is, Tasik Cermin. A mirror lake indeed. Beautiful and serene.

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The tunnel ends at a jetty with a platform where you can sit down and admire the lake. There is no path around the lake. A few pictures

Back home, I tried to find more information about this lake. One reference mentioned the coffee-table book about the history of the Kinta Valley.  I have a copy of that book, here is the relevant passage:

GunungRapat

The writers of this book?  Lubis and Salma, whom I just had met a few days earlier..:-) As I have said many times, Malaysia is a small world…:-)

It was a trip full of variety, as usual.

Ayer Hitam, finally!

Numerous times I had heard and/or read about the Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve in Puchong. With a waterfall, maybe even more than one….

But I had also heard that this forest reserve was a research project of the UPM university and officially out of bounds. As I am a good citizen, I was reluctant to trespass…:)

Last week I joined a so-called hashwalk, for the first time in my life. I will blog about it later. After the walk there was an open-air beer party where I met Master Ho, 76 year old and still going strong.  When he was 15(!) years old, he started a hiking group Pathfinders55, which still exists today. We came to talk about Ayer Hitam and I accepted his invitation to join him for a hike there.

Here is the location of the Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve. Surrounded by urban development, it is surprisingly large. Our hike is marked in green.

Large map

Here is part of the Reserve in more detail (click to enlarge). Our hike was about 10 km and took more than four hours. The grey line comes from Google Earth and probably marks an”allowed” trail. On our hike we did not meet any enforcement officials, maybe because it was weekend

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Master Ho had sent me a whatsapp where to meet:

Date: Sunday 22/5/2016
Meet time at the the purple(or pink you may call it) colour single storey
corner shop opposite the coconut stall
Start time: 9.30am

I was surprised that there was quite a big crowd that Sunday morning. The pink/purple house was easy to find and Master Ho was waiting for us. We took a group photo and started our hike. Clear trail, climbing up, then down, crossing a stream, then up again.

After about one hour we reached the waterfall. Many people there, enjoying a bath and relaxing. No rubbish! I understood that the local community is taking care about the place.

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Here is a video of the waterfall

What next? We could take the same way back, but we also could have a look at the Blue Lagoon. Easy decision of course…:-)  So we continued our hike, passing another nice waterfall (no people, access difficult) and an orang asli settlement. Nobody living there now, probably only when fruits (durians?) are harvested. Romantic setting.

Here is a video of another river crossing. Master Ho and I decided to get our feet wet. Of course I was hoping that at least one of my friends would fall…

Here is Peter, taking a bath in the BLue Lagoon

The second Blue Lagoon is even more attractive, with a small waterfall at its end.

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A pity that these lagoons are out of bounds, but understandable. Fortunately they are located deep inside the Reserve. It took us about two more hours to hike back to the pink house. Here are a few pictures to show the beauty of nature.

All the time we were in the jungle, but just before the end, we came out in the open and noticed this rock face with bright flags on top. Maybe because the day before it was Wesak?

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A very rewarding hike!

Kanching revisited

In  my last blog I described how Aric and I were recently robbed when we were visiting the Kanching waterfalls. No physical hurt, only material loss. But I was wondering if this bad experience would negatively affect my appreciation for Kanching.

Ten days later I could check this…:-). Talking with my Kiara friends about Kanching, several of them confessed that they had never been there and that they were interested in a visit. So we organised a trip.

To be honest, I had been thinking what to do if I would meet the guy again, so I was happy to go with a group of friends, just in case…:-) But of course we did not meet any suspicious person this time.

It was a very nice hike. Here are a few pictures:

I had promised to bring my stove so we could make coffee.

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The big surprise for me was that Suat had baked a (belated) birthday cake for me. With a real candle. A delicious concoction with many ingredients, including rum. Yummie.

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I explained to my friends how the robbery had happened and we decided to reenact it, with Peter as the thief and me as the victim. A happy victim, according to Suat… :-). Kind of closure…:-)

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I checked  my Kanching geocache and found it to be in mint condition. Then it was time to go down and have lunch. The descent from the top fall is very steep, when the thief ran away, he can not have taken this route. Probably he took the trail upstream, hiding there and waiting until we had gone down.

Here are a few  pictures of our descent from tier 7 beside the cascade (tier 6).

And a video

Suat, for whom it was a first visit, liked Kanching, but was shocked about the rubbish we found everywhere, left behind by inconsiderate visitors. At one place it looked as if a party of (Malay?) youngsters had been interrupted by the arrival of the religious police. We found several full beer(!) cans, some clothes(?), and also a few plastic rubbish bags.

Being good citizens we used these bags to do some cleaning on our way back to the entrance. As you can see, it was no problem to fill the bags.

To end this nice outing, I treated my friends to lunch in T.K. Chong, near my condo.

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I am sure now that I will visit Kanching again, without bad feelings.

Robbed at Kanching!

At the Kanching waterfalls you always have to watch out for the  monkeys who are looking for food, but also can grab your belongings.

Snatch thief

And at the entrance there is a clear sign warning for snatch thieves.

So we are always wary, keeping an eye on our belongings, checking if monkeys or other people are hanging around our stuff.

However we were not prepared for somebody following us secretly and hiding in the jungle

When Aric and I visited Kanching two weeks ago, we were ROBBED ! Here is our story.

After being back in Malaysia for a few weeks and having recovered from my jetlag, I felt the usual urge to visit a waterfall. Kanching waterfalls! Easy half-day trip. Aric wanted to test an app for his iPhone, that can take long-exposure pictures. Suitable for waterfalls, as it can create the “cotton-wool” effect.

We went on a Monday, only a few visitors at the lower tiers, nobody at the upper ones. Here are a few pictures.

Actually we met one guy on our way to the top fall.  An Indian, in his thirties, dark complexion, small moustache, didn’t look like a hiker. After we passed him, we watched him and saw that he was going down. And that fooled us! 

When we arrived at the top fall, Aric installed his iPhone on a tripod, while I took a short video of this 7th tier, just above the tall cascade (tier 6).

Here is the top fall, twice. The left picture is a “normal” one, the right one is taken by the app, using an exposure time of 4 seconds.

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During the preparations and the taking of pictures, we were only a few meters away from our backpacks. However, Aric wanted to take a last picture with both of us in the water, using his remote control.

That was the moment the thief had been waiting for. Apparently he had secretly followed us, hiding in the bushes. From the corner of his eye, Aric saw him grabbing our two backpacks. Of course he shouted, the guy ran away, nothing we could do.

I lost my GPS and my watch, fortunately my wallet and phone where in my pants, he had no time to search those. But Aric lost his wallet and his camera.

When we told the rangers in the office about it, they said it happened more often. And when I was collecting info for this blog on the Internet, I found this review of Kanching on Tripadvisor, written 19-1-2015 :

Beware at the top, two of us left our bags only meters away in what we 
thought was a safe place, within a minute or two of getting in the water 
they were gone, along with our phones, wallets, slr camera. 
We think we were followed or someone was watching from the jungle. 
Enjoy but be aware.

I have already added a warning to the Kanching page on WoM.

 

Lata Khong

Last month I organised a party for my waterfall friends. It was a very pleasant gathering, we had nice food and of course we talked a lot about waterfalls..:-).

The idea came up to have another meeting, but then at a waterfall. An easy one, no hiking required. One option would be Lata Khong near Karak. As it was a long time ago that I visited this fall for the last time, I wanted to do a recce first.

Lata Khong, a waterfall in the Dua Olak river has an interesting history. In 2003 I met Khong and as were both interested in waterfalls, soon we went out for waterfall hikes. One of these hikes started from KG Sg Dua Olak, March 2005. We had received GPS info about a very remote waterfall in that region. In the left image you see how extremely remote it was (the red trail)! Soon it became clear that this was too hard-core 4WD for us. But Orang Asli told Khong that there was a nearby waterfall, quite close to the road! And that is how we “discovered” what is now called Lata Khong!

waterfall

We were quite excited about this discovery, and soon I went back, a few times even. Once with Khong and a few weeks later with another friend, Edward, camping overnight at the fall. It was during this trip that we were wondering about the name of the fall. Of course locals have a name for it, but we didn’t know. So, shall we name it Lata Khong? It started as a joke, but even now the fall is still known as Lata Khong!

Here are pictures taken during my trips. The last picture is a recent one. The fall still looks the same, but the surroundings have changed. Forest has been cleared, access roads have been tarred.

And as was to be expected, more people have discovered the waterfall. When we organise an outing, we probably will not be alone.

Access is easy, you can park your car at the tar road and walk the last part. We decided to explore the tar road until the end and were quite unhappy when we noticed that wide logging roads continued from there. If logging starts upstream, the water quality will go down..:-( And according to the signboard logging is completely illegal. But this is Malaysia….

So not all news is good, but the conclusion of our recce is, that the waterfall is still suitable for an outing. I will plan it soon and then update this blog

Hear are two more GE screenshots. The left image shows how far we have explored, the right one shows how detailed nowadays the GE imagery is, with Lata Khong and the upper fall visible!

Capture

detail

 

Kanching Mission(s)

The Kanching waterfalls near Rawang belong to my favourites. Near to KL, easy access. Many tiers, clear paths lead to the lower ones, the upper falls are more adventurous and require some scrambling. I have visited these falls numerous times, it has always been a pleasure.

Yesterday I went again, this time with my friends Paul and Fahmy. For pleasure, but also with a mission. Actually two missions…:-). In 2003 I have hidden a geocache near the upper Kanching Fall. No idea what geocaching is? You can find an introduction on my website: What is Geocaching. In those days I was quite active in this “sport”, nowadays I have lost interest a bit, but I still maintain two geocaches, one in Bukit Kiara and the other one at Kanching Falls . The Kanching one has been found (“logged” is the term) about 50 times, but the last geocacher reported that he had found the location, but the geocache container was missing.

So I had to visit Kanching again, check if the cache had disappeared and if so, replace it with a new container. That was mission 1.

When my friend Joe Yap heard that I was going to Kanching, she asked me if I could report to her about the “cleanliness” of the place. Pollution is a problem for many, if not most, Malaysian waterfalls, too many irresponsible visitors leave their rubbish behind. Joe has organised many waterfall clean-up operations, for example this one in 2010: Major clean-up at Kanching Waterfalls.

She is organising another one to Kanching soon and wanted to know if there was still a lot of rubbish. That was mission 2.

A long introduction. Here is the picture story. When we arrived at the car park around 10 pm, we where a bit surprised that it was so busy already and that the prices had gone up (but what else is new in Malaysia..haha).  Now even including GST! For locals RM 2.12, expats RM 5:30 !  But the place was well kept, clean toilet, some food stalls, a surau

From the car park you follow a cemented trail to the first tiers. Numbering waterfall tiers is not always easy..:-). I follow here the counting of my WoM site,

After the 3rd tier, recently a fence has been built, but without access gate. Strange. Do they want to block access to the upper falls? The cemented steps continue to the 4th tier, before crossing on a bridge. Until here you are in the maintained part of the park, dustbins here and there, not much pollution. Sadly that changes in the upper part of Kanching.:-( I found several places with rubbish.

After about one hour hiking from the car park we reached the upper fall. Fortunately no other people there, so I had time to check the geocache and replace it..:-).

Of course we also took a bath in the top fall and enjoyed the view. Cold water, very clear. A nice location to take pictures.

There are two more tiers, but far upstream, we decided to skip them, maybe we will go again another time. On our way down I found some more rubbish. How can people do that? But we also found two very cute fairy dwellings! No idea who took the trouble to create these miniature houses along the trail. Almost back a monkey family was watching us, if we would leave some of our ice cream for them.

A nice trip!

Lata Tampit 14-10-2015

Lata Tampit in Janda Baik is a waterfall described in my Waterfalls of Malaysia website, but I have never visited this waterfall myself. So, when my hiking friend Peter Leong told me that he was going to visit this waterfall with his gang and if I would like to join,  I accepted the invitation, hoping the group would be of an acceptable size. It was …:-)

We met at the Mc Donalds in Genting Sempah and from there we drove to the Latto Caruk chalets. The resort was closed and rundown. We went through the gate and followed a clear trail. Bamboo forest, one steep part, two easy river crossings.

There are seven waterfall tiers, we skipped the lower ones, at the fifth tier a big group was camping, we continued and after less than 45 minutes we reached the top (7th) tier of Lata Tampit. Here we were the only ones. The waterfall is attractive, with a pool. A huge tree had fallen across the pool, a perfect place to rest and take pictures

Here you can see a senior citizen climbing the tree to join the fun

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And fun we had.

The waterfall with the huge tree form a very scenic background for pictures.

Here is a short video of the waterfall and our group enjoying lunch

We did not stay very long as the sky darkened. Soon it started raining, actually it was more of a drizzle. We passed another tier on our way down, I just took a single shot, must come back here to take pictures of all tiers.

For lunch we went to restaurant 126 in Bukit Tinggi. I had been there several times, many years ago, could not recognise the place…:-)  Once a simple shed, now a huge two-story building. Personally I had the feeling that the food in the simple shed was better…:-)  After some shopping we went home contentedly. A nice, easy trip

View of the restaurant, highway in the background

Restaurant 126

A Google Earth screenshot of our walk

GE screenshot

 

Kelantan trip, October 2015

My friend Siang Hui is very good in discovering “new” waterfalls, using the Google Earth imagery. This time he had found a promising one in Kelantan. We decided to make it a weekend trip, as Kelantan is far from KL. Siang Hui had booked a homestay in Dabong, the plan was to visit the waterfall on Saturday. Earlier that week I had caught a bad cough and a cold, thought about not joining, but finally decided to go, as Siang Hui estimated the hike to be relatively easy. Siang Hui, Rani, Nic and Teoh could start only Friday afternoon, Aric and I left earlier.

Encik Din, the owner of the homestay had warned that the direct route from Gua Musang to Dabong might be blocked. The bridge across the Nenggiri river had been destroyed during the catastrophic January floods, and the temporary bridge might be closed because of heavy rain a few days earlier. We decided to try our luck and found that he was right…:-) The temporary bridge looked passable, but apparently the authorities did not want to take risks. We had to go back to Gua Musang and make a long detour to reach Dabong. Of course we warned our friends…:-)

The homestay was a pleasant surprise, well-kept, three bedrooms each with aircon, TV, fridge. Hard to imagine that during the flooding, the water had risen until above the doorposts!

Unfortunately I did not sleep well that night so I decided not to join the waterfall trip..:-( Aric kept me company, and after breakfast we decided to visit an easy waterfall nearby. Lata Kertas.  The website suggests that it is well-maintained, but that is not true. Here are a few pictures and a video. Quite a nice fall actually, could be a nice tourist attraction when maintained properly

When our friends came back, at 5 pm!, the first thing Nic said, was : “Good that you did not join”. It had been a tough 7-hour hike to reach the waterfall, and even Siang Hui was exhausted. I will leave it to them to report about the “Twin Falls” as they have named the falls. That evening we celebrated the birthdays of Teoh and Rani. They look quite recovered already..:-)

The next morning I felt a bit better and we decided to visit the nearby Jelawang waterfall, also known as Stong waterfall. It is on my website, but I had never been there myself, although I had seen the fall several times from the road. Most people climb up to Baha camp, at the top of the fall, crossing the suspension bridge to the right side of the fall. We stayed on the left side and walked carefully over the rocks to the base of the fall. Very impressive, supposedly the tallest waterfall of Peninsular Malaysia. Click on the pics to enlarge them, and try to find the tiny humans.

Here is as video of the Jelawang waterfall

Siang Hui, Rani, Nic and Teoh had to drive back to KL after this visit, another long drive. Aric and I were not in a hurry and decided to make it a round-trip, first going north  to Jeli, then following the East-West highway to Gerik, stay overnight in Kuala Kangsar, from there the next day back home. It gave us the opportunity to visit one more “easy” waterfall, Lata Janggut. Not spectacular but worth a visit. Will soon add it to the Waterfalls of Malaysia website.

On our way to Gerik we saw a signboard Air Panas (Hot Spring). We love hot springs, so we had a look. What a surprise, a futuristic design in bright colors, still under construction. The water was too hot, not suitable for bathing, as a poor frog had found out. I doubt if it will become a tourist attraction. In Kuala Kangsar we stayed in a boutique hotel, the Shop Hotel. Nice design, but rooms really too small, I almost got claustrophobia..:-)

The next morning we visited a few of the Kuala Kangsar landmarks. The Istana Kenangan itself was still closed for renovation, but at least we could enter the garden. The Ubudiah mosque (designed by a British architect!) was beautiful as always. The Baitul Anor, now a ruin, was built in the same period for the Perak royalty. We visited the Royal gallery, full of memorabilia of the former sultan.

Then it was time for lunch. Laksa, a Kuala Kangsar specialty and one of Aric’s favourite foods.For me one laksa was enough, Aric had three. The first was Laksa Pak Ngah, a famous one. Modernised, and a bit disappointing. The second one was Laksa Pokok Limau, where my friend Ibrahim had taken me during the Sg Siput Recce. Before going there, we had a look at the Victoria Bridge, visited by Chadel and me when we followed the  route of the Japanese invasion in 1941-42. Finally we went to a Chinese laksa shop in the town (the other two were Malay). Aric’s verdict: the laksa in Laksa Pokok Limau was the best, although a bit too creamy.

Although I did not visit the new waterfall, it was a nice rewarding trip.

 

Journal 1-10-2015

It’s a long time ago that I wrote my last regular journal! Time for an update, in chronological order.

25 July

Durian trip with Joe Yap. Joe has a relative in Kg Chetang (near Raub) who has a durian farm. When she told me that she would go there and if I would like to join, I could not say no, of course..:-)  After a dim sum breakfast in PJ we went to the farm. It was high season, we had a lot of Musang King and Joe’s friends bought a lot to bring home. After having (too) many durians we used the traditional way to remove the smell .  Wash your hands with water flowing over the husk, and drink water from the husk. Does it really work? Not sure, but it was fun.

8 August

Trip to the Chiling waterfall with Edwin, Janine and friends. I must have visited this waterfall more than a dozen times in the past decade, the hike with its many river crossings never gets boring…:-) This time our target was the remote top Chiling fall, also known as the Jewel of Selangor. As the friends of Janine were newbie hikers, they decided to stop at the main fall. Edwin, Rani and I continued, ignoring a recently placed signboard…:-)The reason for this signboard is apparently that accidents have happened at the upper falls. It’s another hour hike to this top fall. Beautiful pool.

15-17 August

More waterfalls the next weekend. Through my waterfall website I had come in contact with Ibrahim, a waterfall explorer from Perak. He suggested a waterfall recce in the Sg Siput region. I have reported about this trip in a separate post: Sg Siput Waterfall Recce Here pictures of the waterfalls we visited.

25 August

Another waterfall visit, this time with our British friends Pat and Roger. We went to the Chamang waterfall near Bentong. On our way back, we took the old road, passing a hot spring that has recently been renovated. We decided to have a bath here and as usual we ended the day with a nice dinner.

29-30 August

The following weekend  for a change not a waterfall but a mountain! My friend Rani had organised a weekend trip for his (teacher) colleagues with their families to the Cameron Highlands. Plan was to climb Gunung Irau, would i like to join? I am not really a mountain climber, but Gunung Irau, with its mossy forest, interested me, so I accepted his invitation. They had rented two apartments in a Brinchang hotel, for twelve adults and numerous kids. I was a bit shy in the beginning, as probably were Rani’s colleagues too…:-). But what a nice group!  And I was poplar with the kids, one of them immediately ran to me and called me “apek”, grandfather!

The ladies, many of them teachers too, did not join in the hike, but prepared delicious Malay food. And of course went shopping..:-)

The next morning we drove to the trail head and started our hike, together with numerous other climbers, because Gunung Irau is a popular destination. Here is our group, at the start and at the summit. Small detail: as you have to grab trees often during the climb, Rani had bought gloves for me. They were useful, although, as my friends pointed out, I was using them inside out…:-)

The trail head is at 2000 m, the summit at 2110 m. Distance 2.4 km. Easy hike?  Forget about it. You have to follow a ridge which goes uphill, downhill, uphill, downhill and so on…Here is a collage of my struggle with Gunung Irau. As you can see, much of the mossy forest has been destroyed because of too many visitors, causing the trail to become extremely muddy.

Gunung Irau and me

But I reached the peak! Many people there congratulating me that I, a senior citizen, had made it…:-).  Then it started to rain. The hike back was very tiring. Happy that I made it, but this was a once in a lifetime experience for me.

Latest newsThe Gunung Irau trail has now been closed to the public, effective Oct 1 until mid-2016. I hope it will help.

6-19 September

Good that I had a few days to recover before Aric and I left for China with Pat and Roger..:-) The 14-day trip was the result of a promise made by Aric, a few years ago already, to show them China. We started in Xi’an, followed by Suzhou, Zhouzhuang and finally Shanghai. I took more than 1500 pictures and it will take time to write a detailed report about this fascinating trip.  Here an impression.

26 September

We celebrated the Mid-Autumn (mooncake) festival in Kepong, where Aric’s uncle lives. The family had booked a lok lok car. Lok lok is a Malaysian specialty, a bit similat to steamboat. It was a happy celebration, because Aric’s mother after suffering a stroke in August and being in hospital for some time, now had recovered, so she could attend the celebration.

 

I will do my best to update this blog more regularly…:-)

Sg Siput Waterfall recce

The Waterfalls of Malaysia website has brought me in contact with quite a few people who share the same waterfall addiction..:-). One of them is Ibrahim Ngah Ahmad. He writes a very informative blog: Malaysian Waterfall Travel Log . After exchanging emails, I met him for the first time in person during my recent visit of Taiping. We had an interesting chat, which resulted in a plan to do a waterfall recce together.

Ibrahim suggested a few waterfalls north of Sg Siput, which he had not yet visited himself. As this would be about a 3 hour drive from KL, we decided to make it a 2D1N trip with a stay overnight in Sg Siput town. On the first day we could visit two waterfalls, where he had already been. The second day we would explore new territory, a guide would join us. Here is the poster Ibrahim prepared for our recce:

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Top row, from left to right: Sereiyang, Jalong Tinggi and Sg Kuncha. Bottom row, from left to right Sg Buloh and Sg Serai. The links refer to the falls he had visited already

Five waterfalls in two days! Hm, at my age?  I suggested we could skip Sg Kuncha, as it seemed a tough hike.

No problem, Ibrahim said, we could replace it with an easier fall near Kuala Kangsar.

Don’t get the impression from the contact numbers in the poster that we were targeting a big group. On the contrary, we both prefer small groups. Ibrahim would bring a friend, Hafiz, and I would come with Paul, Fahmi and Rani. A group of six, perfect size. Rani picked us up at 7am and after our traditional mamak breakfast we drove to Sg Siput where we met Ibrahim and Hafiz. Six people in Rani’s X-Trail needed some improvisation..:-) Our first destination was the Sg Buloh fall, just outside Sg Siput.

It was an easy walk, but you must know the way, there are many forks and splits. Fortunately earlier visitors had left a paper trail. From where we parked the car it was less than half an hour to the main fall. Not a lot of water this time, but an attractive fall. About 100 meter upstream there is a second fall in a gorge. Nice for swimming, but the view is spoiled a bit by water pipes.

After this waterfall it was time for lunch. Ibrahim suggested a laksa shop, near Kuala Kangsar: Laksa Pokok Limau. I love the Penang Assam Laksa, but have not really experience with the Malay version. It was delicious! An interesting feature was the deep-fried egg/omelet on top of it. Worth to remember.

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After lunch we continued to the Sg Dal waterfall. The fall is called by locals Lata Bubu, because it is located on the slopes of the Bubu range. From where we parked the car it was only a short walk to the fall. Not a lot of water, but nice to play around and take pictures. Upstream of the fall there is a slide where the local youth was enjoying itself.

Here is a video of the slide with the kids having fun

We had booked accommodation in the Fila Homestay in Sg Siput. Probably recently renovated, very spic and span..:-)  RM 180 for the three-bedroom apartment, value for money. Only the owner should put air-con’s in each room.

The next morning we drove to Lasah where we met our guides Anazil and Ayhenda. We had breakfast, bought food for our lunch, and drove to Bawong. To reach the Serai falls, first you have to cross a plantation. We had been told that even a Kembara could do it, but the road was worse than expected and Rani did not want to take risks, so halfway we parked the car and walked about 2 km until we reached the jungle.

Where we left the plantation and entered the jungle, we had to pass electric wiring, meant to keep the elephants away. Never before seen this. We did not check if the wires were actually “live” ..:-)

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After a hike of about 45 minutes we reached the first fall, Lata Kaku. It had rained the night before, the current was strong and the water a bit murky. To have a good view of the fall, we had to cross the river carefully. Very powerful fall, quite intimidating.

After crossing back we had to river trek to the next waterfall. Actually not too complicated, just be careful with slippery boulders. I don’t know why, but I felt uneasy, stumbling often, maybe the years are counting….  It was not far, about half an hour of river trekking took us to the Lata Curek, with an impressive pool. Time to relax and take pictures. Then the same way back, it was hot and sunny in the plantation, we were very thirsty when we came back to the car.

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The Serai river has actaully three waterfalls, we skipped the first one, Lata Bawong, which can be reached easily from Kampung Bawong. The left picture has been taken four years ago, on my way back from Taiping.

At that time I had no idea that there were more waterfalls upstream

We continued our recce to the Sereiyang waterfall. If you know the way, you can almost drive to the base of the waterfall. Also here we did not take risk and parked the car where the road got rough and walked the rest. The waterfall is visible from a distance and very tall. I used  my clinometer and found that it was 40 meter high. No pool. Very impressive.

Here is a video of the Sereiyang fall

We had our (late) lunch here, it was already 3 pm and we still had to go back to KL. So we decided to keep the Jalong Tinggi fall for a next visit.
mapHere is a GE screenshot of our recce. Click to enlarge. The “new” waterfalls we visited are not far from Bawong.

From Bawong 4WD roads lead to remote Pos Piah and Kg Kuala Mu

There must be dozens  if not hundreds of waterfalls along these roads, waiting for intrepid explorers!

 

It was a rewarding weekend