Taiping Waterfalls

During a recent stay in Taiping I have revisited two waterfalls, the Maxwell Hill Fall and the Kamunting Fall. Here is a GE map of the region with my GPS data.

When the English explorer Isabella Bird visited Taiping in 1879, she stayed in the Residency and wrote:

The house on my side has a magnificent view of the beautiful Hijan hills, down which a waterfall tumbles in a broad sheet of foam only half a mile off

It was the Maxwell Fall she saw and admired, although she was wrong in her estimate of the distance, which is about 1,5 mile. You can still see the fall from the Lake Gardens. The Kamunting fall is visible from Taman Bukit Emas.

The trail head for both falls is the same. It starts from the water treatment plant. Until a few years ago you could follow the tar road until the gate, where the trail started. Nowadays the last part of that road is out of bounds, an alternative trail starts just after the bridge near the Indian temple. Here are my buddies Aric, Paul and  Fahmi at the trail head. It is quite a step climb, ropes come in handy.

Steep but not far. Soon you reach a wider trail, where you can turn right to the Maxwell fall, only a short distance away. We decided to visit the Kamunting fall first and turned left. You have to skirt the fencing of the water treatment plant,  and be careful with the barbed wire.

But after this part you reach a beautiful, romantic trail, next to a pipeline that transports water from a dam in the Ranting river to the plant. Pure bliss.

About one hundred meter before reaching the reservoir, you can see a rope leading up a steep slope to your right. Here ends the easy part of the hike…:-). You have to scramble up the slope, fortunately it had not rained. Many ropes and also clear markers. Too busy scrambling to take pictures.

After the steep slope, the trail levels a bit, you will hear the sound of falling water and soon your each the waterfall. It is a tall cascade, the rocky face is visible on Google Earth. Not a lot of water this time, but still quite impressive.

Not a real pool, but a good place to take a shower. There must be more waterfalls downstream and it may be possible, though not easy, to climb to the top. We were content with this fall and found a nice place to relax and have coffee. I had brought a stove and was the barista..:-)

Here is a short video of the Kamunting fall. Actually I don’t know if this is the real name of the fall. The river is the Sg Ranting, so the name could also be Lata Ranting.

Aric installed his tripod and with his remote he was able to take a picture of the four of us. One for the album, in my opinion.

Then it was time to go back. Now that we had reached our target, I felt more at ease and took some pictures.

After we had scrambled down the slope, we had a look at the dam, where the pipe line started. The trail also stops here, we did not explore further, but walked back.

Don’t visit this fall if you are afraid of leeches. There were many..:-). To stop the bleeding, a small piece of tissue paper is very effective.

When we reached the trail going down to the road, the Maxwell Fall was so near that we decided to have  a look. Here it is.

Also here I took a short video.

We ended this successful waterfall hike with delicious assam laksa and cendol at a stall in the Old Railway Station, one of the many heritage sites of Taiping.

 

Jeram Janggut

Because I am the owner and webmaster of the Waterfalls of Malaysia website, my friends call me sometimes the Godfather of the Waterfalls, so it makes sense that I also have Waterfall Godsons..:-). Three of them at the moment, Siang Hui, Teoh and Nick. Siang Hui knows a lot of virtually unknown waterfalls and when Teoh a few weeks ago proposed to make a waterfall trip, SH suggested Jeram Janggut in Negeri Sembilan. An easy hike, he promised.

As it was rainy season, we decided to start early. At 7 am Teoh picked Aric and me up from our home and we drove to Sg Long where we met Siang Hui and Nick. After breakfast we continued in Teoh’s Hilux.

Start from Sg Long

It was quite a long drive to the trail head, first to Seremban, from there to Kuala Pilah. About 7 km before Kuala Pilah a minor road leads far (~20 km) into the mountains. If you have a hard-core 4WD you can almost drive to the fall. We started hiking at 10 am, walking the last few km. Here is my gang, from left to right Siang Hui, Nick, Teoh and Aric.

My gang

The route took us through a plantation, easy going, although often muddy and sometimes confusing because of several splits and junctions.

We wanted to keep close to the river, so we took this small trail, which ended at an abandoned Orang Asli house near the stream. Maybe we could have river trekked to the fall from there, but we decided to go back and follow the main road

Wrong path

O.A. hut

That meant that we had to cross a ridge, first going up steeply, nice views of the surroundings, then going down again. A signboard, “Not allowed to use poison or explosives for fishing”, meant that we had reached our goal.

The Jeram Janggut waterfall is not spectacular, but nice, with a large pool.

Jeram Janggut

We frolicked around, had coffee and of course took pictures.

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Many pictures….:-)

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Here is a short video of the fall.

We didn’t stay too long, as clouds were coming in, but before we left Aric used his iPhone on a tripod to take an “official” picture of our gang. I am very pleased with the result, we all look good and happy.

The gang

There is a lower tier of Jeram Janggut, quite nearby, but you have to scramble down a steep slope. We just had a look from above.

Lower Tier

Here is a video of this lower tier.

Going back to the trail head took us about one hour. Watching the butterflies having their lunch, we also got hungry…:-)

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We where just in time, when we reached our car, it started raining! Just where we reached the main road, we found a Malay stall, serving Assam Laksa, nothing special according to Aric (our assam laksa expert!) but delicious Kelapa Cendol.

It was a nice rewarding trip. The fall can be reached by (hard core) 4WD, we were lucky to be alone there. Here is a GE screenshot of the region. There are several relatively unknown waterfalls in this section of the Titiwangsa range. Jeram Tengkek is on the WoM website, the others not (yet), for various reasons.

Note the red marker. In 1945, just before the Japanese surrender in World War II, an allied Liberator plane crashed here and was only found by locals in 1961. The remains of the plane are still there and it is possible to hike to the crash site. Something for another trip

map

Let me finish this waterfall post with a screenshot of my Waterfalls of Malaysia site, that shows where the visitors of my website come from. I started checking 5 years ago. In those 5 years almost 1.5 million visitors from 190 countries have been visiting the site. Not a bad result…:-)

visitors WoM

Strata revisited

It was in 2005 that I read a post in one of the Malsingmaps forums about an unknown waterfall near Tanjung Malim. GPS-tracks and the coordinates of this Strata waterfall were given.

Here is the track (in red) and the waterfall, superimposed on a topo map of the region. Click on the map to enlarge it.

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Notice that the track is broken, it is not very accurate. Starting point is the Diamond Creek resort, which did not yet exist when the topo map was printed. I have indicated (in white) the location of the roads in this (rundown) resort. I have also marked (in blue) two rivers, to guide the eye. The Strata fall is located in the Sg Sekiah, the Gerehang river has also a waterfall, which I hope to revisit soon

Of course I was interested to visit this fall, so in the following months I went several times to Diamond Creek, and finally found the waterfall. I have written two reports about these trips. The first report, The Strata Fall, Prologue & First Acts , describes the first attempts where we followed a trail high up the left bank of the river and found the Upper Strata Fall. In the second report, Strata Fall, the Grand Finale, we decided to river trek and finally found the main Strata fall.

The map shows the two routes, the yellow one leading to the upper fall, the brown one following the river to the main fall. The reason that the original (red) track is so scanty, especially in the last part, is that the river flows in a deep ravine where GPS reception is not easy. Even with my Garmin GPSMap 64s, there was a lot of scatter, which I have smoothed out.

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That was more than ten year ago! Recently one of my friends wanted to visit this fall and I gave them my GPS-data. They did a recce, but did not reach the main fall.

My friend Edwin had told me that he had visited Strata beginning of this year, crossing the river to the right bank and following a rather clear trail to the fall without river trekking. That sounded interesting! He was willing to go again and be our guide. Here is our group.  From left to right  Paul, Fahmi, Edwin, Jan, Chin and Tan. Picture taken by Aric

Our group

We started walking from the Diamond Creek resort, with a 4WD we could have gone much further in. Sometimes it was a bit confusing which road to choose..:-)

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Passing through the plantation and entering the forest, we came closer to the stream and the point where we had to cross the river. The sign Hutan Simpan Kekal says that this is a Permanent Forest Reserve. So we were shocked when we saw that less than 100 meter further, a new logging bridge had been constructed over de river.

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This was all still unspoiled forest when Edwin came here earlier this year. Shameful. And a problem for us. Of course the building of the logging roads had also destroyed the existing trails. So how to proceed? With some scrambling we managed to climb up to the logging road (marked with a red X).

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We decided to cross the stream on this logging bridge and then try to find the trail on the other side. We chose what looked like a kind of trail

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But it was not a real trail and soon it petered out in a chaos of tree trunks and branches. Pictures taken by Chin, our selfie-man. Edwin suggested to do a recce, because he was confident that it should not be far to the old trail.

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We waited for him (picture by Aric)

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When he came back after about ten minutes, he said that he had seen the trail down the slope, to reach it might not be easy, but should be possible. So we continued and indeed, after scrambling not more than 100 meter, we reached the trail. Kudos for Edwin!

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The trail was remarkably clear, not overgrown, apparently also used by other hikers.It was only about 500 meter to the fall, which took us less than half an hour. And a beautiful waterfall it is!

Strata fall

We arrived at the fall at 11am and stayed one hour, because we were expecting rain in the afternoon. Enough time to enjoy the view, and take a bath. And pictures of course, or selfies…:-)

Of course I also wanted to refresh myself. Because I sweat easily, which attracts wasps and bees, I often take a plunge with all my clothes on and often also my shoes. As you can see in the left gallery picture, the pool is not deep. Except to the right of the fall and that was where I aiming at. When I touched the rocks, I could feel already that there was a strong current to the left. I tried to swim back but did not make much progress. Edwin noticed that and rescued me!  I was not (yet) panicking, but appreciated his help.

On our way back, we found, as we actually expected, that there was a better way to cross the river than using the logging bridge. We found even a marker, proof that more people come here.

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Here is the map of our hike. Click to enlarge. Part of the logging road is indicated in brown. The scrambling part is the dashed-green line. The river crossing and the location of the marker are given.

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Here is a short video of the Strata Fall

It was an interesting and rewarding trip. I have described the hike in detail, it might help others to find the way. Sad that they have started clearing the forest. Here is one more picture of the damage already done

Logging

 

Replacing a Geocache

For those of you, who do not know what a Geocache is, have a look at the Wikipedia entry about Geocaching . I became interested in this activity in 2002, and have hidden more than a dozen geocaches in Malaysia. Often in such remote locations that they never have been found..:-). At the moment I have only two “active” geocaches, a real “oldie” in the Kanching recreational forest, The Kanching Falls , and a more recent one in Bukit Kiara. I hid the Kanching geocache in 2003 at the 7th waterfall and it has been found 35 times.

One month ago a geocacher reported that the geocache had disappeared. So I had to go back to Kanching and replace the geocache. It was at the 7th tier that Aric and I had our backpacks stolen, a few months ago. See my post Robbed at Kanching. Therefore I  did not want to go alone. Several of my friends had never visited Kanching and were eager to accompany me! Here is the Fellowship of the Geocache…:-)  From left to right PK Chan, me, Peter Thang, Clinton, Damian, Emily, Chee Wai and Pola Singh. Suat took the picture.

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There are seven waterfalls in Kanching. The first four tiers are easily accessible via a cemented path. Two of them have pools, suitable to take a bath. When we started around 10 am, there were not yet so many visitors, but on our way back, there was really a crowd.

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Before you reach the first waterfall, you have to pass a crowd of monkeys (long-tailed macaques).

They are watching you if you have any food they can grab.

This alpha-male did not mind to have his picture taken, but modestly he protected his family jewels

 

 

Here are the first four tiers. The fourth tier is the most popular one.

After the fourth fall, cemented steps continu for a while and lead to a bridge. After that the trail is clear and well-marked, but steep. The fifth tier is my personal favourite. The sixth tier is a very tall cascade. Finally you reach the top tier. A nice pool invites for a bath.

Here we had coffee and delicious cake from Suat. I checked the geocache location and found that the geocache was indeed missing.

I had prepared already a replacement cache. It is a glass container with the usual content, a logbook, pencil and some goodies. Chee Wai and his daughter were interested to see what was inside.

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Problem was that there were a few more people. In Geocaching lingo they are called Muggles.  I decided to talk with them and explain the geocaching concept. They were interested, so I did not need to be secretive hiding the cache. I asked them to take a picture of the group, before I hid the cache. Here it is.

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Going down a steep slope is more difficult than climbing up. Here are two videos. The first one is taken when we left the 7th tier. Another group of people was going up

This one is taken during the descent beside the tall cascade. The exposed tree roots are very useful

Here we are back at the bridge, after which the cemented steps start. The other picture shows the crowd at tier 4. Just after taking this picture I managed to loose my balance, falling and sliding down. I needed helping hands to stand up again…:-) Luckily no sharp rocks, only some scratches on my arm and leg. Could have been much worse.

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We were back at our cars around 1:30 pm. Perfect time for lunch. Clinton knew a nice shop near Jalan Ipoh. Delicious food.

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A very successful trip

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!