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:

poster

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

Lawing waterfall

Six years ago, in 2009, I finally discovered the Lawing waterfall in the Ulu Langat region. I knew that there should be a waterfall on the way to Gunung Hitam and I had tried a few times to find it. Here is a Google Earth map with some of those attempts and the final success.

lawing_new

lawing_fall

Soon the waterfall was published on my Waterfalls of Malaysia website, Lawing Falls , with the description “Unknown, pristine waterfall in the backyard of KL”

wom

When you visit the webpage, you will notice that there are several comments that the falls could not be found. Was there something wrong with the directions given, for example “turn left at a remote orang asli hut“?

Therefore I decided to revisit the falls with a group of friends. We met for breakfast at Suntex, then drove to Kg Lui, following the directions of the webpage until we reached the end of the road. It was durian season and we had to be careful where to park the car because there were durian trees all over the place. Crossing the bridge we followed a clear trail until we reached the orang asli hut.

A whole family was staying there, very friendly. We asked the old man how to go to the waterfall. Just turn left for the waterfall, he said. And also without him we would have found the (vague) trail. BECAUSE…. the house was in the center of a durian orchard and the undergrowth had been cleared, so people could find the fallen durians easily. That explained a lot. When you come outside the durian season, the hut is empty and the undergrowth has grown back, making the trail almost invisible.

It is only a small part of the trail (until you enter the jungle again), that “disappears” outside the durian season. I will update the description on the website. Once you have entered the jungle, the trail is clear and leads you to the waterfalls.

We had a pleasant time at the falls, enjoying the pristine environment and our lunch. Two of us were interested to find out if there was another fall upstream. They found one, but the access was difficult, huge boulders and slippery rocks.

On our way back to the car, we spotted several durians that had just fallen down. We could not resist the temptation to take a few, opening one on the spot to find out that the taste was delicious! We also passed a tree with a makeshift ladder leading to the top. Could it be to collect honey? Many beautiful beehive gingers (Zingiber spectabile)

We still felt a bit hungry so we went to a Thai seafood restaurant in Hulu Langat. We asked permission to prepare the rest of our durians and have them with our meal. As you can see, Aric loves durians but not with a meal…:-) The others enjoyed durian with rice.

A fun trip with nice company!

Copycatting, copycatting, copycatting

In my last journal I wrote that I had made a long hike in Bukit Kiara with a group of hikers. I joined their Whatsapp group and they know about my interest in waterfalls. Last week a message was posted in this Whatsapp group with a link to  Paradise Malaysia Waterfalls . Of course I was interested and I opened the link. Surprise!   Hey, it is about me!  Here is the opening page (click to enlarge).

Waterfalls

The website belongs to the Big Blue Taxi Services and this article has been added to the site in August last year, by ‘bigblue’.

But I have never had any contact with this company, I have never used a Blue Taxi in KL and when I read this: Avoid Blue taxis in KL at ALL cost! , I never will in future, LOL. So, how is it possible that I appear on this site?

Time for some investigative  Google search… 🙂 As I suspected copycatting, I did a search for “Dutch enthusiast Jan Stuivenberg” and got this:

Google

Bingo! Big Blue Taxi Services is there, but top of the list is a STAR article “Our Best Waterfalls” dating back to 2009. And yes, that rings a bell…:-)

In 2009 my friend Joe Yap was very active with her Waterfall Survivors group, drawing attention from a STAR reporter, Louisa Lim, resulting in an article about the activities of the WS group titled  Fighting for the Falls .Joe told her about me, that I was her “sifu”,  I got an email from Louisa and in the same STAR issue a second article was published: Our Best Waterfalls

STAR

When you compare the two texts you will see that they are identical, except for one small, but telling detail: in the Big Blue article  the word five  is omitted, and the title mentions Top 8 Must Visit Waterfalls” . And indeed, in the Big Blue article 3 more waterfalls have been added.

There are more differences. In the Big Blue article the description of the waterfalls is much more elaborate than in the original STAR article.

For example, about the Jerangkang Falls in Pahang.

Here is the STAR description. Not my words, by the way, they were written by the STAR reporter …:-)

Jerangkang STAR

And here is Big Blue (click to enlarge)

Jerangkang Big Blue

The first paragraph is identical. The rest of the text is mine! Copied from the Jerangkang page  in my Waterfalls in Malaysia website. Double copycatting..:-). Ok, the pictures are different.

Did Big Blue do all this? No, it is more complicated.

In the Google search there is another hit, the website Holidays in Malaysia . In May 2010, almost five years ago, and six months after the STAR article, a certain Kenny published an article Best Waterfalls In Malaysia on this website. He added one more waterfall to “my” five…:-). The Geruntum fall in Perak. The rest of the text is identical with the STAR article, but he adds a few pictures. Here is Jerangkang again, including a picture

Jeraqngkang Holidays in Malaysia

And the Geruntum fall links to a separate page: Splashing Time At The Ulu Geruntum Waterfall , published by Kenny in July 2010. Fair enough, for this article he mentions  the STAR as source. It did not take me long to find out that he had copied the content, lock, stock and barrel from Having a splashing time , written for the STAR in 2009 by my waterfall and birding friend Chan Ah Lak !

Do you still follow me…:-)? Because we are not yet there…:-).

The Google Search has another, more recent hit: My Travel Journey September 2012  This is a blog, written by “John” . Here is the opening page

My Travel Journey

And here is the part about Jerangkang on his site. The first two paragraphs are from the STAR article, the purple part has been copied from my Waterfalls of Malaysia site.

Jerangkang My TRavel Journey

For this waterfall no pictures have been copied, which makes the sentence: “These pictures cover the falls until step 15, so there is still work to be done…!” rather meaningless.

For other waterfalls he copies the pictures too, actually just linking to the pictures on my website (which is considered impolite in Cyberspace!) Here is a part of Lata Kinjang, first as shown on my site

Kinjang_WoM

And here is the same part of Lata Kinjang on John’s site. When I check the source code of the page, I see that the whole page has been extracted (using MsOffice Word?)  from my site, even including the table structure, leading to misalignment of the lats picture…:-)

Kinjang-My Travel Journey

In this blog two more waterfalls are added, bringing the total to 8. Why the Bukit Larut (Perak) fall  and the Giam Klimau fall (Sarawak!) are selected from my site, is unclear to me. They are not that special.

Far enough, at the end of the page, he writes: For more info can go to http://www.waterfallsofmalaysia.com/index.php……….  But of course it is still copycatting.

Now we are almost there, finally…:-) When I compare this My Travel Journey version with the Big Blue one, I find only minor differences. Big Blue does not link to my Waterfalls of Malaysia pictures. They have edited (and improved) the layout of the page and made some textual changes. At the end they mention the Waterfalls of Malaysia site, and also that they used My Travel Journey as their source.

But it still is copycatting, copycatting and copycatting…:-) My Waterfalls of Malaysia site has a contact option and the least they could have done, is to contact me and ask my permission.

Final copycatting reconstruction:

STAR article (2009)  > Holidays in Malaysia (2010) > My Travel Journey (2012 > Big Blue Taxi Services (2014)

And one last remark. On all these sites I am introduced as the  “Dutch enthusiast Jan Stuivenberg, who has paid a visit to more than 110 of the nation’s 130 waterfalls

What utterly nonsense about “the nation’s 130 waterfalls“, LOL. When the STAR reporter wrote her article, there were 130 waterfalls described on the Waterfalls of Malaysia site! When you visit the site now, you will see that the present count is 183. And there are hundreds, maybe even thousands more in Malaysia.

The Kanching Waterfalls

For the third time in a few months, I have visited the Kanching waterfalls, the pleasure park of Kuala Lumpur as it is called on my Waterfalls of Malaysia website.  This time with Edwin, Alice, Chadel and Jerry. We started with breakfast, near FRIM

Breakfast

During weekends Kanching is crowded, but we went on a weekday and it was quiet.  We noticed new signboards, warning for snatch thieves. Apparently human ones, not the ubiquitous monkeys looking for food. Alice and Edwin had fun enacting a snatch theft.

Snatch thieving

There are seven waterfall tiers at Kanching, Here are the first four, not always easy to determine where one fall ends and another one starts…:-). The third fall, Kapor is the most popular one. As it was the rainy season, there was quite a lot of water.

Cemented steps continue until the fourth fall. After that there is a (sometimes steep) trail up the slope. There is work in progress to fence this part off, but  we could still continue to what is actually the most impressive part of Kanching.

Here is a video clip of the tall nr 6 fall/cascade

Fall nr 5 is my favourite. We used it for a short photo session. When I am in pictures, I always try to hide my tummy..haha. Good idea or not? Comments (friendly please) welcome.

Me and my tummy

Actually, after fall nr 7, there are two more remote falls, so we decided to continue. No trail, river trekking, lots of leeches. Especially Alice enjoyed them and they liked her too!  Worried about afternoon rain, we turned back halfway, river trekking is nice but a slow process. Time to take nice nature pictures.

Coming back to fall nr 7, we had time to relax, take a bath and frolic around. I inspected the geocache I have  placed here, more than ten(!) years ago. Still in good condition. I took a “travelbug” from the cache, which I will put back in my Bukit Kiara geocache. Click on the links, if you want to know more about the interesting geocaching game..:-)

Here is the travelbug I took from my geocache. The owner hopes it will come back to Germany. If it is not retrieved before my next trip back to Holland, I will take it there myself.,

travelbug

Then it was time to go back, scrambling down before the rain came. We had taken a sensible decision, the rain started just when we reached our cars!

Going down

Going down

Of course were were hungry after a long day, so we ended our hike with a well-deserved late lunch in Aman Puri

Lunch

A very satisfactory trip with nice company!

As there is often confusion about Kanching and the nearby Templer’s Park, here a topo map of the region. In red the trunk road nr 1 from KL to Rawang. I have indicated the location of Kanching and Templer’s in blue. What is very confusing, is that the Kanching falls are located in the Kanching forest, but the name of the river with the 7 waterfalls is Sg Chul Tinggi!. The actual Sg Kanching is located in Templer’s Park. It has also a waterfall but less interesting than the Kanching falls.

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Journal 30-11-2014

Another journal. Starting with sad news.

On Wednesday 8-10-2014,  Aric’s brother in law, passed away. A few days earlier we had met Victor and his family during a wedding dinner. Here he is sitting to the right with his wife and two kids, still in good health.

Family dinner

During the weekend he developed a fever and on Wednesday Aric took him to the hospital. A few hours later he passed away: blood poisoning (septicemia). How fragile life is. Hectic days followed, cremation on the following Saturday.

Cremation

Less than one week later, our planned visit to Japan started. We considered canceling the trip, but decided to go. It was a good decision. Reports about Osaka, Kyoto and Wakayama have been published separately already. Here a picture of a Zen garden.

Zen Garden

Back in Malaysia, we were invited for the 60th birthday party of our friend Zen. In a very different style: a polka dot and swinging sixties party. A very pleasant evening!

I am still a regular walker in Bukit Kiara. The original Kiara Bunch has more or less dwindled away, only my friend Boon Chee is left over. So I often walk alone, but sometimes with friends whom I show the beauty of the hill. Here some pictures of two walks, one with Paul, another one with Rani.

When you have been following my blog, you will know that Bukit Kiara is under threat. Development is taking place and the plans to gazette it have not yet materialised. But at least there are plans to protect it.

The situation is much worse for Bukit Lanjan, opposite our condo. The hill is basically the property of real estate developers..:-( Mainly MK Land, but now also Mammoth Empire. We chose our condo in Damansara Perdana mainly because of the splendid view of the forested Bukit Lanjan slope, as seen from our balcony. Have a look at how it was when we bought it, and the present situation!

Interested to buy one of these “villas”? Better first read this forum…:-)

View from our balcony Bukit Lanjan now

Here are two more pictures, Google Earth screenshots, to show clearly how Mustapha Kamal (the big boss of MK Land) has created his own paradise on top of Bukit Lanjan, in the meantime destroying the hill. Like Saruman in Lord Of The Rings… 🙁 Click on the pictures to enlarge and see details. Left the situation in 2010, right as it was beginning of this year. Sad.

Bukit Lanjan before

Bukit Lanjan2

Another popular location for walking and jogging is the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM). I have been there a few times, but do not know the location well, so I was happy to accept my friend’s Edwin invitation for a hike. Here are a a few pictures.

Of course I also visited waterfalls, although I have become much more careful recently. I guided my late friend Yian’s daughter Carolline and her NZ boyfriend Dave to the Kanching waterfalls. And I joined Edwin to a “secret” waterfall, recently discovered by him.

Last weekend  I was back in Taiping. On 23-11 the Taping Heritage Society had organised a day trip for its members and the Committee had asked me to tell the participants about the Kota Ngah Ibrahim in Matang. I had collected a lot of information, you can find it here About the trip irself I will write a separate post.

It is always a pleasure to visit the Lake Gardens in Taiping.

Lake Gardens.

Elusive Batangsi

In my last Journal I mentioned an unsuccessful hike to a remote waterfall, where we went back because I felt “discomfort”. After my cardiologist had given me a clean bill of health, of course I wanted to go back and give this Batangsi waterfall another try..:-) This time with Aric, Edwin, Janine, Nick and Siang Hui as our guide. We met at Sg Long for breakfast, after which we bought our lunch at the lively pasar pagi.

Before I start the report about our hike, it may be useful to explain first why we are so interested in the mysterious Batangsi waterfall…:-) Here is a Google Map of the region (click to enlarge). At the top you see part of the Semenyih reservoir. The green marker gives the location of the well-known Nirwana Memorial Park and to the right you see the border between Selangor and Negeri Sembilan. And in the middle of nowhere there is a marker for the Batangsi Falls!

Could there really be a waterfall there, or is it just a mistake of the map maker? On the topo map of the region there is no mention of a waterfall.

Google Map

Intrigued by this mysterious fall, we have been exploring the region several times during the last ten (!) years. We found the Batangsi river with a few cascades and small waterfalls. It resulted in a webpage Batangsi Fall on my Waterfalls of Malaysia website. Here are two of the small waterfalls/cascades we found.

Batangsi

Batangsi

Were there more waterfalls upstream? In 2008 I joined Aurelius and his friends, we followed a farm road until the end. From there we river trekked upstream for about three hours. Nice hike but no waterfalls.

Batangsi Aurelius

Here is a Google Map with our hike. Black is the farm road, blue the river trekking.

Google_Aurelius

In 2012 Siang Hui and Harry (†) did another hike, following the river much further. Coming to a split in the river, they decided to follow the right branch and finally found a real waterfall…:-)

Google_SH_Harry

Batangsi Fall

During this hike they had come to a split of the Batangsi river and decided to follow the right branch. Could there be another waterfall in the left branch? Studying the contour lines of the topo maps, Siang Hui thought there might be one.

When you look at the first map picture in this blog, you will notice that there are two farm roads leading inland and for our next recce we took the other one. It ends at a temple, from where a clear trail starts. Unfortunately I did not feel well after about one hour hiking , so we turned back. Here is a Google Maps screenshot. The possible waterfall is marked with a red star.

Another Recce

The yellow marker indicates the location of the temple. As you see our hike (green track) brings us quite deep into the interior! On our way back we went down to the river for a bath (brown line)

After this “longish” introduction, here is the report about our latest hike. Again we followed the farmroad, passing flower and vegetable farms, until we reached the impressive Buddhist temple.

We started our hike from the temple at 9:15 am and were back at 5pm. It was an interesting, tough hike, but we did not reach the waterfall! However, we have now a clear idea how to proceed on our next, and hopefully final hike…:-). Here is our hike (in green) on Google Earth, only the main part is shown  (click to enlarge) and I have numbered a few points of interest. The coloring is a bit different, dark blue is my trip with Aurelius, light blue the hike of Siang Hui and Harry and red our aborted hike.

Our hike

From the temple it took us about one hour plus to reach point (1) where I went back during our last recce. Until there the trail was well kept so we were expecting that from there it would continue. But after another half hour hiking, the trail disappeared (2). We backtracked  to see if we had missed the trail, but it was really gone.

From that point Saing Hui had to do a lot of chopping. After a while we reached a small stream (3) and we decided to follow it back to the Batangsi river. In retrospect that was a mistake, as we were only about 400 meter away from the river split we wanted to reach. After we reached the river (4), we trekked upstream to a small waterfall where we had lunch and a bath (5).

It was already getting late and we decided not to continue, but river trek back. River trekking is fun, but also slow, so when we reached a run-down biker camp (6) near the river, with a trail going uphill, we decided to take that trail.

Also here we lost the trail and it took us quite a long time, after even going in a completely wrong direction (7) for a while, to reach the logging road (8)!

We were very lucky with the weather during this trip. It was only a few hundred meters before reaching the temple that a downpour started. And a real downpour it was…:-)

Siang Hui and Nick had to go back home early, so it was only the four of us who could enjoy a delicious seafood dinner in Semenyih.

A memorable trip. We are thinking about a (hopefully) final attempt. After reaching the small stream (3) not following it but chopping our way to the confluence. From there river trekking. Then basically the same way back. The black line in the map below.

Next recce

Pos Dipang revisited

In 2009 my friends Siang Hui and Harry (†) discovered beautiful waterfalls in the Dipang river. A few months later I visited these falls myself, here is a report. During this trip I met Jinnah, a friendly Semai from Pos Dipang. He told me that that were more waterfalls upstream. Within a period of a few months, I came back three times. The last time Jinnah took my friend Rani and me to the very remote upper falls. The report can be found in Three times Dipang.

That was four years ago.Time to go back, with a group of friends. A camping weekend. We met as usual at the mamak near my condo for breakfast. From left to right Aric, Janine, Edwin, Teoh and Nick.

Breakfast

On our way to Pos Dipang we picked up Eddie at Tanjung Malim. After we arrived in the Orang Asli kampung, we asked for Jinnah, as I had not been able to contact him earlier. It was nice to meet him after four years, but at first it did not look good, because somebody had died recently in the kampung and he was not sure if he could guide us into the jungle. We went with him to the penghulu to ask permission to camp.

Meeting the penghulu

That was no problem, but the penghulu asked us to report at the police. While Edwin went to the police station, we went already to the campsite where Rani and I had camped four years ago. At first Jinnah was not happy with the location (too close to the river) and suggested a location a bit further upstream.

Where to camp?

But after some discussion we decided it was better to camp at this spot. Hurriedly we put up our tents, as the sky was darkening.

We had to provide extra rain cover. I had none for the tent borrowed from us byTeoh and Nick. That was not a success, it turned into a swimming pool…:-(

We had planned to explore the nearby falls in the afternoon, but we had to take shelter in our tents. Fortunately the rain stopped around 5 pm, so we had a relaxed evening.

After the rain

The plan was that everybody would take care of his own food, but on the spot we decided to have a shared meal. With a pre-dinner drink and a glass of wine. That is what I call luxury camping…:-)

Pre-dinner drink

Shared dinner

Jinnah came to tell us that he would guide us to the upper falls. That was good news, I had GPS tracks taken during my visit four years ago, but I expected the trail to be overgrown, as Jinnah told us that almost nobody ever visited these remote falls.

Here we are, the next morning, ready for a long hike…:-)

Ready to go

Jinnah guided us on a different route, because after my last visit a logging road had been opened. A steep climb, but very fast compared with the old route. Nice views of the surrounding jungle.

When we entered the jungle, we first followed a rather clear trail to a pettai garden. After that, our two guides had to do a lot of chopping until we reached the river. There were legions of leeches, Jinnah used tobacco as protection. River trekking is fun, but also slow.

After 2.5 hours hiking we reached the bottom of what I had called fall nr 4. The real name is Lata Cheroh. During my 2010 trip I had seen this waterfall only from the top, so this was a new fall for me. Very impressive, but my pleasure was spoiled by the large number of bees…:-( So we took only a few pictures before we continued.

Lata Cheroh

Lata Cheroh, pic by Aric

To reach our final destination, we had to scramble up a really steep slope until we arrived at the top of this waterfall. From there it was an easy, short  river trek to the bottom of Lata Merjur (fall nr 5). Because of the rainy season the water flow was spectacular. What a waterfall!

Lata Merjur, pic by Aric

But also here there the bees were all over the place. Because it was the flowering season, Jinnah explained. Almost everybody in our group was stung one or two times. Instead of frolicking around, I kept myself mostly submerged in the water. Hardly took pictures, here are a few , taken by Aric and Janine

Here is a video of the fall.

Because of the bees we did not stay long at the fall. As the weather was still good, Jinnah decided to go back the same way, river trekking. With (heavy) rain, that would have been too risky. In that case the best way back would have been a jungle trail with a lot of chopping. Now we were back around 3 pm.

We were very lucky with the weather, it became cloudy and a bit threatening, but no rain until we had reached our cars. Beautiful landscape

Dipang jungle

After saying goodbye to Jinnah and the penghulu, we drove back to Kampar for a very late lunch (more like an early dinner). Kampar is famous for its Roti Ayam . During our meal, there was a huge downpour, probably our tents would not have survived the strong winds…:-)

It was a wonderful trip, with a very pleasant group. Pity that there were so many bees. These falls are very remote, if anything happens, you really have a problem. Actually, although I had not noticed it, I must have been stung, as both my left cheek and right foot were swollen when I came out of the jungle.  Maybe it is time for me, at my age, to slow down a bit..:-)

On this GE screenshot you can see how remote the location of the waterfalls is.

GE screenshot