A relaxing trip

A few weeks ago friends told us about an interesting jungle resort, called The Sticks, between Kuala Kubu Bharu and Fraser’s Hill. Accommodation in so-called tendoks (a cross between a tent and a pondok). We decided to give it a try, stay overnight and visit the next day the nearby Chiling waterfall.

We stopped for lunch in KKB as Kuala Kubu Bharu is commonly called. KKB is a charming little town with many eateries. We went to Xin Yuen Kee, where we had Loh Mee, Fish Cakes and delicious Stewed Chicken Feet.

We had left KL with sunny weather, but when we walked back to our car after lunch, we felt the first raindrops, which soon became a heavy downpour. I had just time enough to take some pictures of the mural art, which is mushrooming all over Malaysia these days. It is not Zacharevic standard here in KKB, rather primitive, but with a certain charm.

The downpour became so heavy, that we skipped our plan to take some drone video at the Selangor Dam. Instead we continued to the Sticks parking, where our host Rubin was already waiting for us with umbrellas (we had messaged him from KKB about our arrival time). It was a short, romantic footpath to the resort, crossing the Selangor river on a sturdy hanging bridge.

We received a hearty welcome from our hostess Michelle and were shown our tendok. Named the Riverside tendok, because it is located almost above the river…:-). Attached bathroom, hot shower, fan, mosquito nets, very private location, surrounded by jungle.

After the rain stopped, we explored  the surroundings. The hanging bridge is close by, from there you could see how strong the water flow was after the heavy rain. From our tendok a few cemented steps led down to the river. A nice place to take a bath, but it was a bit too chilly after the rain.

We had a few hours to spend before dinner. No wifi, no computer! Finally I could finish Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind. Ok, I had it as an iBook on my iPad…:-).

When the evening came,  clouds and mist made the surrounding landscape even more romantic

Dinner was served in the community hall, where we met a few more guests. It was a barbecue dinner , served on banana leaf. A variety of fish, chicken, beef and lamb, attractively presented.

We went to bed early, but woke up around 11 pm because it started to rain again. Not just rain, a huge downpour with thunder and lightning. The sound of the rain drops on the roof of our tendok was so loud, that we could not hear the sound of the river anymore and it was almost impossible to talk to each other. Fortunately our tendok turned out to be 100% rainproof. But when we woke up the next morning, the water level in the river was still high and the colour brownish.

To reach the Chiling waterfall you have to cross another river (a tributary of the Selangor river) many times. Also the weather did not look very stable. And we felt lazy. We decided to skip the waterfall and instead to relax in the resort until checkout time.

The service at The Sticks is personal and friendly. The night before, after dinner, Michelle had asked us how we liked our breakfast. Omelet, fried eggs or half-boiled eggs? Beef or chicken sausage?  Ham ? Beans? Tea or coffee? There were cereals, toast, jam, butter. So we had a full English breakfast in the jungle! The only thing that was missing was a glass of orange juice…:-) And of course it was halal.

After our breakfast we enjoyed our tendok, walked around to take pictures and I talked with Rubin about the history of the place. The resort is not old, in the past there was tin mining at this location and later a (failed) fish farm project. The present owners have done a good job, replanting trees and landscaping the terrain. Here is a picture of the community hall. The tendoks (7 at the moment) are in the jungle behind the hall

Some pictures of flowers, a harmless millipede and an old water pipe, dating back to the tin mining period. According to Rubin,  remains from that period can still be found in the jungle, but access is not easy.

Then it was time to leave our temporary home and cross the bridge back to the main road.

The main reason to visit Chiling this time (I have visited the waterfall 15 times already during the past 14 years!), was to take a drone video of the fall. Pity that we could not do that, we must come back another time.

Instead, on our way back passing the Selangor dam, we stopped at the visitor center to take a video there. But soon a friendly girl came to warn us that droning was not allowed there. So we drove up to kampung Gerachi uphill, from where you have a nice view of the reservoir and the spillway. The reservoir was full and the spillway was impressive, an artificial waterfall.  It is nice to see everything from the air.

Here is a short video of the spillway

On our way back we stopped in Serendah for lunch. A nameless Thai restaurant on a slip road beside the trunk road has a reputation for its Tom Yam. Very tasty, we combined it with refreshing Leng Chee Kang

The Google Earth image shows the location of KKB and the Sticks resort

Tour Guide!

Can you be our tour guide for a day trip to Ipoh and Taiping, my friend Pat asked me recently? My pleasure, I replied, but visiting Ipoh and Taiping on a day trip would be too hectic and no fun. Let me think about an interesting program!

They also would like to visit a waterfall, so I suggested we could start with Lata Kinjang, clearly visible from the North-South Highway. But first we had breakfast in the Pun Chun restaurant in Bidor, famous for its duck noodles. The yam cakes are also delicious.

Outside the restaurant there were several stalls with fresh fruits and vegetables, which of course meant shopping!

Our next destination was Lata Kinjang. Travelers from KL to Ipoh will have seen this waterfall from the highway, but not many will have actually visited the fall, because the access route is a bit complicated. From the car park it is a short walk through nice forest to the tall waterfall.

A (sometimes) steep trail brings you to a hanging bridge from where you have a nice view

From Lata Kinjang we continued on countryside roads to the tin dredge of Tanjung Tualang. A tin dredge is a kid of floating factory in an artificial lake, created by the dredge itself.. They scoop up buckets of tin-bearing soil at the front end (left pic), separate the tin from the soil and deposit this soil at the rear end (right pic). In the heyday of tin mining there were many of these gargantuan monsters in Perak, now only one is left to become a tourist attraction. During my first visit, many years ago, I could explore the tin dredge, at the moment you can only admire the outside

There is also a small museum (under construction) and there are plans to develop the place into a major tourist attraction, including :

a food and beverage section with cafes, alfresco dining and gift shops; a garden area for weddings and other functions; a petting zoo and adventure park; a villa resort; a floating resort; an area for flea market and antique bazaar; and parking area

Keep dreaming, I would say…:-)

Then it was time for lunch. Originally I had planned lunch in Tanjung Tualang, famous for its freshwater prawns, but instead we went to Pusing and had nice food in restaurant Ming Fuong.  With quite affordable freshwater prawns.

During our lunch I mentioned to my guests the nearby village of Papan, where during the Japanese occupation in WWII, Sybil Kathigasu was helping the resistance fighters. The town is ruined, but there is a small museum in the house where she lived.

We decided to have a look. Papan is only a few streets with many of the houses overgrown with trees and bushes. Difficult to imagine that during the tin mining era it was a busy town.

Some of the houses are still inhabited! The museum was closed, we could only have a look from the outside. The future of Papan is uncertain, there are still tin deposits underneath. If the price of tin goes up, it might mean the end of the village

My plan was to visit next one of the many cave temples in Ipoh, and I decided that on our way we could have a quick look at Kellie’s Castle. When I first visited this “folly’ about twenty years ago, it was a romantic ruin, but since then it has been renovated and become a major tourist attraction. William Kellie Smith was a Scottish planter and tin miner who started building this castle in 1915. But he died in 1926 and the castle was never finished.

When we arrived at the Kek Lok Tong cave temple, we found out that we were too late, the temple gates were just closing 🙁 Really a pity, because this is in my opinion one of the most impressive cave temples in Ipoh. Click here for a blog report I found on the Internet.

It was still too early for dinner, was there an alternative for the temple? I suggested we could visit Gopeng, another tin mining town with a glorious past. Recently there have been attempts to revive it as a tourist attraction, there is  a museum , and you can find mural paintings, similar to those in Penang and Ipoh. (The links refer to my earlier blogs). It is becoming a bit of a craze nowadays, Kuala Lumpur has been following and you can find this street art also in Taiping.

Some nice ones in Gopeng are in the three-dimensional style of Zacharevic . Here Pat is acting as a model

We found a few more, various design and quality

Near Gopeng, in Ulu Geroh, you can find many Rajah Brooke’s butterflies and also, if you are lucky, the famous Rafflesia flowers. Here are two murals depicting them

Finally, after a long day, we went for dinner to restaurant Choy Kee in Sungkai. The restaurant is famous for its pork knuckle and the freshwater fish.

My guests wanted also to have again freshwater prawns (udang galah). It was a nice dinner, although we were a bit shocked by the price of the prawns. Below, clockwise from upper left: pork knuckle, kappa (kind of lala), udang galah and fish (forgot which kind).

It was a nice trip, full of variety, although we didn’t even reach Ipoh..:-)

Below is our route. The right screenshot shows the pockmarked landscape, a result of the tin mining

 

Rock Climbing

In a recent post, Down Memory Lane , I have written about my mountaineering past. In those days I went during the summer holidays with my friends to Austria. To get additional training we also visited several times, during weekends, a rock climbing site in Germany, the limestone hills of the Kanstein . Here are a few pictures. The two pictures to the left show me (yes, this slender young man is me, lol) climbing a route up the Sudostlicher Buchensluchtfelsen and in the picture to the right I am abseiling from the Liebesnadel (the Love Needle, guess why it was named that way!)

Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing

Abseiling

And here I am climbing the Vogelbeerfels. If you look carefully, you can see that I am secured by a rope, after all I was a beginner. But the rappelling was unsecured, if you would loose your grip, you would just fall down…:-)

climbing

That was fifty years ago.

Last week, one day after my seventieth birthday, I went rock climbing again. My friend Chadel had invited a few friends for a climbing practice day at Bukit Takun, a rock climbing site near Templer’s park. After a thorough instruction we would climb up the steep rock face, and then rappel 30 meter down.  It was especially the rappelling that attracted me…:-)

Bukit Takun is a conspicuous rocky hill. To reach the rock face, a steep climb was needed. In the right picture Chadel is pointing out the route we were going to follow. An almost vertical wall, rather overwhelming..:-)

Bukit Takun

Steep access

The climbing wall

We would start at the lower yellow cross, first climb halfway, then up through a so-called chimney (second cross). Finally abseiling down from the red cross.Click the pictures to enlarge them

Climbing up

Rappelling down

First Chadel explained rope handling, some useful knots and how to secure (belay) a fellow-climber. He is an experienced guide and has brought numerous clients to this hill.

Chadel went up first. In the left picture he has almost reached the ledge, where he will prepare the safety anchor for Edwin and me. In the middle picture it’s me on the ledge and in the third one Edwin. To be honest, I found it not easy and almost gave up, but thanks to Chadel’s pep talk I made it..:-). Click on the picture to enlarge it, so you can see how Edwin is belaying me.

Chadel

Me

Edwin

From the ledge Chadel lowered us down to the base, where we took a rest and had our lunch. Because this was just a practice climb..:-).

The second half (pitch) of our climb was easier but had a “chimney” as a bottleneck. In a chimney you have to use a different climbing technique and here it helped that I had some experience from my mountaineering past.

After this second pitch it was an easy scramble up to where we were going to rappel thirty meter down to our starting point. Not taking any risk, Chadel prepared an extra safety rope, in case we would loose our grip on the abseiling rope. The abseiling technique is very different from what I have been doing fifty years ago, Mark the tiny red gadget, that does the trick.

I think from my face it is easy to see how happy I was.

I also took a few videos. Here Chadel is starting the climb, belayed by Edwin.

In this video I have already climbed to the ledge abd I am watching how Edwin is coming up

And here Edwin is abseiling down. Can you hear the funny buzzing sound? There were a lot of annoying sweat flies..:-)

Thanks for a wonderful trip, Chadel!

Teoh’s Canyon

My friend Teoh has been talking several times about a beautiful canyon in Negeri Sembilan, where he would like to bring me and my waterfall gang.  A canyon in Malaysia! It was not easy to find a suitable date, that everyone was available, so finally we went only with three people, Teoh Edwin and I.

After breakfast in Batu 9, Cheras, we went on our (long) way to the region of Lata Kijang. This waterfall was almost destroyed by a severe flash flooding in September 2010 and is officially still closed to the public. With a 4WD you can reach the fall, we had to park our sedan at one of the Orang Asli kampungs along the access road and walk from there.

Hot and sunny

It was a few years ago that Teoh had been here, some development had taken place, it took him some time to find the right trail. It was a hot and sunny day, so it was really refreshing when we finally reached the river and could start river trekking!

Start of river trekking

It had not been raining for some time, so the water level was relatively low and the trekking easy. In the beginning the riverbanks were still walkable, but gradually they became steeper

River trekking

It was amazing to see how some of the trees were clinging to the rocks.

Giant tree roots

Tree clinging to the rocks

And then there was the canyon! Quite impressive. This is not a safe place to be when there is a risk of rain!. We noticed debris several meters up in the tree branches

The canyon

The canyon becomes narrower and at the end we saw a small waterfall. Huge tree trunks and branches in (and under) the water.  Here the water became also deeper, we would have to swim to get nearer. It might be interesting to find out if the canyon continued after the fall, but we considered it too risky to go further.

The canyon ends in a fall

Another reason that we did not stay too long, was that not only there were quite a few bees, there were even bee hives up against the rocks. With my bee-sting allergy I did not feel comfortable, so we returned.

Bee hives

Here are a few more pictures. This is the only canyon I know about in Malaysia, a quite interesting experience. Also a bit overwhelming.

So it was also nice to be back again in the green forest, with nice flowers…:-)

Nice flowers

Fresh green plants

On our way back we decided to have a look at the Semeniyeh reservoir, where last year a massive landslide took place. The road is still blocked, they are working on it.

Semeniyeh landslide

Road under construction

 

Here is a video of the canyon:

Journal 30-11-2012

Last weekend I have joined a trip organised by MyCat to the Sungai Yu Wildlife Corridor near Merapoh. We did not see any wildlife, but visited a waterfall, a canyon and a cave, camped in the jungle and had big fun. Good for my self-confidence too, after my two recent mishaps.

Here is our group before we started. Detailed report here.

And here I am at one of the waterfalls

Have you heard about a “historical discovery” on the planet Mars by Curiosity? Next week Monday a press conference has been announced by NASA and I was getting excited, because although I think that we may be alone in the Universe, it would be wonderful if we are not. Here is the Curiosity

But today I read that no evidence for organic material has been found yet. After the announcement of the historic discovery a funny cartoon was published in a Dutch newspaper. The Mars chocolate bar is a popular sweet in the Netherlands.

Here is the cartoon:

Next week my Kiara kaki Henry will travel to the USA with his wife to visit his son there. With a few Kiara friends we had a kind of farewell lunch at TK Chong near my condo.

Pisang waterfall

It was about 9 years ago that I visited this waterfall, near KL, for the first time. On a camping trip with Aric along the Gombak river I had noticed a sign to the Pisang waterfall. Searching the Internet I came across a web page by a guy, named Khong, about this and many other waterfalls.

I contacted him, we met and we found out that we shared many interests, so we became friends. Without him my life in Malaysia would have been very different…:-)

A few days ago I went back to this fall with my friends Rani and Grant.

A detailed report about the trip can be found here

I also used my iPhone to record an EveryTrail report about the trip.

Enjoy

A visitor from Holland

Last week Yolanda, the sister of my friend Paul, has been in Malaysia for a short holiday trip. It was her third visit, but there were still enough interesting things to see.

On Saturday 20-10 Paul and I fetched her from the airport.

She looked remarkably fresh after her 12 hour flight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day Aric and I had dinner with them in our favourite seafood restaurant, near to our condo. When I am back in Amsterdam, Yolanda and I have made it a tradition to meet each other in a fashionable restaurant for an extensive (and often expensive!) dinner. This meal was a lot cheaper.

From Monday until Wednesday we made a trip to Taiping, Kuala Kangsar and the Cameron highlands. Here is the detailed report, Yolanda’s visit, October 2012

Just one picture here. In Kuala Kangsar I went for the first time inside the famous Ubudiyah mosque, after a friendly girl gave us robes to cover our “nakedness”.

 

This is the result. Cute? Hilarious? Judge for yourself.

Paul still looks skeptical as usual, but Yolanda has a serene,  almost saintly smile on her face.

 

 

 

 
 

I had asked her to bring some “stroopwafels”,as I know that my Malaysian friends love those sweet, typical Dutch delicacies. Oh, and she also brought a “fresh” Epipen from Holland, so I will feel safer now when I go jungle-trekking.

Here are two of my IKEA friends, carefully tasting a stroopwafel to find out if they like it. They did…:-)

It was a nice visit. Writing this, she is already back in Amsterdam.

A trip to Gombak

A few days ago my friend Keong asked me if I was interested to join him for a trip to Gombak.The plan was to  visit the orchard of Raman, a Semai Orang Asli who would demonstrate various traditional techniques.

 

 

 

 

 

We met in Gombak, crossed a tunnel under the Karak highway and walked for about 20 minutes beside a small stream to Raman’s orchard. He showed us how to build a traditional shelter and the working of traps to catch squirrels and other small animals.

 

 

 

 

 

Another part of the program was an instruction in the making of good knots. Very useful for me, as I bought a hammock recently, but am still lacking the skills to use knots properly.

 

 

We finished this very interesting half-day trip with a lunch prepared by Raman’s wife.

Click here for a full report of this  trip on Multiply