Down Memory Lane

In 1964, fifty years ago, was a young student at the Free University of Amsterdam. With two friends I went to Austria during our summer holidays. Both also named Jan, so in the following pictures you will see Jan St (me) , Jan V and Jan Str. Camping in Tirol, hiking in the mountains. On one of these hikes we met Robert, a friendly German and an experienced mountaineer, who took us to the summit of the Wilder Freiger, 3418 m. It was a fascinating experience.

We were hooked and wanted to become mountaineers ourselves!


Wilder Freiger

We became members of the Austrian Alpine Club and the next year we followed a training course at the (in those days) famous Kaunergratschule. Here we got a thorough instruction in the handling of rope, ice axe and crampons, how to rescue somebody who had fallen in a glacier crevasse, we learned how to rappel down steep rock faces, to brake our fall on the snow and much more.

The course took two weeks, a balanced mix of theory and practice. As a part of the program we climbed several of the majestic mountains around the hut. Most impressive was the Watze Spitze with its hanging glacier.

After the training program, we felt confident enough to make our own alpine tours. We stayed in the same alpine region, but hiked to another hut, from where we climbed a few beautiful mountains, culminating in the Wildspitze, the second-highest mountain of Austria at 3770 m.

Here are more pictures, taken during these holidays. Most of them still in black and white. I found them in one of my photo albums, it was quite fun to reconstruct this part of my past, as I had forgotten most of the details. The last picture is a scan of the trip diary I kept during our stay. With information about weather and snow conditions, information about the route chosen, the difficulty (I – VI, I = easy, III= difficult)

To keep my family informed, I sent them postcards regularly. Later they had given back these postcards to me and I had put them in my album. Had completely forgotten that I had written on the backside of these cards. It is in Dutch, it gives a nice “travelogue” of our holidays.

A nice trip down memory lane!

Upper Damak

It has become a nice tradition: to visit an “unknown” waterfall during CNY with a few of my waterfall friends. In 2012 we have explored Lata Naga Air and last year we hiked  to the Ulu Licin falls, near Beruas. This time Siang Hui, who probably knows dozen if not hundreds of unexplored waterfalls in Malaysia, suggested a waterfall in the Gopeng region, upstream of the Damak waterfall. He had done a recce to this fall a few years ago, could already hear the sound of falling water, but returned because there might be a “Big Cat” around!

The Ulu Geroh region is famous for the Rafflesia flowers that can be found in the region and for the large concentration of Rajah Brooke butterflies. Since a number of years the Semai Orang Asli community has been actively involved in the protection of these natural treasures. Guides will bring you to the Rafflesia and Rajah Brooke locations, or to the Damak waterfall. A good initiative to give the community some income and make them aware of the importance of preserving the natural habitat.

Ulu Geroh

Orang Asli houseUlu Geroh


So, we did not mind taking a guide to this virtually unknown upper Damak fall. But we were shocked when they told us that we to had to pay per pax. That is very unusual for guides! Of course when your group is big, you may need more than one guide. We had a long discussion, they showed us the official price list (!). Finally we agreed to pay RM 75 for two guides. Very reasonable

price list

On our way

It was very useful to have guides, as they took a better route to the fall, than explored by Siang Hui a few years ago. We followed more or less the river, only vague trails, a lot of chopping needed. It took us about 1.5 hour to reach the Upper Damak fall. The rock face is visible on Google Earth.

Damak Upper Fall

As it had not rained for quite a few days, the water flow was not very big. Halfway up there was a nice pool, where we took a rest. The guides explained that the name of the fall was Lata Seli, where Seli means Cobra in the Semai language. And that the Damak fall should be called Lata  Jemon, while the name of the river is actually Sg Kundur. Here are some pictures taken during our hike.

On our way back we took the logging road used by Siang Hui during his recce. Hot, no shade, so it was nice that we could take a refreshing bath in the river before going back to Gopeng. Here is a GPS track of our hike.



I also took a short video of the waterfall


Once upon a time there was a plan for a new International Airport between Rawang and Tanjung Malim. Adventurous and greedy developers started already to build a new town at Bukit Beruntung. But the plans changed, the new airport was built far away, near Sepang, and the development bubble burst.

This is what remains, an abandoned township.






When you go to Fraser’s Hill or Chiling waterfall, and want to avoid the traffic jam in Rawang, a good alternative is to take the highway exit at Bukit Beruntung, from where you can reach Rasa on the trunk road nr 1. I have done that numerous times and was always intrigued by the many desolate and neglected residential areas along the route. Recently my Dutch friend Paul and I decided to explore these abandoned and often never completed neighborhoods. It was a fascinating trip







Some streets looked just unfinished, like the first pictures shown. Other parts were already overgrown with bushes and weeds. People were using it as rubbish dumps. When nothing happens, the jungle will take back these parts of town in a few decades.

The unfinished residential complex in the picture below has a kind of strange atmosphere. Notice that there are a few apartments with sunshades. So there must have been people who have dared to move in here!

Strange atmosphere

And some people must still be living here. A dog was barking behind the gate. The fencing looks recent. Not surprisingly this part of Bukit Beruntung has a bad reputation regarding crime. I would be very reluctant to go here at night.

People living here

What I like about these desolate places, is that you can often take quite nice, scenic pictures. We had perfect weather during our recce, misty weather with some rain would have been even better…:-). Here is a collection.

Here is a GE map of the region, with red markers at the location of abandoned projects.


After Rasa there is  a green marker. That is another abandoned project, but not related to Bukit Beruntung. A number of low-cost bungalows, unfinished and almost completely overgrown now.

Houses of Worship in Kuala Lumpur

On the first day of the CNY of the Horse, my friend Joe Yap and I decided to spend the day in Kuala Lumpur, visiting as many Temples, Churches, Mosques, Kovils, Viharas and Gurdwaras as we were able to find…:-)

We had a wonderful day and managed to have a look at 21 (!) Places of Worship. For a detailed report about our trip, click here. In this post I will only show pictures of the places we have visited. If I had to choose a favourite, it would be the Holy Rosary Church, built in French Gothic Revival style and completed in 1904. A real beauty, although it is a shame that next to it now high-rise condominium complexes are being built. Holy Rosary Church

Here is a gallery of the other locations we have visited, in chronological order. Some of the well-known ones are missing, the Thean Hou Temple because  it was too crowded with people, and several mosques because it was Friday.

We had prepared a map with the various locations and I also recorded the GPS-track of our route. Sometimes a bit complicated with one-way streets etc..:-)  And the town was much more busy than we had expected on a CNY day.


GE route