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!


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!




Kathina 2015

The Kathina festival in Taiping was held this year on 8 November. About the background of this Buddhist festival you can read more in an earlier blog The Kathina Festival 2013 . This time Aric joined me. The Sasanarakkha Buddhist Sanctuary (SBS) where the festival is held, is located high up the slopes of Bukit Larut. You have to park your car at the Chinese cemetery, from where volunteers with pick-up trucks and 4WD’s bring you to the sanctuary. Perfect organisation!

When we arrived, around 7am(!), there was already a big crowd, enjoying the large variety of food, prepared by volunteers and free of charge. A very nice, friendly atmosphere. Our friends Mary, Jenny and George had arrived early and were busy distributing mineral water.

There was a remarkable number of Myanmar devotees. I understood that many of them had been helping SBS preparing for Kathina. Another reason could be that Myanmar is Theravada Buddhist, like SBS. Do you know the difference between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism? Maybe I should write a separate blog about it..:-)

The Myanmar people carried a lot of gifts for the monks and they also performed a very nice musical show, with songs and dancing.

Around 10 am the alms giving ritual started. Very symbolic and impressive. The food stalls closed and everybody received a plastic cup with some rice in it and a small spoon. When the monks were passing you put a little bit of rice in the alms bowl they were carrying.

The atmosphere was solemn. Here are two nice pictures taken by Aric.

2015-11-08 10.10.18 HDR

2015-11-08 10.10.41 HDR

And here is a (too) short video clip

After the alms giving the monks walked to platforms where they sat down to receive gifts from the devotees.

I thought that the monks received here their new robes, but that is not true, the devotees present gifts.  A friend explained that actually only one piece of cloth is presented to the Sangha (the monk community). This is done early morning and during the day this cloth is used to make one robe. Which monk will receive this robe? During the Vassa (the period that monks don’t travel but stay in the monastery) they have to follow many rules and precepts. There are so many rules, that you can easily forget one or two..:-). My friend told me that the monk with the best “precept keeping record” gets the robe. Don’t know if it is true, it doesn’t sound very Buddhist, but it is a nice story.

The last part of the festival is a talk/lecture by the monks.  We listened for a while to the English talk by the head monk (?) before we walked down. This path down had been upgraded by the Myanmar volunteers and was really a pleasure walk, back to the car.

I hope to attend Kathina again in the coming years.

Journal 1-1-2016

During our recent China trip, we stayed one night near the Yangcheng lake, hoping to enjoy a dinner with the famous hairy crabs. It turned out that we were a bit too early, the season was just starting. It became quite an adventure, read the report here. We had hairy crabs, but they were slightly disappointing because there was hardly any roe and that is what makes them a delicacy.

When, end of October, we noticed that the Dragon-I restaurant in 1 Utama had a hairy crab promotion, we could not resist the temptation..:-). The crabs are flown in twice a week from Shanghai, they are not cheap, price is RM 400-500 per kg. In Yangcheng we had to prepare the crabs ourselves, here it was done for us by two nice waitresses who created a real work of art. And as you can see, now there was plenty of roe. Not healthy but so delicious…:-)

The next day I went back to Lata Tampit, this time with Aric, to show him how attractive these falls are. It was a weekday,during my first visit the 5th tier was crowded with people camping, now there were no other visitors. Beautiful large pool.

On 8 November the yearly Kathina ceremony was held in Taiping. In an earlier blog, Kathina Festival 2013 , I have given information about the background of this Buddhist festival. This time I went with Aric who had never attended. About the Festival I will write a separate post: Kathina 2015. Here only one picture of the monks waiting for the devotees to present their gifts

When I am in Taiping I always want to have a look at the Old Resthouse, probably a masochistic streak in my character. It is a real eyesore, half hidden behind a fence that proudly advertises the heritage of Taiping. But of course I still enjoyed my stay, meeting many friends…:-)

Recently I have written a post Kanching Mission(s), where one of the missions was to check for my friend Joe Yap if there was a lot of rubbish. There was, so she started organising a cleaning operation. I could not attend the event itself, as I would be in Laos, but I met her in Kanching a week earlier, when she went there with some of her volunteers. I met her there with my friend Rahim.. He had never been to Kanching, so I showed him a few of the falls, before it started to rain.

About our trip to Laos I have published already a few posts. More will follow. Here only a picture of an alms giving ceremony in Luang Prabang.

2015-11-30 06.27.20

Several of my friends were interested in Lata Tampit, so I went back for a third time. It will not be the last one, the waterfalls are beautiful, access is relatively easy, a pleasant half-day trip with a nice lunch as reward. Edwin suggested restaurant Wonderland Valley in Bukit Tinggi, and that was a good choice.

We don’t celebrate Christmas, but I decided it would be a good time to have a small party.  From this post you will have noticed that I am still addicted to waterfalls..:-), so I invited friends with a similar interest. My sifu Khong had recently created a personal book with all the waterfalls he had visited, I had borrowed the book to show it to my friends. There was food, a Western style buffet. And I had created a slide show of the waterfalls visited by me during the last 10-12 years. Without identification. After the dinner my guests had to determine name and location of the various falls. Big fun. A nice party

A few days later I was invited for a real Christmas party by my friend Philip. With a Christmas tree, a turkey and lots of other food. And even the singing of Christmas carols, where I surprised myself by joining the others in “Silent Night, Holy Night” 🙂

For New Year’s Eve, we have a tradition that we celebrate it at home, with a nice dinner. After the countdown we watch the fireworks at the Curve from our balcony. Nothing spectacular this time, but the dinner was a success.

And so came 2015 to an end. In that year I published more than 40 posts and albums!

I wish all my followers a happy and prosperous 2016!