Stuif's Adventures

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Terengganu trip, June 2013
Last year during Hari Raya,a friend of mine, Harry Nian went on a solo expedition to Terengganu looking for new waterfalls. During a hike to the remote Berdebu fall, he met with a fatal accident: he was stung by a swarm of bees and died. His body was only found after one week.

With a few of his friends,Siang Hui, Teoh and Nic, we wanted to visit this waterfall as a way of paying our respect to Harry. It had to be in a weekend, and Siang Hui suggested to leave Saturday morning at 3am, drive to Cemerong, visit the waterfall, drive to the Berdebu trail head, camp there overnight, then Sunday morning visit the Berdebu fall and in the afternoon drive back to KL.

Hm, I thought, that may be ok for these young guys, but not for a senior citizen like me...:-)

So Aric and I went to Cemerong on Friday, planning to camp there. What a shock to find out that there was a crazy crowd there, more than 40 people camping, parking full of cars and motor bikes. We suddenly realised that Friday is weekend in (Muslim) Terengganu! What to do? Aric came with a good suggestion, why not drive on to the coast, stay overnight in Rantau Abang, and meet the next day with the others at Cemerong.

And that's what we did. We were lucky to find a very nice chalet, right on the beach. Rantau Abang is famous as a place where in the past thousands of Leatherback turtles landed and laid there eggs. Now no more, so Aric got very excited when at the reception he was told that last night a turtle had been spotted. The beach is beautiful and we had a relaxed afternoon. But no turtles that night..:-(

Rantau Abang beach

Our chalet

Pleasant room

Good service

A room with a view!

Our balcony

Taking a sea bath

Fishing boats

Fun time on the beach


The next morning we drove back to Cemerong where we met the three others, who had already visited the waterfall! From there we drove to the logging camp at the Kelemin river. More than 20 km of logging road, but fortunately in good condition. This is elephant country! We could have camped at the logging camp (almost a small village) but that did not look attractive, so we continued for a while on the access road to the waterfall until it became inpassable.

Looking for a suitable campsite, we found a perfect one, but... we had the cross the fast flowing Kelemin river to reach it! As Aric and I had expected to camp next to our car, we had just put our camping stuff in bags, so crossing the river was a bit problematic, but we managed...:-)

Last view before departing

Logging road to Kelemin river

Crossing the Loh river

Elephant country!

Elephant dung

Pointing at the elephant trail

Forest giant

One for the album

Well maintained road

The Sg Kelemin logging camp

Heavy machinery

Bridges become more simple

The road becomes worse

Have to cross the river

This could well be the most perfect campsite I have ever seen. Crystal-clear, emerald-green water, safe from flash floods, firewood all around. After installing ourselves, we had a relaxing afternoon. Siang Hui proved again that he is a good angler, Teoh also tried to catch a fish, we took a bath in the river and I...?
The pictures speak for themselves...:-).
Soon it was time to make a campfire and prepare dinner. Coffee, some chit-chat and early to bed.
If Paradise exists, it may look like this place..:-)

Perfect campsite

Upstream view from campsite

Downstream view

A relaxing afternoon

Siang Hui with his catch

This is why I don'tr like fishing

Teoh also gives it a try

My afternoon nap

And my pre-dinner drink

One for the album

Dinner preparations

Almost ready

Our simple dinner

Tasting barbecued catfish

The next morning after breakfast we took all our stuff (including of course our rubbish!) back to the cars and prepared for the hike. The first part was easy, we followed an old logging road. We had to cross the river twice, which had to be done carefully as the current was strong and the rocks slippery. As a precaution I had put my camera, phone, wallet in a dry-bag, therefore I have only a few pictures of the hike.

The Kelemin river runs through a narrow valley with increasingly steep slopes. A vague trail took us closer to the fall, but finally we were forced to river-trek. Huge boulders, often slippery. After a while we saw the impressive waterfall from a distance. To get closer we had to cross the river again using a safety rope this time. Going was getting tougher and tougher, I slipped once and bruised my thigh, so when there came another river crossing, I decided that it was enough for me...:-)

Siang Hui, Teoh and Nic continued, while Aric and I found a nice place to relax and take pictures. Not fully relaxing for me, because there were sweatbees around,and I am allergic for their sting...:-( I always carry an Epipen with me, but I had rather not use it, so the best way for me is to be in the water, while Aric took care about my sweaty clothes and backpack. We had to wait for our friends for almost two hours and were getting a bit worried, but finally we saw them coming back. It was tough, the boulders were so huge, that they had to climb the slope and at the end scramble down to the pool at the base of the fall. But they did it!

Two divers discussing nudibranches

Looking for something?

Of course we took out all our rubbish

Ready to go!

First river crossing

Taking a short rest

Teoh using his LifeStraw

Beautiful ginger inflorescence

A refreshing shower..:-)

The Berdebu waterfall

Close-up of this powerful fall

Aric with the waterfall

Protecting myself from bees

Aric protecting my barang

Pic by SH: close to the fall

Berdebu fall and its pool (SH)

I erected this marker for Harry

Before going back, we had of course to take a group picture .:-) At about the same spot Harry has taken a picture the last day of his life. More about this in a separate blog post, A Memorable Trip. It took us about 2.5 hours to reach our cars. Altogether it was a long hike, we started around 9 am and finished at 4:30 pm.
Our friends still had to go back to KL, where they would arrive around 11pm. We had decided to take it easy and spend one night in Cherating.

We did it..:-)

Last view of Berdebu

This rivercrossing was not easy

An ant nest inside a plant!

Almost back at our cars

So we drove to the coast and had dinner in the Tong Juan restaurant in Kemaman, famous for its baked crabs and giant garlic prawns. From there it was not far to Cherating, where we took a chalet in the Tanjung Inn. It is my favourite resort in Cherating, my first visit there was in 2004 and, although more expensive now, it still has the same quiet ambiance with wooden chalets around a beautiful pond. After a hectic day, and with aching bodies, it was not so easy to fall asleep..:-)

Baked crab abd garlic prawns

Cherating beach

Our chalet in Tanjung Inn

Nice room

Our balcony

The pond

Some pictures of the garden

In the garden

Nice flowers

The next morning we had breakfast (included in the chalet rate) and enjoyed the garden, before we drove back to KL. An unforgettable trip. On the map below it can be seen how remote this waterfall is. To the left is Lake Kenyir, and at the bottom is the Cemerong waterfall

And a curious monitor lizard

Map of the region

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