Stuif's Adventures

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Kota Tinggi waterfalls. June 2009
The Kota Tinggi waterfalls are among the most popular of Malaysia. However, they are very commercialised and a hefty entrance fee is charged (see below). In the same mountain range, dominated by the 634 m high Gunung Muntahak, there are several other, more interesting falls.

Recently I came in contact through the Waterfalls of Malaysia website with Encik Noh Ismail, a Wildlife Ranger in Johore, with an interest in waterfalls. And in fishing...:-). He told me that he knew a very remote waterfall in the Kota Tinggi region and he was willing to guide me there. The next day we could visit the Pelepah falls, popular with Singaporeans.

After a four hour drive from KL we arrived in the small town of Kota Tinggi. Nothing special to see there, but the Mayres hotel was ok and next door there was a excellent, VFM restaurant, named Kofu. Pork ribs with stout, yummie!

The next morning we met Noh in Petri Jaya, a small settlement about 15 km from Kota Tinggi. He came with his brother-in-law, because we needed two motorbikes to cross the palm-oil plantations before reaching the jungle. He discovered these 7-step falls back in the nineties, and probably has been about the only visitor..:-) We had to start trekking earlier than he expected, because after about 10 km the road was blocked. It turned out that further on a company, legal or not, was 'mining' sand and had blocked 'unwanted' access in a drastic manner. The progress of civisation :-(

We were supposed to cross a kind of swampy area, full of pitcher plants and orchids, but now a big part had become a desert already, although there were still plenty of nepenthes, even the huge nepenthes rafflesiana, uncommon in Peninsular Malaysia.

After we entered the jungle, it became a perfect walk. Following Noh's markers we followed more or less the Sg Tengkil. As this was the dry season, the water flow was reduced. Still, many of the tiers were impressive. Sometimes scrambling uphill was needed. The top tier, an almost vertical fall, was very beautiful. No big pools, just 'bathtub' ones. Plenty of fishing spots, Noh managed to catch a lot. It looked so easy...!

We came back just before the afternoon rain started, it was a real pleasure trip.

The next day we met at the entrance of the Kota Tinggi resort. I understand from Noh that they reduced their entrance fee to RM 7.50, which is still too high. Car parking for Rm 5! Not many visitors these days, Noh said, and that serves them right..:-)
Just before reaching the resort you cross the Pelepah Kiri stream and it's there where the trail starts. You have to sneak in, because here too civilisation progresses. In this case it is tin mining. The first part of the trek is a confusing maze of roads and river crossings, you really need someone who has been here before. After you enter the jungle, the trail is easy to follow. Lots of markers. And also quite a lot of rubbish...:-( Malaysians have a bad reputation in their care about nature, but Singaporeans are not better at all.

For the first time I practised to take MORE rubbish out than I took in, just collecting left-overs from earlier, irresponsible visitors.
It takes a moral effort, but afterwards it feels good too!

Actually, the Pelepah falls are quite amazing. There are twelve steps in total, and some of them are really impressive. A lot of scrambling is needed, luckily ropes have been provided for in difficult spots. As the river goes through a gorge, better don't try this trail when the weather is not reliable. The many swept-down logs are a clear proof of the power of flash-flooding.

It was a very nice trip, thanks Noh and Lokman!

Mayres Hotel in KT

Comfortable rooms

(Tele) View from our hotel room

Start of the Tengkil trip

Plantation waiting for new palms

Collection point for palm oil fruits

Better the buddy passengers walk here

Unexpectedly the road stops

So we have to walk

Passing a desert
1 comment

Crossing stagnant streams

There are still pitcher plants

Big ones

The nepenthes rafflesiana

Umbrella Palm

The first (small) waterfall

And a much bigger one

Scrambling needed

The next tier

Level 7

Really impressive

Upper part of lever 7

Time for our lunch

Look at me!

As far as we could go up

My personal marker

Time to relax

Nature is beautiful

Going down

An orchid

Noh, fishing

His catch of fish

Dinner at Kofu

Start of the Pelepah trip

Sneaking in

First river crossing

Collecting palm-oil fruits

Palm-oil fruits

Tin mining

Start of the jungle trekking

Big fun

Sinaporeans are as bad as Malaysians

Entering the gorge

Scrambling up right side

Or left side

Or just climbing the tree chaos

Level 7

The power of water

Preparing to fish

Another of my markers..:-)

Scrambling uo

This is level 10

Beautiful cascades

Top level 11

And here is 12, the last one

On the way back, nr 9

Level nine, in the gorge

A giant millipede

On our way down

Not always easy

Can you see me? Pure bliss

Perfect jacuzzi
1 comment

One for the album

Back to civilisation

The GPS-tracks

wrote on Jun 14, 2009:
this looks so cool. I would love an invite for your next waterfall exploring expedition...

Kwai Loh wrote on Jun 14, 2009:
You are welcome, Glynn...:-)

wrote on Jun 14, 2009:
sweet i look forward to the dont forget

Liz wrote on Jun 14, 2009:
So much for tropical rainforest!

wrote on Jun 18, 2009:
I could do with that here in Uzbekistan. It's so hot.

wrote on Jul 7, 2009:
Thats really nice,Jan.Call me at +65 96283643 (Rasfarin) or if you're going for another waterfalls expedition in Johor.

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