19 September 2010

Mahua Waterfall: An Express Access to Nature

OK lahhh, I haven’t blogged anything about places in Sabah for quite awhile now and it doesn’t feel good especially when we’ve just celebrated Malaysia Day a few days ago. It’s like betraying my homeland or something. :-P Oh well, did you know that Sabah is actually gifted with a lot of waterfalls? There are just so many of them that you’d be surprised how you haven’t heard about most of them YET.
 Courtesy picture by Mell  

One of the waterfalls that has over the years been gaining popularity especially among the local people in Sabah is the Mahua Waterfall. Located in one of the most beautiful districts in Sabah (ehem!), everybody has every reason to go there.
I was driving back to Sandakan from my hometown Keningau for the recent Cuti Cuti Malaysia when I decided to drop by. Oh well, unless you’re too busy twittering and facebooking on your brand new Blueberry phone, you can’t miss seeing the Sabah Tourism’s brown signboard when you’re travelling via the Tambunan-Ranau road. It's closer to Tambunan than to Ranau though.
Thanks to the development brought about by your beloved Barisan National, the road to Maliau Mahua Waterfall is now fully asphalted. It provides such a smooth ride to what once a remote area and almost inaccessible by cars in this quaint part of Tambunan.
The road would take you right to the management/reception office in an easy peasy ride actually. *whistling
I spoke in the local dialect to the mostly Dusun janitors and they slapped me with an RM3 entry ticket.
I could have been slapped with a bigger fine if I pretended to be a Singaporean and spoke Manglish to them.
Hehe. My point is, the entrance fee for international tourists is RM10 (USD3) for adults and RM6 for kids.

An idea of a plan suddenly flickered in my head upon learning that CAMPING IS ALLOWED at the Mahua Waterfall area! God knows how long I’ve been looking for some place where I can get back to being a school boy scout again and camping out in the open.
For some place that is so properly maintained, it is worth every penny actually.
Even the water 'sprinklers' are so powerful you’ll be assured of a clean hole IN AND OUT after doing your little business in them.
So, how does it feel like jumping out of your car in one minute and walking on into the world of nature in another?
HEAVEN. Too short of a walk you don’t even have time to alert the Mother Nature.
Getting to the waterfall would require you to do a 500 meter of jungle trekking.
500 meters is actually too short for a trail that would bring you through the virginity of a tropical forest. It’s like the climax comes too soon before you’ve had enough of the pleasure of seeing all the things that the Mother Nature has to offer to you there.
Some parts of the trail have been left unpaved and they can get quite muddy after a rain so it is only wise not to put on your most expensive shoes.
But of course, Sabah Parks is not that miskin enough not to provide a walk board where it is needed. Mahua Waterfall is quite a family-friendly getaway destination that you can actually bring your 5-year old toddler NO PROBLEM.
Besides…..you can always take a break at any of the huts that they have built along the trail just in case you’re running out of breath. You can see how serious the management is about NO LITTERING. Each of the huts is provided with a garbage bin so you really don’t have any reason to throw your shit somewhere else.
Thanks to the initiatives done by Sabah Forestry Department, walking along the trail is like attending some kind of biology class. To tell the truth, I’ve always had problems in remembering scientific names. I tried to memorize this one here and I couldn’t recall it after 5 minutes. No wonder I did so bad in my SPM Biology paper I had to forget about being a doctor and ended up being an brick-plastering man. Hehe.  
You see, nature has its own way of relaxing you. Nothing can be more relaxing than listening to the sound of river dashing its way across the jungle towards whenever it is heading to.
Mahua Waterfall is actually part of the Crocker Range National Park, an area that has been gazetted for protection since 1984. Some of the country’s most precious natural treasures such as Mount Kinabalu and Trus Madi are parts of the Crocker Ranger.
It really is a saddening fact that the Crocker Range is being threatened by development causes and ‘unauthorized’ logging activities and extensive widening of oil plantation areas. For something whose existence depends so much on the natural earth ecosystem, we can’t never guarantee if Mahua Waterfall would still be there in 10 years time from now.
Even the orang-orang kampung in the vicinity are known to be on the destructive bandwagon by siphoning out a considerable amount of bamboos from the forest EVERY YEAR. They use bamboo to build up houses, rice-wine storage huts, compound fences, and even as the framework of tents for wedding ceremonial parties. o.O
I actually had some of my first glimpses of Mahua River posted by some photographer friends in their flickr accounts and websites and I was amazed. Mahua River is just as beautiful as it looks in those pictures.
It is simply picturesque. I was such an effortless task to get something like this for a picture and you know how I don’t really edit my photos.
Mahua River can be such a perfect place to fulfill your crave for fishing. You can almost see the fish coming to get your bait. o.O 
But to all the fishing lovers out there, I’m sadly to tell you that FISHING is not allowed in Mahua River.
And I’m warning you, DO NOT mess with the law here or they’ll send you down to Tambunan Police Station to be drowned in a big bucket of rice wine – something that Tambunan is most famously known for. LOL. Kidding. But no, I’m not kidding about the NO FISHING regulation. :-P
You know you’re almost there when you reach this beautiful bridge here.
In fact, you’ll get the very first glimpse of the waterfall from there.
Zooming in, the excitement intensified. :-P
I was kinda attracted by the way they arranged the big pieces of crushed rock to make for the walkway.
It reminded me of the beautiful but grueling walk path to the Fairy River in Sapa, Vietnam. *I miss... huhu
This 'medieval looking' walkway would lead you to a concrete staircase and right on the other end of it is where the Mahua Waterfall is.
Mahua Waterfall might not be the most beautiful waterfall that you’d ever see but still..
It is not bad at all. In fact, it is higher than it looks in pictures. And more beautiful actually.
Being a free fall waterfall right from the top to the bottom (no cascading), the turbulence caused by the impact of the water can put your camera in danger if you comes too close to it. The atmosphere is just so wet you’re not even assured of dry clothes when you get outta there.
Another reason why I should go for a lasik surgery. The idea of using glasses doesn’t go well with most of my outdoor activities. Uhuks.
With the limited zooming capability of my camera, this is the closest I could get.
It has always been amazing to see how the water comes out from the brink of rock up there and bring about a joy to many people who see waterfalls as one of the most beautiful phenomena in nature. And it certainly is.
I was least prepared for a skin-dipping session although the temptation was so boiling inside me. Besides, it was just so brrrrrrrrr for my fat-free body. *coughing.
SO I said to myself the usual ‘May be next time’ just to sooth myself down. And I meant it. :-P

Coming with the fact that Mahua Waterfall is so well-maintained, it is actually so well-facilitated as well. It has more toilets than probably the needs that you don’t really have to succumb to that bad habit of yours by spraying your pee in the bushes. Ewwww. OK, I do that when I have to. All men do, don't they? It's a quick business for us. For women, errrrr. OK, I wouldn't say anything further. Just make sure you wash your hands every time, OK? LOL
Ohhh, and say no thanks to changing at the back of a tree stump, they actually provide sufficient changing rooms – sex-segregated even. :-P
So, returning to the management office later, I couldn’t help but noticing the existence of some new buildings within the vicinity.
Oh well, they appeared to be some chalets in the making whose fund seem to go mostly to its architectural needs.
On the end corner of it is an elevated platform which appeared to be a stage or something.
Already magining myself sitting so relaxed on the floor one fine evening and watching a group of people peforming some cultural dance - probably mongunatip or something - and playing some traditional music on the stage, I JUST COULDN"T WAIT for that beautiful moment to happen! 
But with so many projects delayed all over Sabah (ehem!), I really hope this one here is not gonna be another one in the bunch. Can’t wait to see them (chalets) start operating so that I can come over and spend at least a few nights here. Anyone? :-P
So, that was my brief visit to Mahua Fall. I returned to the main road narrowly escaping a heart attack when a school kid came running across the road so suddenly I actually screamed in a shocked horror and almost peed in my pants in the immediate aftermath.
I was so angry I actually pulled over, got out of the car and grabbed the kid by her shoulder before ramming her head into one of the tyres of my car so hard I could almost hear her skull cracking open.  
Hehe. Of course I wouldn’t do that! Are you crazy?? Kids are always kids. I am a good man. I wouldn't do anything like that. NO NO NO NO. I told you, I am a good man! I really am!



ken said...

the nature view is really beautiful and soothing.. but i dont like the jamban though.. =P

JIPP said...

Haha. The inside is not as bad as I looks on the outside. :-P

aud said...

Nice post! Haven't reached Mahua yet, surprising to know it is well-equipped with facilities.

Also reminds me of other undiscovered places in our jungles. Now if only I can dig out my pictures...

JIPP said...

Ya Audrey. I was suprised too. I tot it was something like the one they have in Kionsom of Inanam. So poorly maintained when I went there. Yupp, we need more ppl to blog about our places in Sabah. May be you shud start digging on ur pics or go back there and do another round. :-)

thomas said...

The waterfall looks nice and facility seems ok.

Ellen said...

You know Jipp, I will always be eternally thankful to you for making me fall in love with Sabah again. It's like I'm seeing it with brand new eyes! Bah, nanti when I go back for extended holiday I must pinjam you to go do some nature exploring!

JIPP said...

Thomas: Yupp. Everything is practically there. :-)
Ellen: Glad to know that. I remember u told me once, that if u were to come back to Msia (for good?), it'd be because you love Sabah. Or somth like dat. :-) Can't wait to hv u here Ellen. :-)

fufu said...

argh...nice park!!! wanna have picnic there!

JIPP said...

hehe. ya, it is nice. I'm already planning a picnic there next month. hehe.

framichele said...

Very nice - perhaps I can visit this on the way to Putri Karmel Kaingaran...

Rahul Patel said...

Wow nice snaps.....you also get the various fun places in pench.Pench is a beautiful resort.It is famous for its tracking.For more details visit pench resorts

balitrekkingtrails said...

Thanks for posting such a beautiful blog.I like the photos of waterfall.This blog is helpful for the waterfall lover people.

Sekumpul waterfall 

TiGer SHQ said...

nice review sir, wonder how's the place now ? is camping still allowed ?


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