15 February 2011

Gunung Nuang Waterfall : To Begin WITH

Being a life enthusiast that I am (ehemm!), I jumped at the idea of going for a trekking on my very first weekend in KL last Sunday. My interest for it had only been intensified by the fact that I had gained at least a few kgs since I came to KL. :-(
WE were picked up by a Mr. Pang – another life enthusiast that Ulai had befriended back in the Uni years. He really is a very interesting person to be with. I've never seen anyone with so much interest and enthusiasm in travelling and described about those places that he's been to as ‘elaboratively’ as he does. He really knows how to make me feel like I'm already there. People like Mr Pang would never bore you.

He told me how important it is to have the right partner in travelling, that staying at a 5 star hotel with 5 star service and 5 star meals MEANS NOTHING if you don't have the right buddy.

“Everything would be spoilt if you didn’t have the right partner” he said. He told us how he travelled to Bangkok and Laos with a friend and how this friend was so stingy he actually kept wearing his (Mr. Pang's) sandals without buying a pair for himself and leaving him (Mr. Pang) with nothing to wear most of the time.
The reason? Sandals (which were averagely sold at only around RM7 in Laos and even cheaper by a few ringgits in Bangkok) are too expensive(to him). When Mr. Pang finally gave up the sandals and bought another pair for himself, this friend of his somehow 'read the message' and refused to talk to him for the rest of the trip!

“It was disastrous”, he said with one hand gesticulating in the air whiles the other firmly on the steering-"JUST because of a pair of sandals.." he continued while laughing before shaking his head in a sign of disbelief.
“It's the right partner that makes a 5 star out of your travel trip”, he later continued. He told us about his encounters with a lot of ‘unique’ characters while travelling all over Asia and beyond. Some of the encounters were totally unexpected.

“Some of them seem so nice and good and friendly and so easy to be friends with until….”.

“Travel trips tend to make people show their true colors” He continued. “If you want to see what somebody is as a person, bring him or her to a travel trip. Just when you think you’re getting along so well with them, you’ll be surprised that you are actually not when they begin to show their true characters” he said. CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL? You bet. :-D
Apparently, we wouldn’t go on the trip alone. We would be joined in by another group of people (or rather we would be joining them) and most of them have already retired or going to be. You see, THIS TRIP was most certainly going to be a very special one.
Oh well, I had to agree with Mr. Pang when he said people in KL are lucky to have an easy access to rainforest. The Karak Highway would bring you instantly into a beautiful spread of lush greenery of tropical rainforest only less than half hour drive out of the city centre – something that you might don’t get to see in most other major cities in SEA.

“You’d reach Chiang Mai before you even get to see a rainforest in Bangkok” he said with a tinge of pride in his voice. We stopped at a highway rest house called Genting Sempah while waiting for the others to catch up with us.
Mr. Pang seemed to be so amused by Ulai’s idea of having ferrero rocher for breakfast. “Whoaaa! This is going to be a 5 STAR trip!, he exclaimed and nodded his head in admiration...or probably sarcasm. He he he.
So, it wasn’t long before the other group arrived at the hillside highway stop of Genting Sempah (almost misheard it for Gunting SAMPAH har har har). I didn't even get to see Mr. Sotong there. Awwwwww!
And we continued wheeling off across the beautiful countryside of errr, Janda Baik ?, a sub-district that despite its eyebrow-lifting name has been gaining popularity as a favored destination for weekend getaways among KLians.
Apparently, the expedition was part of Association of Backpackers Malaysia (ABM)’s monthly activity.
Although it was totally an unofficial venture, they still wanted us to mark our attendance just so that we would be well-informed of any upcoming events.
Isn’t it COOL? We're gonna be invited to join more of the ABM's activities! It's a privilege really.
So- after parking our car where it should be, we began our journey by walking along a gravelled road.

I USED THEM in Maliau Basin, and again in Mulu when I was almost denied permission to conquer the Pinnacles just because I had my own idea of good climbing footwear (GRRRR!), and again this time – to go up to the Gunung Nuang, not really to conquer it but to make it at least up to the waterfall.
It wasn't before we came across a river that they saw one of the advantages of using these el-cheapo sandals.

While they had to hop from one rock to another to keep their shoes dry, I walked straight into the water! :-P 
I had no worries. Yippie! Hehe.
We later walked into a beautiful spread of vegetation and farming area.
It felt so strange to be walking across countryside and realizing every now and then that I was doing it in the Peninsular and not in Sabah as I was so used to. It kinda put a smile on my face. I felt as if my interest and passion for jungle trekking had just taken another level...... up. Well, sort of. :-P
I felt so humbled for being in a group of people whose ages were mostly twice my age and still going very very strong. I couldn’t help but being deeply inspired by their presence in such a physically demanding expedition.
These are the people who really know how to live their life to the fullest. One of the aunties told me how she conquered Mount Tombuyukon, Trus Madi and Pinnacles all in less than 1 month last year and she couldn’t be younger than my mom! Wohoooo! Shame on me!
While I was struggling to keep going, they seemed to be enjoying every moment of the trip. They really knew how to make the trip an enjoyable one.

I actually had my Sony Digital Music Player with me, complete a carefully selected list of songs I siphoned in from my laptop just in case I got bored but being with these people had made it totally unnecessary. They always came up with something amusing and entertaining and I didn't want to miss any of it! Haha!
So……..The trail turned out to be much more challenging than I had expected it to be.
It might not be the toughest but it was certainly the muddiest and the ‘slipperiest’.
Believe me, it was so ass-friendly that just to have spared my ass from the mud in the whole expedition has made me realize how lucky my ass had been. Hehe.
I’d blame it on my lack of exercises but I actually found myself panting like a dog only after a few hundred meters up the hill and it wasn’t long before I began to feel a little bit of dizziness in my head and my stomach was churning in exhaustion.
It really was a big setback for me to see how the others were doing very well while I was struggling to keep up with their pace. Whoever says ‘age does matter’ has never met people like Mr. Pang and his other friends.
While I was trying to fight against a nausea that was beginning to tickle in the pit of my stomach, Mr Pang continued to amuse (and motivate) us with more and more of his motivational stories. He told us about how people get two MAJOR chances in their lives and that they should grab them whenever they are within reach. “Or you’ll be sorry for the rest of his life” he said.
He came up with his own exemplary life-encounters and one of them ended with something like ‘So… if you’ve got a chance to migrate, migrate” to which Ulai and I looked at each other. I suddenly wondered if my application for visa to Australia has already been appr
Every now and then we’d run into an obstacle. It didn’t really seem to be a frequently threaded trail.
The bamboos must have finally let themselves be succumbed by the insistent Tropical stormy rains that they seemed to have stumbled down, obstructing the trail with their stubby and heavily foliaged culms.
Some parts of the trail were so heavily obstructed not even a babi hutan could pass through them without getting scratched by the itchy foliage and ticklish stems. Of course, good thing about being a bunch of avid trekkers was that they are always prepared for anything like this.
I was contemplating over being a babi hutan and crawling through that little piggy hole across the tumbled down bamboos when one of the men took his parang out and started to chop the culms down and clear the path off.

At an age that couldn’t be less than 60, I wonder where he got his energy from especially when we were already half-way down the track.
Getting to the waterfall has proved to be not a cat-walking easy task. There were times when the waterfall sounded so near and just when the excitement was ballooning up it would begin to distance away.
The trail seemed to take us into a big circle around with the waterfall being in the middle. It was so auditorily tricky and mentally torturing I must say.
Of course the trail couldn’t play with our minds forever. You’d know you’re ALMOST THERE when it is beginning to take its descending turn – the only descent in the entire trip actually.
Then – down the end of the descent was the beautiful river of Nuang!
There was always something exhilarating about getting a very first glimpse of a waterfall.
But of course... all in next post fellas!


ken said...

now exploring the territories in west malaysia ah.. haha.. nice adventure, altho a little muddy :P

JIPP said...

Yupp. A lot of places to discover here. :-) The mud was part of the fun. :-D

Murphy said...

Very interesting story... and footwear, lol. I thought the vicinity of KL is already totally
deprived of rainforest until I read this blog. Yes, having great travel buddy really makes a big difference.

JIPP said...

Hi Murphy. Quite surprising isn't it? For sure they hv more forest here than Sandakan. Sandakan is full of palm oil now. :-(

Luton Airport Parking said...

Everything would come and go, but these adventures last forever.
luton meet and greet

Daisy Parker said...

They are one of the most beautiful and famous waterfalls.
luton airport meet and greet parking


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