Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Mount Rinjani Trekking

After almost one year of planning and training, and with a total of 12 trekkers having shown interest but not able to make it; finally, the 13-member team continued with the Mount Rinjani trekking as planned from 17-23 May 2015.

This is quite a tough mountain to climb, especially the final 300 meters ascent where it is steep and cover with loose volcanic sand and stones. A trekker has to deliver extra strength to prevent him/her from sliding down that could easily sap the energy away. On the day of going up the summit, we trekked for almost 12 hours (not counting lunch time).

Do CLICK HERE for 193 photos courtesy of yours truly (KC Leong). 

Journey of a thousand steps begin here at Sembalun Lawang trailhead … group photo with Mount Rinjani as background. Team members:
(back, left): ChongYF, Tan Han Cie, LimTH, Lee Wai Yin, Lim WH, George Siew, KC Leong
(front): Samantha Liong, Wenny Meelin, Ann Chua, Yuen Yit, Lana, Josephine. 

There were many other challenging situations: ascending the steep mountain slope from the lake to the crater rim where a mistake could cause a fatal fall off the cliff; descending the sandy steep slope where one can easily slip and fall.

The view of the mountain and the lakeside area was fantastic. One good thing about this trekking is that there is the hot springs where one can dip into the water and wash up after a few days without bath.

 Relaxing while porters cook our lunch … do refer to photo album showing other photos for the VIP and 5-star service

Treated like VIPs in the mountains, the team was very pleased with the excellent service of the mountain guides and porters for making the journey a pleasant one. They even asked you: "Sir, would you like to have a Coca-Cola, Sprite (pronounce as Spriiiiit), or Pocari Sweat (equivalent to 100Plus).” Other than using very good tents and sleeping bags, the trekking agent, Encik Sunny of Lombok Trekking Travel Service, even set up two toilet tents at every campsite just in case there was “traffic jam” situation in the mountains.
Planting a tree to help conserve the environment by the trekking agent ... Yuen Yit, Lana and Nasir, the Mountain Guide.

The campsites:
Night#1 – camping at the crater rim; though the view for sunset was excellent, it was very windy and extremely cold
Night#2 – camping at the lakeside area; though not windy, it was damp and cold
Night#3 – camping in the wilderness during the descent. It was a nice and cosy feeling of camping out of nowhere. With a lower altitude, it was calm and quite cold too.

 Feeling excited … arriving at the base camp located at the crater rim

The icing on the cake was that upon completion of the 4D3N trekking, we were quickly transferred to Gili Trawangan Island via speed boat that was pre-arranged by the trekking agent. It was a stark contrast at Gili Island where the team spent the following 3D2N in relaxing, chatting, snookering, enjoying ourselves with good food, etc.

In appreciating the excellent service of the mountain guides and porters, the 13-member team rewarded handsomely the good effort of the 17 support crew with tips of more than 5 juta Rupiah!

Note on local training requirement: in order to climb Mount Rinjani, you must be able to go up to the peak of Gunung Nuang (1500m) at Ulu Langat during your training; preferably, train on two different occasions.

Camping at the crater rim of Mount Rinjani … it is very windy and extremely cold here 

 3:00 a.m. at the base camp … the team in full gear is ready for scaling to the summit of Mount Rinjani
 Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! We make it to the peak of Mount Rinjani (this photo showing part of the team)

 Camping by the lakeside area of Mount Rinjani … dense moisture in the air (in the evening); exposed clothing within 30 minutes would be damp and moist.
Playing water and diving activity in the hot springs ... Lana, Said, TanHC, Josephine, Lee Wai Yin and Nasir

 10:00 a.m. at the lakeside area … the team is ready to continue the journey to climb up to the crater rim (at Senaru side).
 At the crater rim (Senaru side)
 Camping in the wilderness … camping out of nowhere for the third and final night of camping; this area is not too windy and not extremely cold
 A cosy and nice feeling of close to one another
 With beautiful sunset … 
Tips awarding ceremony to the mountain guides and porters ... Wow! 5 juta (millions)  Rupiah generously contributed by the 13-member team in appreciating the good effort put in by the guides and porters. Bravo!


Posted by KC Leong
Team Leader
Mount Rinjani Trekking (17-25 May 2015)

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Apek Hill

RHB Mt KK 2015 and Mt Rinjani team members went for a trekking at Apek Hill Cheras on 1 May 2015. Instead of a rest day, the round trip took us 6 hr 30 minutes traversing the many uphills and downhills of Apek Hill. The Giant Tree was gone, definitely not the work of termite. Who and why would one want to cut this age-old giant tree?

Do click here to view photos courtesy of yours truly (KC Leong) 

 At the remains of Apek Hill Giant Tree
The remains of Giant Tree of Apek Hill, definitely not the work of termites.  
 At Station 6 ... no wild boars today ... taking a rest on 1 May holidays?
(left): Steve, Samantha Liong, Lana, John Kiew, Angeline, June, Sue, Azrin, Ann Chua, KC Leong

All ladies' pose
 June, Angeline and Lana trying out the outdoor gym equipment where membership is free  :-)
 At Saga Station
The sloping rock en route to waterfall
 Crowded at Apik Hill waterfall toady
Always happy pose in taking group photos
The Apek Hill Big Tree: photo was taken on 28 Feb 2015 with Lana, Ann, Shu-Lin and Miko Leea

Do click here to view more photos of the Apek Hill Giant Tree.

Posted by KC Leong



Monday, April 20, 2015

Pine Tree Trail Trekking

The Rinjani Trekking Team and friends went for a group training at Pine Tree Trail, and put up a night in the cosy setting of RHB Bank Bungalow, Fraser's Hill on 18 April 2015. 

Started at the trailhead at 10:15 a.m., the team trekked to the peak steadily in a group while waiting for the slower team members. The team arrived at the peak at 1:00 p.m. After taking a breather, we proceeded to Twin Peak - the second peak. By 2:30p.m., the team descended the mountain. The faster team members returned to trailhead by 5:00 p.m. while the slowest ones emerged at 6:00p.m.

The weather was perfect for the trekking trip with overcast sky amidst a sunny day. A few days preceding the trekking trip, the weather was sunny and hot; but on the eve, it was raining quite heavily thereby provided a little cooling effect.

The next day, the team went to Chiling Waterfall en route back to Kuala Lumpur. It was a total different outings compared to the day before. We walked for more than an hour, crossing the same river in knee-deep water six times in order to arrive at the waterfall. It was really nice to be able to relax in the cold water. By the time we arrived at Hulu Yam Lama for meal, it was almost 5:00 p.m. – for lunch. 

The Team shall be trekking at Mount Rinjani, Lombok in mid-May 2015.

Do click here to view 113 photos courtesy of yours truly (KC Leong).

 Posing in front of RHB Bank Bungalow …
(left, back): Lee Wai Yin, GohJS, Lim HoeYin, Kelvin, Lim Teck Hin, Tan Han Cie, Victor Cheong, George Siew
(front): Lana, Wenny, Samantha Liong, Karen Wu, Chong YF, KC Leong
 The trailhead of Pine Tree Trail
 Group photo at the first peak of Pine Tree Trail
 A good jump … GohJS, TanHC, LimHY, Kelvin.
 Group photo at Twin Peak, the second peak of Pine Tree Trail
 Dinner is ready … cook by the caretaker of RHB Bank Bungalow 
 Next morning, adjourn to Chiling Waterfall en route to Kuala Lumpur.
 A yow yeng pose by Lana
 A good platform for practising water jumping
 Lana performing a somersault jump
 More daring performance by these two boys
 Group photo at Chiling Waterfall
Having a sumptuous lunch-cum-dinner (5:30 p.m.) at the famous Hulu Yam Lama for the famous loh mee … Goh, Karen, Wenny.


Posted by KC Leong

Sunday, April 05, 2015

RHB Mt KK Team 2015 Time-Trial

RHB Mount Kinabalu Team 2015 time-trial selection at Gunung Nuang on 4 April 2015, Saturday … this is Batch #2 of the time-trial selection, the first batch was done a week ago with 80 participants assisted by 30 volunteers.  

This time, there were only seven volunteers that went with the participants into the mountains. The time-keeper and volunteers manning the checkpoints started the journey with a 1-hour lead time. They were responsible to tie the ribbon markers along the trails to guide participants in the correct direction. After the safety briefing, the challenge was flagged off at 7:30 a.m.

For proper identification, participants were donning blue T-shirts complete with bib numbers; volunteers/committee members in red. All volunteers are from RHB Mt Kinabalu Team 2013.

To avoid the participants having to manoeuvre the many confusing split trails at Kem Lolo area, all participants trekked in groups with the volunteers. There was one checkpoint for time-check at Kem Lolo area. The fastest timing to arrive at Kem Pacat was 2 hr 22 min, while the slowest was 3 hr 48 min.

Do click here to view photos courtesy of yours truly (KC Leong).

 Safety briefing by yours truly before the start of the challenge … this is not a competition to see who could reach the destination first; participants are advised never to trek alone.


I was leading the pack. At the steeper ground between Kem Lolo and Kem Pacat, the fastest guy was always a few feet behind me. Thinking that I might block his way, I tekan minyat kuat kuat (full throttle ahead). After a while, when I looked back, there was no sign of him – quite far behind. I waited until he looked up and saw me from far, and then I continued.

It was a well-planned event staged by the organizing committee headed by Sharron of HR. For the safety of team members, a medical team was on standby at Nuang car park. By 3:30 p.m., all participants were safely returned to base. 

Good luck to all the participants in the next stage of selection.
 A cheerful group photo before the start of the challenge
 At Kem Pacat with time-keeper, Mat Nur (back, 2nd from right)
 At the signature tree of Kem Pacat
Nicole and Shu-Lin.

Do click here to view photos of RHB Mt KK Maiden Team 2013 at Mount Kinabalu together with RHB Group Managing Director, Kellee Kam.

Posted by KC Leong

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Taiwan Holidays

Holidaying in Taiwan from 13-20 March 2015 with my office colleagues and family members.

The most memorable outing has to be the viewing of sunrise at the peak of Alishan Highlands. Taking a train ride – that packed to the brim – at the railway station which was only a stone’s away from the hotel, the team was donning thick clothing combating the cold at 11 degrees Celsius at 5:00 a.m. We were lucky that it was a fine weather for the sunset and sunrise – the view was spectacular.

Visit of night markets is a must when in Taiwan. We visited Raohe Night Market 饒河街觀光夜市, Ximending Night Market 西门町夜市, Leoho Night Market 六合夜市, and Shilin Night Market 士林夜市 (Shilin is the largest night market in Taiwan, and it is about 5 minutes’ drive from our hotel). There is one signature food that is common to all night markets: the stinky tofu 臭豆腐. To me, it really smells like "shit" :-) Wherever there is food, there is this stinky smell.   

The 8D7N Taiwan Tour is a specially arranged tour where we liaise with the regular travel agent in Kuala Lumpur, and they have the agents/partners in various destinations.

Do CLICK HERE to view photos courtesy of yours truly (KC Leong).

 Damper at 89th floor of Taipei 101 Building ... to produce a counterforce against the energy from earthquake that strike Taiwan often. This mega-tonne object is suspended by high-tension cables and maintains balance with shock-absorbers at the bottom.
 At Fisherman's Wharf
We were lucky to have with us a very experienced and responsible tour guide, Mr Ma. He is able to talk the whole day in the bus relating to us the historical events, geographical formation and latest happenings of Taiwan. While we were sitting comfortably, he stood and faced us when talking in a moving and swaying vehicle. Most tour guides would speak for 1-2 hours only.
 At Fisherman's Wharf
The followings are interesting comments by Mr Ma:

a. Alishan – most tour groups would rush up the highlands, do a bit of sight-seeing and rush down having lunch elsewhere due to limited choice of restaurants. So staying one night in Alishan would have more time with the jungle trail walk and viewing of sunset and sunrise. 

b. Sunmoon Lake – Mr Ma has led tours for 2-3 years but they never stay there overnight. Most tour would flee and not putting up a night there due to high prices of hotels; hence, it was very quiet and devoid of tourists in the evening. Because of the stay, Mr Ma actually took the opportunity to meet his old native friends at Sunmoon Lake.
 Queen's Head at Yehliu ... as informed by the tour guide, the neck of this rock formation is eroding by the days. People lining up orderly for photos shoot managed by a guide (not visible in the photo). Otherwise, there would be many rude tourists trying to jump queue :-)
 At Taroko National Park
 Fo Guan Shan ... the biggest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan
Mr Ma, the tour guide standing at left; as informed, he is not related to Ma Ying-jeou, President of Taiwan; or Ma Yun, Chairman of Alibaba Group in China.
 Comfortable stay with new design of the hotel room
 Nice ambiance in the bathroom … for the 8D7N stay, all hotels that we stay are of modern designed type; save for one in Alishan Highlands (as it was chosen because of close proximity to railway station and forest trails).
 The remains of an age-old huge tree at Alishan Forest Park … as informed by the tour guide, Alishan Highlands was first opened during the Japanese occupation. One of the reasons was to harvest the age-old huge tress and sent back to Japan. For transportation of the logs, hence, they built the railway lines.
 Flowers blooming every where at Alishan Highlands
 At Alishan Highlands – cherry flowers in full bloom

 Cherry flowers
 Sunset at Alishan Highlands
 Spectacular view of sunrise at Alishan Highlands
 Flowers blooming and sun rising
 At Sunmoon Lake
At Sunmoon Lake ... peace and tranquil in the early morning.

Posted by KC Leong