Sunday, October 07, 2018

Apek Hill Hiking

Hiking at Apek Hill on Saturday, 6 Oct 2018 ... Other than meeting at Saga hilltop station for tea, the other purpose is to have a briefing on the coming Annapurna Base Camp trekking trip from 14 Oct 2018. 

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

 At the start of the hiking 
 Annapurna Base Camp briefing in progress at Saga hilltop station
Another group photo before we leave Saga hilltop station

Posted by KC Leong

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Jungle Experience at Kuala Tahan

Imagine a white sandy campsite located just next to a riverbank, and next to the campiste is the edge of the millions year-old tropical rainforests. We were camping at this unique campsite for the 3D2N, back-to-nature experience at Kuala Tahan in Taman Negara from 22 to 24 September 2018.

Do CLICK HERE to view photos courtesy of yours truly, KC Leong.
 Arriving at the campsite

The Kuala Tahan experience was really an enjoyable one. I told Encik Adi, the friendly organizer who speaks fluent English, that we would come back again during dry weather, with a bigger group. It is a lot of work for the organizer who would undertake to set up the community tent and cook for the team members. He also planned and synchornized with the boatmen to take the group to the various parts of the national park. Encik Adi can be contacted at +6011 3756 2106.
 The community tent set up by Encik Adi (left) and for cooking use

Activities and experiences:

a. Camping  a wonderful and peaceful experience camping at this nice campsite;

b. Canopy Walk – strolled along this long suspension bridge on the treetops high above the ground, termed as one of the world's longest and highest canopy walks;

c. Bukit Teresek – hiked up one of the trails where one can see Gunung Tahan;

d. Dark-brown reflection of the water – a unique sight of Tahan River;

e. Boat cruise to Lata Berkoh – exciting boat journey where the boatmen would steer the longboat to avoid hitting the huge rocks and big fallen tree trunks submerged under the shallow water; 
 Getting ready to visit the Taman Negara national park


f.  Lata Berkoh cascades – relaxed in the water and enjoyed the rapids while having our tea and snacks there;

g. Kelah Sanctuary Lubok Tenor – feeding the many big fishes at the sanctuary area; 

h. Visit Bateq Tribe orang asli settlement – watched demonstrations of traditional hunting methods using blow pipes, and setting up fire the nature way. The orang asli speak Bahasa M'sia; they have dark skin with short and tight curly hair, and live a nomadic lifestyle in Taman Negara;

i. Swimming in the river – anytime of the day for a true jungle experience.
 The canopy walkway ... (left) ChongYF, Kenneth, ChuahTK, KC Leong, Jennifer, Adi  ... not in the photo: Josephine Hoh

Hornbills – it was a rare experience witnessing hornbills flying high above us, even higher than the tallest trees. First, we could hear the unique and loud chirp even before they arrived. Looking into the sky, we could see the three birds flying in a straight line, almost of the same distance apart. In the evening around 7:00 p.m., the three birds would return home by flying in southward direction; and at 7:00 a.m. the following morning, they would fly in westward direction – exactly of the same flight path. We quipped that they were going to office to work in the morning, and flying home in the evening guided by their in-built GPS navigation system.
 Group photo at Bukit Terisek with two Cambodian ladies (left, 4th and 5th)
 Chong YF taking a dip in the river at Lubuk Simpon
 Visiting Bateq tribe orang asli settlement
 The flat and sandy campsite with a commanding view of Tahan River
 Preparing BBQ dinner by Adi and Jennifer 
 The trees in this national park are huge
 Getting down from the boat for a short walk to Lata Berkoh
 Just like in a drawing
 Lata Berkoh cascades
We met Laura en Janita and sister who are from Nethelands. After the Taman Negara trip, they would visit Cameron Highland en route to Langkawi.
Kuala Tahan jetty ... for overnight stay in the park, it is advisable not to park the cars here as the area may be flooded after heavy rain
For those who would like to visit Kuala Tahan and see the wonders of nature, one can stay in Mutiara Taman Negara, a 3-star resort, which is opposite the river. Crossing the river by boat is RM1 per person. Alternatively, one can also stay in the many hostels or homestays on this side of the river.

Kuala Tahan Jetty GPS Coordinates:
4°23'00.9"N 102°24'04.3"E
4.383582, 102.401194

Travelling time from Kuala Lumpur to the jetty is about 3 hr 30 minutes; nearest town to the jetty is Jerantut which is one hour's drive away.

Posted by KC Leong 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Merdeka Day Trail Run_Hike at Bukit Kiara

Trail running and hiking at Bukit Kiara in celebrating our country's 61st independence anniversary on Friday, 31 August 2018 ... At the car park, we saw another four groups were also starting the hike at around 7:30 a.m. We traversed the following trails/locations: Tokong or Shrine Trail, Twin Peaks, Prison Trail, Container Trail, Jamban Trail, then to the waterfall; with a total time of 4 hours.

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

KC Leong, Lim HY, ChongYF, Jacqueline Ho, George Siew, Lee WY, Nicholas, Lawrence Tang, Karen Yeoh;
ChooKS, PK Chan, Dr Clement Lo, Lim Chee Sing, Shin Yee;
Lana, Soek Yan, Shu-Lin, Stephanie Tham.
 At the Toking (or shrine) area
 En route to Twin Peak
 Shu-Lin, Lana, Shin Yee ...
 George Siew with the colourful attire
 Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!
At the waterfall area


Posted by KC Leong

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Birthday and Achievement

An evening of celebration for hikers at The Westin KL Hotel on Saturday, 25 Aug 2018 for August babies' birthday; to Jack Oh, welcome back from hiking Ama Dablam, Nepal; and welcome home, the Kilimanjaro team (Africa).

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

 The birthday girls ... Kristy, Ann Choo, Elaine Lee, Dphany Goh, Ivy Wong
 All the fit and pretty lady hikers
 Happy and cheerful moment
 Kilimanjaro teams ... those in blue T-shirts just return in August 2018, and one in tribesman's attire
Jack Oh ... returned from hiking Ama Dablam, Nepal


Posted by KC Leong

Apek Hill Hiking

Hiking at Apek Hill on Saturday, 25 August 2018 in celebrating the birthday of Dphany, Ivy Wong and Elaine Lee. 

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

 A group photo before the start of hiking
 At the giant tree
 The birthday girls ... Dphany Goh, Ivy wong, Elaine Lee
With the birthday girls 

Posted by KC Leong




Monday, July 30, 2018

CULTRA 2018

The Cameron Ultra-trail (CULTRA) race started at 6:15 a.m. as planned on Saturday 28 July 2018 for the 30km category that I took park. After the first kilometre run on tar road passing by Tanah Rata main road, all runners were directed into the trails. While waiting in darkness at the narrow trail trying to clear the queue, I could see the strings of light going up the hills illuminated from runners' headlamps. 

Do CLICK HERE to view photos courtesy of yours truly, KC Leong. In the photo album, click "i" (info) for the descriptions of each photo.

Vibrant sunset viewed from Greenhill Resort Apartment, Tanah Rata where we have a comfortable and pleasant stay for 3D2N; it is only 600 meters to the starting line.

Looking up the hills, the terrain was similar to hiking trails – steep slope and with lots of roots on the ground. The running trails in this event were actually trails meant for hiking, and not the rolling hills type. True to the elevation map, the Jasar and Berembun peaks were tough hills to overcome, plus two smaller peaks after Sam Poh Temple; hence, the tagline of the event – Be prepared, be very prepare! The most satisfying moment was descending from the Berumbun peak where at certain stretches, it was run-able going downhill. With the hiking skill, I picked up the momentum and overtook almost 30 trail runners. 

Yours truly crossing the finishing line in 7hr 12 min, another 48 min to cut-off time
With ChongYF, the running buddy

At check-point #3 and after passing by Robinson waterfall, all runners maneuvered down a steep slope. I saw a young lady (three runners in front of me) slipped and pitched forward, tumbling down the slope almost 10 feet below the trail. Luckily, her group of male runner friends where there to lend their helping hands. Another tough moment was to arrive at check-point #4 where the runners have to run uphill on tar road all the way to Boh Heritage Tea Centre and Factory at Habu. 

Sunday 29 July, 8am having breakfast at Tanah Rata cheering 100km runners dashing to the finishing line

Overall, it was a good trail running event amidst the fresh and cool mountainous air of Cameron Highlands. The organizing standard of the organizer was good and is almost on par with other international trail running events. 

Trophies and sports products/vouchers for the podium finishers

What I like:

a. well-organized event (dissemination of information via online and internet, systematic collection of race packs, big number of volunteers);

b. clear signage showing the direction with volunteers stationed at critical junctions (even camping in the jungle);

c. water stations with ample supply of drinking water, isotonic drinks, hot tea, oranges and dates; certain critical check-points even provided porridge.

The trail runners and supporter

Areas for Improvement:

a. after the first kilometre run on tar road, all runners were directed to narrow hiking trails; most runners would have wasted valuable time waiting to clear the queue;

b. at one tar road T-junction after emerging from Berumpun peak (just before check-point #3), the signage showed: 15km with an arrow going straight. Then what happened to the other categories, turning right? (we found out later that turning right was the wrong way)

Prize giving ceremony and the cheering crowd

c. with the tremendous enthusiasm from runners trying to register in this event but the window for registration was closed permanently after 15 minutes, many of the trail runners were not able to participate. The organizer may look at increasing the number of participants or a systematic way in selecting the participants.

Posted by KC Leong

Monday, July 23, 2018

Pine Tree Trail Hike

Hiking Pine Tree Trail and overnight at High Pines Bungalow in Fraser's Hill from 20-22 July 2018 ... July is a dry and hot month in Klang Valley; as such, staging a 3D2N stay in the cool mountains and hiking Pine Tree Trail was an excellent idea. 

Do CLICK HERE to view photos courtesy of yours truly, KC Leong.
 Looking for tarantula spiders ... one of the tarantula species is found only at this hill resorts and nowhere else in the world


That was my first time staying in High Pines Bungalow, a cosy greystone bungalow owned by Boh Plantations group. This lovely Scottish design bungalow sits at one of the highest spots in Fraser's Hill with good views of the surrounding mountains, and is frequently engulfed in low clouds. The best part is that it is only a stone's throw away from the trail head of Pine Tree Trail.
 Relax after dinner in High Pines Bungalow with good hiking company


As usual, many hikers felt that the returning journey of Pine Tree Trail hike was also tiring as the terrain was not all downhill descent. One still has to climb two major flights of stairs and a final uphill hike to return to the trail head.

Timing:
Start hiking = 7:30 a.m.
One way to the first peak = 2.5 hr to 3 hr;
First peak to 2nd peak = 30 to 45 min;
Round trip is about 7 hours.
A cool and misty morning at High Pines Bungalow


High Pines Bungalow (Fraser's Hill) ... It was a coincidence that the caretaker, Mr Tan, was admitted to hospital. The wife who does not cook, was in-charged.  Most of the group members opined that his wife was too petty, nasty and giving us a hard time (that affected the mood of the stay) even though we paid for the 3D2N accommodation: she was overly concern that we must not dirty the place; that we could not use the crockery (not even the cups!!); that we could not boil water for drinking; that we must not bring food and consume in the bungalow; that we could not do this or that, etc. Suggesting that we should eat our food in the garden, she said but subject to the gardener's permission. But a check at the garden, there was no table and chairs to put the food. We wonder who set the rules!

A group member commented that with years taking charge of the bungalow/property, they felt that visitors are encroaching into their territory; hence, imposing rules that disregard even basic needs.
 At the front gate of High Pines Bungalow ... I have been hiking at Pine Tree Trail for almost 10 times but I have never cross this boundary. 
(back, left) LooHinLee, Jimmy Teh, Angie Ng, Jackie, Rocky Chan, Irene Poh, Sally Teh, Abdullah, Julia Ooi, Karen Lee, LeeWaiYin; (front) KC Leong, ChanHN, Loo Hin Lee, ChinYM (holding camera: Freddy Yeong)
 A group photo at the trail head of Pine Tree Trail ... the metal signage is a new one (not sure why there is a need for two); notice the gate at the left of the photo frame – that is the High Pines Bungalow. It was also the first time that we do not need to drive to the trail head.
 A bigger group photo at the first peak with members from another two hiking groups
 View from the second peak ... that is the trail leading to the Semangok Peak: two hours to Merah Campsite, and another 4 hours to the peak. In the photo: Eddie Lau, Jessica Tan, Julia Ooi
 Group photo at the second peak
 Ascending and descending this part of the hill is dangerous ... posing for photo is Eva Chin
 Day 3 camping-style breakfast at a pondok en route to Jeriau Waterfall
At Jeriau Waterfall
(click above trail map for actual bigger size)
At the entrance of Jeriau Waterfall, we met six trail runners who ran/hiked from the Pine Tree trail head and returned via another run-able trail that connected to this Jeriau Waterfall (light-blue line above). Does anyone know this new trail, do kindly share information. We are having plan to explore this trail. This shorter or slightly easier trail would enable the day hike to Semangkok Peak be completed within daytime.

Posted by KC Leong