2010 - Gopeng to Cameron Highlands

Trekking Adventure - Gopeng to Cameron Highlands
30km Orang Asli jungle trek - 09 to 12 Jul 2010
Bernard Lee
Ching Neng Bin
George  Aeria
Koay Saw Hoon
Lau Khim Hun
Lau Khim Sun
Lee Shan Chen
Lian Goet Ean
Neoh Choo Loa
Ooi Kok Hooi
Sitt S.K.
Thong Kok Cheng
Toh Kim Kiang
Uncle Yeong
Mr.Talib (guide)
(L-R) Ching Neng Bin, S.K.Sitt, Uncle Yeong, Bernard Lee, Toh Kim Kiang, Lian Goet Ean, Lee Shan Chen, Thong Kok Cheng, Neoh Choo Loa, George Aeria, Lau Khim Sun, Lau Khim Hun, Koay Saw Hoon and squatting is Ooi Kok Hooi








































































Day 01 (09.07.10) Gopeng to Kg. Ulu Kampar

Ten pax in 2 cars from Penang made their way to Gopeng to meet up with the rest of the 4 team-mates ( Ching, Sitt, Ms.Lee from Ipoh and Bernard Lee from Port Dickson) at 4.40pm. Altogether, the team comprises of 14 members and Uncle Yeong a veteran trekker, was the oldest at aged 72. Three Semai Orang Asli were hired as guide and porter.

After an early quick dinner in Gopeng, we drove to MyGopeng Resort to park our cars and it was here that the trek began. We started at about 7pm after the rain. The trail was a pleasant walk along a gently sloping gradient through the oil-palm plantation. It took us 1hr 10 minutes of trekking to reach the Orang Asli settlement at Kg.Ulu Kampar. We stayed in a long-house of our guide, Mr. Talib and Orang Asli. 

Miss Malaysia 2010 finalist having their team-building games at the resort. We were very surprised to see them there, but, they were shocked to learn that we are trekking up to Cameron Highlands at this hour.
We trekked towards Kampung Ulu Kampar.
The serene cool evening mist over the estate as the sun sets at 7.27pm.

Mr. Talib an Orang Asli was our guide and we stayed in his long-house.
The refreshing cool air from the open windows.
We enjoyed eating sweet potato 'tong-sui' prepared by the ladies for supper.
A very comfortable long-house with attached pantry and a solar light-bulb.
We had very good sweet potato 'tong-sui' prepared by the ladies for supper.

Day 02 (10.07.10) Kg. Ulu Kampar to Kg. Atap

The morning call was at 5.45am, breakfast at 6.30am and the trek began at 7.30am. The trek gradually became more like a real jungle trail and by the time we stopped for lunch on the river bank we had trekked for about 5 hrs at 12.30pm.

The jungle's hungry leeches soon made their presence felt. Bloody patches appeared in our socks, trousers and even shirts. Removing my shoes and socks I found 8 fat leeches still feeding. Even though I had applied an insect repellent it was washed away once we crossed the river. Leeches abound on the banks of the river and streams because their instincts tell them those animals come here to drink. On this particular trail leeches were found all along the track, weaving back and forth once they sensed the presence of someone approaching.


Talib's long-house.
Talib's bath-room.
Talib's 'musang'.
Talib's grand-son holding a chicken.
Talib's grand-daughter.
Getting ready for the long trek at 7.22am.








Kg. Ulu Kampar Orang Asli settlement.
Kampar River.
Unused reservoir along the Kampar River.

Beams of sunlight penetrates the thick jungle canopy.

So far so good - no leeches yet.

Uncle Yeong said, "I am well prepared this time".
Ching is ready to move on.
George said, "Lets go".
The 1st river crossing was exciting at 8.56am.

Beams of sunlight penetrates the thick jungle canopy.

Beams of sunlight penetrates the thick jungle canopy.
The fast and furious river.
Checking for leeches during a short break and were happy for now.
Our guide got this wild mango from the forest - nice to eat but very sour.
Walking through another bamboo forest.
The 2nd river crossing was easy at 10.10am.
The 2nd river crossing was easy at 10.10am.
The 3rd river crossing was cool and nice at 10.20 am.
The 3rd river crossing was cool and nice at 10.20am.
The 3rd river crossing was cool and nice at 10.20 am.
The 3rd river crossing was cool and nice at 10.20 am.

Knee and back bending was required because of numerous fallen bamboos and rotten trees, even though the guide in front did a lot of chopping with his parang. Many times my backpack was caught as I stooped low. An added difficulty was that as soon as we reached a high point, down we went on a steep descent. This was really hard on stiff knees.
Climbing on very steep mountain slopes.
The 4th river crossing was narrow with fast flowing water at 12.14 pm.
The 4th river crossing was narrow with fast flowing water at 12.14 pm.

The colorful mushrooms.
The colorful mushrooms.

There was no way to prevent our feet from getting wet. Shoes and socks were soaked and the leeches had a grand buffet. Removing my shoes and socks - 8 fat leeches still feeding on my bloody socks.
This bloody fat leech that dropped off from my underwear..hug!
Our bloody legs.

5th river crossing at 1.11 pm was adventurous - clinging to the cliff wall or be washed away.

Beautiful butterfly called on George Aeria.

Lee Shan Chen is happy for now as the bloody sucker is not around yet .....
Time for a swim at 2.38 pm.

Lunch break at 2.47 pm.
The 6th and final river crossing for the day at 3.47 pm.
We were all hungry and wet because we had to cross at least 6 rivers with very strong water flows.
We expected to reach Kg. Atap by 6pm, but we did it at 4.16pm almost 2 hours earlier. Mr. Neoh, our team leader said that this was a record time so far. The distance trekked on this day was more than 20km in just over 8 hours.

This Kg. Atap orang asli woman came to welcome us at 4.18 pm.
Chicken curry, baked beans, long beans with white and brown rice for dinner at 6.18pm.

George brought this bottle ...
and knock off our Mr.Thong
Uncle Yeong preparing his famous 'tong-sui' for supper...
also fried carrots and sweet potatoes with butter, coated with cinnamon, salt and sugar.
The girls set up open-air kitchen to prepare dinner. We cooked rice and heat up frozen chicken curry which we brought along. While uncle Yeong cooked special brown rice with plenty of nuts inside and ‘tong-sui’ for supper.
Looking at his bloody itchy leg, Bernard was not sure how to sleep.
Sleeping was in a cramped hut, 14 persons in a space measuring less than 20 square feet with half of the floor broken up. However, space was the least of our concern. Luckily I have my sleeping mat; otherwise, I have to sleep on broken floor.
Everybody was very happy to sleep at 9.15 pm - even like sardine fish!
Day 03 (11.07.10) Kampong Atap > Tanah Rata

The morning call was at 7.00am, breakfast at 8am and the trek began at 9.00am.

Woke up at 7am and called to my mates to wake up. I was stiff all over because I slept on broken floor. The floor of the hut was bamboo slats with "air-conditioning" coming through the gaps. What caused me anxiety was my left knee which felt "frozen" and ached badly when I stretched out my leg. After hard rubbing and applying an anti-inflammation pain-killing gel it felt better. Breakfast was hot coffee, bread and some rice from previous night.

Some of us woke up to find more leech marks and blood patches on their bodies and thought that leeches had crawled into the huts. But I thought differently, more likely was that the leeches had clung to our back-packs and then found their way to our bodies while we were asleep.

Most of us were glad to donate left over food and clothing to the Orang Asli old couple, to lighten our backpacks.

So at 9am everyone was ready to move on. We were told by our guide that today was going to be easier because we only had to walk about 5 hours and the expected time to arrive at our destination was 12.30pm. What was easy to the Orang Aslis was going to be our toughest trail yet. 


An open bath-room and the toilet is behind the banana trees.
Breakfast at 8.08 am - hot coffee and bread for everyone
Dirty, muddy, wet and smelly
This is how we tie up shoes that turn into 'crocodile mouth'.
A fire place in the center of the hut for cooking and keeping warm
Getting ready for the final day hike. This hut that we slept on has tilted a little and hopefully be there for many more years to come.

"Come again" said the orang asli from Kg. Atap
Soon after we started off, we faced a steep 50 deg. gradient

Wild giant bamboo forest
10.20am at a resting place on top of a hill somewhere in nowhere!
Mr Thong a veteran runner said, "No sweat".
Chatting with other pass-by Orang Asli

As strong as ever the trio said, "We are the world".

Ching said, "I can't believe doing this grueling and dangerous trek".
11.40am - the trek continued!


We had to cross another 2 fast-flowing streams below. Just when we thought that there were no more streams, the trail itself became a stream. We found ourselves walking on water and very slippery rocks. In 3 minutes, Bernard fell two times in front of me - fortunately, his backpack broke the fall of the shock and was soon up and about.






The watery trail turned into a narrow ledge. Those of us who were afraid of heights kept their eyes away from the edge. However, where the soft soil gave way we had to use our hands to grip whatever we could hold onto. At times the terrain became rocky and the ledges became even trickier because of the slippery slopes. Team work called to lend each other a hand to pull the one behind across gaping cavities.
Well done to Saw Hoon
Well done to Shan Chen
Well done to Bernard Lee
Well done to Sitt
And well done to Ching followed by Neoh.
Pointing at the border stone marking Pahang and Perak boundary at the summit - (L-R) Uncle Yeong, Bernard and Ooi in Pahang while Toh, Ching and Neoh still standing in Perak.
At 12.11pm we finally scaled the last 60 deg. gradient wall which was the longest and steepest yet. At the summit (1372m) was a border stone, one side pointing to Perak and the other to Pahang. So we were literally standing between two states. What a feeling of relief that we did make it. Our exhaustion miraculously seemed to evaporate, a sense of accomplishment flooding our senses and we congratulated each other.
Our guide Mr. Talib and his twin sons as porter
Finally out of the Pahang jungle. With a feeling of jubilation the descend was easy, half an hour to reach Kampung Sg. Ubi. From there to the Bharat Tea Plantation was another half an hour, walking part of the way along a paved road and then we took a short-cut on a foot-path skirting tea shrubs and vegetable plots to reach the main road.
Walking down at 12.54pm towards the Orang Asli settlement - Kampong Sg. Ubi
Saw Hoon distributing biscuits to the Asli children
Ching handing out biscuits to children
We made it! - This is what we call "Adventurous Achievement".
We had our refreshing hot tea at the tea-shop while we waited for Mr Thee (Ms.Lee's husband who drove up this morning) to take us to KRS Pines Guesthouse in Tanah Rata.
Well done everybody
As clean as new
A celebration dinner at Sheng Ming Restaurant at 6.20pm
By 6.30pm nothing more to eat!
Day 04 (12.07.10) Tanah Ratah, Cameron to Gopeng

Only 4 mates woke up at 2.30am to watch the World Cup final. After breakfast, the car drivers left by taxi for Gopeng to pick up the cars from the resort and waited for us at Simpang Pulai bus stand. The rest of us left Tanah Rata by bus at 11am for Simpang Pulai and arrived there two hours later.

Flowers at the KRS Pines Guesthouse
Flowers at the KRS Pines Guesthouse

http://krspines.cameronhighlands.com/

Special tea and nasi lemak for breakfast at an Indian shop outside our guesthouse

2.42 pm lunch in Simpang Pulai beside Public Bank

3.25pm tea break at Ching's house in Bandar Seri Botani Ipoh, before driving back home. Our team leader, Mr Neoh (standing) pointing at George said, " I am very happy that nobody gone crazy during the 4 days expedition".
The sense of accomplishment was well-deserved and we would remember this trail for a long long time to come with appreciation to the rivers and wilderness of the virgin jungle of Cameron Highlands.
Conclusion

The total distance trekked was more than 30km - 20km on the 2nd day taking 8 hours and another 5 hours to trek 10km on the third day. The toll on me was bloody, more than 50 itchy leech wounds, cuts and rashes on both legs. This was one of my toughest trails. Bernard who had trekked 14 times up Mt. Kinabalu said that even the highest mountain in Malaysia, Mt. Kinabalu is nothing compared to this trail.

It was not the altitude which made it challenging but the long trek and harshness of the terrain. Here you would find numerous rivers and stream crossings, lose ground on steep slopes, wet & slippery rocks, narrow trails that are overgrown with shrubs and rattan thorns, bees and leeches all the way.

The sense of accomplishment was well-deserved and we would remember this trail for a long long time to come with appreciation to the rivers and wilderness of the virgin jungle.

The RM200 per person for the 4 days adventure was no doubt definitely well spent. Many thanks to Mr. Neoh for taking us through and fulfilling our dreams. 
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29 comments:

  1. Neoh Choo Loa17 August, 2010

    Ching,
    Thank you for taking time to put together all the nice photos and detailed reporting. This is the best Gopeng-Cemeron report.
    Regards,
    CL Neoh

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  2. What a great adventure and as usual fantastic photo's. Thanks for sharing,
    Phill

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  3. Very adventurous. Enjoy looking at you guys having fun, but am not capable or willing to do it. Too difficult, lah. Prefer the 3 to 5 stars accomodation and service.
    Paul

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  4. Ching,

    That sounds like a fantastic trip! Wish I were with you. Thank you for sharing.

    Wong

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  5. Ching,
    That looks like a fantastic trip. Wish I were with you! Thank You for sharing..On On

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  6. Hi Mr Ching
    A very good write up and photos.
    Thank you for sharing.......
    B regards
    Lina Ng

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  7. Pauline Chin17 August, 2010

    Wow, you surely found a good outdoor soul-mate ..........Lee Shan Chen!!!

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  8. Yeap Guan Leng18 August, 2010

    Ching, thanks for the write-up. I can imagine it's all worth the pain and suffering. I really missed the adventures...Rgds Yeap

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  9. Dear Ching,
    I really en......joy all your nice photos !!! Great adventures and looking forward to see more & more.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Regards,
    Kelly

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  10. Great adventure for all participants .
    Shd also do it one day .
    Pls keep me posyed .

    Thks
    TH Too

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  11. Hi Ching,
    Thanks for sharing.
    Nice photos too.
    looking forward to your next adventure.
    Ning Hoe

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  12. Neng Bin,
    I lift up my hat to you all, you all are really good, and tough, and fit. Congrats, and God bless you all.
    Enjoyed reading your adventures.
    Regards,
    James Yap

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  13. Ching,
    You're simply a great travelogue journalist and perhaps the best of the lot.

    Awaiting to read and see your next interesting journey.

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  14. Thanks Ching for the good write up and photos.i surely missed the trek this year but never for those 'pacat' !

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  15. Thanks for yet another juicy and luring write up and photos, Ching. I am sure many others, like me, are dreaming about doing the same trek.

    To the team, my heartiest congratulations. I can relate to "harshness of terrain" after making it to the Pinnacles when I was in my mid 30s, but that's just a 4-hours up 5 hours down trek without the sardine can nights and sharing of joy with orang alsi folks and open air cooking etc.

    Well done, Uncle Yeong and those fast catching up, for proving that age is only a number. May the Good Lord give you many more opportunities to enjoy the world in its pristine state.

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  16. You people must be very fit to be able to climb the mountain. Really good job.
    Henry Lee

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  17. Helen Chok20 August, 2010

    Hi Ching,
    Great adventure!! Thanks for sharing your good shot pictures!!
    What camera brand are you using? I'm still thinking whether to buy DSLR or Lumix LX3?

    If I know you are going to Tibet I may be joining you...too bad miss it..

    So when is your next trip destination?

    Cheers
    Helen

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  18. Thanks Ching for sharing! U and company did it again, congratulations!!! Shalom

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  19. tenghoong too21 August, 2010

    Great adventure for ALL participants. Wish I did it too .
    Thanks.

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  20. Thanks for sharing. Great posts.

    Vonn Ooi

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  21. Thanks for sharing. Great posts.

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  22. Steven Cheong03 September, 2010

    Hi Ching,
    Thank you so much for all the good photographs of your trips. Your experiences are really wide and deep which not many people have gone through. Keep it up and may God continue to bless you with a healthy body doing what you really like.
    Best Regards,
    Steven

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  23. Hi Ching,
    I just came back from Hanoi on 23rd August 2010 but I couldn't get as much as you did compared with yr last trip in Hanoi. Prince 57 was closed and we end up staying in LuckyStar Hotel @ Bat Dan Street for USD20/night. For Hotel, we cant get anything less than USD10 & perhaps it is peak summer holidays? In Sapa, even Pinnochio hotel quote us for USD12 & told us never before they offer USD6.00 for 2pax. I got cheated from this Mr Minh of Paradieso Bar Cafe Restaurant of 7, Nguyen Sieu st., who promised us 1st class itinerary for Sapa 2nights stay including Bac Ha trip, but end up dangerous trekking to Hmong & Ta Van village, slippery muddy cause raining for USD110/pax. Tam Coc got it for USD19/pax which Mr minh promised us better lunch (end up lousy lunch) & Halong Bay for 2 nights promised us for Margaurite Sails for USD115 which is VIP but being short changed for Elizabeth sail which room are smaller & food are limited unlike Margaurite sail which provide plenty of food & room are bigger with fridge & TV. We compared notes with a Dutch family met at Sapa earlier & met them again at Halong Bay who stay in Margaurite sail paying same price USD115/pax. Overall I still enjoyed but not as value for money like what you did for yr traveling.

    I like to thank you Mr ching for yr generous updating of yr fantastic trips around Asia Pacific & truly I enjoyed very much yr journals & photos of yr adventures. I salute to you and especially Uncle Yeong who is 72 yrs old.

    Adeline

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  24. Wan Chen Teng11 September, 2010

    Hi Mr. Ching,
    How are you? Hope you still remember me. Its been many years i do not go trekking. Wahhhh.... after looking at your pictures, the trek to Cameron was so amazing!!! Hope i will have chance to do it.
    I salute you!!!!
    Chen Teng

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  25. Teoh Hock Lim16 September, 2010

    Congrats Ching! Thank you for sharing. Looking forward to the day when I can join you & your group on trips. Regards H L Teoh. Public Bank

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  26. hey, your blog design is very nice, clean and fresh and with updated content, make people feel peace and I always like browsing your site.

    - Thomas

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  27. Very much appreciate what you're doing here!

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  28. Beyond any doubt blog with usable informations.

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  29. Happy to see you are still going strong & having a good time :-)
    Great pictures... thanks for sharing.
    Wishing you good health & many more mountains & tracks to go!
    Cheers,
    patrick lee

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