Wednesday, May 09, 2007

GLORIOUS KUALA TAHAN

The clan minus ikelah (behind camera) waiting to get across

The road to Kuala Tahan was essentially horrendous. Almost for a third of the way, we had to endure through patches of bad road covered with pebbles. Thus the whole journey was mired with endless slowing down as you can't speed through the rough patches . However, someone pang5 who was driving in another car became impatient and started overtaking us, flooring his gas paddle and bulldozed through the bumpy path, leaving behind a cloud of dust! When asked later on why he decided to leave us behind, he told us he was getting sleepy with the slow drive. As the patches were scattered all over left and right, we had to swerve and weave, where possible. A tedious ride indeed. However, we knew what beautiful bounty lies ahead, thus we continued non the less.

This was my fourth visit to Kuala Tahan and once again, I have truly enjoyed the wonderful atmosphere exuded by the oldest tropical rain forest in the world. The fresh invigorating air, the luscious green trees and the unique fauna were all captivating. The trekking trips were tiring, of course, but the exercise was very much welcomed, leaving us in a state of endorphin high.

The restaurant at Mutiara Resort. No, we didn't eat here.


Over here, you could choose between luxurious, medium or low-cost accommodations. Mutiara Resort offers beautiful kampung style chalets with modern amenities. But the bungalows and chalets can reach a whooping rate of more than RM 800 per night! Stretched along the high banks of Kuala Tahan, the resort is strategically situated. It offers modern comfort enclosed within the peaceful but at the same time, wild, green jungle. Perfect retreat for those who pine for the quiet life in a forest but wish to maintain modern amenities at the same time.

The floating restaurant offering traditional malay 'cuisine'. Scattered at the background are the various chalets.

For those who fear of burning a colossal hole in their pockets, can settle for less expensive chalets which are scattered all over the main bank of Kuala Tahan. The rooms and toilets are acceptably clean albeit worn out furnitures but with cheap rates they suit fine for those who are most of the time outdoors. As for us, spending less on accommodation meant that we could divert our expenditure on more important activities like eating authentic kampung-style meals and long boat rides!

On arrival, after freshing up, we crossed the Tembeling River on a boat. The short trip across the narrow width of the river costs RM1 one way. Mind you, two years ago it was only 50 cents. After paying the entrance and camera fees, we headed to Lubok Simpun on foot. A trek that traversed through the forest, amidst big tropical trees with crawling roots, brought us to another river which was the Tahan River, smaller and cleaner. Huge trees canvas the whole area allowing sunlight to penetrate through in between their abundant foliage.

As the word Lubok suggests, this part of the river is marked with pockets of deep water which could be dangerous if one should suddenly slip into it. The place is however popular as it provides cool river water flowing endlessly through a carpet of smooth round rocks, amidst the tranquil fresh air of the surrounding forest. The continuous churning sounds of gushing water against the rocks impart a natural soothing music that can instantly lull you to sleep. After a good dose of the balmy atmosphere and water-dipping, we headed back when dusk began to approach. It did feel a tad eerie walking through a thick forest late in the evening. However, knowing that we had two tough males accompanying us was reassuring (yeah, tough males, eh?). We came across some pheasant birds which were initially oblivious of our presence, giving Red a good chance to capture their photos.

That night, we had a sumptuous gastronomical experience when we were served with several dishes of Patin: Patin Steam, Patin Asam Rong and Gulai Asam Patin. They consisted of Patin Buah and Lawang, all captured in the wild and not the usual Patin reared in cages called Patin Sangkar. Patin found in the wilderness are said to taste more delectable than those reared. Asam Rong is a traditional delicacy unique to people there. Asam rong can be made from either the seeds of the rubber tree or buah perah. These seeds are chopped and fermented and they lend the nutty and sour flavor to the gravy. We enjoyed the authentic feast so much that some even continued discussing about it in their rooms till they salivated profusely!

Ever flowing River Tahan with cascading canopies



Negotiating a rapid. The second boatmen sits in front with a long pole to steer away obstacles.

The next morning, we took a long boat ride to Lata Berkoh along the River Tahan. Gliding through the resplendent water way in the chilling morning breeze was a truly exuberant experience. Marked with canopies of tree branches bending obediently, from both water-banks, roofing the river, it appeared to be more enchanting than Tembeling river. It was awesome to watch how the boatman maneuver the boat each time they encountered shallow, stone-filled river beds. He seemed to know the route extremely well, memorizing every nooks and crevices thus only taking the deep ends and avoiding the shallow parts. The ride got very exciting each time we had to pass a rapid as the boat would tilt and jolt and water would splash into us. Whenever the boat appeared to overly slant to one side, I'd try to stable it by positioning my weight on the opposite side. (Pang5 took a photo of me with my hands splayed out in my bid to feel the splashing water against my hand. However he had in a mockery, interpreted that I was trying to stabilize the boat by doing a balancing act. Never listen to a person who is high on patin and asam rong! Their reasoning powers tend to be screwed up!)

Dipping in the cool water at Lata Berkoh

Lata Berkoh is an area of River Tahan with myriads of boulders of varying sizes scattered all over, thus making boat rides through it impossible. Reaching a certain point, the boat stopped and we had to continue the journey on foot via a jungle trek parallel to the river. Along the way, Mas discovered many species of interesting looking spiders and even gave the guys a small tutorial, much to Red's chagrin who was away in a different expedition up Bukit Teresek with Maman and Danial. Red was fooled into thinking that the journey up the hill would offer him abundant spiders but alas! Even worse, he was made to believe that there was a stall uphill selling sugar-cane drink to quench the anticipated thirst after climbing up for 2 hours. Needless to say, he was trembling in great thirst when it all ended!

It was truly a fruitful retreat filled with refreshing experience and the guys have decided on a more adventurous ado this coming July.

P.s. I was bitten by a large leech on my left calf and a pacat on my right. They captured the leech, thinking of concocting some medicine out of it but it died.

*I apologize for not leaving comments at your blogs but streamyx has been going bonkers in this part of the world!

30 comments:

pycnogenol said...

....anything I wrote right now, here in these comments could not do justice to the beauty of this.
This is so vivid...it's as if I was there too in glorious Kuala Tahan, though I'm not too sure if I can 'tahan' the arduous journey to see glory!!

Thanks for sharing.

mynn said...

i've seen the pictures on ikelah's Fotopage - they're excellent. Man, i'm so jealous of such a fantastic excursion - the company, the activities and especially the exotic location.

Boogey said...

dith, when the wind hit your palms, did the boat get lighter and go faster? Tapi memang kelakar la P5 kenakan aok.

dith said...

Pycno- Of course you can tahan the journey, insyallah You should go there. No, not for one of your solo trips but bring the whole gang!

Mynn- We'll see if you can 'clique' with this zany company!

Boogey- apa boleh kawe kata. You guys think alike.

hiyoshi said...

*imagines how DITH looked like whilst balancing the boat with her stretched out arms*

Must be something like Rose in that infamous scene from Titanic

simah said...

wah..jelousnya saya akakkkkkkkkkkkk.. these r the things i had done n love masa kat uni dulu... getting closer to nature..

on another note... happy mother's day! :0)

P5 said...

Quote, "Whenever the boat appeared to overly slant to one side, I'd try to stable it by positioning my weight on the opposite side."

Your own single body weight can balance the weithgt of 5 other adults and one child? errrkkk... you said it.

:)

dith said...

Yoshi- Thank you for comparing me with Rose, :p

Simah- Thanks! How are you dear?

Pang5- Yes, I was doing all the balancing act because the rest of the boat passengers were too LAZY to lift their heavy bottoms!!!

ikelah said...

i dont really know what to comment. the gulais were fabulous, finger licking good. 2 days in a row gulai asang rong will definitely make 'the addicts' longing for more. we gotta get the ingredients home.

for the this week, only 1 day we were without ikan patin. maman and i had patin buah masak tempoyak at uncle bob's place, sedap especially the belly(maman took both sides).

i love physics and i usually apply it for daily activities. have you heard of centripetal-centrifugal forces. i applied it recently the correct way. doing the opposite will cause a moving object to bw out of its trajectory line causing instability.

"May the force be with you and beware of the darkside"

dith said...

Ikelah-

Yeah, yeah may the physics force be with you!

Mama Sarah said...

i don't like the sound of leech and pacat.

eh, how can that someone feel sleepy driving through "pebbled road"?

(am so glad to see you back!)

Queen Of The House said...

What a beautiful place!

But DITH, tell me, how does "shooting the rapids" **REALLY** feel?? I am such a scaredy cat, boleh ke I tahan?

I hope your streamyx stays sane. Now my PC asyik crash aje ..... sigh.

Boogey said...

QOTH, from what I heard, shooting the rapids the DITH way feels somewhat like flying. Hahahahaha.

dith said...

Nisak- itu kena tanya Pang5

QOTH-
The rapids on the way to Lata Berkoh are mild and not that challenging compared to those up the river Tembeling.

Really, I am as scared as you are but having gone through 2x up the Tembeling rapids, I feel more confident and less anxious.You should try it Queen.

dith said...

Nisak

I was sitting on the boulders with my legs dipping halfway in the cool gushing water. When we were getting ready to walk back, Mas noticed the large lintah dangling on my left calf looking so disgusting. Long ago, I 'd probably shout and do a red Indian dance but surprisingly nowadays I could maintain my calm albeit trembling emotion inside.

As usual the guys had all sorts of ideas of ways to remove it. Do not tug it rudely away or the wound will bleed profusely. You need to let it fall voluntarily. The best way was to ignite a small fire for example from a lighter and place the heat near it. Or sprinkle some salt on it. Or in our case, as nobody was a smoker or brought any salt shaker along, we used the amylase enzyme, spitted out from ikelah's buccal mucosa. Then Pang5 helped to gently release it's hold. The bite wound bled as expected but better than walking with the gross slug stuck on you! Mind you, the bite mark is still red and very itchy till today!!

On the boat, I found another small pacat feasting blood on my right ankle. At the chalet I found a bite wound high up on my right thigh! Imagine!

But Nisak, it was still worth the whole trip!

anggerik merah said...

DITH,

wow,,bestnya..will add this place in my list. I love this kind of advanture. But for so long no opportunity to get back to that. Thanks for sharing.

I learn more about types of ikan patin now.

Happy mother's day to you

Ku Keng said...

Remebered Lata Berkoh well. Had more than 16 leeches on both legs and thighs on the hike back to the camp. It rained!

red said...

next time going there, i'll bring a comprihensive anti-leech defense system.

P5 said...

mama sarah - after a hearty meal of gulai patin salai masak lemak, it was very easy to feel sleepy, especially when the car in lead was doing 10 km/h. so, rather than putting my passengers in danger, i overtook them. :)

the rapids to lata berkoh was very very mild. even ikelah -in his current condition - didnt feel gayat.

what ever fear you may have, the trip is worth it. lotsa fun!!

btw, what happened to the leech?

dith said...

AM- How are things? Hope you are doing fine. Yes, make sure you visit this place when you're back here.

Keng- and how many decades ago was that? :p. Btw, 16 pacat = I lintah. So I beat you by one pacat

Red- And what does this system consist? Not a full leech-proof suit, I hope!

Pang5- Read the entry again!

Has said...

Dear Roza & Ikelah, good to see/read that you are blogging again.

Mama Sarah said...

first of all, i am about to have my breakfast. nasi lemak with sambal IKAN BILIS!!! no more pencatuan this time, alhamdulillah. at the same time tak sabar nak leave a comment here.

i am so going to have a difficulty to turn down such invitation to such place. i just cannot imagine dealing with leeches and pacats. don't even want to imagine. i'd cry dengan tak malunya, i'm sure of that.

p5; after the heavy meal and range rover-ish drive - funny no one felt sick or throw up eh?

p/s: poor Red kempunan air tebu. i get frustrated too whenever my favourite air tebu stall tutup esp after a long drive drive just because of its air tebu pi-yor (pure)

P5 said...

mama sarah,
the food was too precious to be wasted by throwing up. once you've had gulai asam rong or gulai patin salai, you'll understand. :)

ikelah said...

kuah asam rong kena hirup licin oleh yang yang berkenaan tu

simah said...

i am pengsan..runnig runnin runnin.. kerja tak habis even as a simple housewife...

gambar budak mandi kat air sungai tu is so typical of malaysians.. kat sini kalau masuk sungai mcm tu orang pandang semacam ja..

afie911 said...

Glad to see you back after awhile. I really2 wish I could have a dip in Lata Berkoh. The water looks evilly refreshing. :D

Oh, and streamyx has been going bonkers in this part of the world too!

Have a nide day! =)

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