Tag Archives: tilopa

Trekking in Malaysian rainforest

I have been trekking in few Malaysian jungles. Not as often as many hardcores that already conquered several mountains, and many had successfully did Trans Titiwangsa, which is considered as the toughest trek in Peninsular Malaysia.

I usually go for photography. Any place that is beautiful & worth the journey. Several day trekking like Air Terjun Pelangi in Sungai Lembing, 5 hours trekking deep inside Ulu Dong jungle in Raub, 18 hours continuous walk at Nuang in Selangor & recently 6 hours of tough journey to Buaya Sangkut in Endau-Rompin Johor.

Compared to few volcanoes I had climbed in Indonesia, these journey in Malaysian jungles are tougher & more physical.

Gears for local trekking are so different than what we can find from online stores or every where else in the world.

  1. About the shoes, forget about brand like Adidas, Nike, Timberland or that kind of brand….they are lousy in Malaysian jungle. Can consider Teva sandals, but the champion for wet, hot & humid Malaysian jungle is that al-cheapo rubber shoes, which is normally used by rubber tapper. It cost no more than RM8 but can do more than any super expensive brand one can find in super exclusive outdoor shops……including my RM299 Teva sandal! If you wish to buy sandal, make sure you buy the one with front cover or else your feet will get caught under covered branch or tree.
  2. Leech or better called as ‘pacat’ locally is the natural blood sucker when travel in tropical rainforest. It is good to wear leech sock or fine office sock. Sport sock is not suitable because pacat can still penetrate. Example of the suitable leech sock is available here.
  3. For trouser, wear long trouser or 3/4 guys unless you don’t mind pacat climb to your private part. Thin & easy to dry material is preferred. I saw quite a number of experienced trekkers wearing tights. They said it is thin, breathable& easy to dry. I normally wear my quick dry track bottom or 3/4.
  4. Wear quick dry t-shirt is the best. Tuck-in please. Bright colour is preferred for various reasons. You can be seen from far & somehow insects don’t like bright colour. They love black shirt.
  5. Wear head cover. Again bright colour quick dry material is preferred. I usually use buff to cover my head. You don’t really need to be scared of sun because you’ll rarely see them.
  6. Bag….this is super important. Use suitable bag for long haul journey or else you’ll injure your body. Use real outdoor bag. Not camera bag! Regardless how great the advertisement is! I never come across any suitable camera bag for trekking including my RM1000 f-stopgear Tilopa!
  7. Torch light, matches, fly sheet, rope, knife or small machette are super important.
  8. GPS or compass is also important.

Always think safety whenever you go into deep jungle. Anything can happen. Always go with buddy or friends.

Also make sure you dispose all rubbish especially plastics, bottle etc well. Bring them out from the jungle. Do not put any food unattended. There are flies, ants and even big animals that love those free meals.

Buaya Sangkut Adventure

A friend of mine, Ali or famously know as dR Ali organised a special photo outing to Buaya Sangkut Waterfall in Johor National Park. He has been to Kuala Jasin & Upih Guling last year with a group of local artist (painters).

To go to Buaya Sangkut (literally mean Stucked Crocodile), we have to enter via Kahang near Mersing, Johor. Then using 4WD for about 50 km to reach Kuala Jasin where there are good chalet & nice facilities. However beyond Kuala Jasin, one have to trek for 45 mins to reach Upih Guling waterfall. Just over Jasin River, is Kuala Marong campsite, which is about 10-15 mins trekking from Upih Guling. From Kuala Marong, we need to trek another 3 km to reach the last official campsite, i.e. Batu Hampar. From Batu Hampar to Buaya Sangkut is another 4 hours grueling trekking with so many hills to climb. Usually tourist camp at Kuala Marong & do daypack travel to Buaya Sangkut because the facility at Kuala Marong is good. Apart from trekking to Kuala Jasin & Kuala Marong, we can also ride the boat from a nearby village, Kampung Peta.

For us, we camp at Kuala Marong in Day 1. The campsite is very good with proper toilet, cooking area & clean water from gravity feed system. The very next morning, we went to Upih Guling once more, then at about 10AM, we trek to Batu Hampar, then continued to Takah Kunyit. Takah Kunyit is not a designated & proper campsite. But since we have Mr Fakhrul & Mr Herman, the big bosses from NERC, a research centre under Johor National Park Corporation they allowed & guided us to camp at Takah Kunyit, which is about 1 hour trek before Buaya Sangkut. Personally, with load of 25kg (mainly camera gears), the trekking from Kuala Marong to Batu Hampar to Takah Kunyit was hell for me. The not so ergonomic 45L f-stopgear Tilopa worsen the situation. Plus, when we trek from Batu Hampar to Takah Kunyit, it was raining. I can remember how many hills we need to climb and how many river we crossed. In many places, we need to use the ropes to ascend and descend. We started trekking at 10AM (after visited Upih Guling for the 2nd time) and arrived before 3PM. I was the last to arrived to Takah Kunyit.

Once arrived at Takah Kunyit we set the tent immediately…..True enough Takah Kunyit is not good for camping. Uneven surface, not many clearance and far from water source. The river bank fill with huge & slippery rocks. It was indeed tiring to go even to wash hands. That night, almost all of us ate very little & slept early. I slept like baby that night.

Day 3. This was D day! We planned to trek before fajr, but almost everyone was tired. Nevertheless by 6:30AM, we started trekking. Mr Fakhrul said, we need 2 hours to reach Buaya Sangkut. With only my D3, 14-24mm lense & a tripod, I managed to reach Buaya Sangkut in less than 1 hour. The trek still horrible. In fact even worse than Batu Hampar-Takah Kunyit trek, but since I carry a lot less load, the journey seems tolerable.

Buaya Sangkut is beautiful!

We spent almost 2 1/2 hours there. The sun was already high & slow shutter was already impossible. The guides prepared milo & instant noodle. We ate & chat. I snapped only few pictures and was not brave enough to cross the river to get better angle like few of my friends.

At about 9:30AM, we trekked back to Takah Kunyit, dismantled the tent, cleaned the area & by 11AM, we were already trekking back to Batu Hampar, then to Kuala Marong then finally to Kuala Jasin. I stopped many times. The journey was definitely so painful & full with leeches.

Again, I was the last. Arrived when many of my friends were already showed & ready to ride 4WD back to Kahang.

We reached Kahang at about 7:30PM. We bit farewell to each other & went straight home.

Buaya Sangkut is magnificent but the journey is tough. For anyone who wish to go there, be prepared mentally & physically. Go lightweight.

A friend of mine also blog about our trip. Click here to go to his blog.

f-stop Tilopa & a rainforest adventure

Brought my f-stop Tilopa to Endau-Rompin tropical rainforest via Peta in Kahang, Johor. I stuffed my Nikon D3, Nikon D300s, Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8, Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 VR & Nikkor 105mm f2.8 VR. I also packed Nikon SB-800 flashlite and a Feisol carbon fibre tripod attached with Markins M20 ballhead. Apart from camera gears, I also brought few pairs of dry cloths, a Coleman weather-lite two-man tent, sleeping mat & another Deuter daypack for my water bladder & some food.

Everything was over 25kg!

Tilopa did not perform well. It was not ergonomic enough to carry all the load. Again I blame on its poor waist support & shoulder straps. The load was not resting on my waist but instead on my shoulders…..and it was indeed painful. I can carry all those load for about 2-3 hours. Then every step became too painful to bear. The straps to hold sleeping mats, tripod & tent were also not strong enough & I have to tighten them once a while.

I don’t think I’ll use Tilopa again unless for a short simple outing that requires me to bring the same setup but not that tough.

A proper outdoor bag like Deuter is better for such trip. And I may just use its internal compartment unit together with my Deuter Quantum 55+10L.