Monday, August 27, 2007

Bukit Wangsa Cheras a.k.a Ah Pak San (阿伯山)

This City Mountain is somewhere near Cheras, about 2 hours plus of trekking (5 stations) and you could choose to descent to a nice little waterfall. Though small, but it is still nice and cooling.

Direction: Along Jalan Loke Yew until you pass by Leisure Mall, look for a "Pasukan Pergerakan Am" sign or army base on your left (before the Toll). Turn left and go along until you reach a T-junction, then turn right and go along until you see some shop on you left. Turn left before the shops until you reached a new residential area named "Sunway Cheras". Bukit Wangsa Cheras is somewhere beyond "Sunway Cheras". There is an empty field there, followed a row of shops and followed by residential area. There shall be a lot of cars there during the weekend.

The steps are quite steep and challenging at some point, and should take around 2 hours to reach the top (station 5). There is not much of a view there, so your best reward is the waterfall. The descent to the waterfall is quite steep at some point, and the entire journey shouldn't take more than 3 hours (not counting the time you spent at the waterfall). There is a nice hut there build by the local community, and the place is just nice for 20 people or less.

Photo Links: Mei Ru's Multiply, Ah Bug's Multiply

Mount Bromo

The last day of the adventure revolve around Mount Bromo, which is relaxing yet interesting. We bunk at Lave View Resort, which looks like a resort in no mans land. We have to take a 4WD to go through some bumpy road which looks like Savannah, followed by ocean of dessert sands after it. It feels like we are being kidnapped and they try to hide us in some deserted place.

The resort is not bad, except for the hot water not working very well for the room upstairs. The food is decent. Anyway, it’s nice to be in a resort after battling Mount Semeru. We had a good night sleep, and the sleep is never enough.

We have to wake up early again to catch the sunrise at Mount Panajakan (I think) which oversee Mount Bromo. Bromo is a short little volcanic mountain, and the sunrise is on the far left of Bromo. The morning is still very cold, where we are in full winter suite and catch some local breakfast to keep us warm. The view point is pretty crowded with people with all sorts of camera, and the view is indeed worth it. Volcanic area in Surabaya usually seems dry and vast, and there is a kind of beauty attached to it.

Sunrise at Panajakan View Point

Out next stop is Mount Bromo itself, where we get to ride horse for around 10 plus minutes for RP 50,000 (about RM 20). Somehow, it seems fun and worth it, and there are a lot of horses running around. The ground is another piece of dusty dessert land, where we ride uphill and end up walking a couple hundreds of stair steps before reaching the top of Bromo. The smell of sulfur is obvious, and constant smoke comes out from the crater (not as magnificent as Mount Semeru). The view down is great, with mountains and vastness of dessert land. I saw a familiar scene of a walled structure in the middle of dessert, probably from those forwarded emails (or movie).

Bromo is behind us

Good Horsie

There seems to be a narrow path for you to walk around the mouth of Bromo, where a young European couple seems to be the only one talking the path. Too bad we are running out of time, and the path looks dangerous as well (Danger? Isn’t Semeru more dangerous?).

Some Hill around Bromo


Sandy Sand

The Adventure Team (us) split with the Reunion Team again after Bromo, where we proceed to water rafting. We had our photo session and all that. Again, the mountain area and its agriculture look beautiful and soothing to the eye. Sometimes, I do hope to live in the mountains, just that I am not sure what am I suppose to do there.

The water rafting is about 2 hour’s journey from Bromo, and it’s just Grade 3 (where Padas in Kota Kinabalu is Grade 4). Once you ride some big horses, small donkey is no fun at all. The experience is just so so, but since we already paid for it, why not. The local lunch is good, which some special jagung rice and small little salted fish (I probably eaten at least 20 of them, muahaha).

The journey ends with another 2 hours of travel and to rush for our flight. Air Asia didn’t come late this time, and we reach the air port 30 minutes before departure time. Alvin the Tiger book some front seat for us, and everyone is happy and tired. Mount Semeru is definitely memorable, and I am glad that we make it to the top. It is difficult, and perhaps it’s the difficulty which makes it worth it.

Photo Links: Mei Ru's Multiply, Wynn's Multiply, Michelle's Multiply, Tang's Multiply

Gua Tempurung

Chim organized an event to Gua Tempurung, where we spent a night at Ah Fong’s place in Tapah. I have to go through a meeting on Saturday which lasted from 10AM to 4PM, sacrificing my lunch and opportunities to visit the Property Fair for MMW. Mei Ru and I meet-up with Chim and company around 6PM at Siong Har’s place. His leg injury still looks serious to me (still bloated up), but friends and family claims it is getting better and he can start driving next week after 4 weeks of resting and treatment. On the same day, Christ and Wan Kam brought our Tai Kor for a weekend makan trip.

The journey is quite pleasant, where we had nice dinner at Tapah for RM 70++ for 5 persons, with pork, eel, fish, bean curd and “paku” vegetables (it’s a very good deal for me). Ah Fong’s hometown house is an old style wooden house which is super spacious. I saw a post-Atari era gaming console which uses tape cartridges, which is famous for games like Battle City and Galaxian. It was my first gaming console (when I was a kid) and I had so much fun with it, until my neighbor’s Sega and Super Famicon machine invaded the living room. Mei Ru had such a machine at home when she was young as well, thus she is quite addicted to it as well. Mei Ru and I had a few round before all of us hit the bed.

Grandfather Clock and Ah Fong, at her hometown's home

Breakfast at Kampar market, I think

Gua Tempurung is a HUGE cave, and it’s pretty hard to estimate the size of the hole from the outside. Entry is RM22 per person for the grand tour, which involved 3 hours plus of walking and include every corner of the cave allowed. There are cheaper and easier packages, but we are all hardcore mountain climbers with a reputation to keep, so we cannot take wimpy packages, muahaha.

Map of Gua Tempurung

The beginning involves some well paved track and quite some stairs. Our Guide, Mr “Andy Lau” (who happens to be a Malay named Mamat) show us some stones and stalagmite formations which shape like cat, tiger, dinosaur, Mona Lisa, Osama Bin Laden and etc. Some car drawings and wording on the walls by the Communist people, and the rest are just vandalism. The light is quite dim, so my video camera is pretty useless there, and my head lamp is not bright enough for it. Digital camera is still feasible, using the slow shutter, flash and keep the objects nearer.


The Cave

Soon we leave the track and venture into the water streams, into total darkness with no more dim light but our head lamp. The water is not too cold, but refreshing. The tracks could get quite slippery and strenuous at some point, but it adds to the adventure. I won’t say that the cave has fantastic view, but it sure is huge and long (and probably easy to get lost as well). Certain part of the cave is extremely narrow and low, meaning that you have to crawl very low to go through it. If the place is slightly flooded, then you would have to hold your breath for a short distance (which seems very dangerous to me). Long pant and head lamp is definitely recommended, and make sure your car keys, wallet and electronic gadgets are water proof. Anyway, I think the most fun come out from the crawling in the water at the last part. I make a lot of effort to keep myself dry along the way, but all the effort is wasted in the end.

Tricky Rocks, crawl people crawl

There is one part where we need to slide down through some rocks, which are a few meters high. There aren’t any proper steps, so we need to slide gently. Chim is the first one to go (after the guide), and the whole cave is echoing when he stomp on the ground. There rest made it easily, as there is someone down there to hold their feet.

Man Hole

At the end of the journey, we get to enjoy some water Jacuzzi in the cave, which is a first time for me. The water is cool, and the ceiling view is one of a kind, and it’s not hot. The rock is smooth but not too slippery, and we could sleep on it and let the water flow across our body. It is nice, relaxing and enjoyable.

One of a kind, Cave Jacuzzi

The entire journey is nice and not too strenuous for us, so it’s quite a fun and relaxing trip. We meet up with Xiong Har and gang at Ipoh for lunch, where we eat at the famous Ipoh White Coffee Nam Heong shop. The food is good, and we try to get as much of Ipoh famous dish such as White Coffee, Dessert, Tauge Chicken, Salted Chicken, Soy Bean and etc.

Ipoh food, 2 thumbs UP!

The day ended safe and well, and thank you Chim for organizing and Ah Fong for the friendly hospitality.

PS: While Blogging about Semeru haven’t completed, Gua Tempurung had passed by. It takes a lot of time and effort to be able to keep track of everything.

Photo Links: Mei Ru's Multiply, Ah Bug's Multiply