Thursday, July 24, 2014

Selangor : Hippo 4 - Paya Indah Wetlands Revisit

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Selangor : Hippo 4 - Paya Indah Wetlands Revisit

Putrajaya to Paya Indah Wetlands : 20th July 2014
Cycling Distance Covered : 34.65 km.
Time : 8:00 am - 2:35 pm
Time Taken : 6 hrs. 35 mins. (including stops for breakfast, lunch, visit to the wetlands, regrouping, etc.)

Route Recommendations :
1. Ride route is fairly flat, with slight slopes between Dengkil & Paya Indah.
2. Time your ride so as to be able to reach the wetlands in time for the feeding of the hippopotamus and crocodiles. The feeding times are 10:00 am & 11:00 am respectively.
3. The are some nice eateries in Dengkil including those that sell good seafood, roast duck and bao (steamed buns).


PRELUDE
Chin, me & Jason at Paya Indah, December 2013.
I was introduced to the Paya Indah Wetlands when Cikgu Chin took Jason and me on an impromptu ride there after a photo-shoot at Putrajaya (... see The Wetlands Ride).

The Paya Indah Wetlands is a interesting place to visit. A sort of mini zoo, it allows some interaction between visitors and some of the animals. One of the star attraction of the place are the Hippopotamuses; many are attracted by their huge gaping mouths when it comes to feeding.
Since our first visit there, Cikgu Chin has shared the place with many by organizing two cycle rides there. Many like the place, but yet many also missed these two rides. So Chin together with his co-host Liliana, created another event for those who had not been able to make it. This being the fourth one, they called it Hippo 4.
The two teachers plan and execute their riding events well. Prior to the ride events, they make recce trips to plan the route and also to scout for suitable eating places. As such many love to attend their rides. One of the most interesting rides I went with them was to the Serendah Waterfalls (... see What A Rush!).


THE RIDE!


View Hippo 4 - Paya Indah Wetlands Bike Ride (34.65km) in a larger map
The ride will take us from the new city of Putrajaya to the Wetlands via the small town of Dengkil.

Eventhough this is the fourth outing to the wetlands, the turn out was very impressive. All in fifty-six came to experience this ride and its destination.
With such a large number, there was concerned for the safety of the participants; a few of us volunteered to be marshals and sweepers to ensure that all goes well and that nobody gets lost.

(Photo by Liliana)
The start point was at Taman Empangan in Putrajaya, so named as it is at the tail end of the Putrajaya lakes where a dam ("Empangan" in Malay) holds back the lake water.
It is a good place to start as there is ample and shady car-parks. Getting there was easy as this part of Putrajaya has less traffic and the park is easily recognisable with a small bridge that looks like butterfly wings.

Kicking off and cycling from the southern part of Putrajaya was good too. The roads at these newer precincts are shady and have very light traffic; it's just great for cycling.

Our serene ride was soon to be over. Hitting the main road leading to Dengkil, the traffic was heavy and the roads almost unshaded. The marshals did they job well and ensured that all cycled safely here.

At the outskirts of Dengkil, we made our first stop - for breakfast. Although the town is now developing fast due to its proximity to Putrajaya, this section of the small town still has that rustic village look with timber houses dating from decades back.

As we were a large group, so as not to waste time, we had to split up and eat at different places. The eateries here just can't cope with so many of us fast enough. Some ate at the Wantan Noodles shop...

... while some of us had Ah Tee's Bak Kut Teh at a corner shop. By the way, those are not doughnuts in the pot above; they are intestines ringed to look likewise.

A quick look at some of the riders before we continue:
Two old dogs who are even older than this AhPek.
Dave and Patrick on their unique bicycles. They have overcome their age and shortcomings by using bicycles that are suitable for them. Dave is riding a trike recumbent while Patrick is using a tricycle.They are an inspiration to younger cyclists to follow in terms of spirit and determination. Yes! Don't let anything hold us back to live life. 

John, a cyclist who had a bad cycling accident a few years back. Despite a limp as a result of that accident, he continues to cycle. As he philosophically put it, "Life sometimes deals as a blow, we have to just get back on and ride on".

A father & son, in matching purple T-shirts. Cycling is a great way to bond!

Betty here is a newbie, having taken up cycling just about a month ago. Though new to our cycling trips, she is quite resourceful in overcoming her lack of experience and stamina. During a ride to the Chamang Waterfalls in Bentong, she came with another newbie friend; while she cycled her friend followed behind in their car. When she got tired, her friend took over cycling and she took over driving - a cycling tag team.

The road from Dengkil has some slopes; for some it took single-minded determination to overcome these.

(Photo by SC Chin)
Woooohoooooo!!! We are at the Paya Indah Wetlands!
Time to enjoy the place.

First stop is off course the Hippopotamuses!
It's their feeding time and visitors get a chance to feed them too.
Do be careful though when feeding them, these huge plump animals may look docile but they have very powerful jaws.

Elephant Grass, food for the Hippos.
And these hippos can really eat! According to their keeper, they eat twice their own weight per day!

(Photo by Liliana)
The crocodiles were another story altogether. Seeing the way they fight among each other for the chicken used to feed them; it's clear that they are ferocious creatures. Understandably, there is no feeding them by visitors.

(Photo by Kt Wong)
Looking at one jumping up to snatch a chicken, it's also understandable that visitors keep a safe distance behind the viewing fence.

They are many other animals to see here:
Scampering porcupines.

Elegant swimming pelicans.

(Photo by Kt Wong)
And a regal looking peacock with its tail fanned out a full spread. What a beauty!
It's quite hard to catch this bird in this stunning pose; Kt Wong took this photo during a previous ride. He must have been waiting patiently for this to happen (... see his blogs at "The Great Outdoors").

At one corner of this park is a tall look-out tower; from this one can catch a fantastic panoramic view of the wetlands and the surrounding lakes.

Time to ride back. And yet most of us will have lingering memories of this place and of the joy we had with friends here.

For lunch, we spread out to different eateries with most heading for the Dengkil Food Court. A few of us went back to Ah Tee's as he had in the morning recommended good fish to eat at his place. These were small Tomans (Snakehead Fish) prepared in two different styles. One was steamed in simple soy sauce-oil with some chili padi embellishment, this was quite ok. The other was steamed with Chinese rice wine, too much rice wine in fact as it totally masked the taste of the fish.

A few others had prawn fritters at one of the newer shops (see map above for location)...

... and took-away lovely paus (steamed buns) from a neighbouring shop.

It had been a good ride to a nice place to enjoy with buddies and making new friends too.
Till we ride together again :

RIDE WELL & RIDE SAFE!


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