Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Pahang : Janda Baik - A Ride To Treasure

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Pahang : Janda Baik - A Ride To Treasure
Genting Sempah to Janda Baik: 15th June 2014
Distance covered : approx. 30.00 km.
Time : 8:25 am - 3:35 pm
Time Taken : 7 hrs. 10 mins (including stops for swimming, lunch, photo shoots)
Route Recommendations :
1. The route from Genting Sempah to Janda Baik is undulating but mostly downhill all the way and up hill all the way on the return, do stock up with enough water to beat dehydration.
2. From the old trunk road down to Kampung Bukit Tinggi the road is quite steep, do ride with care. On the return upwards on this steep road do not be embarrassed to come down and push your bike.
3. The De River Resort's riverside is cozy with ample open green space and a cooling cascading stream next to it. Do ask permission from the owner before entering.
4. Lunch at Restoran Kolam Ikan is fairly good and reasonably priced.
5. If shopping for fruits and vegetables at Kampung Bukit Tinggi do bargain as pricing could be tourist pricing.
6. Bukit Tinggi is renown for it's old ginger. However lately there has been rumours that some vendors mixed the good local ones with imported China ones. So do shop with prudence.

What makes a good ride?
For me it's a challenging ride to a nice destination. And more importantly to have good friends to enjoy the ride and destination with. This here is one I will treasure and hold dear as it had all three elements. Oh, what pain and fun we had.
Happily lifting my Dahon Dash P18 during the ride to Bentong, Pahang.
I had seldom rode in Pahang; my début ride in this largest state of Peninsular Malaysia was a ride from Genting Sempah to Bentong. That was a tough one for me as I was then still a newbie, having taken up cycling for only nine months (.... see Breakin' Bentong blog). Since then I have done the same route a couple of times more, and have managed those rides quite well. As one cycles more, one's stamina improves. More importantly one is psychologically more prepared to take on the tougher rides. One's muscles are physically more trimmed and the mind is more steeled to take on taxing challenges.
But the physical and mental strength is secondary to the fun that one have when cycling with good (... and perhaps slightly crazy) friends.

When our friend Harry Chan posted photos of a nice stream with cascading waters at Janda Baik and inviting us to cycle there, it looked like an interesting place to visit. 
In the end I was most glad that I joined him on this trip; as it turned out to be a challenging ride to a beautiful place to enjoy with good friends. We did really had loads of fun there!


We will start from Genting Sempah and ride uphill to Janda Baik. Our destination was the De River Resort, it's a homestay place. On our return we will have lunch at Kampung Bukit Tinggi and do a bit of shopping there too.

Group photo at start point, McDonald's Genting Sempah.
Harry's posts of photos of the destination, and also of food and fruits from Kampung Bukit Tinggi attracted a fair number of us to join him; all in fourteen of us met up at Genting Sempah to make the journey.

Harry was a good organizer, having a support car driven by Rudy to bring up food for a picnic at the stream. Anne like a hungry mouse could not help but steal a nip on one of those nice kaya paos (steamed egg jam buns) even before we started riding.

8:25 am - Roll off! And it did mean literally rolling off; not much pedalling, just coasting down the winding slopes on the old trunk road heading towards Bentong.

We were joined my Min Chan; she's one tough lady. A newbie to cycling, she has nerves of steel and a good stamina to take on tough rides like this, pushing on at her own pace to finish all rides that she takes part in. Oh yeah... like some of our other cyclist friends she has fixed a basket on her rear carrier. Baskets are the "in thing" accessory these days for bicycles. Yes, she will be ready for our shopping for vegetables and fruits later on.

We were also joined by Melody, a lady cyclist from Hong Kong, who has been working in Malaysia for some time now and had joined us riding on and off. She will be returning to Hong Kong soon and of late has been cycling with us more frequently. I guess once she returns home she will be missing us and missing Malaysia, the land beyond the tropical sea. We dedicate this song - Oh Malaysia! - to you Melody to hold on to memories of Malaysia until you come back. Click on the title to view a YouTube video of this song showing scenes of Malaysia.

8:40 am - Our easy downslope coasting ended as we turned into a junction heading for Janda Baik. But it will only be a short climb after which it's mostly undulating down hill.

The roads here were shady and the higher altitude made the weather cooler. This was a most welcomed change during the present hot weather in the lowlands. Many were the happiest rolling down those slopes. But then... there will be the tougher return ride later. Oh dear!

Cyclists Joy Jump at one of the forest reserve park where we stopped a breather. Well must as well jump now, as later we may too tired to manage even lifting our legs.

Along the way the tropical forest was inter-spaced by clumps of bright green bamboo...

... and meandering streams running besides our route. Yes, other than the difficult climbs, this place is definitely a joy to cycle on. Come to think of it, it is with the pain that we learn to appreciate the beauty more.

When it comes to some of the tougher slopes, there is no need to be shy to come down and push ...

... after all the place does have a certain romantic atmosphere that's rewarding.

Along the way we made several rest stops at small parks or just at scenic roadside view....

... where Patric snoozed below a signage with an appropriate message.

... where Chris Lee and a few of us had thirst-quenching, heat-beating ice cream sandwiches. I guess that up till then many of us had never realized how good an ice cream sandwich can be.

... where Harry stood proudly, flanked by two pretty ladies.

... and where the trees and clouds composed a good photo.

While Anne was playing with the flowers ...

... I was playing with my camera, taking close-up shots of tiny things. There is beauty everywhere, one needs to only look closely.

10:10 am - About fifteen kilometres from our start point, Harry signalled us to turn right onto a narrow road. This will lead to De River Resort, a nice homestay place with a large open but shady grounds. It's just right next to Sungai Benus.

Me and a couple of friends were on sweeper duties bringing up the rear. When we arrived, the rest of our buddies were already getting comfortable on the rocky banks of the cascading waters of the stream. Promptly, I quickly shed whatever unnecessary clothings and jumped in to join them.

 After a challenging and sweaty ride, there's nothing more relaxing and invigorating than lying in that stream, letting the cool water rush by our bodies.

In that cool stream, I chilled; letting the choppy water massage my aching body. I could have just laid there for hours on end.

The calm surrounding with the staccato rush of the water put Harry into the mood for some meditation. Er...... he IS meditating. Now then, don't get any naughty wrong ideas!

We were like little children again, frolicking and splashing water at each other.

Even the dragonflies decided to join in on our fun.

Baki was like going "This is GREAT! I can't get enough of it!"

And Patric was his snoozy self again, dozing off on the rocky bank. Perhaps he was waiting for a pretty princess to come wake him up with an enchanting kiss.

Yes! We are happy cyclists indeed!

With our hearts happy and our souls contented we were able to take the even tougher ride back in our stride.

One last crazy thing we did. We rode down that steep slope down to Kampung Bukit Tinggi to have lunch at Restoran Kolam Ikan, did some shopping for fruits. AND then pushed our bikes up that steep slope before riding back to Genting Sempah.

Many thanks Harry for a wonderful ride filled with fond memories.

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Want to see you Yong Tau Foo is made in a commercial way, visit this factory then!

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