Monday, July 17, 2017

Pahang: Taman Negara v2 Pt.2 - Riding The River

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Pahang: Taman Negara v2 Pt.2 - Riding The River
Day 2- Riding the Dragon from Kuala Tembeling to Taman Negara : 8th July 2017
Day 3 - Road Trip from Jerantut to Kuala Lumpur : 9th July 2017
Long-boat ride down the Tembeling River.
Cycling: Non-cycling
Distance: N/A         |          Level: N/A
Time : N/A.
Time Taken : N/A.

Route Recommendations :
1. The East Coast Highway is pleasant to drive on but note that there not many rest stops for toilet duties.
2. Accomodations at Taman Negara is not as cheap as it used to be.
    - They are different grades of accommodations there, chose one suitable for yourselves. Summer months are peak periods as many from western countries come to experience the rainforest.
    - We stayed at the Han Rainforest Resort (GPS: 4.38154, 102.40577) at MYR250 for a room for three pax. Cheaper accommodations can be found in the dorms.
3. The are many activities to be enjoyed at Taman Negara, such as jungle treking, canopy walks. Some of the hotels can arranged for these; otherwise there are shops/stall near the jetty who can make arrangements too.
    - We went rapid shooting along the Tembeling River that include a visit to a native aborogine village. This was arranged by our hotel at MYR70-00 per pax.
4. Food
   - Dinner on the second day was at the Taman Negara Floating Restaurant (GPS: 4.38371, 102.40034), one of many that floats along the banks of the Tembeling River. Pricing is reasonable, and a set dinner cost around MYR9-00 to MYR10-00. Ala carte meals are available and cost more.
   - Breakfast on the third day was included by the hotel. Food wasn't that good, the only thing we liked was their local coffee.
   - Lunch was at the Restaurant Tokyo (東京海鮮酒樓) (GPS: 3.93678, 102.3691) which sells quite good river fishes and other dishes. Our meal of several dishes came to MYR35-00 per pax.
   - We had a coffee break at the Nam Fong Coffee-shop (GPS:3.34907, 101.8212) in Kampong Bukit Tinggi. Their Hainanese coffee was good, and they do sell ginger powder made from the renown Bentong Ginger. Other than the ginger, many stop at this small town to buy fruits and vegetables.

This is blog comes in two parts, part two here is on rapid shooting down the Tembeling River during the second half of our second day and followed by our road trip back on the third day.
Click the following to go to the first part:
Taman Negara v2 Pt. 1: Riding The Dragon.

The previous day we had driven up from Petaling Jaya, stayed one night in Temerloh. Early this morning we had cycled from Kuala Tembeling to Kuala Tahan. Due to the cooler weather our ride was not as difficult as a previous time, and we reached our hotel by 2:00pm. With an afternoon free, we decided to go rapid shooting (arranged by our hotel at a cost of MYR70-00 per head).


The route starts from from Kampung Tanjung Jelai after a short boat ride across the Pahang River from Kuala Tembeling. It will take us on a road that has numerous dragon-backs.
The above map, is for the our cycle ride on the earlier part of the day. There was no cycling after that, we became tourists.... Heh! heh!

Here we are on board the long-boat heading up-stream, still happy, still cheerful, still dry.....
but in our hearts we did have some anxiety of the ride ahead!

The skies hung beautifully blue over the green jungle, our boat puttered along with a spray of water; it's a beautiful scene. What can be better?

This is what can be better!
The boats ahead had reached the first of a series of rapids; they seemed to be half submerged and water was spraying all over!

A sampan passed by us, its passengers all wet and would get even wetter as our boat sprayed water onto them.

But soon it was our turn, our pilot (up front) and boatman (at the rear) started rocking the boat, sprays and sprays of water splashed onto us. We were all laughing and the water sprayed into our mouths.... gulped.... was there a tiny fish that I just swallowed? Okay, better keep our mouths shut!

Water got into our eyes, our noses and even our ears. We still laughed but much less now as we steeled ourselves against the rocking motion, but it was still all fun. The river water is shallow and the rapids are fast moving but not that fast as to be able to wash somebody away.

Still our adrenaline was pumping fast as we watch the boat in front sway from side to side almost like it was going to capsize.... AND soon it will be our turn....YEAH!

With some relief (not that much relief actually as we were having the time of our lifes!), we moored at a river bank. On the gentle hill slopes above were huts, this is the village of the Orang Asli, Orang Asli is a Malay word which translates to "Original People" or "Natural People" the aborigines of Peninsular Malaysia. They are some of the indigenous people of the country who migrated here between 2500 and 1500 B.C.
Officially, there are eighteen Orang Asli tribes, categorised under three main groups according to their different languages and customs: 
- Semang (or Negrito), generally confined to the northern portion of the peninsula.
- Senoi, residing in the central region.
- Proto-Malay (or Aboriginal Malay), in the southern region.

Up in the village, the huts were small one each could sleep about four persons. They are made from attap. There was a larger central community hall, similarly built but without walls.
On one side were batik sarongs hung up to dry... or perhaps they were on display to be sold.

One of the batik sarongs, beautifully crafted and printed with nice patterns.

Also on display were bamboo dart containers carved with simple but nice tribal patterns.
These darts are used for blowpipe hunting and are tipped with poison from the Ipoh tree.

Short blowpipes, which are up for sale, as are the dart containers.

We gathered at the community hall, some local Orang Asli put on a display for us on how to make fire, how to make darts and how to shoot blowpipes with accuracy too.

This is the inner sheath of the blow pipe, made from a single piece of hollow bamboo, the inside has been sanded smooth and the outside had a layer of tree lacquer applied on. It is as straight as an arrow. I had wrongly believed that a blowpipe is a sigle pipe. It consist of two pipes, this inner one and an outer bamboo sheath to protect its straightness. A cap covers the outer sheath when the pipe is not in used.

This sandpaper leaf is used by the Orang Asli as a natural sandpaper to smoothen down the pipes, darts and dart stubs. Its upper surface was really rough, perhaps it could be used as a facial scrub.... no it's too rough!
This leaf is called the Stone Leaf, Mempelas in Malay, and in Chinese 毛果锡叶藤. It's scientific name is Tetracera scandens

This is the wrong way to blow a pipe. That's me just putting up a show 😎.

This is the right way as demonstrated by our guide. Hold the pipe with both ends close to each other, suck in air and blow with the stomach muscles.

Usually the native ladies are shy and would go with their young children into the nearby jungle to hide when visitors come. We were lucky, at the end of our tour, we saw this group of ladies. They were still shy and would turn away when we point our camera at them.
The Orang Asli are nomadic people and would shift to another place to reside in for two reasons. One is when the surrounding forest have run out of food OR when somebody in the village passes away. They leave their huts behind intact as years later they could shift back when the area is happy hunting grounds again.

For the return trip some chickened out at took a boat that assures the passengers of not getting wet, or perhaps they felt it was to chilly being wet. We, with gung-ho boarded the "wet" boat to have fun again. Along the way down, friendly locals waved to us from their fishing boats (and probably laughing at crazy people who pay money to get wet!).

And a barrel of monkeys were not bothered as we chugged by, they were to busy basking in the rocky outcrop or scavenging for food.

This bunch of monkeys were very friendly though. That's us having a small party, trading our biking experiences, telling stories - even haunted ones!

We woke up early in the morning of the third day, had breakfast that was included in the hotel package; it was nothing to shout about, the only thing we liked was the local brewed coffee.
But bad food meant that we finished our breakfast fast and had time to wander around the grounds. Sooi Ying saw this plant and managed to get some young ones to take home and plant. These are the Pokok Kupu-kupu, the Butterfly Plant (Christia Papilionaceae), it had leaves that looked like wings of a butterfly complete with some nice pattern.

10:00am - our bikes are loaded and we are ready to make our journey back to civilisation. It's a two-hour journey and we are leaving early so as to catch a good lunch in Jerantut.

Having made this trip before, some of us just relaxed, lied down to take a snoozed. With the hypnotic puttering of the boat engine and a cool air blowing some of us were soon snoring away.
(..... read more of the idyllic boat trip along the river)

Disembarking at Kuala Tembeling, we made a beeline for the Tokyo Restaurant in Jerantut for a well earned seafood lunch. We wanted to try the Tapah fish (Wallago attu) again and had called ahead to order, the fish was good but they had over-steamed it a bit. A tip here, go for the head and tummy part, it's the more delicious part with fatty blubber around the stomach. Prices seemed to have gone up, we paid MYR190 for this 1.9 kg. fish; still it's much cheaper than back in the Klang Valley where it's not that easily avialable.

We did have this interesting vegetable dish; in Malay it's called Bunga Tongkeng and in Cantonese it's called Yeh Hiong Fah (夜来香(Fragrant Telosma).

It's the flower buds that we are having, stir fried with scrambled eggs. It was rather good with a crunchy bite.
Other than being stir-fried, these vegetable can be used as soup or in Malay Ulam salad.

Another stop - at Kampong Bukit Tinggi to buy fresh vegetables and fruits then.... it was coffee time at Nam Fong Coffee-shop, further up the road.

Their Hailam Coffee was fragant, thick and earthy but that's not all. Presently the operator also sells Bentong Gingerr powder and was encouraging us to put it into the coffee. Tastewise, it just altered the coffee with a some underlying ginger taste (not as strong as ginger tea, but I suppose it depends on the amount one adds) but they claim that the healthy benefits of ginger is there.
So, perhaps we could be hearing about Bentong Ginger Coffee making its rounds around the cafe of the world!

Cheerio then!
Till we meet again, and I am keeping fingers crossed that Wong KT will be organising another interesting ride.... perhaps to ride around the tea plantations of Cameron Highlands!

This is blog comes in two parts, part two here is on rapid shooting down the Tembeling River during the second half of our second day and followed by our road trip back on the third day.
Click the following to go to the first part:
Taman Negara v2 Pt. 1: Riding The Dragon.

(For more photos of the rapid shooting & the Orang Asli village on Day 2, click here)
(For more photos of the boat & road trip back, click here)

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