“By go­ing off the beaten trail you can lift the ex­pe­ri­ence, and as an ex­pat and not a tourist, you have the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore Malaysia’s won­ders in depth”

Expatriate Lifestyle - - August Contents -

Here in Malaysia, we are gifted with an ad­ven­ture play­ground. I’m not re­fer­ring to theme park rides or er­satz jun­gle tours, but the real thing like the half kilo­me­tre­high Ju­lan water­falls in Sarawak. Or more im­pres­sively, the crests and ridges of the

Bin­tang and Ti­ti­wangsa Moun­tain Ranges; they form part of the Te­nasserim Hills, a long chain lead­ing to south­ern Ti­bet that pro­vides white-wa­ter rivers and some of the best rain­for­est hill walk­ing in the world.

All too many of the tourist ad­ven­tures are short one or two-day ac­tiv­i­ties in de­graded over-ex­ploited ar­eas. By go­ing off the beaten trail you can lift the ex­pe­ri­ence, and as an ex­pat and not a tourist, you have the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore Malaysia’s won­ders in depth.

Have you heard about the kilo­me­tre­high Usun Apau plateau, which was one of the an­cient home of the in­te­rior tribes of Bor­neo and has now been de­serted? It has three ex­tinct vol­ca­noes, sev­eral tall water­falls pour­ing off the plateau rim and has only been climbed by about a hun­dred peo­ple since the first ex­pe­di­tion in 1956. And in­stead of Mt Kinabalu, why not try the Man­nan Trail to Malaysia’s sec­ond high­est moun­tain, Gu­nung

Trus Madi? This route takes four days and three nights and there is no ac­com­mo­da­tion, so if it’s ad­ven­ture you’re af­ter, this will get the adren­a­line go­ing.

There are many hik­ing clubs in KL to join as a be­gin­ner or to dis­cover trails near the city. Th­ese do week­end walks to the hills around KL, such as the Bukit Tabur Quartz

Ridge near Gom­bak. Although close to KL, the ridge is a won­der­ful walk with fab­u­lous views of the moun­tains, lake and jun­gle on one side and the ex­panse of KL on the other. Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate it. Re­puted to be the long­est quartz ridge, it has thrilling ver­ti­cal drops on both sides so make sure you stay on the cen­tre of the ridge.

Web­sites, such as ‘Water­falls of Malaysia’ run by a Dutch ex­pa­tri­ate MM2H-ER, of­fer de­tailed ad­vice and di­rec­tions to scores of fas­ci­nat­ing water­falls off the usual beaten tracks. Use them to con­nect to other wa­ter­fall en­thu­si­asts and go make your own discoveries. Us­ing Com­mu­nist-era maps, I found a wa­ter­fall un­known to the Map­ping Depart­ment.

By get­ting into th­ese places, you are also help­ing lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties by your pres­ence. It is proven that a fre­quent pres­ence of ca­sual walk­ers de­ters poach­ers, en­abling wildlife to re­cover from the over-ex­ploita­tion of the past. NGOS like MYCAT, which does tiger con­ser­va­tion, are look­ing for vol­un­teers will­ing to spend a week­end in a crit­i­cal wildlife cor­ri­dor in Pa­hang. The pres­ence of th­ese vol­un­teer hik­ers, in­clud­ing this mag­a­zine’s writ­ers and staff, has led to a de­cline in poach­ing and has en­abled wildlife to re­cover.

For those in­ter­ested in his­tory, there are fas­ci­nat­ing her­itage trails. Did you know that you can ca­noe from the In­dian Ocean to the West­ern Pa­cific through Penin­su­lar Malaysia? Ca­noeists can portage their ca­noes over a 300-me­tre stretch from the Jem­pol and

Sert­ing rivers and pad­dle out to the P acific. The hills and forests of Malaysia are full of relics of the P acific War and the Emer­gency. B-24 Lib­er­a­tor bombers and other crashed air­craft can be found in jun­gles from Negeri Sem­bi­lan to Perak. His­tor­i­cal so­ci­eties and hik­ers go for walks and search th­ese lo­ca­tions.

For the truly intrepid, there are the tri­als of Bri­tish sol­diers such as Fred­die Spencer Chap­man, who wrote The Jun­gle is Neu­tral, and the former rub­ber planter Bob Chrys­tal, who spent the en­tire war be­hind en­emy lines with­out get­ting cap­tured. Chrys­tal walked through­out the main moun­tain range, hid in lo­cal vil­lages and walked the bor­der be­tween Thai­land be­fore com­ing out near his rub­ber es­tate in Sun­gai Siput. He then sin­gle­hand­edly ini­ti­ated the sur­ren­der of the en­tire Ja­panese troops in the town armed with just his re­volver.

So get out there and start ex­plor­ing! EL

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.