The long awaited report is here!!
On the 20th and 21st June, our group of 12 persons consisted of, my dad (Boey), my mum (Shirley), Brendan (my younger brother), Venu, Nevyn (who is only 10 years old), Han and Penny (girlfriend), Siva and Geok Siang (wife), Francis (Venu’s Ham radio friend), Dr Wong and myself (Daniel), when on a hike to Mount Tapis.
Mount Tapis is located near Lembing town, Kuantan, Pahang. It has a height of 1,512 meter (4,960 feet). From Lembing town, you will have to take a 4*4 to CP1 to start the hike. The hike up to Mount Tapis is long and undulating. Near the peak, the gradient is very steep. A higher level of fitness is necessary for this climb. The trail from CP1 to CP3 (Campsite) is approximately 12km long. From CP3 to Mount Tapis Peak it is about 2.5km.
19 June 2009
After a 3 hour journey, Dr. Wongfrom K.L, my family and I finally reached Venu’s house in Kuantan at 11p.m. Hospitality from the host was great. Charlotte, Venu’s wife served us hot chocolate, biscuits and nuts while we chatted with each other into the night. During this time, Venu brought out his topographic map of Lembing area that he just purchased a few months ago. He told us of the change in trail and campsite for the first night. We were taken aback by the steepness of the trail near the summit of Mount Tapis. I also could not forget how Doc. Wong studied over the map as he was worried about the toughness of the trek to Mount Tapis.
After chatting for about an hour, we washed up and rested ourselves for the following’s day hike.
20 June 2009
We woke up at 6.30 the next morning and got ourselves ready for the 2 days and 1 night hike to Mount Tapis. You got me right, 2 days not 3 days. Around this time, Siva and his wife, Geok Siang arrived from KL. The night before Venu mentioned that these couple was due to leave K.L at 2a.m and will arrive at Kuantan at 6.30 in the morning by hook or by crook. Nothing can stop a man from fulfilling his dream of conquering mountains.
After some time, Han ‘Solo’ and Penny arrived too. Francis also arrived around the same time. We took some group photos before leaving for Lembing for some breakfast.
The journey to Lembing town took us about an hour. We ate in Lembing’s Market Complex and some of us packed our lunch for the day. While eating, Siva and his wife appeared from the market with a lot of bananas. I was surprised, as I did not know that they were vegetarians. Siva usually eats a few combs of bananas for his meal.
Next, we parked our car in front of Lembing Police station and got ready for the expedition to Mount Tapis. After the 4*4 pickup truck arrived, we got up to the pickup trucks. One was driven by Francis and the other a Malay man. At that time, most of us preferred to sit at the back of the truck rather than inside the truck. The 1 hour journey nearly had our backsides torn apart. But, it was not as bad as Yong Belar’s ride.
Once we reached intake point (CP1), we got ready and started the hike with the first river crossing. The river was quite wide but shallow, it’s water level lower than the knee. We were cautious of slipping as the stones and pebbles in the river are filled with moss.
After the river crossing, we wore our shoes and hike our way to CP2. My family hid the slippers that were used for the first crossing in the thick bushes. The gradient of the trail to the first junction before CP2 was flat with a few gentle ups and downs. We had to cross many streams and sometimes cross over stagnant water that blocked the path. The journey to CP2 is actually a 4*4 path, but our 4*4 pickup trucks could not cross the first river at CP1. The hike at this point was hot and humid through the ‘Belukar’ forest.
After the second river crossing, we had our short rest and then continued the hike. While hiking, my mp3 wires got caught by some ferns at the side of the trail. My dad came to help me. Suddenly, I felt a very sharp sting on my right arm. I thought it was some stupid ants. But seconds later, I felt another sting on my left arm as well. Before I could realize that it was not an ant but a wasp, my dad got a sting too and this time I saw the wasp on my dad’s neck. I then ran as fast as I could while shouting, ‘Wasp ! Wasp ! Wasp !’.
Doctor came to my aid and gave me some cream to apply and an anti-histemin pill. The medicine removed the pain after some time as if I did not get any sting from the wasp.
We continued to hike until the ‘new CP2’ before having another short break. After the short rest, we continue to hike. Venu did passed me one of his ham radio as I was at the front of the group. Just after hiking for 2 minutes, a distressed call broke through the ham radio, ‘Daniel come in….Francis has a bad cramp on his legs…’. Doctor and Nevyn were following me at that time. Some of the others were way in front with the guide. Hearing Francis situation, Dr. Wong backtracked to the ’new CP2’ where Francis was.
I waited with Nevyn there for a while, until we could not bear with the heat from the sun. The trail before CP2 was not shaded from the sun. It was very hot throughout the journey. Siva did joked that he could go for an expedition to Sahara desert after this trip. I hamed Venu to let him know and we continued our walk. After some time, we met my parents and brother at a stream cross. We all continued to trek to a river side (Waypoint, G. Tapis-RiverSide2). Once we reached the river side, we met with the rest of the group. We had a major rest over there (about half to 1 hour), had our lunch and relax ourselves.
The guide with Han and Penny decided to leave and moved on to CP2 which was 10 minutes away. After some time, Siva and Geok Siang left. While the rest of us were resting (giving Francis more time to rest and recover from the cramp), we saw Siva and his wife at the riverbank up stream. Nothing came to our mind. Later, they returned to let us know that they could not find a trail. They said that the trail became smaller and smaller until a point that there is no visible trail. They made the correct choice of turning back.
We continued to rest for a while and then continue to trek, but, not too long later, we realized that we could not find the trail. We backtracked and got back to the riverside. Venu and Dr. Wong volunteered to find the trail. They crossed the river and walked upstream. After sometime, they found the trail.
At last, we continued the hike. I was not surprised that Siva did not get to find the way as the forest was secondary forest. There were only ferns and undergrowth and not many trees. The undergrowth covered the trail until it was not visible. While making our way through the undergrowths, we shouted together, ‘Mat! Mat! ’(The guides name). We first heard a very loud sound, ‘bang!’. We were afraid that people were hunting nearby. But after shouting the guides name a few more times, we heard his shout. We walked through the undergrowth to reach CP2.
When we reached there, we saw the guide, Han and Penny lying on the ground. I envied them..’haha’. CP2 was beside the river. Some of us refilled our water bottles. We stopped there for quite some time before we continued the hike. From that point, the gradient began to change. It was getting steeper and the trail was blocked by many fallen trees. The guide was forced to use his ‘parang’ to create some short diversions to avoid the fallen trees. We were actually climbing a hill at that time. At a point, I manage to spot a big group of centipedes, probably a 100 or more. You will be surprises to see it. Some of us could not bear to see so many of them, they freaked out and walked away.
After hiking for some time, the trail became wider, the ground was now red/orange clay and unlike before, which is brown moist earth. When you see red clay and wider trail, don’t be too happy. It is the sign of steeper gradient (like Mount. Nuang). The load on our back began to kill us slowly for every step we took.
Trailling us far away were my dad, Venu, Doctor and Francis. They encouraged and gave Francis lots of support. Francis was really exhausted and tired that he vomited.
During the hike, I remembered us joking of having barbeque up there. We would say, ‘You forgotten to bring the meat?’ But, we did not. We joked of roasting Venu because he brought us to this difficult hike.
We fought our way up to false CP5. It was really difficult with such heavy backpacks. The guide who was in his late 50s was also suffering from the tough trail. When asked how much his bag weighted, he replied, ‘5kg’. I was surprised! We will know his packing secret later.
We rested at false CP5. The reason why it is false CP5 is because someone took the sign from the original place and placed it there (according to the guide). At false CP5, Venu caught up with us and informed us of Francis condition. We were told that we needed to help Francis carry his belongings up. After some discussion, Venu and Siva went down without their bags. The rest of us took the opportunity to relax and rest. Brendan and the guide lighted a fire nearby to get rid of insects and mosquitoes.
About five minutes later, Venu (carrying Francis’s bag) and Siva (carrying some things) could be seen coming up. They were very fast. Doctor, my dad and Francis appeared not long after. Francis looked really tired and exhausted. He laid on the ground and rested.
After resting for some time, we decided to go first leaving my dad, Francis, and Dr. Wong behind to slowly walk up. According to the guide, we had another 30 minutes to reach CP3, our campsite for that night.
The climb was still steep, but not as steep as before the false CP5. We reached the junction that led us to CP3 on time. We turned left and headed down a slope. The ground was now back to brown moist soil. After 10 minutes (or less), we reached the campsite. The campsite was considered big. There was more than enough space for about 5 tents. The campsite is clean, dry (at that time) and flat. The river (I would say stream) was to the right of the campsite. It is about less than 50 meters away. There was also a small wading pool (natural) at the stream. It was a good place for us to bathe ourselves.
We set our tents up upon reaching the campsite. Before we could finish setting up our tents, the guide had his tents up already. He just laid a ground sheet and a fly sheet tied to a few trees.
After 10 minutes, the rest of the group reached the campsite. Francis dropped immediately onto the guide’s ground sheet. We helped set the other tents and began cooking. For my family and Doc. Wong, we feasted on the delicious Korean Noodles plus Luncheon meat. It tasted fantastic, especially with the luncheon meat. As for Venu, Nevyn, and Francis, they had instant fried rice and some instant meat (forgotten what meat and flavor). Siva and his wife had some raw vegetables. I am not sure what the rest had.
My brother and the guide lighted another fire at the camp site. We chatted there with the guide. The guide told us some stories. One of the stories is about a 60 year old man from Singapore climbing Mount Tapis. He had a heart attack while climbing at around CP6. The man collapsed and died. He could not be revived at that time. At about 5-6 in the evening, the forest guards and rescuers began their journey in. Slowly, they carried his body down the mountain. They reached CP3 at 1-2 in the midnight. At only 5-6 in the morning, the body reached either CP1 or CP2.
We had some big dumpling (bacang) for supper (thanks to Doctor for carrying it up).
At 10pm, all of us when back to our tents to sleep. I could sleep well, thanks to the flat ground and the special air sleeping bag (thanks to Venu), not to mention, I was already tired due to the long hike.
21 June 2009
I was awaken by the light from my dad’s torchlight across the tent from where I slept. It was quite cold and still dark outside. Temperature was about 25 degree Celsius.
We got some news that Francis was not summiting. But, I was surprised to hear that Han and Penny would not be going. I thought, I remember seeing them walking faster than us without much difficulty? Hmmn….Let me think….Never mind.
We started to hike at 7.00 in the morning. An hour later than planned the night before. The hike up was a little steep. But, it was easier due to our much lighter bags. After an hour, the hike became steeper, like what we saw in Venu’s ‘topo’ map on Friday night. At CP8, we had some interruption (perjalanan tergendala sebentar). My younger brother had a nature call to attain to. The whole group stopped and waited.
After CP8, the trail was even steeper. We now had to use our hands to climb up. It wasn’t too bad, wait till you go to Mount Nuang. Here, you don’t have soil erosions. The roots are strong enough to support you up.
At CP9, the gradient was flatter. The ground is also softer (like Mount Ledang-near summit). The group chatted and laughed over jokes. It showed that it was not difficult.
We reached CP10 without any difficulty at 10 sharp that morning.
It was another 10 minutes walk to the summit. At the summit, we could not see any view due to the mist and clouds. We took some group photos and had our lunch. Venu talked to Francis on his Ham radio. He also contacted the guide that was supposed to follow us up with his Ham radio. The weather and temperature was great. Cool and nice…
After half an hour, we made our way to CP10. A few minutes before CP10, we made a right turn to Bonsai Garden. The view was fantastic. The air and breeze, was better than the best air-condition on earth. We could see Mount Tapis Peak from the bonsai garden. We took some photos of ourselves with Mount Tapis peak as the background. We continued to walk through the bonsai garden. The view there was even greater.
After the bonsai garden, we made our way down to CP10 and CP9. Going down was quite slow as it was quite steep and challenging. Like how we made our way up, we use the trees as a support to go down. It was like going down from Nuang’s Bukit Pengasih. The rocks and roots at Mount Tapis is also very slippery.
Going down to CP8, I was in front with the guide, my brother and Nevyn. Brendan and Nevyn raced down from time to time. The guide did show some mild knee pain, like he said earlier. The knee pain is due to his age. The guide joked and pointed to my brother’s waste at the far side of the trail asking who it belonged to.
After CP8, we past CP7, CP6, CP5 and CP4 without any problem. The gradient was not very steep. At CP4, we refilled our water bottles for the hike down to CP1 (like I said earlier, we are doing it in 2 days, thanks to Venu..haha..).
At CP3, we cooked our brunch. I and my family had noodles with curry chicken. It was nice, or I would say that everything tasted nice up there. I pity Doc, who did not want to eat our curry noodles.
After lunch, we packed our stuff and dismantled our tents.
At 4pm, we left the campsite. The bag was heavy and we had to climb up a slope before reaching the trail that led us down.
The way down was a little painful to our feet and knees for the adults, I guess. It was a little steep. We had not much problem going down. Before reaching CP2, there were leaches along the way. At about 5.30, we reached CP2. We rested there and refilled our water bottles.
We continued to walk after the short break. The walk was easy except the load of the backpack. We crossed a few streams. During the walk, Nevyn got beaten by a wasp at the same spot my dad and I got beaten a day ago.
My brother and I followed Han and Penny out at this time. They walked very fast. Not surprising, they had a good rest in the morning. We reached the 2nd river cross with the guide at 7.00 in the evening. While resting by the riverside, we saw a hornbill flying through. Venu did also see some hornbills flying above their heads while walking out after CP2. Too bad for Dr. Wong (birdie) who did not see get to sight the bird at all.
After 15 minutes, the rest of the group caught up with us at the 2nd river crossing. It was getting dark at that time. We walked as a group from that point onwards as it was safer. It took us more than 2 hours just to get to CP1 from the 2nd river crossing. Our pace was much slower.
With our headlights strapped to our forehead, we walk silently out. Everyone seems to have enough for that day. We walked from 7 in the morning till 10 in the night. In total, we spend 14 hours walking that day. If any of my friends knew about it, they will surely think I have gone cuckoo… Occasionally, Siva had to look back to check if we had any animals trailing us! He probably had some wild idea about wild boars going after us.
We reached the riverbank at CP1 at about 10plus in the night (not morning). After crossing the river, we carried our backpacks into Francis pickup truck. We had only 1 vehicle to travel to Lubuk Beruk (The campsite near the rainbow waterfall).
We divided ourselves into two groups. The first group would go first to unload the bags and to help set up the tents. The journey to Lubuk Beruk Campsite took us 30minutes. On the first trip, we sat in the car while the guide jumped into the back of the truck.
At some point of the journey, we shouted at him to make sure he was still there.
Upon reaching the campsite, we set our tents up. There was another group of 4*4 drivers equipped generators at the camp site below ours. It was very funny to see our guide dropping ‘dead’ on his ground sheet once he laid it. He did not even bother to put up a fly sheet in case it rained. We must have killed him in this expedition to Mount Tapis, again, thanks to Venu for his brilliant idea of a 2 days hike. But, the two days added to the excitement and gave us greater challenge. But, maybe, he will never be our guide again in the future. He might think that we are mad. I did ask him on the way out whether people do it in 2 days, he replied with a simple, ‘no.’ He was too tired to tell me any stories.
About less than 1 hour later, the rest of the group arrived. Later, we went down to the river about 50 meters away to bath. I was looking forward to that as I really needed to freshen up, so do the rest, I guess. The water in this wide river was cold yet nice.
Venu didn’t seemed to be tired… He could still cook noodles that night for himself before resting. Ohh, I forgotten, it was a walk in the park to him. For us, it was Jurassic Park.
At about 1 in the morning, we went to sleep.
The next day, we woke up at 7 or 8am (I forgotten). My dad did not cook anything that day because we had cooked all our stuff the previous afternoon before we left CP3. So, we had to make do with muesli Bars. However my brother feasted himself over the noodles Venu had cooked. Shortly after that, my mom too had a share of the noodles that Venu had prepared for Nevyn as he did not have the appetite to consume everything. During then, we packed our stuff and dismantled our tents. After some time, we started our walk to the rainbow waterfall. The walk was easy. Most of the time, we walked on rocky ground by the riverside. After an hour, we reached the waterfall. The cliff from where the water falls is very high. I think it could reach 200 meters in height from the bottom.
At first, we could not see the rainbow. Then about 20 minutes later, the rainbow appeared. It wasn’t that beautiful. The size of the rainbow wasn’t big also. I think it was because there was lesser water.
As usual, Siva and his wife swam in the water. We later realized why they did so. They later shared with us that they brought about 12litres (if I am not wrong) of water into Mount Tapis. We found another Jason!!(Jason brought 3days of water into Mount Yong Belar. He also carried 16kg of stuff up to Laban Rata-Mount Kinabalu) Siva wanted to avoid drinking the water in the stream as he was afraid it was polluted.
Han and Penny sat on a rock in the middle of the wading pool and enjoyed each other company, surely! Other than that, Brendan and Nevyn spend their time trying to skip the pebbles on the surface of the water. They later tried catching small prawns, but only caught one. Later, the guide ate the prawn like a sashimi!
We spend an hour or two over there before walking back to Lubuk Beruk Campsite.
After reaching the campsite, Siva decided to have a swim, again, not surprised why. Haha. We waited for some time for the other 4*4 to arrive and pick us up to bring us back to Lembing town. It didn’t. I was so frustrated. Francis drove off ferrying Venu with Nevyn, the guide, Han with Penny and the bags.
Later, Siva and his wife joined us to have a seat on a bench below a tree house. We waited in the scorching hot sun for more than an hour. We were even offered a ride by a Malay man who organized 4*4 training. He also gave us a few bottles of mineral water. It was really generous of him. I was dying in the hot sun without water.
Minutes later, the guy who is supposed to come and fetched us earlier came with his 4*4. When asked why he was late, he replied that he wasn’t late. We took another way out. He said that it was faster as the road is tarred after the unpaved roads.
The ride was very bumpy even though I sat inside. My head kept slamming into the ceiling of the car. For my brother who sat outside, it was not bumpy, I guess. You will not believe what have to say next. He slept throughout the 1 hour ride!!! Luckily he didn’t fall off.
We had lunch at the Lembing market after reaching Lembing. We ate some fried noodles and rice. The food was great as we were all hungry. Han Solo and his girlfriend went back early and did not join us for lunch in the market.
After that, we went over to Venu’s house to clean up and most important, Durians…Venu bought so many durians, I guessed he bought the whole stall of durians. (haha..Joking) Francis when back after leaving the durians at Venu’s house.
We chatted and enjoyed the durian. Siva shared with us about his vegetarian diet and lifestyle. I won’t be sharing about this here. It is too long.
Mount Tapis trip Photos:
Rainbow Waterfall Photos: