Thursday, June 3, 2010

An Extraordinaire Expedition to Buaya Sangkut Waterfall, Endau-Rompin National Park, Johor Darul Takzim

Buaya Sangkut Waterfall, Endau-Rompin (IR)
A cascade part of Buaya Sangkut Waterfall

On 29-31th May 2010, 10 comrades from Luarbiasa Photography group led by dR Ali went for an extraordinary journey to Buaya Sangkut Waterfall within the virgin jungle of Endau-Rompin National Park, Johor Darul Takzim. This trip is fully sponsored by Perbadanan Taman Negara Johor.

Luarbiasa Comrades
1. Dr Jamal (flickr, blog posting)
2. Shahreen (flickr)
3. Jasni Muda(flickr)
4. Ali Tukiman(flickr)
5. Emran MT (flickr, blog posting,facebook)
6. Hisyam Rahman (flickr)
7. Abg Naim (Chef)
8. Abdullah Jones (blog posting)
9. Pahat (flickr)
10. Ali - Amir sahab (flickr)

Perbadanan Taman Negara Officials
1. En Fakhrul
2. En Herman Riswan
3. Ms Nur Amira Abd Rahman (trainee from UPM)
4. Ms Neeny Wawa (trainee from UPM)

DAY 1 - SANTAI DAY @ KUALA MARONG (Kahang-Kg Peta-Kuala Jasin-Kuala Marong)
First day went smooth when by 11am everyone is already registered at the PETA office. By 12pm we started to venture into the national park with two 4WD hired by the Perbadanan Taman Negara Johor for us. Both 4wd belonged to a family business managed by Farid (Angah) & Fahmi. Good & punctual service. Our 4wd is driven by Fahmi, the younger brother.

After few kilometers from Kahang town, we reached the main entrance to the park through palm oil plantation. After a bumpy 53km ride we finally reach the Visitor Complex at Kg Peta. An observation which is shared by everyone is the untarred red road is far better than the tarred road. This is because the tarred road is not well maintained therefore pothole is mushrooming like crazy (a friend make a remark that the pothole is similar to the pothole at Upih Guling waterfall). Whenever the 4wd reach a tarred road, the driver must be extra careful and drive slowly throughout the damaged road.

After stopping for a while at the visitor complex, we proceed our journey to Kuala Jasin, bypassing Pantai Burung campsite (a not so successful tourism project) & NERC. At Kuala Jasin we stop for Zohor & Asar jamak prayer before continuing to Kuala Marong.

The distance from Kuala Jasin to Kuala Marong is about 4KM which would need about an hour of trekking. After consulting with Fahmi (the young 4wd driver) he agreed to send us further to a point before Kuala Marong which would cut our trekking time from an hour to around 15 minutes only. After crossing the Jasin river with rope assistance, we finally reached Kuala Marong, our camp site for the night. A group from Singapore is already there greeting us. And minutes after reaching our camp site, the rain started to fall quite heavily. While few comrades preparing the tent, few others 'sneaked' to the bungalow (which is an open wakaf).. hehehe.. somehow i prefer to sleep in the open while in the jungle than inside a tent..

Sungai Jasin stream @ Kuala Marong, Endau-Rompin (IR)
Sungai Jasin stream @ Kuala Marong (IR)

Immediately after the rain stop, dR lead the group to Upih Guling Waterfall for photography session. Abg Naim didnt follow as he already started to preparing our meal for the night. While they were crossing the river, i decided to venture alone to another part not far from Kuala Marong camp site.

At night, we were very pleased with the meal cooked by abg naim & hisyam.. fresh fish steam cooked, fried vegetable, and fried fresh fish..

After the dinner, En Herman & En Fakhrul discussed with dR ali about the 2nd day program... this is because in the original itinerary we intent to camp at Buaya Sangkut.. the last proper camp site before buaya sangkut is Batu Hampar campsite which is 3 hours journey to Buaya Sangkut.. En Herman explain that at Buaya Sangkut there is no level ground suitable as camp site.. he cited few risk such as fallen tree (its inter-monsun season-lots of rain) and wild animal (such as tiger) .. therefore he request that instead of camping at Buaya Sangkut Waterfall, he suggest that we camp at Takah Kunyit. Takah Kunyit is located about 2 hours journey after Batu Hampar. From Takar Kunyit we only need an hour to get to Buaya Sangkut Waterfall so if we started our final push before/after subuh it should be ok to get the slow shutter picture. Takah kunyit is the camp site used by Taman Negara renjer/officials and not actually for public use.

After dinner and taking bath, everyone started to sleep to prepare for tomorrow's adventure.

DAY 2 - THE ADVENTURE TO TAKAH KUNYIT (Kuala Marong-Batu Hampar-Takah Kunyit
As early as five o'clock in the morning few people already wake-up. I wake up quite early as i would to cook few things from my backpack to lessen the burden a bit.. four kampit of nasi himpit with two rendang ayam tesco.. nasi himpit take a while to cook.. about half an hour.. while the rendang ayam tesco only need a minute or two to heat it up.. a very practical option for future trekking/travelling needs.

Immediately after Subuh prayer and breakfast, majority of the group went to Upih Guling again for slow shutter session. Me and Shahreen went to Tasik Biru which is 500m only from the Kuala Marong camp site and need only 10 minutes trekking... Tasik Biru is indeed a very beautiful place with calm and peaceful river stream and school of kelah.. After a while we backed at the camp and eat the breakfast (mihun goreng) prepared by abg naim. After breakfast, we started to pack to go the our next camp site which is Takah Kunyit.

At about 10am we started our journey. After 40 minutes the first group arrived at Batu Hampar and after an hour everyone safely arrive at Batu Hampar. As it were raining, we waited for a while. Few minutes before 12 o'clock its still raining therefore En Fakhrul request that we proceed regardless of the weather condition as it is very unpredictable.

From Batu Hampar to Takah Kunyit is where the gruelling adventure begun.. Majority of the group carry their own backpack including me which packed around 22kg of item. The main culprit is the camera equipment which is more 8kg (2 body - one of it 5D MKII, 3 lenses - MPE 65mm macro lens is the heaviest, 1 flash and sling lowepro bag). Being a photographer its always a difficult decision whenever we need to go trekking/hiking as the camera's load would make the journey more difficult. But not bringing or stripping few important item/lenses would mean compromising on the final output... I'm for instance decided not to bring the tripod as my Benro 550 is quite heavy. I simple need to rely on other method to take slow shutter picture such as 'building a tripod' whenever i need one.

The heavy rain make the journey more difficult as we need to negotiate steep and slippery track. Along the way , rope is provided at every difficult section.  Most people would do only daypack to Buaya Sangkut Waterfall either from Kuala Jasin (5 hours one way) or from Kuala Marong (4 hours one way) or from Batu Hampar Campsite (3 hours one way). We would instead bring our heavy backpack which include the photography equipment.

After a gruelling 2 hours and 20 minutes, i managed to reach Takah Kunyit. There abg naim and the guides are in the midst of preparing our camp site and two large tents using fly. Feeling relief i went to the waterfall and clean myself especially from dozen of ferocious leeches. since it were raining daily when we came here.. this creatures is everywhere... whenever you open your cloth/sock/long pant after a long trekking.. expect to see dozen of them hanging around partying like a drunken thug... even if they are fully loaded they won fall down volutarily...

After a while everyone reached the campsite with exhausting look in their face.. hehehe...some already start calculating the next day journey including me.. hehehe..

Ferocious Terrorist of Endau-Rompin
Ferocious Terrorist of Endau-Rompin

And here abg naim cooked for us 'ikan kelah dalam tin' and also the delicious steamed fish again.. at night.. everyone sleep soundly with generator working tirelessly.. hehehhe

DAY 3 - FROM BUAYA SANGKUT TO KUALA JASIN (Takah Kunyit-Buaya Sangkut-Takah Kunyit-Batu Hampar-Kuala Marong-Kuala Jasin-Kg Peta-Kahang
The final & most important day.. instead of start trekking before subuh, we start trekking after subuh prayer... around 6:30am a total of 14 people including the guides & taman negara official started to trek to buaya sangkut.. hill after hill.. ropes after ropes... after an hour we finally reached the destination..

Buaya Sangkut Waterfall, Endau-Rompin
Part of the cascade at Buaya Sangkut Waterfall

while its still early when we reached the destination (7:30am)... the sun is already out and part of buaya sangkut waterfall is already lighten up directly by the sun's light (very similar situation with Tanglir Waterfall @ Bukit Tinggi) .. which mean it quite impossible to do slow shutter without having part of your picture totally washed out.. nevertheless we enjoyed our stay here.. few of us including me crossed the river with the help from the orang asli guide to have a close look at the waterfall..

According to the legend... once upon a time .. a young girl has a dream that a crocodile (buaya) want to eat her.. when she tell about the dream to his parent, his parent decided to go to higher ground , a place where the any crocodile wont be able to reach. Feeling relief, somehow the crocodile appear again in the girl dream saying the same thing... so the family move to a higher ground with large waterfall which is impossible for the crocodile to reach due to the steep rock along the waterfall.. but suddenly one morning they saw the crocodile tried to climb its way at the waterfall.. but then somehow suddenly it turned to a stone while climbing.. thats why the waterfall is called Buaya Sangkut (loosely translated as stucked crocodile )

Buaya Sangkut Waterfall, Endau-Rompin
The Buaya Sangkut Waterfall

After refreshing ourself with the maggi mee cooked by our guide and glass of milo... we returned back to our Takah Kunyit campsite.. packing our staff and headed home to Kuala Jasin..

After several 'discount'.. i still didnt see the front group.. i thought i would stumbled upon them resting in any point waiting for the rest of the group.. with Jasni & Ali muar beside me.. we finally regroup with the front group at Kuala Marong.. while we set about 2 hours and 20 minutes.. the front group led by abg naim and the girls (nuramira & neen) managed to do it in 1 hour and 30 minutes only.. which mean they are almost an hour in front of us.. fuuhh... good thing about it is that they already cooked some maggi mee and milo for us to eat while waiting for the rest of the group... :D

Ironlady of Endau-Rompin
Ironlady of Endau-Rompin

Less than three hours everyone already reached Kuala Marong.. some managed to repeat swimming with the kelah @ Tasik Biru.. then we continue our journey to Kuala Jasin.. throughout the journey we passed through the newly constructed jambatan gantung and need to cross the river again before Kuala Jasin. At Kuala Jasin, everyone clean themself before heading to Kahang town in 4WD with nice memory and hopefully good photograph. :D

Major Point to note
- All waterfall/stream there is very beautiful.. each is unique in its own way .. definitely worth a revisit
-3D2N is too short for a photography trip if you want to cover Upih Guling,Tasik Air Biru,Batu Hampar & Buaya Sangkut.. if we ever repeat i would prefer to do it in 4D3N so there will be more time for photography instead of trekking
-porter should be considered next time .. but if 4D3N then it would be less tiring and might not need any porter..
- Its time to start planning for other Taman Negara trek.. Selai.. Bekuk.. and Ulu Kemapan
- The best time all year round is March-April ..
- Adidas kampung is the best shoe to wear here.. only RM 6-8 per pair
- Leech sock is a must... unless you want to collect a whole load of them....

Below is the GPS trail simulation recorded by one of our trip members , Dr Jamal using his Garmin 60sx.

Endau-Rompin National Park
Kahang Office (Tel/Fax) : +607-7882812/+607-7882813
Kg Peta Visitor Complex: +607-7021111/+607-7021100

Campsite facility guide
Kuala Jasin - Electricity, chalet, toilet,cooking area with gas
Kuala Marong - Wakaf, toilet, cooking area with gas, camp site
Batu Hampar - Cooking area (no gas),camp site,toilet
Takah Kunyit - Camp site only
GPS Point
Kuala Marong N2°30.831' E103°21.282'
Batu Hampar Waterfall N2°30.261' E103°20.645'
Takah Kunyit N2°29.563' E103°19.951'
Buaya Sangkut N2°29.841' E103°19.201'
Trekking duration (estimation only & excluding rest)
Kuala Jasin - Kuala Marong : 1 hour
Kuala Marong - Batu Hampar : 45 minutes
Kuala Marong - Upih Guling : 15 minutes
Kuala Marong - Tasik Air Biru: 10 minutes
Batu Hampar - Takah Kunyit : 2 hours
Takah Kunyit - Buaya Sangkut: 1 hour
Extra bit
GPS trail recorded by Dr Jamal :
Thanks to En Bakar from Perbadanan Taman Negeri Johor
Thanks to abe We Jaseim who sponsor the fresh fish
Thanks to dRali for giving the opportunity to join this expedition
The utmost important.. thank to Allah

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  1. Awesome trip, hoping to be able to join some day, I'm up for anything but the leeches....!!!!!

  2. hahahaha... pacat is fren... terrorist fren.. hahahhaa

  3. pacat siap darah kotor jer kakakaka
    baik untuk kesihatan hahaha

  4. hahahha... terapi kuruskan badan pun bleh gak tue.. suh die hisap lemak skali.. kekekke

  5. whoah detail...beh beh..thanks for sharing & documenting this experience of ours

  6. what a wonderful memory we had thing about this post...excellent written bro...thanks and thanks


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