Showing posts with label Happy Memories~. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Happy Memories~. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kundasang & Ranau; Mother's day trip

I'm never good with dates.. So I actually don't remember the date for Mother's Day. Heard it on the radio and since my mom was coming over the weekend for some reunion and I extremely miss the mountain so I made a last minute plan to have an overnight in Kundasang with my dearest Mom. But then, she told me to bring along my cousin because according to her "We are always the three stooges!" (-_-") I was like, "What!??"

Anyway, I made this trip a leisure one. No muscle straining activities, just a little bit of sweating. So advice number one, book your accommodation EARLY!!!!!!!! Since this was a last minute plan, I tried to book the hotel room a day before the trip. Bijak kan!??? It was a weekend so ALL of the cheaper lodgings were fully booked! At first, I thought they only deny phone bookings and I asked whether I can just walk in and ask for a room on Saturday.. The reply I got from ALL of them were.. *Sabahan slang*

"Miss. Kalau kita datang walk-in pun kami tia buli jamin o.." So, there was no chance for me to get a room even if I walk in. Ces! So I have to search for the more expensive ones. My mom said we could just stay in Ranau but I insist that I want a room that face the mountain and the mountain should be the first thing I see when I wake up haha I can be this demanding, you now :p So finally I booked online a room in Kinabalu Park Hotel

We departed from KK quite late that Saturday because of my mom's reunion so it was a relief to have booked the hotel online.. BUT, when I got there, there were quite a number of cancellations that day so they've reduced the price of the room to rm300 and I've paid an extra rm140 online (-_-") urgh! but never mind... (^^) O ya,, this price includes breakfast. 

I actually didn't regret paying extra money for the room since it is situated where I expect it to be; inside Kinabalu Park and facing the mountain. It was cloudy when we put our things in so I wasn't that ecstatic that evening but was happy that it was cozy and spacious. And most importantly, the soothing cold temperature (^^) Finally away from the city daunting heat! So, after putting our things, we head to Kundasang for some sight seeing

We went to the cattle farm in Mesilau \(^^)/ Okay, advice number two, if anybody (for instance your cousin) tells you that your car can't climb the steep hill, don't you ever believe them! When I said I wanted to go to Mesilau, my cousin was against it because she said, "Nda tenaek tu kreta ko..". Knowing her as a less optimistic person than I am, I said to her, "Kita naek jak. Jaga ko kalo kreta aku tenaek ah!" And then voila, my awesome orange myvi climbed the hill with ease.. "Uish gagah bha ni myvi aku!!!!!" 

So what can you see in the cattle farm; the black and white milk-producing cows! We were lucky enough to see the milking process. The cows lined up in two rows and was fed with some formula as the milking machine does ist work. The cows were very obedient but what amazed me most was when I saw a cow scratched its ear with its back limb!!!!!!! I was so surprised to see  it that I forgot to snap a pic. I always thought they cannot extend their back limb that far with all those fats on their belly haha

So what's so special about Mesilau is of course the scenery. You can see the other side of the mountain. I say, the view is even more beautiful from this side because this is actually the deep ravine and the pointed rocks that you can see from the peak. Breathtaking...

So this is the view of the cattle farm compound. Green green grass all around for the cows to feed on.. Right in front of this fence is actually a gravel road and just across are the staff houses. And why I'm describing this is because you can buy flowers at cheaper price from the staff. My mom was doing her flower shopping when I pose for this konon2 ayu pic. 

Next, we went  to the War Memorial. There's an entrance fee but I can't remember how much because my cousin went to pay it but it should not be more than RM3

What's inside? 3 beautiful gardens; Australian, English and Borneo garden. Newspaper cuttings; some about how they founded this war memorial and I remember seeing a picture of the first Dusun who conquered Mount Kinabalu peak. There were some memorial plates for the soldiers who died during the Confrontation and the Sandakan Death March. 

I have suggestion for this place (pandai2 jak kan :P) I think they should put the chronology of all the events so that visitors could really appreciate the sacrifices the soldiers made. The newspaper cuttings were all scattered so I can't really understand the flow and I think most of it was about the opening of the place rather than history. The memorial plates did mention the names of the events like the Sandakan Death March and Confrontation but I wasn't sure of the history until I googled it at home. They should have the chronology like the one written on this wall at Gaya Street. That'll make it be more interesting :)

After the war memorial, we went back to Kinabalu Park and had our dinner at this small restaurant situated right in front of the park's entrance. Surprisingly cheap and the food was good but I was too dizzy and nauseous to enjoy it. Swallowed one tablet Maxolon and went straight to bed when we reached our room.

So actually, I got what I wanted. The above pic is the view from our door. Just like what I'd imagined.

We can even see Laban Rata and Pendant Hut  \(^^)/

So from my opinion, If you want the closest view of the mountain , you should opt for the Kinabalu park Hotel. there are other cheaper hotels nearby, but you wont get this view. You still can see the mountain but not this close.

So I took my family for a walk in the park that morning. Walked the short trails to see flowers and some insects. And finally we had buffet breakfast in the Balsam Restaurant. Since the breakfast included with the room is for two, so I'd to pay another RM 45.40 for my cousin. The food is good. A mixture of oriental and american breakfast. 

Next we went to the Sabah Tea farm. Nothing much because it was not the time for the harvest and no tea processing was done at that hour. So we just walk around under the scorching sun and took some pics.

Next we went to the Tagal Sungai Moroli, Kg Luanti which is famous with the fish massage located just next to the tea farm entrance. We paid RM 5 for a 15 minutes session with the fish. I know they are huge fish before we arrive so I already said that I wont dip my leg inside the river. My cousin thought they are small and was excited. So finally, when we were there, my cousin just sit at the river  bank and watch and I went to have a dip. . But of course, I screamed a lot when I had my first dip and this time out of fear and not excitement. It was horrific at first with all those fish as big as my calf swarming my legs. But then I got used to the tingling as their slippery skin brush against my skin

Before we went home, I manage to pull my cousin into the river. She was too scared to even look at the camera.

We were suppose to drive to Mesilau trail after that but suddenly there was a heavy downpour. So, we decided to head back to KK to avoid thick fog after the rain.. (^^)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Parasailing & Flyfish! (^^)

Another thing that I was excited about Mida's trip to Sabah was that we planned to do water rafting in Padas River. It is among the best spot in Malaysia and some even said it is among the best in South East Asia; the rapids range from grade 3 to 4...

But.. When we reach Beaufort to ride the antique train to Tenom, we were told that there was a land slide and we have to cancel the trip. I was sooooooooooo sad. But of course, I already have a backup plan in mind (^^)v


Me, in front of the Beaufort train station. We actually woke up at 5.00 am that morning. You have to depart early from KK to Beaufort to catch the train to Tenom that departs at 7.30am. I kept telling Mida along the way that I was excited about riding the ancient train.. 

So, we went island hoping instead! \(^^)/
This activity was actually scheduled on Sunday; that's the day after we descend from the mountain. And luckily we went that Thursday because our leg muscles were aching after the descend.

We were lucky to arrive at the jetty just before 10.30am because the next boat after that was at 1.30 pm.We bought 2 tickets for transfer to 3 islands and that cost RM43/person. We paid RM60/person for the parasailing.

We did the parasailing in Sapi island. Firstly,you have to wear that blue yellow thing that looks more like a giant diaper. It actually looks like a giant harness but I don't know why I can't figure out how to fasten it haha

At first, I'd wanted to do it alone but the guy at the counter told us it would be boring to do the single parasailing so we took the double parasailing package. And yes, you will enjoy it even more if you have a partner beside you because you can chat as you hover and enjoy the scenery.. And also it is more exciting to scream together as you go up and down during the parasailing haha

It's not scary at all but we screamed a lot.. Maybe because it is more fun to scream though there's nothing to scream about haha Or I think we were just too excited that we screamed a lot

We parasailed for a good 15 minutes and throughout that the guys had let us up so high that we can see all the islands and slowed down the boat a bit and let us dip our legs into the water. We were told to bend our legs when dipping them into the water. I still can't think of the rationale of that, though.

This is one of the dipping. Well, during this, half of our body was dipped.(^^)/ FUN!

Our smiley face parachute!!!!

In Manukan we decided to try the flyfish. Paid RM60/person. The person in charge told us this would be extreme and tiring and we might fall into the water. I guess he was trying to scare us but we were not threatened by his warnings, of course. Siap reply dengan angkuh lagi "Bole bha kalo extreme. We like extreme!"

A chinese couple tried it first before us. It looked scary because the boat have to stop for like 5 times because the girl fell from her seat (not a very proper seat, of course. Just this bump on the buoy where you can sit on). There's also a handle for you to grip on.

This ride also goes for 15 minutes. When we didn't fall after a few minutes spin, we noticed that the boat went faster and faster. The buoy flew and was in a vertical position many times. To me, it was more like riding a mad bull. I've never held a handle so tight like that before. It was like holding for dear life though it was actually to avoid from falling into the water and we really want to prove to the guy that we are EXTREME haha

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Via Ferrata 21st April 2012 \(^^)/ Love it!!!!!!

Like I said in my previous post, the idea of doing Via Ferrata just sort of popped out from thin air when a friend told me he was going to do it early April.. Guess what.. He had diarrhea the day before his climb and cancelled the whole trip!!!!!!!

Via Ferrata cost A LOT ok! The price varied depending on the travel agent. Ours cost RM 1660. My friend who cancelled his trip paid RM 1500 but another friend of mine who did via Ferrata a few days before us paid RM 1070 (-_-"). I'm not sure if they allow walk-in because from what I heard, you must book through a local travel agent because the company is actually a company based in Singapore.

If the trip is cancelled, there'll be no refund. Other reasons that can cause cancellation other than the climber being unfit are, failure to reach pendant hut before the briefing (3.30 pm-4.30 pm) and bad weather. It was very clear why weather is important when we reach Laban Rata.  Those rocks definitely will turn into waterfall when it rains. A HUGE WATERFALL!

Via Ferrata is nothing new in Europe but is still unpopular in Malaysia though ours is actually the world's highest Via Ferrata. Via Ferrata is actually in Italian which means 'Road of Iron'. The history of Via Ferrata goes back to world war II where it was first built to ease military men when moving about the mountains in Europe during the war. So, in Europe there are like hundreds of Via Ferrata and according to our dorm mate, Joe, you can just buy yourself a guidebook and explore it with a bunch of friends. You also need the right equipment, of course :)

Via Ferrata consist of fixed cables, ladders and bridges. There are two routes in Mt. Kinabalu, 'Walk the Torq' and 'Low's Circuit'. Walk the Torq is a shorter route suitable for those who are keen of trying but too afraid to do the extreme. This route is only about 400m long. Half vertical and half horizontal.

Low's circuit, the one that we did, is 1.2 km long. 300m vertical route, 300m hike in the forest (forest ka tu ah??) and another 600m horizontal route.

So as you can see, the basic gears are a harness, two slings with an automatic lock carabiners attached to each end and a dynamic rope.. 
For your attire, please refer to the above beautiful models picture.. Hehe 

You will need a pair of sport shoes with good gripping sole, thick clothing since it will be quite windy and a pair of sunnies to shade your eyes from the sun (and untuk bergaya!). As you can see, Mida is wearing a pair of jeans and actually I was wearing another pants inside. When it gets too cold, you can feel your leg stiffen so it is important to wear just enough cloth to insulate you..

Another important thing is you must be someone who is not afraid of heights. But, lets say you still want to challenge yourself despite your fear, you can still proceed of course but it'll definitely take a longer time to finish. And as a consequence of that you'll be late for your descend and most probably you won't get your certificate because the office, which is at the entrance of Kinabalu Park, closes at 5pm.. Have to come another day to get it. Get me? The time to finish also varied depending on your fitness, pace and level of confidence. If you're not confident, your pace is of course will be slower. The longest time ever to finish was 13 hours. Bear in mind, the weather is unpredictable there.

So actually, there are three of us including Hillary the trainer who was behind the camera. We tied the rope to our harness and were 3m apart from each other. So as you walk, the two carabiners will be attached to the steel cable while the rope is to be slipped into that loop. The sling is elastic and the dynamic rope also has some degree of elasticity so this will give you lesser impact if you fall.

Via Ferrata is actually safe. You just have to be confident and you must trust your gears.After a few meters from the starting point, we were asked to do lean back like in the picture. You just lean back without holding the sling. I did this quite a number of times during my climbing trips so I didn't hesitate. But surprisingly Mida only hesitate to let go of her hands for a few seconds. Berani ni orang!

O ya, I  forgot to mention that the trainer will always be the last person in the line. As you can see, in our group I'm the leader. Remember I mentioned that we have a cut off time during our ascend so that we reach Pendant Hut just in time for the briefing. Well, the briefing was to brief climbers on the 'actions'. We were trained on how to attach carabiners and how to put the rope inside the metal loop. For the leader, it's carabiners first followed by the rope. As for the rest, it'll be rope first followed by carabiners.

In the vertical route, there's actually a few meters horizontal route like this one. This part is so so so vertical! 


This is another part of the vertical route. You go down those ladders for a few hundred meters. There are parts where you have to change sides. One thing about this via Ferrata is it is built according to the size of Frenchmen. So the ladders can sometimes may be too far apart. For a person like me who is a shorty, I sometimes need to really extend my body so that my foot can reach the next foot hold. But you can also step on the rock because it's rough so the friction is excellent :)

You can rest for a few minutes at this flat surface that's just enough to accommodate around 5 climbers at one time. We got to enjoy lovely view from there because the sky was so clear. Not too cloudy. We were actually sitting at the edge so memang feel!

This is the suspension bridge. This is our first frightening encounter during this activity. The plank is quite far from the rock, so I really really have to spread my legs to get onto to the plank. It was shaking when I was trying to attach the carabiners to the bridge's cable. And when both my legs were already on the planks, I looked down and saw this deep ravine!

To be honest, my knees were shaking!!!!!!!!!

And when Hillary joined us on the plank, he deliberately shook the bridge!!!!!!!!! We were screaming on top of our lungs!!!!!!!! Sangat scary.. (-_-")

This is the 3-cable suspension bridge which was less scary or maybe we already got used to it (cepat kan  kami immune? :p) We even jumped on it! (^^)v

 This is the last suspension bridge before the horizontal route

 This is a part in the horizontal route. Not many pictures during the horizontal route, though. It was getting foggy.

 We're all done!!!!!! (^^)/

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mount Kinabalu 20-21 April 2012

(^^) Our last hike was in Mount Batur, Bali, Indonesia; October last year. After that we resolved to have a good rest and no plans for any adventure. The idea of climbing Mount Kinabalu suddenly popped out out of nowhere when a friend of mine told me he was going to do the Via Ferrata on April. This was on January.. I checked the flight ticket from KL to KK; ahah! cheap! Called Mida,

"We are going to do Via Ferrata on April.. Ini adalah satu arahan!"

It took Mida about 24 hours to check what da heck is her crazy friend talking about (Via Ferrata??) and finally decide.. We bought the ticket first and sought the package later. We always go for the most extreme.. So there were two routes; Low's Circuit & Walk the Torq. So, x payah nak fikir panjang, of course we opted Low's Circuit (^^)

But save the story of Via Ferrata for now. Now lets see how we made it up to Low's Peak first (^^)

We actually booked a package which was inclusive of our transfer from KK to Kinabalu Park so on the 20th we were at the Wisma Sabah bus station as early as 6am. It was still too early for breakfast when we left home. So I bought this tasty Nasi Lemak at this Petronas petrol station on our way to Kinabalu Park.. Macam jadi habit pulak makan dalam van ni hehe

When we reached Kinabalu Park, the driver helped us to settle everything; our guide, passes and lunch packs. Each of us were given this tag to wear. You can bring it home after the climb as souvenir! Our guide was a very young man named Jason. He was very quiet at first but during the descend we talked a lot. Maybe he didn't want to tire us during the ascend hehe

So this is the map of the summit trail. A total of ~8.5km from Timpohon gate to Low's Peak. It was all the way up up up and up!!!!!!! Iwas quite nervous about this climb since this is the tallest mountain we ever climb so far. I was worried about my fitness, about altitude sickness, about the weather and my unpredictable bowel activity when the temperature is too cold. But everything went well! Alhamdulillah.. :)

Actually, you can find your own way to the top by just following this sign. They have plenty of it since there are quite a lot of junctions. I was separated from Mida and our guide until we reached our lodging in Pendant Hut. But, a guide is still IMPORTANT. Especially in the case where your pace is too slow and fail to reach the lodging before it turns dark (^^) The guides are very patient, you know. I think nowadays I can no longer be a 'sweeper' like I used to because I can't even follow Mida's pace though she wasn't too slow..

Now lets look at the trail.. I'm okay with trails that doesn't have huge logs blocking the way and low tree branches to bang your head on. But, still, endless stairs can annoy me just the same.. It was not that steep but the steps can be far apart that you have to really climb it with all your might!

More and more and more stairs! Frowning..

You'll find huts like this one every 0.5 to 1 km. Here, you can rest and enjoy watching the fat squirrels running around searching for food. One even tried to carry my handphone away while I was uploading a picture on FB. Every hut has a toilet where you can do your business quite comfortably and a water tank that contain untreated water yet drinkable :) Convenient!

So, after 4 hours and 10 minutes of nonstop climbing-with-brute-strength, I finally arrived at Laban Rata (^^) "But, where is Pendant Hut?" I thought.. And then I saw a white cubicle shape building about 50m up and gave out a loud cry.. It would't be that hard to walk 50m on flat ground.. But after 6km hike up, that was something to be horrified about to see your lodging is waaaaay up from the food supply, Laban Rata..

I actually was battling inside whether to go register myself in Pendant Hut first or eat lunch first since we have this cut off time. I didn't have any watch so I have no idea what time it was. Registering first means I have to walk all the way down to satisfy my hunger.. I finally registered first as to I don't want to exceed the cut off time and was surprised to find it was just 1.40pm when I opened the door to Pendant Hut (^^)

This is the Pendant Hut. They have mixed dorm and some privates. We were in a mixed dorm that has 4 double-decker beds. Our roommates were a British guy who was an avid rock climber and two Chinese from China who was actually father and daughter :) I took a top bunk. The mattress is cozy and they provide you with another sleeping bag since there is no heater.

What I like most would be the Qiblat arrow. I was surprised to see it and later found out that there wasn't any in other lodgings. The staff even allowed Mida and I to use an empty dorm for our prayer since the space in our dorm is not convenient. They also have very clean toilets and showers with heaters :)

We were to start the hike to the peak at 2.30 am so we slept early that night. I think I went to sleep at around 9pm. Dozed off while listening to

So, the next morning, we had a light breakfast at Pendant Hut first before the hike; some toast and hot drinks. And then start off with climbing stairs AGAIN!!!!! I was surprised to see so many climbers because most of them weren't at dinner. There were Korean, Chinese, Europeans
, one friendly Indian guy and some Malays from west Malaysia.. Surprisingly no Sabahans..Only me :p

We were climbing in a snaking long line. We were at the back of tens of climbers at first. But as we go up, more and more climbers stopped to have a rest and gave way to us. After the stairs, we came to this point where there was this extremely long wh
ite rope lying on the ground. We were to follow the rope all the way up and at this point everything was granite... You can hold the rope for support too. See the picture, there's a rope on our left.

The above picture was taken while resting in Sayat-sayat. We didn't intend to rest because it'll be even tiring to start back after you've cooled down. But we have to wait for the ranger and it's not a good idea to reach the peak too early because it'll be too cold up there.

Finally, THE PEAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Low's Peak to be exact.. There are many peaks, you know. We can't even guess which one is the highest. Low's peak is actually at the back of all the peaks and you'll be thinking like, "Which one is it? Why am I still climbing??"

We reached the peak @ 5.10 am. It was cold indeed and we were told that it was not that cold that morning because there was no wind. But it was still extremely cold!!!!!!!
"Ini namanya sepoi2 bahasa'" said one of the guides.

We performed our Fajr prayer on the peak; which is very epic to me :P

Waited for the sun to rise from the east.. But we cannot see the sun quite clearly since the east side was rather cloudy. The west side was a clear starry sky that morning.

Here are some of the peaks

One ringgit peak.. In our entire life before this trip, Mida and I thought this is the highest peak in Mount Knabalu.. What a shame.. (-_-")

Gorilla.. Can you see that Gorilla face??

We manage to do our epic jump in Mount Kinabalu too. The peak on the right is Low's peak (^^)

This is another great adventure of ours (which made Beijing trip seems even lame)

We met a lot of people during our climb and become acquainted to some too. On our way up, we were given supports by mere strangers.. Those who were on their descend will greet you with a smile and say Good Luck. Makes you know, there's something great up there...


Ascend: 4 hours 10 min; 4 hours 30 min
To the peak: 2 hours 30 min
Via Ferrata: 4 hours plus hundreds of pics
Descend: 2 hours 45 min

Post mountain effect: HUGE APPETITE.. Off to eat some grilled chicken right now!