Big Tree @ Gunung Lambak

The first time I went to Gunung Lambak was 2 years ago. Back then I thought it was a fairly easy hike/climb. In fact of all the mountains that I climbed in Malaysia, I rate this the easiest until Saturday’s climb. 2 years ago when I went there, I didn’t go to the Big Tree. I was told it was tough but people tend to exaggerate the toughness so I took that with a pinch of salt. 

Gunung Lambak can be divided into 3 parts – from the foot of the mountain where the waterpark is to the summit with the telecom station and from there to the Big Tree and return to the summit and lastly a relatively easier hike from the summit to the 2nd peak or false summit before descending to the foot of the mountain.

There is 2 ways to go up to the summit at this location where there is a sort of tea house manned by the nearby residents. The last time I came, we took the so called “difficult” route.  This time round, we were a bit lazy and took the easier route which is just next to the board.

Of course, there is always a catch and the easier route was a few hundred metres longer! But true to what they said, it was indeed much easier to tackle this portion notwithstanding 1 small part where we have to clamber up some steep trails.

Once we reached the summit, we decided to head down to the Big Tree. I didn’t go there the last time round so this time I followed the rest. I should have stayed with 2 smart ladies who wisely decided to wait for the rest of the group at the summit. It was a long 1.5 km walk down to the big tree. A very steep walk where thankfully if not for the rope that some kind soul had put up along the trail, I will probably be sliding down  all the way to the Big Tree. It was a long painful 55 minutes of slow walk down with me sliding on my bum twice. And for all the hard work, all we got was this big tree which one can easily find in say our Singapore Botanic Garden!

The worst part of this? The long climb back up. This has gonna be the most torturous 1.5 km I ever did with my calves and quads screaming in agony with every upward flight. Unlike other mountain, this was one continuous climb up with just a sort 20 metres or so of flat trail. But we did surprise ourselves by doing it 10 minutes faster than the descent!

Back at the summit I had my lunch there. There wasn’t much of a view up there though. Blocked by all the trees. Pity.

We descend with one group opting to go to the false summit. Me? I have enough for one day and opted to go down straight. And I am happy we made that decision because we were rewarded with sightings of the Dusky Leaf Langurs and the Pig Tailed Macaque! This is the first time I seen a Pig Tailed Macaque and it was a bittersweet experience between the pair of them were spotted around the water park area and the ice cream vendor was feeding it with ice cream!

Tian Lai Seafood Garden @ Gelang Patah

Gelang Patah has a few nice dining place. One of them is Star Chef Restaurant. The other is Tian Lai Seafood Garden. I been to Tian Lai twice and so far I been pretty impressed by the quality and quantity of the food served and at Malaysian prices too. Not inflated tourist price.

Their house special is the Pork Rib Curry. This is like a cross between Japanese curry and rendang. It come served is a claypot and the pork ribs are stewed until so tender that they are almost like mutton rendang.

I understand their fish are very fresh but we have made it a habit not to order fish for dinner as they are usually overpriced. Instead we have everyone’s favourite, crab! Black pepper crab.

Not very nice looking but taste is real good. Almost like the Still Road black pepper crab.

Other items that are real good are their hotplate tofu and sambal kangkong. These basic zhi zhar staples are well executed and is a must have side dish.

Prices are very reasonable despite the quality and quantity. Service is good depite the place being packed or at least it was the last 2 time I was there. 

Running @ Leisure Farm Resort

Whenever I go away, I try to get in a short run and it was no exception when 2 weeks ago, we stayed over at a friend’s place at the posh Leisure Farm in Malaysia. The place is big – real big. It sits on 1765 acres of land spread over 7 gated compound and 4 strata plots and comes with facilities like club house, swimming pool, orchard and f&b outlets.

Just to get an idea of how big the place is, we stayed in a bungalow in one of the gated compound and managed to do a complete loop of 10 km within that compound alone!

It was a cool morning when we started our run. It fact it was threatening to rain but thank goodness the weather held and we had an enjoyable time exploring the place.

The place was built apparently on an old forest converted to palm tree plantation to now residential and it is very hilly.

Beside the slopes, there are many many empty plot of lands waiting for some rich landowner to built their own bungalow.

We came upon a beautiful little stream and we could run alongside it for a short distance before we went back on the road.

On the road, there were many big bungalows, some typical European design with big driveway, porches and arches. Then there were the modern type with big glass facade. And there is this futuristic house

There is a little canal or creek as they called it.

The highlight was when we came to this place.

A dead end but a very tempting looking place. Good for trail running and birding! But since we were guests, we didn’t enter the area and choose to continue running on the road. That was when we heard some rustling up in the trees. My immediate thought was macaque but it turned out to be this:

A big band of Dusky Leaf Langur! What a nice surprise and a nice way to wrap up the run.

 

Kway Teow Soup at Restoran Xing Ho, Gelang Patah

Singapore has a lot of good food. Our noodles are world famous and everybody loves a good bowl of bak kut teh. But I think the hawker food in Singapore doesn’t even come close to what is available in Malaysia where not only is it cheap, but the hawkers think nothing of throwing in all sort of ingredients. Just compare our bak kut teh with the Malaysian version. Or our minced meat/fishball noodles with this version:

This bowl of kway teow soup comes with generous amount of pork liver, stomach, meat ball, fish cake, prawn, sotong, minced and sliced pork. I don’t think there is anything comparable here in Singapore. And this cost just RM8. There is a smaller serving at RM6 although it certainly isn’t actually small. It is still a pretty solid portion. There is also a seafood version which comes with a slice of abalone and some small oysters!

This kway teow soup is popular with the locals in Gelang Patah, Johore Malaysia and is located in a coffeeshop Restaurant Xing Ho, at 24, Jalan Medan Nusa Perintis 8, Taman Nusa Pertinis 2, 81550, Gelang Patah, .

Some of us Singaporean will baulk at the way they do the cooking. An open stall next to the road and very messy.

I think if this is in Singapore, it won’t even get a D from NEA. But since this is Malaysia, who cares about the grade. Got good food just whack. And that what this little stall have.

Other Creatures at Fraser’s Hill

Ok absolutely the last post on Fraser’s Hill. Or at least until the next trip there. Beside bird, butterfly and moth, there are many other creatures. What I was hoping for was to see some more monkeys. There was supposed to be a few species of them around the area. On the first day, we saw the usual Long Tailed Macaques just outside our hotel.

The next day while out birding, we were lucky enough to see 2 White Thighed Surili high up on 2 different trees. My 200 mm can only captured one of them from afar.

Here is a close up of it. Looks like a mini Gorilla.

While trekking in one of the trails, the ladies saw this

Can see anything? It a wonder how they managed to spot this little critter on the ground

Photo by Molly Tan

Not only are the birds more colorful in Fraser’s Hill but the insect are much bigger too. Like this Cicada

Can’t tell anything from this photo right? How about this? Almost the length of my fingers!

Photo by Molly Tan

And this giant squirrel. Look at the length of its tail. 

And that concludes this mini-series on Fraser’s Hill. 

Birds at Fraser’s Hill

After butterfly and moth, finally get around writing about the real purpose of the trip to Fraser’s Hill – the birds. This was a birding trip after all.

We reached Fraser’s Hill early in the morning. It was raining and we waited at Punchak Inn for the rain to stop. But that didn’t stop some in the groups from dashing out to take photos when they heard bird calls from around the car park area. Think those were Laughing Thrush and a Green Magpie. After the rain, we made our way to our first birding stop of the trip, the Jeriau Waterfall. Seems like there is a Silver Breasted Broadbill spot in the area. We went all the way in to the end and indeed the guys quickly spotted it. Everybody, including M got a shot of it before it flew off. Everybody except me. [sad] I was looking around for butterfly instead! But as a consolation, I managed to shoot a Slaty backed Forktail while the rest were waiting for the Silver Breasted Broadbill to return. Which it did not. And after a long long futile wait, we finally decided to leave and go on to the next site.

Next site is a road near to Bishop Trail. Apparently the birds here are so used to human that they will just appear. It seems photographers have been feeding them or baiting in the industry lingo and the birds appear whenever human turn up. And boy, did they turn up. A Spectacled Laughing Thrush was the first one to appear. This was followed by a few Ruofus Browed Flycatcher. Cute little bird.

Rufous Browed Flycatcher

Next was a Niltava but I missed that as I was walking around with M, looking for monkeys and butterflies. M spotted a Mountain Bulbul though, a fairly common bird in the area.

Mountain Bulbul

Going back to the main birding area which was actually a drain culvert, I managed to shoot a White tailed Robin. Beautiful blue Robin. At least very different from the very common Magpie Robin.

White Tailed Robin

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