Never Stop Exploring Tanjong Tuan, Port Dickson

We reached Tanjung Tuan late and the Raptor flypast had largely gone by for the day. So our group leader decided to bring us for a short “easy” hike through the Tanjong Tuan Nature Reserve.

Tanjong Tuan Nature Reserve is a small area of protected forest in Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan. Like all Malaysian rainforest, it is dense with lots of undergrowth.

We started off somewhere at the top near the light house. Our objective was the beach and a village somewhere below. Going through the trail was not difficult although the trails didn’t appear very well trodden. What made it slightly more challenging for me was that I was still holding on to my 3.5 kg of camera and lens in the hand. I wanted to dismantle them and put them away but the thought that I may spot some birds or animals kept me from doing so. So I trekked slowly and carefully to make sure that I don’t hit the lens against a tree or a rock.

Although the trail was short, there was many side trails and with the group getting separated frequently, there were much back tracking. And at some place, there was short sharp drop which with my hand full I had to negotiate very carefully. In the end I did slipped once and allowed my body to take the impact rather than use my hands to cushion the fall rather than risk dropping the camera!

Eventually we came to a small little beach. Clean water but dirty sands.

Then we made our way up and this time the going was much easier as there were wooden and concrete steps to walk on. That lead us back to the main road where we headed back to our apartment while some of the others hopeful went back to the light house to see whether they can spot any raptor.

Dusky Langur @ Tanjong Tuan, Port Dickson

The first thing we noticed when we alighted from our bus at the PNB Ilham Resort was a monkey on a tree next to the road. Not any monkey but a Dusky Langur! Immediately those with readily available camera started snapping. Unfortunately for me, my gear was still in the bag and not setup and I know by the time I get anything ready, the little creature will be long gone, what with the oooh and haaa that the whole bus was making over it. And true enough, it soon sprung off.

The next with nature photography is that one need to seize every opportunity that comes along because you never know when it will happen again. And I was pretty disappointed that I didn’t manage a shot of it. But with hope eternal, after check in and on our way up to the lighthouse for the raptor watch, I was hopeful that we can spot more of them. But sadly even after doing a unplanned for trek through the reserve, we only saw 2 Long Tailed Macaque. I think M sense my disappointment or she was just as disappointed as me. On our way back to the resort while the rest of the group went back up to the lighthouse or to their room, she suggested going back to the alighting point to see when the langur has returned. And of course no luck.

There was a side road there and we decided to take a walk down to see what was there. Some birds – mainly Oriental Magpie Robin and a couple of Asian Glossy Starlings. And then we saw this tree.

Any by golly, Mother Nature was smiling on us for once! It was crawling with the Dusky Langur. Not one, not two but at least 8 – 9 of them. And I had my photos! Look at them. Aren’t they so so cute!

Further down the road, there were another 3 on a mangrove plant. So we had our fill of the Langur.

The next day some of the others also wanted to come and see the Langur. But sadly the road to the tree was closed and there was a gate. So we were very fortunate that we had stumbled upon them yesterday.

We did spot a couple of the Langur on our way to and from the Light House along the main path. But the lighting there was much poorer and there were too many visitors walking up and down and I didn’t get any usable shots from.

We heard there were 4 types of monkey in this area. The Tailed Macaque; Dusky Langur; Pig Tailed Macaque and Silver Langur. We didn’t get to sight the latter 2 but I happy that at least we got the Dusky Langur.

Raptor Watch @ Tanjong Tuan

My first “birding” trip. Apparently every year thousand of raptors which include the Sea Eagle, Buzzard, Kite, Hawks and Bazza fly over the Strait of Malacca on their way home south after enjoying the warm of Indonesia. Somehow, this little place in Port Dickson, Tanjong Tuan is the main area in West Malaysia where the raptors can be viewed as they fly home.

After getting an invite to see this, we make our way up there in a coach. We reached rather late on Saturday afternoon and was disappointed to learn that the flight for the day was mainly over. Somehow, the raptors mainly flies between the hours of 10 am to 3 pm to catch the thermal hot air that will aid in their flight. 

Early next morning, we made our way up the main path of the Tanjong Tuan forest reserve to this light house at the peak where there is unobstructed view of the migration.

After a long wait which was threatened by the approaching rain cloud from Sumatra, at around 10 +, the raptors finally appeared. It was indeed a fascinating sight to see wave after wave of these  birds flying over the sea.

Here is a short video of them in flight. 

Most of the raptors sighted were the Oriental Honey Buzzard or so I been told although at the distance that we sighted them, I couldn’t even recognise any of them. 

We reluctantly tear ourselves away around noon to prepare for our journey back to Singapore. It had been a really great experience seeing so many of these majestic birds flying over our head, something that will never be possible in Singapore. And in addition to the raptors, there was also the bonus of seeing other birds and the beautiful Dusky Langurs but I leave that for another post.

Never Stop Exploring – Sunset Hill & Rainbow Waterfall

The next day after our race and hike up Bukit Panorama, we went to a new place – the famous Rainbow Waterfall. But before that enroute we went up to this hill called Sunset Hill – ironically to watch the sunrise!

But luck wasn’t with us again and it was cloudy and the only sunrise we had was this.290816-3

But the view was great especially with the layer and layer of clouds and mist over the hills.290816-2

After that it was a long long drive on the 4×4 to the Rainbow Waterfall. The ride was more than an hour long over trails including crossing some streams and over many many muddy dirt trails like this.290816-22

And after the long bumpy but quite fun ride, we reached our destination. A river which we had to wade across.290816-26

And after that we had to hike another 1+ km to reach the waterfall. The trek involve some easy walk 290816-34And some climbing with the aid of ropes which had been thoughtfully put in place for hikers.

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And finally the waterfall! 290816-47

But where was the rainbow? Apparently because of the lack of rain, the waterfall wasn’t very big and so the rainbow wasn’t visible. One will need very good imagination to spot it. Can you spot it in any of these photos?

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Anyway rainbow or no rainbow, we had a good time relaxing there. Some people took a dip in the water while others just laze around. Our guide even had a setup there to make hot drinks and instant noodles for us, with water from the waterfall of course!

So if you ever in Sungai Lembing, this is a must visit – rainbow or no rainbow. And by the way, even though the ride to and fro was very bumpy, it was a fun adventure by itself. Certainly part of the highlight of the trip!

 

 

Never Stop Exploring – Bukit Panorama

After our race, we decided to head up to Panorama Hill to catch the 50 km runners suffering. Unfortunately it started to rain and so we delayed our hike up till late in the afternoon.

Panorama Hill is a low 271 metre high. Starting from Sungei Lembing which is about 30 metres about sea level, there is just a teeny weeny 240 metre to climb. Actually climb is not the correct word. There is only1 way up and that is via a nice staircase going all the way to the top.DCIM101MEDIA

But of course it is never as easy as it look. Many sections of the staircase had broken up and it was not exactly that easy to climb. 20160828_174057_001And despite the earlier rain, it was now hot and very humid and we were all totally drenched in sweat by the time we reached the summit about 20 minutes after starting off.

As per all the hills and mountains in Malaysia, there was a big sign proclaiming the peak. 28082016-72

The view wasn’t that great though until a fellow hiker told us to follow the trail to the end. 28082016-70And that when the view open up to an almost 180 panoramic view of the surrounding area.28082016-85

We decided to wait for the sunset which was at 7.10 but all we got was this.20160828_190011_001

and this28082016-91
Not surprising since people who comes here actually comes for the sunrise and not sunset. Oh well, we have another visit for a real sunrise. This time ironically is at a place called Sunset Hill. But that is a story for another day

King of Sungai Lembing

Found out there is race at Sungai Lembing. Not having been there and given a chance, I decided to go for it. There 3 categories for this. 10 KM 21 Km and 50 Km. Naturally being the lazy bum, I decided that half of the pain will be enough and so  I duly signed for the the 21 km with a few other like minded wise men and ladies.

The 50 km flagged off at 6.45 am. Our 21 km flagged off at 7.15 am. When we reach the start venue, there wasn’t a big crowd. In fact the number of people present looks like than 500. Now I seriously don’t know much about this race. I know it is trail but there was to be no climbing, no jungle trail and no mud. In fact I heard part of it will be on paved road. So it shouldn’t be too tough right? And so hopefully I wouldn’t finish wooden spoon-list.

After the flagged off, we ran down the tiny little town centre. dsc_1600

Then we cross what to me must be the mother of all bridge at Sungai Lembing, a fat ass metal bridge. dsc_1602

Then we came to a cemetery or rather 2 Chinese cemeteries since they were separated by a road. Thankfully we didn’t have to run through it just next to it. What with it being the Chinese 7th month, I certainly didn’t fancy having extra runners popping up to run alongside me.

Now the thing about trail which I never seem to gonna into my head is that where there are trails, there are invariably hills and for this race, the climb certainly came early. Just 1 km into the race and shortly after the cemeteries, the road started to go up and up and up. Not mountain kind of high but still a 130 metre gain over 2 km. That’s like going up Bukit Timah Hill. Since I didn’t study the route beforehand and not knowing what to expect later ie how many more climbs, I decided to conserve energy and walk up!  First time that I started walking in a race.screenhunter_140-sep-13-19-40

By now M had already disappeared from sight. Vincent soon came along and overtook me. I kept him in my sight for about 1 km before he too disappeared. Which left AC. I presumed he was somewhere in front of me.

The route took us through many kampungs much like what we see on those old Pontianak moviesdsc_1617

Rubber plantation but mainly up and down hills after hills although none was as high as the initial climb.dsc_1607

And of course at various point in times we crossed/ran by the race namesake, Sungai Lembing dsc_1618

including crossing over one suspension bridge somewhere near the end of the racedsc_1625

By then I had run out of steam. It was getting hot. While I had warm up after 5 km and didn’t walk as much, it was still pretty much walk up the steeper inclines and run on the down and flats but of course stopping frequently to take photos like trying but failing miserably to take a photo of the sun risedsc_1609

Unlike say Muar Cross Country or Bali marathon, there wasn’t much hill top scenery but still it was pretty ok except for those darned motorcyclists which keep going up and down with their loud and smokey exhaust!

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I finally crossed the finish line after 2 hours 40 minutes. Never mind, it not the timing that matters. Just how much I got to enjoy myself. M and Vincent had already finished and M got a bonus 2nd place for the Women’s Veteran category!

Overall while this was touted as a no frills race, it was certainly well organised. Road directions signages and marshalls were in place at all strategic junctions. There were drink stations with water and isotonic drinks every 3 km or so.dsc_1614 Notice anything missing from this drink station? Yes there is no cup. The race has a strict “bring your own cup” policy and everyone has to bring their own carrier to fill up. This extend all the way to the finish line. For such a small race, they also used a sort of electronic timing chip which needs to be scanned individually via a handheld device much like a mobile phone. Not very efficient but sufficient for such a small race. And the result was out in within 2 days. Generally a proper nice little race which I am quite glad I came to run in.