A Travellerspoint blog

River Rafting

Not really in a river, more of a lake.

Here we have Amy, and her 3 raft members, Lea, Lexa and Baxter. We see them having a... RAFTING COMPETITION in the Belum State Park, which is also a man made lake, near Penang. This is the second half of her team, the half that has the pressure, to catch up on everyone. Right now, the first 4 members are hastily jogging off of the wonky bamboo raft, trying their hardest not to fall or they will be deadly disqualified. Look at Lexa now jump onto the raft and get her ores prepared as she awaits Baxter to get on and get the signal to... Go! They are now the first team to have their second part leave, all 4 members and struggling through, pushing past the water with heavy currents, all of them shouting out in adrenaline. Listen to them, “left, right, left right.” The synchronisation in their rowing is spectacular, all ores going down at the exact same time, and their faces show hard work.

The team paddling out into the lake

The team paddling out into the lake

Look what’s happening, they are officially the only raft that is widely spread out, whilst the other teams are still here at the boathouse. Hold on, where are they going? It seems like they are floating to the right side, but they are paddling on the right side, this is a weird mystery that they will have to face. You can hear the screams of all the members, yelling for someone to help them. Oh wait, one of them has the ingenious idea to turn around and paddle from the other side. You can watch all of them turn and use their strength to move as fast as possible, and collect a rock from the island across the houseboat.
Yes! They are now a few meters from the island, way ahead of everyone else, the team is winning! The current of the water moves them to the right, but this is where all the strength matters. They paddle carefully yet smoothly toward the island, and Lexa quickly grabs a palm-sized rock... Suddenly all 4 members are rushing towards the boathouse, shouting directions, yelling at each other to go which way. Now, not so in sync, but they have an idea. 2 members paddle right, 2 members paddle left. This way, it becomes balanced, I mean that's what I suppose they're doing. Not so bad right?. The other team members are crying out in enthusiasm, knowing that their team will be able to make it back in first place. Here they come, all with passion and need in their eyes, arms aching, voices hurting, and Amy's team makes it out first. Good Job guys!

Posted by unsociable 06:08 Archived in Malaysia Tagged water travel lake rafting raft belum_state_park Comments (0)

Waterfall Wonderland

But first, the trek to the Wonderland

Getting out of the humungous man-made lake and out of the speedboat plus being careful not to slip was not an easy task. The waterfall trek was at the Sungai Ruok Waterfall. A 5 minute ride from where we stopped our houseboat (which was in the middle of pretty much, nowhere). All I saw was puddles of stones, sand and water mixed together. I immediately started to regret my choice of going, especially on a rainy day where the clouds covered every bit of sun and even more water was piling in the puddles. I do not advise planning to go trekking on any day that has a suspicion of rain. I hesitantly stepped down towards all the murky water, and all I could feel was all the water seeping into my shoes, creeping into my socks. I was complaining as my other friends were struggling behind me, also talking about how frustratingly annoying this trek was. Complaining altogether did make the water trek better. I continued slowly, and as I did, heavier rain started pouring down, which only made it worse.
One good thing about the trek was that as I knew we were going to swim. So I might as well get wet, going on a rainy day may not be the worst thing overall. I was terrified that I might slip, then die. This waterfall trek gets a double thumbs down from me especially, in the rain.
As we continued to hike up the trail, whenever I saw a rope that we could hold onto, I would grab it as fast as I could, so I wouldn’t have to worry about sliding off, and cracking my head which meant possibly dying. Although that wouldn't be so bad right now? We got to the top and I could see the clear water from the waterfall and the loud harsh sound that all the glimmering water made when smashing into the rocks below. The scene around me was so natural and felt so realistic, as if I had been captured by nature and it was all I could see, feel or hear. This waterfall scene was definitely worth all the struggles of climbing the trek. So I guess it's actually a double thumbs up!

It was definitely worth the struggle

It was definitely worth the struggle

Posted by unsociable 02:26 Archived in Malaysia Tagged landscapes lakes water travel trek trekking waterfall Comments (0)

Encapsulated by the Trees

Feeling small from a huge world of mini islands overcrowded with trees.

The islands around me felt like they were watching over me, and trapping me in this huge park. Going fast, in a speedboat, feeling the cold water as it splashed us all. The rain combining with the water made it freezing cold, yet a lot more thrilling as it woke me up! Looking around you, all you could see was green trees, spiky rocks and shiny water. But if you zoomed in closely, there were always sweet sounding birds. Birds were an important part of the park. The birds sat down calmly, or they would fly around the park, in different directions. Like we were their guests in their home (the island of course) while they were fluttering around everywhere.

One of the swifts we saw flying repetitively around

One of the swifts we saw flying repetitively around

From swifts, to ospreys surrounding us and making the adventure a lot more thrilling. The tons of swifts that circled high above us, as we followed their movements with our eyes. As if we were in Cinderella and they were flying around us. Out of nowhere, an osprey appeared and all eyes were struggling to find it, as everything blended in together. Apparently they hadn’t seen an osprey in 4 years so finding it was lucky. We went back to the boathouse and I looked at the high top trees again. It felt like home to some people, not just trees towering over us, which was a quite different point of view all though a refreshing one from our lowly ones.

Posted by unsociable 02:17 Archived in Malaysia Tagged travel bird osprey swift Comments (0)

The Orang Asli Tribe

Seeing the lives of someone else, is also (ironically) life changing. Especially when they live in a different city, different country, and with different resources. The "Orang-Asli" tribe. "Orang Asli" in Malay, translates to "original people." They are part of the indigenous tribes in Malaysia. When we visited them, they stayed in small, wooden and straw huts, with sharp rocks, muddy dirt and dry sand all over the place. The members of the tribe looked shy to us and I remember some showing worry in their faces. I felt sympathy for them, however, we were not going to hurt or frighten them, on the contrary we paid to fundraise for them.

A small boy part of the Orang Asli tribe

A small boy part of the Orang Asli tribe

All the houses looked very fragile and unstable to stay in. They had this one huge straw platform where they performed a dance for us. It was different from the vibe you would get from the houses around, the people in the houses were shy, though the dance seemed very welcoming. We had a guide to tell us more about the tribe, and you would think that they would only have a couple of huts, a platform and a few bathrooms, But no, they had frequently much more, they had boats to go hunting and send the kids to school in. It wasn’t the small things that they needed, but more of the things that would make a larger impact (petrol, or specific hygiene that makes a massive difference).
Visiting the tribe is something unexplainable, you couldn't understand the different aspects just from reading a short article about it, I should know, I wrote it.
Learning the lifestyle of the tribe was hard for me to fathom, because there were so many unanswered questions. But watching the ways they worked, watching the ways they played, watching the ways they communicated was a huge step to understand how their world works. Hearing about the tribe isn’t the most exhilarating piece of information, when you hear and learn about them, you understand more. But then, visiting the tribe, it’s a whole new level of excitement!
Learning the lifestyle of a tribe that I had no idea about, there were no bad experiences from it. I got positive thoughts and experiences, which would probably happen if you ever visit them.

Posted by unsociable 18:15 Archived in Malaysia Tagged travel tribe visit orang_asli orang_asli_tribe Comments (0)

On The Way

To Belum State Park, *spoilers* it wasn't great.

On the way to Belum State Park

The plane ride to Penang
It was the worst
It was like monkeys sang
I just wanted to burst

Onto the bus ride now
Struggling to catch up on sleep
I kept wondering, how?
Then I fell in deep...

Waking up to loud sounds
Wishing we had arrived
Then I turned around
I could’ve cried

We were in the middle of nowhere
1 more hour they said
I couldn’t do anything, but stare
I wish I were better off dead.

Posted by unsociable 02:13 Archived in Malaysia Tagged travel bus plane belum_state_park Comments (0)

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