Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A trip "Back to Nature"

My hubby had wanted to take our son for a “Back to Nature” holiday for quite some time already, but, as usual, time was never on our side, until this school holiday.

We started our journey from home at about 8.00am, with a stopover for breakfast before proceeding onto the highway. It was the usual boring sights at first on the highway, but, as soon as we got off at the Temerloh exit off Lebuhraya Pantai Timur (LPT), the scenery changed to something that was very soothing to the eyes.

The sights got greener as we got nearer to Kuala Tahan.

The roads were less busy, and the people were more relaxed. So relaxed that they don’t even wear safety helmets!

We got to Woodlands Hotel at about noon.

I think it was one of the better hotels in the area, and I am glad that my hubby chose this one instead of the many others that we came across as we walk from our hotel to the jetty daily.

The room was nice and I think the bathroom was just recently renovated. It looked new. But, the service was uh……will tell you more about that later.

After checking in and dropping off our things, we headed on to look for lunch as we were all starting to get hungry already. At least I was famished! *grin* I forgot to take a photo of the simple restaurant where we had our first meal in Kuala Tahan as I was just too hungry! LOL! After our tummy was filled up, we decided to take a walk to the jetty to see what to expect for our Night Jungle Walk.

There were many floating restaurants along the river banks, but too bad we had already had our lunch then.

As it was getting too hot and uncomfortable, we headed back to our hotel for a nap. We woke up to realize that it had started raining. As the rain came to a drizzle, we decided to walk around the hotel to see what it has to offer.

As the sky looked like it was going to hold up, we decided to walk down to the jetty again to explore some more.

On the way back, we stopped by the souvenire shop to buy poncho raincoats before heading back to the hotel as the sky looked like it was about to pour out its contents again in the evening, and we were afraid that it might rain during our Night Jungle Walk.

After a delicious set dinner which was part of our holiday package, we got ready for the Walk.

I took photos in front of the van thinking that this was the van that will take us to the jetty for the Night Walk, but, instead, our Tourist Guide came in a Perodua Kancil, wearing slippers, and hair tied up in a ponytail, carrying a beat up backpack. *grin*

He claimed that he has been featured many times in the National Geography. We were impressed. So, we figured we were lucky to have gotten ourselves a Guide that has many times been featured on TV! *wink*

It started drizzling as we got to the jetty, but, we proceeded anyway since we came prepared with ponchos and torch lights. We took a boat across to Taman Negara, and after taking our permits and camera licenses, we started on our Night Walk.

Man, our tourist guide, was quite a detail person with very sharp eyes. He is 53 years old. Despite the darkness, he managed to spot even the littlest of creatures. As other guides just passed us by with their group of tourist, Man stopped at every little thing that his eyes caught, which was good for us, and definitely for Aiman.

We were enjoying the walk and I was taking as many photos as I could of the many interesting jungle creatures, when, halfway through our walk, it started raining, and it rained hard! We hurriedly put on our ponchos and proceeded with the walk, but it got slippery at some areas that my hubby had to hang on to me.

I was worried about Aiman, but he proceeded with the walk without fear. In fact, he was acting so grown up when he kept looking back to see if I was okay. When I told him to hang on to me, he corrected me and said, “No, mummy, you hang on to me.” *grin*

I couldn’t take anymore photos as the rain got so heavier, but we completed our walk right up to the end. We headed back on foot to the hotel when our guide sort of `abandoned’ us on the jetty after getting us back across. LOL!

Our Tourist Guide might have been featured on the National Geography, but he sure lacks the people skill! LOL! As if to reinforce my opinion of our tourist guide that he lacks people skill, instead of picking us up at the hotel the next day for our next leg of the tour, he told us to meet him at the jetty at 9.00am. LOL! *grin*

I did not mind the walk to the jetty at all, but I think, as a tourist guide, he should have some people skill. But, could it be because we are locals that he treated us that way? If we had been a foreigner, would he have asked us to meet him at the jetty too, or would he have picked us up? If that is true, why the double standard in treatment? We are, after all, still a tourist in that area. *shrug*

Anyway, the next day, after breakfast, we walked back to the jetty to go for the Jungle Trekking and Canopy Walk. As we got to the jetty, it started drizzling again. Man, our guide, said that the Canopy Walk might not open if it proceeds to rain, but we decided to go across anyway, and wait for the drizzle to subside.

I am glad we did, as when we got to the Canopy Walk, the drizzle subsided, and we were allowed to take the Walk.

Man told us that the Canopy Walk is about 540m long with some climbing along the way. My hubby was concerned that I might not be able to make the climb as I was already feeling tired from climbing the hill to get to the start of the canopy walk. But, I did not want to miss out on something interesting. Besides, I wouldn’t want to miss the excitement I am expecting to see from my son as he scales the walk. It will be something I can write about for him to read in his later years.

Since I expected the worst, the Canopy Walk wasn’t so bad after all, though I did have some anxious moments as the canopy swayed left and right. LOL!

Aiman took to the Walk like it was second nature to him. I am so proud of him.

Next was the climb up to Bukit Teresek. Man said that it will be about a 35 minutes walk up.

Err……I should have known that the 35 minutes was by his standards. The jungle was his second home. 35 minutes to him was more like an hour to me! LOL! His “sikit saja aje lagi” (just a little bit more) was actually like 800 meters more! LOL!

When he said “sikit aje lagi”, I thought that we were almost there. But, actually it was still a very long way to go. When, even after walking for more than 15 minutes, and still we have not reached the top, when I asked him again, how much further, again he said, “sikit aje lagi”, I realized that I cannot compare my standards to his who have been a guide in the jungle almost all his life.

We started the climb up the hill without much of a problem as Man stopped once in a while to show us some of the plants along the way. Despite the tough climb here and there, Aiman climbed the hill with ease, and here I was worrying about him. My hubby said that he’s a natural in the woods. "Just look as the way he climbed the hills!"

As for me, I felt like I had just entered the latest season of The Amazing Race! LOL! With all the climbing exercise and sweat, I think I need not have to exercise for the next ONE YEAR! LOL!

After climbing for about 20 minutes with still no sight of the top of the hill, I was beginning to give up when my legs could no longer carry me forward. The thighs were getting painful, and I was afraid that it might cramp up.

I told my hubby to proceed with Man and Aiman, and I will just sit and wait as Man said that they will be coming back the same way. But, my hubby was not willing to leave me behind since he has heard many scary stories about being lost in the jungle, and when Aiman saw how tired I was, he took it as an excuse to give up to, saying that he is tired too. But, my hubby theorizes that he wasn’t actually tired, but was just being protective of me. He didn’t want to leave me behind too, but was too macho to admit that he was concerned about me, and so admitted that he was tired too. If that were true, I think that was very sweet of him. *smile*

I felt bad that we did not get to see the view from the top of Bukit Teresek, but, I had to be realistic and realize that I am not fit to make that climb, even though my spirits were high, and I am not one to give up that easily on something that I have started on.. But, I also didn’t want to end up hurting myself, and so had to force myself to give up. We proceeded to climb down, and went straight to the jetty for our boat ride to the Orang Asli Village and Rapid Shooting.

When we got to the Orang Asli Village, there were a group of tourist being briefed by their guide about the aborigines and their way of life. I felt uncomfortable as I felt that we were intruding into their (the Orang Asli) privacy, as the group of people (tourist) went around snapping photos of the village people at close range. My hubby agreed with me.

Even though our Guide told us that these village people were paid to have the tourist come over to see their way of life, we felt that it was anthropologically not correct. I quickly snap some far range photos of the kids playing, just to show to our son about their simple life, before we decided to leave the village.

Next, we went on a rapid shooting ride. Err…..when my hubby said that we were going rapid shooting, I thought that we were going to a village where we will be doing some shooting rapidly with the ‘sumpit’! LOL! *blush* Duh! My son corrected me when he explained that rapid shooting is when you go on a boat that shoots rapidly into the waters! LOL! *grin* How old is my son again? LOL!

I really enjoyed the rapid shooting ride not just because of the thrill of the ride, but because it allowed me to rest while we enjoyed the sights around us. It was awesome!

On the way back, the boat stopped to pick up a pair of German tourist who went hiking and jungle trekking in Taman Negara.

He was telling us about the leeches, when my hubby realized that he too was bitten by leeches. I am glad that my son and I were free from leech bites.

We got back to the jetty at about noon and headed back to the hotel for another scrumptious lunch at the hotel.

We were supposed to go on another boat ride to Lata Berkoh & Kelah Fish Santuary, but our Guide said that since it rained in the morning, it was not advisable to go there as it might be slippery. Er….that could be true, and we headed his advice, but, could it also be that he was just 'plain lazy' since the sun was already high up by the time we got back to the hotel? I wouldn’t be surprised if that were so, knowing his lack of people skill. *grin*

So, after lunch, we had the whole afternoon to ourselves. We took a nap, but, after waking up, we didn’t go anywhere except that my hubby took Aiman for a swim at the swimming pool, as my hubby was starting to feel a fever coming as he started coughing and sneezing.

We took it easy in the late evening, and after dinner, my hubby went straight to bed while I worked on my cross stitch piece which I had brought along while watching a movie on TV.

The lighting in the room was not that bright, but bright enough for stitching, which was just nice for me. I managed to work quite a lot on it, and I am pleased with how much I had progressed on the piece.

The next day, after breakfast, and a short rest, we decided to start off early for home as my hubby was not feeling that well. I was afraid that his health might get worse if we stayed longer, and I was also beginning to miss home. I also have loads of housework waiting for me when I get home! LOL!

Overall, I think it was a great holiday. I enjoyed myself, and I think so did my son. It was different from the many other holidays that we have had. It was more for my son to learn about nature and how people in other parts of Malaysia lives.

The hotel where we stayed was lovely, though the service was quite bad. They never cleaned the room, but only came in to change the towels and make the beds. There were cobwebs at some places, and they did not wash the cups that we had used the night before.

They also never replenished the tea and coffee until we complained. But, other than that, it was a nice place to stay as the room was quite comfortable, the food for dinner and lunch was nice, and the breakfast was okay.

It was just unfortunate that my hubby got sick towards the end of the holiday, but he said that he felt the fever coming even before we left for the trip. Here I was thinking that I was going to be the one that was going to get sick and tired out and coming back with aches all over my body, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to cope quite well, despite the sudden strenuous exercise that my body suddenly had to go through! LOL!

So, I am fitter than I thought I am, though I am not as fit as I would like to be, but, exercise I will not have to do for the next ONE YEAR after all the exercise that I have had to go through in the woods! LOL!

Thanks, hubby, for a wonderful holiday!


nikai said...

This is not back to nature! You should camp and cook on open fire like us!!

ShannyK-L said...

Yes too bad DH wasn't feeling well. It's a good thing you held up! Taman negara has changed alot since I've been there when we were teenagers. My dad loves to take us out fishing, camping etc during school holidays. It has always been nature holiday for us and I'm glad it happened! I'm sure Aiman will enjoy another back to nature holiday next time.