Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Rough Guide - POS Betau, POS Lenjang, POS Titom. Difficulty Rating : Challenging to Hard

Disclaimer :

This is a guide for those willing to risk try going to these places without the support of an expedition. Before attempting some of the harder tracks, you should have a recovery kit handy and ensure that your vehicle is in good nick. We always support the maxim of "Travel in Numbers" and never take unnecessary risks.

Executive Summary:
Conditions as at 12/2016. At least an SUV with AT tires. You may attempt this using HT tires but only do so during the dry season because the mud can be quite deep at parts.  Challenging offroad course of over 30km going deep into the mountains. Some superlative scenery beckons with pristine clear rivers and creeks. If you take the shortcut, you will need to do a river crossing with your vehicle.

Trailhead begins at Pos Betau. From Gombak tollplaza, it is a 2 hour drive 154km north of Kuala Lumpur.

Two routes to choose from that will take you to Pos Lenjang and Pos Titom.

Option 1 : Pos Betau - Pos Lenjang (32.4km) (Pink route)
The traditional route of choice of 32.4km which will take some 3.5 hours to cover - it is slow going due to the bad condition of the track. Some parts are paved (or what's left of it) It is deeply scarred by ruts, water channels, collapsed sections and a whole lot of mud. You will pass many orang asal villages at the tail end of the route and will be greeted with some breathtaking scenery.

Other main challenges are the mud pools and some exceedingly steep sections which has 2 different levels of grip.

Uneven with track dropping steeply on either side. A good height clearance is essential.

Let's churn that mud!

Option 2 : Route 102 - Pos Lenjang (41.8km) (Orange route + leftover pink)
It's 16.8km tarmac detour on Route 102 (road to Ringlet) plus 25km offroad. So although appearing to be longer, the 16.8km tarmac road can be despatched in 12mins or less. The 25km offroad segment will cost you only 1.5 hours for a grand saving of over 1 hour over Option 1.

The caveat is that it involves a short river crossing that is slightly above waist deep. The use of this route is also totally dependent on the weather. The bridge at Pos Betau along Route 102 will tell you if you are able to attempt this route : look at the water levels of Jelai River. If it is swollen or turbid, take Option 1.

The good news is that it bypasses 18km of bad roads of Option 1 - leaving you with just a further 14.4km to go. At this point - the track is in significantly better condition as you would be greeted with many orang asal villages. This is the route of choice of the locals when weather permits.

Pos Titom
The road to Pos Titom is concreted all the way. Once you hit the junction to Pos Titom, it's a straightforward fuss free, no unwanted challenges drive.
Road to Pos Titom

Vital Stats :
Option 1 Pos Betau - Pos Lenjang 
Distance : 32.4km
Total ascent : 1294m
*MSM Trail Difficulty Rating : 19 out of 35.

Option 2 : Route 102 - Pos Lenjang
Distance : 41.8km
Offroad segment : 25km
Offroad total ascent : 988m
*MSM Trail Difficulty Rating : 22 out of 35.

Comparison scoring : Pos Senderut (tested in 11/2016) :11 out of 35.

Option 2 quicker and shorter on the offroad segments but harder due to river crossing.

Rating score is based on 7 categories : distance offroad, vehicle requirements, tire requirements, elevation gain over distance, track width, surface conditions and obstacles.

This route has already been coded into the raw map and would appear in the next compiled release of malsingmaps.
This is Pos Lenjang

Bukit Kene Api in the distance

Friday, October 21, 2016

Kuala Medang - the Ikea of Pahang!

What does Kuala Medang have in common with meatballs? Read on to find out ..

In the spirit of looking for "something out of nothing", we randomly chose Kuala Medang out of a hat. As coincidence would have it, we are also well acquainted with a gentleman who hails from Sungai Koyan : the closest civilisation to Kuala Medang. Having grown up there since a child, we asked him what's in Medang? To which he replied, "why would you even consider going to that dead place?" Thus evaporated what little hope we had for this town.

This little hamlet is located 50km west of Kuala Lipis or 60km north of Raub (approximately 170kms if you are coming from Kuala Lumpur). The only way here is to pass through Sungai Koyan. This satellite town is where - if you take a left you ascend to Ringlet (mind you - this is an absolutely beautiful piece of road where for some brief moments you are led to believe you are driving up some distant European mountains during summer)  - or take right and lalu jalan kelapa sawit and head towards Kuala Lipis.

Like most of the population, not everyone will follow the path of the straight and narrow where Kuala Medang lies :  straight past Sg Koyan. It being a cul-de-sac with no through roads to anywhere else, you can be forgiven to label it as a dead end town. Who goes to dead end places anyway? Folks from Sweden apparently!

The Swedes love Kuala Medang they way they love meatballs 
Clockwise from right : Sg Koyan Mosque, MSM Vancation Mobile, suspension bridge at POS Pantos and durians which are  flat-rate RM2.50 a piece.
What's here?
  • Durians (when in season) and other local fruits
  • Madu kelulut (a type of honey) 
  • Sambal hitam
  • Crystal clear peaceful river (if you can find it -which you will in our map :)) 
  • Lovely MTB riding opportunities here : from tiny village roads, to fire roads to logging tracks of undulating elevation. And riding up towards POS Pantos will provide a challenge for the weekend warrior riders.
  • Raw yellow noodles and bunch of other small cottage industries. 
  • Cool settings amidst scenic country-side, resting at the foothills of the mountain range
  • And if you're in a big group, the locals can arrange for your pleasure : bamboo rafting activities, top spinning and mengemping (process of making rice flakes) - amongst others. I confess that I myself have not witnessed top spinning since I was a boy! 
And it is these stuffs which brings multiple families all the way from Sweden : twice a year, every year since forever! And most of us Malaysians, don't even know or heard of the place until .. um  .... 2016! Such a shame.

POS Pantos
Kuala Medang is fringed by small villages, Kg. Serau and POS Pantos orang asli settlement and further sliced by, as far as we can tell : 3 rivers : Sungai Jelai, Sungai Telom and Sungai Jelai Kecil.

The two big rivers serve as the main artery for the orang asli settlers to boat upstream to their fruit plantations far into the hinterland. And if you visit during the right season ..  you will find the locals will boat downstream and bring down their bounty of durians!

Our Government built concrete houses with electricity and water for the orang asli. But they will, invariably build their wooden hut next to it. Folklore has it, many will fall sick and die living in these brick homes. The reality however is far from it : they do it mostly because they need soil flooring to do their wood-fire cooking - something they can't do in their concrete homes without burning a hole through the ceiling. Based on a barter economy system, they also rely almost exclusively on their crops for income. So when times are tough, they can't afford to purchase cooking gas - they resort to wood fires as how their ancestors have done for generations before this.

Pos Pantos as viewed from a ridge
Typical DIY home extension project 

Gimme them durians already!! Orang asli settlers bringing fruits from their orchards upstream.

Unfortunately it is sufficiently off the beaten path that not many would venture here - which - fortunately means, Kuala Medang is still very much tourist free : and free from all the rubbish and large crowds that come with it.

Also when the durians are flat-rate RM2.50 per piece and you have rivers like this to bathe in whilst watching the durian seeds float away .. this is a tranquil piece of real estate worthy of its price of admission.

At the same time you can do a bit of charity (and some soul searching for our ipad generation children) by spending time with the orang asli at Pos Pantos. This is meatball country as far as the Swedes are concerned, so it's no wonder their make their bi-annual sojourn here far far away from Kuala Lumpur to stay and live with the locals at the many many homestays here. For them, it is an experience like nothing they can find at home - so where does that put us where home is already here in our own backyard which we do not even know to exist? Hmm ..
Peaceful and priceless

Places to Stay

  • Homestays (plenty to choose from) starts from RM60 per pax inclusive of 3 meals per day cooked by your homestay host. Contact : 013 961 0800
  • the only riverside chalet (RM180 per chalet @ Oct 2016 prices  : a bit pricey in our estimation) - no contact available but look for the caretaker living across the road on a hill.
  • cabin stay (RM80 per cabin @ Oct 2016 prices - a fair deal especially for the cabins located near Sungai Jelai Kecil) Contact : 012 325 5391 and 
  • camping (RM10 per head) - with electricity, fresh water, toilet support and a beautiful river.  Contact : 012 963 9065
Camping for the win!

Homestays, cabins and the only chalet in town!


.. you so happen do come this way - do consider bringing along used but still good to wear clothes : stick to T-shirts, shorts, jackets, pants. Leave behind dresses, baju kurungs, skirts which they have no need (nor the occasion for). Orang asli are dimunitive in size generally - so we're talking sizes XS to M. Unwanted toys are also much welcomed by the POS Pantos community. There are plenty of children here so a packet of Maggi or Mamee for each of them is like gold for them.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sungai Pauh Campsite, Cameron Highlands

When you are young, foolish and in love - you would book yourself at Ye Olde Smokehouse at RM700+ per night. But if you're unable to tick any two out of the three above - we present to you Sg Pauh Campsite.

Well you would think it being only 2 weeks into Raya season 2016, the campsite would be bereft of campers as the entire nation drowns itself in unabated gluttony at various open houses. Apparently not as every inch of camp space over weekends was spoken for all through July and well into August. Considering Sg Pauh has a very large campsite footprint that can accomodate well over 150 heads - it seems that many like minded folks who are willing to forgo their ketupats and rendangs over this festive season.

A good base for exploring outlying nature trails

This is the favoured "base camp" for those wanting to trek up Gunung Berembun and for the less adventurous - to explore the surrounding nature trails -  in cool sub-20 temperature settings.

Lower East campsite
Lower West Campsite - the structures comprise of M/F toilets and a surau.

Upper tier campsite  before the arrival of 2 more camping parties
An open stage and wakaf for those preferring hammocks
What You Need to Know (based July 2016):

  • the campsite is well illuminated with incan lighting at night with optional power source for charging devices (speak to the Ranger for the latter);
  • it has shower and toilet facilities - which (just!) passes the "functional" test. Expectations vary but you'd be wise to be lower yours to its minimum settings i.e. convenient to have if you need to do "major banking deposit" but it is dirty and in serious need of maintenance .. buat blur mata and quickly do your business;
  • it has a well-equipped surau;
  • a small creek separates the the facilities from the campsite;
  • that small creek has occasionally turned into a raging torrent (flash flood), in which case, relocate your vehicles post haste before the water floats them downstream for you.
  • it's a bargain at RM5 per head;
  • the campsite is clean and well-manicured;
  • back to the toilet thing - it's all about perspectives. For every camper, the most valuable asset is to have a nearby water source. View the toilets as that and you'd be alright. And that you don't have to dig soil into the night when you have bowel movements. See? It doesn't sound so bad already.
  • depending on how lucky you are - the carpark can be anything from 30 seconds to 4 minutes away to the campsite. Err .. just ignore the signages and you drive in ..
Bottomline : if you are thinking of camping in Cameron Highlands, this site is recommended. And yep, we'd come back here again,

Home for the night!

Sungai Pauh

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Balik Kampung 2016!

Happy holidays and safe travels! 

Millenials and Gen-Y perhaps won't miss these moments but for the Baby Boomers and Gen X-er's, these are what defined our childhood years. #Throwback.

This house can sleep 70 pax easily. 100+ if you're pushing and lay down carpet on the porch!

Night orchestras which go on till 4 am in the morning  - meriam buluh a.k.a. meriam pokok kelapa

A natural forming ground water well

When the entire brood has descended home.. you need all the toilets you can have - the ubiquitous, icy cold water out-house toilets!

Kampong fare - simple yet fulfilling

Well, you might as well bring something down from the trees whilst you're at it ....

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Map Updates for April 2016

Revision: 46648
Author: Banban
Date: Thursday, 21 April, 2016 10:35:26 AM
Update/add roads, pois, polys, around Kg Jln Kebun Timur area.

Revision: 46646
Author: Banban
Date: Thursday, 21 April, 2016 8:52:52 AM
Hooked up south of Bdr Putera 2 to Jln Kebun

Revision: 46644
Author: Banban
Date: Wednesday, 20 April, 2016 4:22:55 PM
Roads and polys around Jln Kebun vicinity.

Revision: 46642
Author: Banban
Date: Wednesday, 20 April, 2016 1:15:42 PM
Updates around Jln Rajion Klang.

Revision: 46641
Author: Banban
Date: Wednesday, 20 April, 2016 12:33:55 PM
Road names for most of Bdr Putera 2.

Revision: 46640
Author: Banban
Date: Wednesday, 20 April, 2016 12:14:02 PM
Finish up with pois and house polys for Bdr Putera 2.

Coleman - Now is the time!

Coleman Malaysia has officially opened at Sunway Pyramid in the second week of April 2016. This marks the end of UFL who was the official distributor of Coleman products here for many many years. 

Unfortunately, in this case a new distributor seems to mean higher prices for the same products. 

If you are a gear snob,  Coleman is not exactly the brand you'd associate yourself for sexy ultra-light hiking gear but they do make some great products for casual car camping and picnic. So now is the time to pick up some great deals on excess UFL stocks still floating in the market. In some cases you stand to save in excess of 40%. For example, today there are 2 kinds of coolers sold under the Coleman brand - one is the lower priced made in China coolers (tumblers and the sort) and their Made in USA coolers - which unless you are comparing to Esky - are some of the best in the business. 

These are some of the stuffs we picked up recently.  To be fair, we will only post prices WE PAID. So if you walk into a Coleman dealer post UFL days, you can compare the prices and be the judge yourself.

Once UFL supplies dry out, expect to pay a lot more. The time is now! 

Made in USA Xtreme 5 Day 50 Quart Cooler

Price paid RM390.00

Lumbar Quattro director's chair for the heavyweight 200lb camper!

Price paid RM 155.00

Abandoned Golf & Country Club - Fraser's Hill

Just past Jeriau Falls, just keep going up the hill. Some parts may be overgrown with tall weeds  but small vehicles should be able to pass through. Finally you will reach here. Pic timestamp is Q3 2015.

Nature reclaims what was once taken by man.
The 18 hole gold course layout

Lots of CPC lying around dating to 1995 when major turfing works were being done

On a clear day, this would be some view

The world about us would be desolate except for the world within us - 

Main lobby once upon a time

What once was bustling with coffee house banter in the background is now eerily silent

Another case of one day they all "got up and left"

Time stood still for this Club in 2004


I suppose you could scavenge the Astro dish but everyone's cancelling their subscription anyway

What lurks underneath the swimming pool ?

Until the day an investor comes and saves the day .. it's adieu for now.
Read our other  abandoned buildings discoveries.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Glamping in Janda Baik

Zaini's Guest House is just over an hour away from Kuala Lumpur and is a perfect location to introduce the young ones to the joys of camping.
They charge a token RM 10 per head (Rm6 for kids) to use the campsite. Given that the place is idyllic with 2 rivers running through it and super clean, it's a real bargain. The fee covers your use of the facilities including the toilet and shower facilities, open common kitchen (fully stocked with pots and pans, utensils, cooking oil, sauces and working fridge and freezer. You could bring raw materials and cook there.
This is the perfect setting to teach your kids some rudimentary camp craft such as fire building, rigging up fly sheets, camping knots and sleeping under the stars. These are the memories that they will long remember way into adulthood!
Sprawled amongst manicured grass
You could rent one of the few chalets for some basic creature comforts but where's the fun in that?
A nicely rigged flysheet and everyone decided to sleep outside the tent for the night!