Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sabah Adventure - Venture into the Lost World of Sabah

Soon it was time for some more adventure.  To the Lost World of Sabah - Maliau Basin it was!  Actually I was the one who suggested it, after reading about it on the Net.  Turned out, this place is a little remote and extremely expensive to get to.  Because of its remote location, it being a conservation forest and I'm guessing the road that leads to it, it costs a ton to hire a 4WD into the place.  Yes, a 4WD is required because of the road. 

It took alot of effort to try and contact them to arrange for everything, but we managed!  Yes, the email address is, the number to call is +6087 742 100, but please be patient as they may not get back to you in a instant.  We decided to go for a 3D2N trekking plan, and stayed 1 more night before the start.  OPting for DIY, we just paid for the nightly accomodation (RM78 per pax per night), ranger fee (RM150/day) and conservation fee of about RM150/pax.  We opted out of meal service (that would have cost us about RM390/pax/day more with porter's help or RM150/pax/day without). The 4WD cost RM650/way from Tawau to Maliau, or RM800 from KK to Maliau.  Yes, it is expensive to get to Maliau, and unfortunately it does not have dinosaurs.

And so, it was a 5H drive from Tawau to Maliau... And the ride became really exciting when we actually reached Maliau gates for the drive into Agathis Camp.  Yes, from Maliau information centre, it is 8KM to Agathis Camp, where you start the hike.  Although it is only 8km, we soon understood why it would take 1H.
Happy sitting in the 4WD while it's being stuck in the mud
Because it rained, the road was bloody muddy and really bumpy.  Halfway through, we got stuck in the mud partly because our driver forgot to engage 4WD.  And so we were there for quite some time stuck in the mud, thinking of how to get out of the trouble.  Then, they decided to start humping the vehicle.  By humping, I mean standing at the back, and started to jump, hoping to get the vehicle unstuck.  The 3 guys (JJ and Edric + another guy from Maliau) did a fantastic job!!

By the time we got to Agathis Camp, it was pitch dark outside.  We settled into our bunks (much like stretcher beds), made a simple dinner of stir fried noodles with vege and slept.

The next morning, rise and shine and waited for our ranger.  Harthrow was his name (at least it sounded like that) and we started after 9am for the 7.5km trek to Nepenthes Camp.  It was alot of uphill for the 1st 3km or so.

There were some ladder climbing, but after 3.5km, it was generally flat trekking.  But mind you, those blood sucker scumbags also known as Leeches were ruthless!!  They just kept on sticking to your shoes, and we had to stop every now and then to flick them off.  Yes, we didn't get those leech socks, damn it.  But at the end of day 1, I was leech-free!!! THe same couldn't be said of Edric...

The camp was pretty nice with bunk beds...And the view is good.  After some snacks and rest, we decided to climb up the tree top (33m) for a bird's eye view!  The climb up was a little tiring, but it felt good up there...

After some rest, we proceeded to Giuluk Falls!!!  Unfortunately, Tacob Falls was closed to visitors as the road leading to it was in need of restoration.  So it was only 1 falls for us.  The falls was only 500m away..which was near...

Unfortunately, we were not able to go to the bottom of the Falls, so was only at the middle...
We reached Giuluk Falls!
The Falls was nice..But the water was cold... Shivering when I tried to go under the waterfalls

The falls is quite amazing ... Edric then climbed up the ledge, a very dangerous move considering if he slipped, that would have been the end of the story...
The boys went for a swim at the top of the waterfalls while i sat and waited.  BTW, the water is a little red in colour because of the rocks and minerals...

A group of Malaysian doctors and researchers were also at the Camp site that night... And it was a candle light night because there were no lights/electricity for lights.

At night, we played Heart Attack with Harthrow and we were damn loud!! Shouting and laughing.  Harthrow thoroughly enjoyed the game!!  And edric was too slow....

The next morning, we started early, at 7am to do a 13-15km hike all total to Ginseng Camp, including a 4.7km route to Maliau Falls.  As usual, those leeches were ruthless...  We saw some Pitcher Plant along the way..
At the cross junction, we left our bags hanging on a branch and headed off for the 4.7km walk to the Maliau Falls.  Halfwy through, the trek seemed to be demolished by fallen trees and branches...
With Harthrow's parang, we hacked our way through and arrived at the Falls!!  Yes, I think this fall.  It's big and the waterflow is fast and furious.  It was hot and sunny so it was nice to be able to dip in the water.
But sure enough, the water was really cold... We made our way nearer to the Falls where there was an area ok for swimming and dipping...  Then we wanted to make our way even nearer to the Falls and try to see if we can actually climb up the ledge and walk behind the falls.  Who knew, the current was TOOOOO STrong.  Especially when we swam closer to the falls, it was really too tiring..Drinking water and being pushed.  It was a task to swim to, and even harder to swim back...

Back on land, after what seemed like a never ending swim (which in fact was probably only 10min or so), we decided to do jumping shots!
I'm the floating nun on Maliau Falls

Mario Brothers jump
It was pretty cool and we did some really good jumping shots!

We stayed till well after 1pm, spent about 2H there, basking in the sun, and made our way back sensing a bad weather coming. 

Then it was back to Ginseng Camp where there was absolutely no electricity.  Candles were lit, wood was burnt to start cooking.  Halfway through my bath, the water stopped.  Turned out the pipes leading from the waterfalls were blocked.  So ended up had to collect water from the watertanks outside to continue the bath.

We made noodles soup and sat down with Harthrow for a romantic candlelight dinner.  Through the night, Harthrow taught us a Malay song, a love song, something along the lines of loving you to the same degree comparable to the height of Mt Kinabalu (which means alot alot) - "Dingi Dingi Gunung Kinabalu, Dingi __ Sayang Sama Kamu,......" Ok can't really remember the last 2 lines...

The last day, we woke up slightly late.  And I was really tired and feeling down...  The walk back was alright, and only 7KM.  But my energy level was suddenly down...Still we managed to be back at Agathis Camp around 11am.

Took a short shower, and headed off with our Driver Mr Kami.  We paid RM600/way to get to Keningau.  It would cost the same to get to Tawau, but it will be RM800 to KK.

We survived!!!

The muddy 4WD..

End of Maliau Basin trek.  No dinosaurs or prehistoric animals, but it was a good trip still!  3 leech bites and some scars.  Edric had to hack off the back of his Addidas Kampung shoes.  Serve him right for buying 1 size smaller instead of getting the white colour one.  Vainity cost him his feet!!!

Throughout the 4D at Maliau, we only met a Dutch on the 1st night @ Agathis Camp, the group of Malaysians @ Nepenthes Camp and no one else.  We saw elephant dunk along the way but no elephant spotting.  Heard monkeys but no see.  And the most commonly spotted life form - Leeches.
We added ourselves to someone's banner..Hey we are all from Singapore!!

Sad story, when we almost reached Keningau, we got a call from the travel agent where we booked our rafting trip.  The trip has been cancelled due to a landslide which destroyed the train tracks.  Meaning the group could not get to Pangi.  So no more rafting and we decided to plan for somewhere else.  Still we stopped at Keningau and took the public bus back to KK (RM20/pax).  2H drive and towards KK, it was coastal drive which was pretty scenic. 

Checked into AKinabalu hostel back at KK, sooo much better hostel than the Borneo backpackers.  At least the sockets do not burn/electrocute electronics.  And the feel is soo much nicer.  At RM25/night, hey, only RM5 more expensive but it was a lot better.  We went to the night market for dinner and stuffed ourselves with Mee Goreng (seems like we eat that every day), chicken wings (JJ and Edric devoured 15 in total amongst themselves), grilled tuna and octupus and Mango shake, watermelon, coconut.  Sooo full after.  Then we walked around a little and the 2 boys went back for dessert while I stared into space, dreaming about the bed.......

No comments: