We were suppose to meet at Kranji MRT at 5pm and probably leave at 6pm to catch our 7.15pm train in JB.. BUT due to miscom/bad time management, some guys ended up being extremely late and we only left Kranji after 6.30pm... We made a mad dash thru SG customs, boarded the next SBS bus to cross the causeway, another mad rush thru JB customs and then... the ultimate of all, we RAN (with our full backpacks) all the way from customs to the train station. *pant*pant*
This is us taking a breather at the station... the KTM(train) was late.
It's a 12-hour train ride up to Dabong (Its in Kelantan)... we couldn't get the berths cos we bought the tickets late so we had to sleep sitting up... not the most comfortable position to be in when sleeping...
We arrived at Dabong at 7+ in the morning and met our local guide Umi, he was to be our guide for the next 4 days.
He brought us to explore 3 caves in the nearby area before bringing us up to Baha Base Camp..
Our home for the next couple of days was 450m above sea level... Baha Base Camp. Where we would be sleeping in tents and cooking our own meals.. I think i enjoyed our dinner time the most.. not because of the food but because after dinner, we'd clear the table and play card games like "Uno" and "BANG!"... and in the midst of all the laughing and teasing, we get to know a little bit more about each other every night.
Though it was monsoon season, we were hoping to be able to at least submit either Mt Stong or Mt Ayam... We would set off when the rain was light and the rain would grow heavier as we trekked thru the bush.
On Saturday, because the river was too high for us to cross, Umi brought us to the top of the waterfall for lunch. it was a long and wet trek.. but the view of the falls was worth it!
Trekking to the Falls.
The rivers of Mt Stong + Mt Ayam meet to form the waterfall.
Our picnic lunch.
The following morning, we rose at 6am to catch the sunrise!
Oh did i mention our base camp is at the top of another waterfall? The water level of the river had gone down so we were able to walk out to the edge and take these photos.
The lights are from the village.
From back to front: Teshil, Hakim, Matthew, myself and TJ. (Yes, we're sitting on the edge...)
We didn't submit Mt Stong on Sunday but we did get to do something very exciting.. we crossed the river twice!
The river actually rose by about a meter when we were heading back.. You can see in the back ground, Umi is holding the rope up to prevent us from dipping completely into the river.
We finally arrive at this small cave next to a waterfall.. this location is called The Gateway (direct translation from Malay). Anyone who wants to go up Mt Stong has to pass thru this place.
Monday finally came and we made our way down to the town/village to catch our return train. When we reached the meeting point, the truck that was left for us to ride back on couldn't start!!! the battery was sooooo dead, we had to push start the truck!
Then when we finally reached the train station, we were told that there was an accident on the tracks.. the trains were delayed. Okay, we thought.. maybe it would be delayed till 1pm. But, the station master came to us just before lunch to tell us that our morning train has been cancelled.. the next train to SG is at 11pm. You can imagine all our reactions... what were we going to do at this small little town for the next 12 hours?? Sigh.. while some of us slept at the train station, the rest went to the nearby food place for lunch and a game of cards.
Time really crawled... and things got worse...
While I was at the main office chatting with the local guides, the station master came... All trains coming in and going out from Dabong has been cancelled, it was 5pm. Ahhh!!!!!!!!!! How were we going to get home?! We discussed our options and with Umi's help, we managed to get a tour van from Kota Bahru to drive us to JB. But the van will only reach at 10pm..
When the van did arrived, our ride to JB wasn’t all that smooth sailing… to avoid the floods, our driver decided to take the Cameron Highlands route… there was fog, 90 degree angled turns, rain and we were going at 100km/hr… he didn’t even slow down for the turns!! Then when we reached the highway… we found out we were running dangerously low on fuel… but we couldn’t see a petrol kiosk on this side of the road... *faint*
We finally reached JB at 8.20am in the morning… I’ve never been sooooo happy to see the Woodlands check point…
Looking back, apart from our leaking tents, wet clothes and leeches, there were happy moments in this trip too… we had the beautiful sunrise that greeted us each morning, the cool river water that revived us after a long day of hiking, the super friendly locals that helped us and of course, the bonds that we’ve forged as a team. =)