Saturday, September 02, 2017

3D2N Trip to Sungai Lembing

“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”
— Mark Twain

Kak Safrina & I have been colleagues since 2009. But she's more than my favourite co-worker; She's practically my surrogate sister. So, it's quite surprising that it took us nearly 9 years to go on a trip together.

Work has been challenging unrelentingly stressful this year. So much so that our (hitherto effective) coping mechanism of having lunch together every Friday no longer does the trick. So we started planning a short getaway to get our mojo back. 

Kak Saf came across The Time Capsule Retreat in one of those listecles that name top glamping spots in Malaysia. Besides the attractive pictures of the hobbit hole-like capsules, we were also sold on going when we looked at the activities suggested on the website. 

So off we went to Sungai Lembing!


Day 1 (Aug 29, 2017) 

We checked into our rooms after a 3-hour drive. We decided to go for the white cottage rooms, instead of the made-to-be-instagrammed but rather impractical capsules. For one, the white cottage rooms have en suite bathrooms while the capsules rely on a communal one. Secondly, the capsules are really tiny which makes moving about a challenge. So yeah, in the end, we chose function over form. 

Our first activity there was to visit Lombong Bijih Timah Bawah Tanah Sg. Lembing. The disused tin mine had underground tunnels that diverged into myriad directions. The combined length of the network of tunnels is a mind-boggling 322km (which is more than the distance between KL and Kuantan)!


It was fun riding the old train into the mining shaft and exploring the tunnels while reading interesting nuggets of information displayed intermittently on the side of the tunnels. One particularly interesting story is titled The Legend of the Million Dollar Chamber. I won't spoil the surprise for you. Do visit the so-called El Dorado of the East to find out more. 

We spent that night in front of the TV, cheering the Harimau Muda in their gold-medal match against Thailand.

Day 2 (Aug 30, 2017)

The Rainbow Waterfall tour operator picked us up from our hotel at 6.00 a.m. We had breakfast at Kedai Kopi Salmah before starting our journey proper. We rode the 4x4 for nearly 45 minutes before reaching the trailhead. There's a public toilet there (RM0.30 per entry) as well as Adidas Kampung hiking shoes and walking sticks for rent (RM3.00 and RM0.50 respectively).


Once geared up and ready, we finally began hiking. It took us around 40 minutes to reach the waterfall. The trail is really easy with hardly any steep incline. Once we arrived, we looked for a spot to settle down. There's a big group from Johor that day so it was quite a tight squeeze. But we managed to find a suitable spot to place our belongings before diving into the waters.


At around 9.00 a.m. the rainbow finally made an appearance. It was beautiful. The waterfall certainly lived up to its name. The tour we signed up for cost RM60/pax. It includes a guide, transport & permit. Plus a cup of instant noodles and hot milo served at the waterfall which were devoured ravenously by famished picknickers. Genius.


For all its nascent tourism industry, Sg. Lembing is still a sleepy little town. So by 5.00 p.m., we had nowhere to go and nothing to do. So we drove 40km to Kuantan to have dinner at the famous Ana Ikan Bakar Petai. The food was good and was definitely worth the 45-minute drive. 

Day 3 (Aug 31, 2017)


Our last day was reserved for hiking the nearby Panorama Hill. It's quite a punishing 40-minute trek. But the view (as befits the hill's name) didn't disappoint. After the trek, we rewarded ourselves with ice cream and proceeded to Kedai Kopi Salmah again for breakfast.

Before packing our stuff and checking out of Time Capsule, we made a stop to one of the hanging bridges found in the vicinity. The bridges are used by the locals for everyday purposes and they seem perplexed when tourists get excited and start striking poses and taking pictures.


We left Sg. Lembing at 12.00 p.m. and reached KL 2.5 hours later. Traffic was clear on our side but it was a very slow crawl for kilometres for those heading to the East Coast for the Raya Haji holidays. 

Now that Kak Saf and I are rejuvenated & refreshed by our short getaway, we are ready to face school again excitedly planning our next escapade! 

For a more detailed account, read this.

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