Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Eight Hills of Bukit Bongol, Kota Belud Sabah

One fine day, as I was lounging at my parents house, watching a series of Tiny Houses on TV, my sister asked me if I wanted to go climb some hill nearby. I immediately said YES! Because for the many years I've lived in Kota Belud and the many times I came home for the holidays, I never did anything adventurous except stay home and watch TV. Hahaha. I presumably became a successful couch potato at this rate.

So there... we planned to hike on a Sunday morning, right after Subuh prayers with hopes to catch some sunrise. I was briefed that the climb would take 3 hours to and from for the extremely fit people. Since I was on hiatus mode from hiking for two months already (yeah, fasting month and raya month.. argh!), I wasn't sure of my current fitness level.

A friend came to pick my two sisters and I in the wee Sunday morning from our house. I didn't prepare much and wore only sandals while my sisters wore shoes. I didn't even brought a daypack to put in water supplies and food.

I was ill-prepared.

We were brought to the foot of the hill situated somewhere in Kpg. Pirasan, near a construction site. The beginning of the trail was a visibly dirt path heading upwards. I was the least fittest person in the group and was stopping almost every few hills. Haha. It was a wake-up call that I should resume my fitness regime as soon as I get back to Kuala Lumpur.

My sisters and I on top of Bukit Bongol, Kota Belud

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Buffet Ramadan RM20 - RM30 ++ Around Klang Valley

We are halfway through Ramadan and I've personally have dined in several Ramadan buffets around Klang Valley which consists of Shah Alam and Kuala Lumpur. In terms of taste, I loved all of them. Haha! Here are the THREE places I've dined-in so far.

1. Shah Alam Convention Center - SACC : RM38

My friend has this habit of hunting good Ramadan Buffet deals online before the holy month itself. Prices per person could get as low as 50% from the normal price. We managed to grab this Groupon Deal for SACC Ramadan Buffet at only RM38 (normal price is RM88) !!!

More info on menu here

Friday, June 17, 2016

Hiking Mt Merapi via Selo - 2930 masl

"Hey Jard, can we climb Mt Merbabu and Mt. Merapi in three days and two nights?" a guy asked ne via private message on Facebook a few days back. I immediately answered, "YES!".

Me pictured on top of Mt. Merapi. 
For people who has a very tight schedule, you can actually compress these two mountains in just two days and one night. Both mountains can be climbed in a day if, of course you got the stamina to do it. AND.. you doing it via Selo. Hehe. But I highly recommend setting camp as it is quite peaceful beautiful sleeping under a sky full of stars. With luck, you'll get to see milky way! :)

Monday, May 30, 2016

Hiking Mt. Merbabu via Selo - 3142 masl

As of all the mountains I've climbed, they'll be shrouded by some mystic tale. As for Mt Merbabu, which means "Meru" for mountain and "Babu", for woman, the Woman Mountain, there are two such stories about it.

Legend has it that a very famous Javanese empire called Mataram Kuno disappeared or was swallowed up between Mt. Merbabu and Mt Merapi and another says that it was once a market place called "devil's market" where locals come to sell or buy their demonic possessions. Thankfully, the only scary thing I've encountered during my hike was being fart bombed by my hiking mates. :P

South view from the peak of Merbabu. Seen here is Sabana I, Sabana II and Mt Merapi.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Mt. Merbabu - Merapi - Papandayan : Full Itinerary

"I want to climb these mountains in a week, is it possible?" I asked my friend, Bumi who also works as a guide in Jawa.

"Possible. But how about climbing Lawu instead of Papandayan since it is in a different district?" He tried to coax me into changing my third choice of mountains.

"NO PAPANDAYAN, NO TRIP!" I strictly told him.

OK.. this was not the actual conversation between us but I was firm with Papandayan and I didn't want any other mountain than that. Haha.

And so here was the agreed upon itinerary that we planned together via whatsapp calls and messages. I added the shopping spree in Jogjakarta so that the guys could enjoy some Jawa culture before going back to Malaysia.

Day 1 :

The plan was that everyone should be in Jakarta before 1:00PM and then we'd head to St. Pasar Senen train station to meetup with the guides. Train to Solo Jebres would depart at  4:00PM and arrive at 2:00Am the next day.

10 hours of train ride! :P

I sat in the seat behind them and let them sit all together to break ice. 
I guess this was the boys' first experience on board a train in Indonesia. I was astonished to find them in this position, behind my seat during the night (picture on the right). Hehehe. But they'd occasionally wake up whenever the train stops at some station, just to smoke.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My Hiking Buddies : An Introduction

Before I share the "horrors" of travelling with a girl named Jard with all her faults and sometimes carefree approach to handling things, let me first introduce the "victims" of having to endure me throughout the trip.

Let's begin with the brainchild of the Three Mountains Trip (itinerary shared in next post), also the organizer, planner, "go-go", the person whom her hiking comrades' relatives have to contact if something goes terribly wrong (thankfully nothing did!) and lastly, feared to be half-boy, half girl of Sabahan background...... *drum rolls*...


Oh gosh.. I look more like a BIKER than a HIKER. HAHAHA! 
 The second person on the introductory list would be Azmie also known as Jimi. I first met him during my hiking trip to Kerinci Mountain of Sumatera sometime last year so I know how he rolls. Azmie, as the oldest among the men (and also the only person married among us), has been the wise one in the group. He has been like a "big brother" to us all, looking out for all of us, making sure we were all OK and leaving no-one behind. It also came to a surprise that he's a good cook too! Hahaha.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

My Very First Open Hiking Trip

The original promo banner I used to post on facebook.

I always had difficulty finding hiking mates. Maybe I am picky after all in picking them or the reality, nobody wants to hike with me. Huk huk. Some girls whom I hiked with said that I'd leave them behind if they hiked with me. When in truth I'm a changed person. I know now how important it is to stick in a group. They don't believe me. :(

So a few months back, I did something that I thought I'd never do. Organize an open trip to some of the mountains I've so wanted to climb since last year and promote it on Facebook. I wasn't looking for a "herd" to join the trip... just a minimum 4-5 people was sufficient. Max up to 10 people would be nice too... though I think it's a bit too many people to handle! (Had experienced handling 11 people on a trip to Bali and I didn't LIKE IT!!!)

Eventually I had some several parties interested in joining me. Some also tried persuading me to join their trip instead because they were climbing the same mountains on the same dates. Haha. And some just wanted to know how I get my local guide contacts in Indonesia. Huh?! I finally managed to get 4 people to join the trip and..... it just happens... that they were all MEN!!! Oh well... the trip must go on. The mountains are calling!!!

On another note, it has long been a week since I came back home from the hiking trip and I can't seem to move on from it. It was ah-mazingggggg and decided to blog about it after so many months on hiatus mode from it. Haha! #bloggermurtad

Till next post... (needs to arrange pictures and such...)... tata! 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

8 Things About Climbing In Indonesia

First of all, ALHAMDULILLAH for a new year and being able to add another year to my age yesterday. At the beginning of 2015, I made an Excel list of mountains to climb in Malaysia. After climbing a few with the toughest climb ever (for a newbie like me) of Mt Korbu; 2183mdpl and Gayong; 2173 mdpl, the 2nd and 4th highest mountain in West Malaysia respectively... I suddenly decided to look upon mountains in Indonesia.

Not having much experience with setting up my own tent and cooking my own meals during any of my hiking trips in Malaysia (as I followed a group of people who did those for me).. I finally tasted my first experience in Mt Talang of Solok West Sumatera. (Talang - Part 1, Talang - Part 2)

Ever since then, I started collecting camping equipment to prepare myself for future climbs. Here is a list of things I've learnt about climbing in Indonesia.

1. Tents : Unlike climbing in Malaysia where the hikers prefer setting up flysheet and ground to house up to 20 people under one roof... in Indonesia, they tend to set up tents! I've seen various high quality tents whilst climbing in Indonesia and impressed at how tough it stands the strong winds at the mountain tops! They even have local brands such as Rei and Eiger that makes pretty good tents.

Picture taken at Mt. Prau. I shot this tent found on top of a hill there, secured against the strong winds.