August 21, 2010

Endau-Rompin (Peta) Trip

This was an unexpected trip for me. I was informed on Thursday evening by Philip. And I confirmed the trip on Friday morning. It was a 3-day 2-night trip to Endau Rompin (ER) National Park (Kg. Peta) in Johor. ER is the 2nd national park gazetted by the Government of Malaysia and its the 2nd largest national park in Malaysia. Person who come along are liewwk, Jason, Andy & his girlfriend Maureen and off course Philip himself.

We departed from KL around 5:15am in the morning and we arrived in Kluang around 8:30am. After some simple breakfast, we continue our journey to Kahang and register ourselves at the Johor National Park Corp. (JNPC) office and wait for the 4x4 to fetch us into the jungle.

After an hour or two of bumpy ride, we finally reached our resting place around 11:30am. It looked like a holiday chalet instead of a jungle camp (well, I was expecting to camp). However we did not take the chalet because it is quite expensive, we stayed in the dormitory (hostel) which can fit 30+ person. However, we were the only guests in the dorm for both nights.

(4 of us are using Lowepro Vertex 200 AW camera bag)

After some lunch, without wasting any time, we started our 1st macro session. However the timing seems to be wrong, perhaps due to raining season. We can hardly find any bugs. We cant even spot a single bug on a tree trunk (which is very unusual for a jungle area). So you can totally forget about exotic & rare bugs.

(Robber Fly with Prey - Natural Light)

(Damselfly - Natural Light)

(A planthopper nymph)

(Some small and cute mushrooms)

We ended our first macro session around 5:30pm because we can hardly find any interesting subject to shoot. We are saving our energy for our next macro session (night macro).

We started our night macro around 8:30pm. Liew said he saw some Blue-eyed Cuckoo Bee in the afternoon and he brought us to their possible resting ground. This was my first night macro experience and I instantly found out that my lighting gear is insufficient for night macro. My torch is too dim to find any bugs. However, this night macro session was a disappointment as we could not find the bee and we only managed to find some weevil, shield bug and toads.

We ended our first night around 11:30pm and we are resting for the next day.

===== Day 2 =====

The 2nd day was a tough day. We decided to go for a 45 mins boat ride and proceed to a waterfall named Upih Guling (I do not understand the word "Upih" but Guling literally means "Rolling"). I have learned a lesson here: Never believe what the Orang Asli (Indigenous People/Aborigines) said in terms of distance and ETA. I was told that it is only 1 and a half hour trek to reach the waterfall, but in fact, it took us almost 2 and a half hour to reach.

(The jetty)

(Let's roll!)

(Taken on the boat)

The Orang Asli need no rest and they can continue to trek the jungle for whole day. The city-people like us are totally exhausted when we finally arrived the waterfall.

(Kuala Jasin)

(Snapped this at our resting place - Kuala Marong. According to Philip, these fish are the famous 红吉罗 - Red Mahseer [Tor tambroides], which costs RM280-300 per kg alive)

(Upih Guling Waterfall)

The waterfall is famous for the unique shapes of the rocks and pothole, due to swirling water that erodes the rock in over thousands of years.


There is another beautiful lake nearby which is called Tasik Air Biru, literally means Blue Water Lake. However, we were too exhausted to visit the place and we head straight back to our dorm. It was another gruesome 2 hours trek and we finally reached our dorm around 3:00pm.

After taking some rest, we decided to give another try for night macro. It seems that luck is not on our side as it started to rain after 30 mins we went into the jungle. Another worthless night.

(Almost full moon - 2 days before 15th of every month in Chinese Calendar)

We went to bed quite early (9:45pm) as there are nothing much activity we can do.

===== Day 3 =====

This morning we decided to go for a jungle walk/trek in a trail called Pantai Burung Trail, literally means Bird Beach Trail.

We were supposed to follow the jungle trail which is only 30 mins walk. However it rained so heavily last night, many of the trees has actually collapsed and blocking our road. We have no choice to get out of the trek and use the main road instead (which is a solid tarmac road). We finally reached the so called Bird Beach (it is actually a point bar, with beach-like sand, thus the name). The scenery there was not too bad, and Liew even located the Polar Star's location and keep it as a record for future star trail photography usage.

(Pantai Burung sunrise)

(HDR - 3 exposures)

We are leaving this place around 11am, so without wasting much time, we head back to our dorm and took a bath and start to pack our stuffs. We departed the place around 11am and reached Kahang around 2:00pm. After having a lunch at Kahang, we continued our journey home as the next day is working day. Back to urban life.

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