Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Splish - Splash - Splosh : Trans Chemerong-Berembun-Langsir (CBL) 3D2N Camping Trip

“Who said hiking is boring? Who said hiking is no fun? Who said hiking is all sweaty and smelly?” 

Whoever said so certainly hadn’t been to CBL. CBL, short for Chemerong-Berembun-Langsir is a popular hiking destination in Dungun, Terengganu. Entering through Hutan Lipur Chemerong, this trail brings us to the peak of Gunung Berembun, Langsir Waterfall and Chemerong Waterfall. Unlike other hike that I’ve done previously, the selling point of this place is not the view at the summit, it’s certainly not the challenging trek, it’s not the height of the mountain, but the beautiful crystal-clear water of the waterfalls, and Bangan river. Duped the Jiuzhaigou of Malaysia, CBL is no doubt one of the most beautiful hiking destination in Malaysia. I haven’t been to many hikes to conclude this but it certainly tops my list. 

36 hikers for this CBL trip

Organised by Night Ranger, this hike was planned last year October, after our return from Gunung Tahan (read about it here). Meant to accommodate 24 hikers, the event was almost fully registered in a couple of hours. I wasn’t so interested initially but after some persuading by the Tahan hikers, I finally sign up for a spot before it was full. Like me, MJ had no idea what this place is all about and decided not to join. However, the event was then extended to 36 people and when some people bailed out due to scheduling conflict, MJ scored a place after being persuaded to join in the fun. 

Day 1: Never Ending "KFC"

On the day of departure, we gathered at Tesco Ampang at 1am and boarded a 40-seaters bus to Dungun, Terengganu. The bus departed at around 2am and we stopped at Temerloh R&R for a short break. It was 4 in the morning and since I did not have any dinner the night before (I was rushing from the airport to TBS then to meet up point), I had nasi lemak since that’s the only stall selling rice. Many of us also bought some bread for breakfast, as breakfast was not provided in our hiking package. After an hour break, we continued our journey to Dungun. The journey normally takes around 3-4 hours by car and since we were traveling by bus, we expected 4-5hours but we only reached Dungun in 7hours. I was sleeping throughout the entire journey but was later told that the bus driver was driving very cautiously at the speed of 60-70km/hour. Shall we engage some other bus driver in the future? 

36 hikers in total

It was already 9am by the time we reached Hutan Lipur Chemerong. After unloading our hiking bag and gears, we proceeded to fill up the declaration form. A little over an hour later, we gathered at the trailhead for some briefing by the mountain guides before starting our climb. There are 3 guides in total, one leading the pack, one in the middle pack and another one as sweeper. Our original plan was a 5-6 hour hike on the first day to reach Langsir campsite, where we would be camping for two days. It’s the best campsite and would be perfect for 2 consecutive nights. However, we were told that there were 54 other hikers who had went up the day before and there would be no place left for us. We therefore changed our plan to camp at Kem Y instead. 

“KFC – Killing Fitness Center”

Whoever said this hike is an easy one was certainly pulling my legs. I was foolish enough to believe such a claim and did not bother to train up. Since I completed my 1000km run challenge, I had been lazy and decided to take a break from running. Fortunately, my legs were still strong as a result of my continuous run and hike previously and my body is still fit as ever. 2 hours non-stop KFC? No problem. I enjoyed “eating” it. *wink* After all, hiking wouldn’t be as fun without KFC, right? For those who wonder, KFC here doesn’t refer to Kentucky Fried Chicken, but “Killing Fitness Center” or as one of the hiker, Ivan called it “Keep Frustrated Climb”. It refers to long steep slope that is more than 45 degree, and in the case of CBL, it lasted for 1.5 hours. Unlike many other hikers who were carrying 15-26kg of load, I didn’t take as much break during the climb as my backpack was only 10.5kg. Packing light does help a lot. Kudos to myself?

KFC starts after crossing the first river (photo credit: Eunice)

Bukit Taubat

Reach Bukit Taubat, look at the KFC behind!

After about 1 hour, we finally reach Bukit Taubat. There’s a steep vertical climb right ahead, so we decided to take a break. And with the sign nicely put up, it called for a photo session. As the hikers reached one by one, our photos session extended to almost 45 minutes. 

Kem B

At 12.20pm, we decided to continue to Kem B. After climbing over Bukit Taubat, it’s descent all the way and in about 20 minutes, we were greeted with turquoise-colour river water. The water’s so crystal-clear that I can’t wait to go in. As we were told that Kem Y’s river is too shallow, we decided to have some free and easy time here at Kem B. Seung Fei and Terry had bought some instant Nasi Bryani, and they were kind enough to share them with Melda, MJ, Uncle Mak and I. As Uncle Mak is the chef for 11 hikers, he decided to proceed to Kem Y (after taking a 30minute break), where he could set up the kitchen and prepare lunch. I contemplated following him so I could help, but my heart was with MJ who seemed to want to jump into the water. Alright babe, you over Uncle Mak of course. *wink*

Leisure time at Kem B

After a while, we decided to proceed to Kem Y instead, partly because we wanted to help Uncle Mak (we do remember you!), partly because we needed to get a good campsite, and partly because we should set up our tent quickly in case it’s going to rain. After another 45minutes of easy trekking on flat terrain and crossing a few streams, we finally reach Kem Y. 

Pitcher plants we come across on the way to Kem Y (photo credit: Seung Fei)

Kem Y

As compared to Kem B, Kem Y pales in comparison. There’s no turquoise-colour water and it river was too shallow to swim. Not that it made any difference to someone like me who can’t swim though. LOL. This time, Win Nee, MJ and I shared Terry’s tent while Seung Fei’s tent housed himself, Terry and Melda. Our tents were set with the entrance facing each other, a ground sheet in between both doorways (like a living room) and a fly sheet covering the top for shelter. A pretty great arrangement I shall say and we could sit comfortable for small talks and even when it rains, we don’t have to hide in the tent. Can I continue to join the guys for next camping trip? *grin*

Photo of our tent taken by Eunice

As Uncle Mak was busy preparing lunch, MJ and I helped set up his tent with Big Mak once we were done with ours. Lunch was then served at 3.30pm, and we had salted vegetable and fish paste beehoon soup. I am personally a fan of salted vegetable soup, so this meal was my favourite (I’m biased) for the entire trip. 

Lunch: Salted vegetable and fish paste beehon soup
After lunch, we went to the river to wash up. It was shallow but with the help of our mess tin (we washed that up first of course), it wasn’t too hard to get ourselves cleaned up. We then went into our tents to change. My hiking jinx seemed to continue again this time as it started to rain once we settled in our tents. Should I say that we were at least lucky that it didn’t rain during our hike? We took shelter in our luxurious tent while having the bread we bought earlier, and the snacks Seung Fei and Terry brought along, as Terry brewed tea and coffee for us. No wonder their bags were so heavy. There brought way too many things!

Terry making coffee and tea (photo credit: Terry)

As the rain stopped, Uncle Mak headed to the kitchen area to prepare our dinner, and Hui Yien was there as his kitchen helper. Seeing that there’s nothing we can do to help, MJ and I roamed around the campsite to see what the others were cooking. Mei Fong and her team had lamb chop (if I remembered correctly), Wills team had curry chicken and cabbage with dried shrimp and white rice, while the power rangers team had already finished their dinner, we didn’t even have a chance to take a look at what they had. Well, that’s fast! Our team’s dinner was finally ready by 8pm and we had kam heong chicken and fried onion omelette with white rice.

Dinner: Kam Heong chicken and fried onion omelette with white rice

Wills’ team had hot Ribena that night while Uncle Mak prepared red bean soup for our team. I had a heart-to-heart girls talk with MJ that night (at the kitchen area) while the our other tent mates were sleeping soundly in the tent. At about 10pm that night, MJ and I went to bed (forgetting to help Uncle Mak clean up the kitchen, sorry Uncle Mak!). Knowing Uncle Mak needed to prepare breakfast at 5 the next morning, I set my alarm and let myself fall into deep sleep.

Day 2: Splish Splash Splosh

The next morning, I woke up at 4.45am, 15minutes before my alarm is set to go off. Fearing how my alarm might wake the girls up, I turned it off and went to the river to freshen up before making my way to the kitchen area. It was 5am by then and Uncle Mak was already there, starting to prepare breakfast. Breakfast was aglio olio with bacon so there wasn’t much to help with, so the only thing I did was to help him cut some garlics. By the time I was done, MJ and Win Nee had woken up and went to freshen up at the river, so I went over to clear my belongings in the tent. We then changed into our hiking attire and packed our belongings. When we were done, breakfast was ready. Spaghetti was a little dry and Uncle Mak ran out of black pepper so he substituted with normal pepper instead, but overall it was still a tasty meal.

Breakfast: Aglio Olio with Bacon

After breakfast, we proceeded to pack our tent. Since Uncle Mak had been carrying a hell lot of things, I decided to help him carry some canned food and gas cylinders. MJ and Seung Fei offered to share the load I had taken from Uncle Mak but I insisted of carrying it by myself since it wasn’t that heavy. After all MJ was still suffering from her injured knee and Seung Fei was already carrying a very heavy bag. In fact, my bag was one of the lightest.

Leaving Kem Y (photo credit: KK)

Pokok Meraga Berlubang

Towards Pokok Meraga Berlubang (photo credit: Seung Fei)

We were scheduled to leave Kem Y at 7am in order to reach Langsir waterfall as early as possible, but a huge hiking group means a lot of dilly-dally and by the time everyone was ready to depart, it was already 55 minutes over our scheduled time. Our first stop for the day is to a special tree, where everyone would climb up for photos. It’s called Pokok Meraga Berlubang and it’s about 20minutes hike away from Kem Y, where we need to climb up another KFC, but this time a rather short one. Thankfully MJ and I was among the first few who reached and didn’t have to queue long for photos. Once done, we quickly made ways for other hikers to have their photos taken and we proceeded to continue our journey to Berembun peak.

Climbing up the special tree (photo credit: Seung Fei)

Taman Bonzai

Comparing it to our first day’s hike, the ascend towards Berembun peak was rather easy. It took us only half an hour from the special tree to reach Taman Bonzai. A short few minutes there for photo session, and we continued our journey until we reach the peak of Gunung Berembun, 10 minutes later.

At Taman Bonzai (photo credit: Bobby)


At the peak of Gunung Berembun with my bff (Photo credit: Eunice)

We reach Berembun peak at 9.15am, and for the record, there’s no view up here. You don’t get to see any 360-degree view from this peak as it was surrounded by trees. Just a signboard for photo session as memory and we left the peak and descended towards Langsir campsite. I was tailing Bobby and Wills closely and Callchun was right behind me. Trying to train myself to descend faster and more confidently, I managed to move swiftly this time even with a 10.5kg bag on my back.  But just as Callchun complimented me for my obvious improvement, I slipped, fell and twisted my left ankle. Thankfully as Callchun pointed out, I managed to land on my butt to prevent major injury and besides twisting my left ankle, I only knocked my right knee. Guaranteed another bruise on my knee but gladly there’s no pain. 

Almost there. Look at the crystal clear water (photo credit: Bobby)

With a twisted left ankle I started to slow down as it hurt the more I bent my left foot. Fortunately, the campsite isn’t far away. As the guys crossed over a river, I waited for MJ, Eunice and Terry who were not far away behind me. We then walked together towards Jeram Lesung, which is just 5 minutes away from Langsir. The guys had urged us to put down our bags and enjoy the water there, but Terry, Eunice, MJ and I decided to proceed to the campsite first. It seemed like a better decision to set up our tent first and come back later for water activities.


We set up a hammock for fun (photo credit: Seung Fei)
We reached Langsir campsite at 10.15am, and as Terry, MJ and I were setting up the tent, Seung Fei, Melda and Win Nee who were all carrying parts of the tent arrived in the nick of time. Our tents were once again in the same arrangement as we were lucky to be able to get a wide enough spot for two 3-men tents. We finished setting up our tent in no time, and we played around with Terry’s hammock, while Uncle Mak was once again cooking lunch for us. As expected of us, we were busy playing and taking photos that we have forgotten to help Uncle Mak at the kitchen. 

Didn't take a photo of my lunch but Wills team had similar menu (photo credit: Eunice)

Lunch were ready by 12.40pm and we had kimchi ramyeon with fried luncheon meat. Ramyeon was cooked to perfection, not too hard and not too soggy and Uncle Mak had managed to accurately ration water against the ingredients. Thanks Uncle Mak for the stomach-warming lunch, you are the best! As we did not help with the cooking, we helped Uncle Mak with dishes this round. It was only a little passed 1pm when we were done, and we quickly make a move towards the infinity pool to take advantage of the clear weather and beautiful lighting.

Making our way down to the infinity pool (photo credit: Seung Fei)

“Infinity Pool”

Sexy back (photo credit: Seung Fei)
Love this candid shot with Uncle Mak (photo credit: Seung Fei)

A few hundres metres down from our campsite is a beautiful infinity-pool-like spot, overlooking another distant mountain. I had previously seen some photos from other hikers, and I knew it makes for a good photoshooting location. To get there, we had to walk on rocky terrain which wasn’t such a difficult task if it wasn’t for the slippery algae. I was wearing my hiking sandals while the others were wearing slippers. At some point, I took off my sandals and walked barefoot instead which proved to be a much better idea. It’s just a short 5 minutes away and we finally reached the “infinity pool”.

With Terry (photo credit: Seung Fei)

With Seung Fei (photo credit: Seung Fei)

We had Seung Fei as our photographer that day and he took countless beautiful shots that day with his GoPro and phone. Thanks friend! It’s great to have you around, and sorry I wasn’t able to take any shots that satisfy you.

Mermaid pose (photo credit: Seung Fei)
Me with my firm abs (photo credit: Seung Fei)

As we were the only 7 persons at the pool at that time, we had our own sweet time taking countless of photos, before we finally make our way up towards Langsir waterfall and Jeram Lesung.

Photo credit: Seung Fei

Curtain-like waterfall 

Curtain-like waterfall (photo credit: Wills)

Heading upstream, about 5 minutes away from our campsite, lies Jeram Lesung, a mini cascading waterfall which we previously passed by and ditched, in favour of setting our tent. Priorities, you know? Right beneath Jeram Lesung is a curtain-like waterfall (probably why it’s called Langsir waterfall, I guess?). Not only that the waterfall is a great spot for photos, it’s so comfortable to lie there and let the water pressure “massage” your body. 

One of the countless photo I took there (photo credit: Seung Fei)

Plunge pools

The deep plunge hole (photo credit: Wills)

There are two plunge pools at the side of the waterfall, one deeper and one shallower. Being a great swimmer, MJ jumped into the deep one without hesitation, while I took a few moments before finally mustered the courage to jump in. I panicked the moment I jumped in and stretched out my hands as a gestured to have MJ and Seung Fei pulled me up to the surface, so I didn’t manage to take a good look at what’s in the hole and how deep it actually is. But it’s certainly not advisable for you to jump in if you can’t swim, and if you really want to go in, please make sure to have some good swimmer standby as life guards.

Like a natural bathtub (photo credit: Seung Fei)
The other shallower one is safe for everyone as the water level is just at my chest level. Not a bad spot for photography.

Deep pool

Having taken enough photos, we finally make a move downstream to a deep pool, where MJ, Melda, Uncle Mak and Terry can swim. Win Nee and I who can’t swim stayed nearer to the bank instead. Seung Fei who wasn’t a very good swimmer brought along floats and thankfully he lent me one so that I could also join the rest for a little while. But I didn’t play for long as the pool was quite narrow and I didn’t want to disturb the rest of them who were taking underwater GoPro videos.

Jeram Lesung

At Jeram Lesung (photo credit: Seung Fei)

Our last stop for the day is Jeram Lesung. It was already close to 6 in the evening and the sun was slowly setting, hence lighting wasn’t very ideal. The other hikers on the only hand, had went down to the infinity pool and based on the photos they have taken, the lighting there weren’t that good neither. We didn’t swim here as we just wanted to take some photos before washing up and return to our campsite.

Another mermaid pose (photo credit: Seung Fei)
The water was quite shallow and it only gets deeper as you walk towards the waterfall. We stayed closed to the bank for a few photos, and most of us did the mermaid pose. We finally took a bath before returning to the campsite to change our clothes.
End of our water activities (photo credit: Seung Fei)


It was already 6.20pm by the time I changed my clothes and Uncle Mak had already started preparing dinner, so I went over to the kitchen area (which is opposite the river) to help out. Dinner for the night was stir-fry roasted pork with rice and preserved vegetable soup and my task was to help Uncle Mak dice garlic. Halfway dicing garlic, it started to pour, and I was stuck in the kitchen with Uncle Mak, Wills, Bobby and Weng Heong. The rain lasted for a good half an hour before it finally stopped, and I quickly rushed back to my tent to check on my teammates in case they needed any help.

Stuck in the kitchen during the heavy rain with Wills, Weng Heong and Uncle Mak 

Fortunately, our tents were nicely set up and they were not badly affected by the heavy downpour. What was unfortunate was that the river water started to rise following the rain, and as a result, we were stranded at our campsite, not able to cross over to the kitchen across the river. We initially decided to wait for the water to ebb but when it didn’t seem to ebb anytime soon, Seung Fei (the tallest among us) and I (the only one wearing shorts) decided to cross the river to bring over our food. Luck wasn’t on our side as the water rose to buttocks level and we decided to wait a little longer. Finally at around 8pm, the water seemed to ebb a little and Seung Fei decided to be the hero to save our day, since I’m too short to cross without getting my whole body wet. The water finally ebb by the time we finished dinner.

Dinner: Stir-fry roasted pork with white rice
After dinner, Seung Fei, MJ and I helped Uncle Mak with the dishes. When we were done, MJ, Seung Fei, Win Nee and I crossed over to the other side to join Hui Yien, Vonny and Chee Jing who were lying down on a boulder, watching stars. I brought along my camera and tried to capture the Milky Way but everyone had headlights on and I failed to get any decent shot. I decided to went to bed and wake up earlier in the morning instead to tried again. Not long after I returned to our tent, the others followed suit since they were all tired after a long day. I was still feeling hyper but MJ was already exhausted so I chatted with Win Nee for a while, showing her the photos I have taken for the day before we finally hit the bed at 11pm.

Day 3: The River, The Waterfall and The Leap of Faith

The next day, my alarm went off at 4 in the morning and I woke up immediately to turn it off. The girls were still sleeping soundly as if they never heard my alarm while the guys seemed to have woken up but chose to continue sleeping. With my headlights on, I slowly made my way to the river to freshen myself. As I grabbed my camera, I contemplated waking my tent mates to join me for star-gazing, but they seemed too tired and I eventually decided to let them sleep while I headed out in the dark alone. My mission was to silently and quietly try shooting Milky Way and 4am was the perfect time. Everyone were still in la la land and the chefs will only wake up around 5am to prepare breakfast. If I’ve got luck on my side and blessed with clear sky, I could get a nice view of Milky Way and there would be no light pollution from everyone’s headlights. 

Milky Way

I sat down on the same boulder as last night, and set up my gorilla pod. I tried several settings on my camera and surprisingly with no prior experience of astrophotography, I managed to get a few decent shots. At some point after I pressed the shutter and looked up to the sky, I even saw a shooting star. It was my first time seeing one (yes, I don’t normally bother to look at the sky) and I was stunned for a moment before I finally remembered to make a wish. There’s a myth that:

One decent shot out of many failed ones
“When you wish upon a shooting star, whatever you wish for will come true”    

I did manage to capture the shooting star with my camera but I must have accidentally shaken the camera while I was making a wish as the photo turned out to be quite blurry. As I continued appreciating the beautiful starry night, Uncle Mak had woken up and made his way to the kitchen to prepare breakfast and lunch. Breakfast for the day was nasi lemak with curry chicken and canned sambal, while lunch was fried beehoon with fried luncheon meat. We would not have the time to cook lunch later, so lunch will be prepared beforehand and packed into plastic bags for take away. As Uncle Mak finished frying beehoon, I help packed them into 11 portions while he fried luncheon meat. As Uncle Mak was cooking nasi lemak and curry chicken, everyone has finally woken up. Realising that it’s about time to wait for sunrise, I urged my teammates to descend to the infinity pool for sunrise.


Waiting for sunrise (Photo credit: Eunice)
Egg yolk :)

The best vantage point for sunrise isn’t all the way down at the infinity pool but somewhere half-way descending. Always be careful making your way down as the algae that grow on the rocky terrain makes it rather slippery, especially if you were to wear slippers. As it rained the night before, the path was even more slippery. Like the day before, I took off my hiking sandals and went down barefooted and even so, I fell on my bum. Thankfully, my camera survived. It was 6.30am as we sat down and waited patiently for sunrise. The sun was up around 6.50am and after some photos, we climbed back up to the campsite for breakfast.

Loving the effect of this photo

We love CBL :)

We were scheduled to leave the campsite at 8am and so we only had an hour to have our breakfast, clean up the kitchen and pack our hiking gears and bags. 

Breakfast: Nasi lemak with curry chicken and additional sardin from the power rangers team (credit: Seung Fei)

We started packing our gears and tents at around 7.30am after breakfast and were only done around 8.10am. Some were still packing when we were done, but many others were already done and had started taking photos. Of course, we had to join in. From individual shots to small groups, to big groups and eventually a complete group photo, we finally bid farewell to Langsir campsite and started descending towards Sungai Bangan at 8.55am. 

Group photo before leaving campsite (photo credit: Seung Fei)

With my team mates (photo credit: Seung Fei)

Sungai Bangan

Sungai Bangan (photo credit: Seung Fei)

The descent to Sungai Bangan was rather easy but as I was tailing some slow hikers and was lazy to overtake them, we reached Sungai Bangan only at around 9.45am. The fast legs were already in the river by the time we reached, so after putting down our bags, I inflated a float and jumped in to join them. The river was very deep and I was afraid to jump in even with float, so Uncle Mak was kind enough to pull me over. Awwww, super touched. And that’s how we swam (more like he swam and dragged me) further in where MJ, Melda and Callchun were having fun. 

Before I jump in (photo credit: Eunice)

As everyone was rushing to meet the stipulated deadline, many hikers who reached after us decided to give up on Sungai Bangan and headed straight to Chemerong waterfall. The early-comers had also set off by the time I jumped in, so it was just MJ, Melda, Uncle Mak, Callchun and I in the river. Seung Fei also accompanied us although he did not join us for the fun. Around 11am, we finally leave Sungai Bangan. The hike wasn’t very tough but since Seung Fei waited for us at Sungai Bangan and it was his float which I borrowed, I decided to wait for him in return. The leisure pace works well for my injured ankle as well.

One last photo before we leave Sungai Bangan (credit: Seung Fei)
“Whatever kind gestures you received from others, be sure to repay them”

MJ on the other hand cannot have her pace disrupted, so she dashed off following closely behind Callchun. Trailing behind Seung Fei and I were Weng Heong and KK, and I let Melda who was in form to overtake me. 

Seraya Besar

Photo credit: Seung Fei

After a long 1.5hours trek, we reached Seraya Besar, a huge tree along the trail. It was about time for lunch and Seung Fei and I was hungry. Unfortunately, his lunch pack was with Terry and MJ’s was with me. Knowing that the two of them would be waiting for us for lunch together, we brushed off the idea of having lunch first. 

Feeling hungry at Seraya Besar (photo credit: Seung Fei)

After a photo at this huge gigantic tree, we left heading towards Kem B, the first campsite we stopped at on first day. I didn’t know that we were heading to that campsite, until Seung Fei pointed it out to me. I looked around and finally noticed the familiar river we crossed on Day 1. Finally, Weng Heong, KK, Seung Fei, Melda (yes, we caught up to Melda) and I reached Kem B at 1.15pm, where majority of the hikers have arrived (with exception of 3 hikers and two sweeper guides who were far behind us).

Almost reaching Kem B

Terry had already set up a ground sheet at Kem B, and were boiling hot water for coffee. Knowing very well that I don’t take coffee (more like I can’t take coffee), they separately made a cup of chinese tea for me. We quickly had our packed lunch and left Kem B when it started to drizzle. Callchun had alerted us, that anyone who is too slow might need to head straight to trailhead instead of heading to the waterfall. With that in mind, I started getting nervous. 

Photo credit: Seung Fei

MJ, Melda, Terry, Seung Fei, Ivan and I were left Kem B following the others, and soon after, MJ dashed off again, leaving we with Seung Fei and Terry with Melda who started to have knee ache, with Ivan behind them. We reached Bukit Taubat around 2.15pm, and a further descent of approximately 15minutes brought us to a junction, leading towards Chemerong waterfall. One of the guide was resting there to point us to the right direction. He’s there to make sure everyone followed the right path and to block anyone who exceeded the cut off time. 2.30pm was still on time as he told us, and I headed towards Chemerong waterfall with relief. 

Descending to Bukit Taubat

20 minutes later, we caught up to the power rangers and Vonny, Chee Jing and Hui Yien who were resting at the riverside. The rest of the hikers had placed their bagpack there and proceeded towards the waterfall, as we would be returning to the same spot to exit to trailhead later. I followed suit as it’s so unnecessary to carry my backpack to the waterfall if I would return here after all. I then inflated Seung Fei’s floats (to jump into the pool later) and walked towards Chemerong waterfall.


Chemerong waterfall (taken with my iPhone

We finally reached Chemerong waterfall at 3.10pm and by the time that I climbed up, the rest had already started to climb down. It was so heart-breaking to see your friends climbing down as you climbed up, as I was hoping for a little we-fie time with them. Fortunately, I still managed to get some photos with Wills, Bobby and Seung Fei before continued climbing up. It was just too bad that the waterfall faces the east and at 3 in the afternoon, it was backlighted, making it rather difficult to take a decent shot.

With Seung Fei (photo credit: Seung Fei)
Photo credit: Seung Fei

There I met three locals who directed me to climb in further where I could see rainbow, and as the power rangers caught up to me, Jack offered to go there with me. Unfortunately, when we were there, there were no rainbow in sight. I guess it had to do with timing, just like my experience at Sipiso Piso (link here). We stopped where it was the closest we could get to and the huge cascading waterfall was so astonishing that I stood there for a few seconds just to take in the view. Jack did a jump shot there which was perfectly captured by me *cough cough*, but unfortunately he couldn’t get a good shot of me as he had difficulty opening his eyes. Luckily it was just a normal shot of me, and not a jump shot, so I let it slide. LOL.

With Bobby (credit: Wills)

With Wills (credit: Wills)

The leap of faith

Seung Fei was still taking photos by the time we descended and since he didn’t want to do the jump anymore (in view that we are running out of time), we let the air out from the floats. As we passed by the pool, we saw Jack jumping into the pool, followed by Chee Jing, Callchun and Weng Heong. As MJ saw me, she shouted to me to do the jump. I hesitated since we had released the air out from the floats and I was lazy to inflate them again. After much persuading from the spectators, I decided to borrow Chee Jing’s float instead. After all, YOLO right? I may not return to this place in the near future and it’s my last chance to do this. Either I do it or I regret not doing it. I was afraid to jump alone and Callchun was kind enough to jump with me, and he even agreed to hold my hands upon request. It took me about a minute hesitating before I finally did the leap of faith. I was blessed with three life guards – MJ, Weng Heong and Uncle Mak who waited for me in the pool to come to my rescue anytime. The jump was just in a blink of eye and once I fell into the water, I floated up to the surface (thanks to the float) and tried swimming (poorly) towards MJ, where she grabbed me and led me to the river bank. 

You only live once

We tried persuading Seung Fei to do the jump, but he strongly declined, possibly due to the pressure of having everyone wait for him. He stood his ground and we decided not to force him. And so, we left Chemerong waterfall at 6.15pm and started to walked to the trailhead. Wills had informed us that the bus had arrived, and we can take our shower once we were out. 

It's time to say goodbye

Finally reached trailhead

We reached trailhead at around 5pm and upon checking into the ladies, the water pressure was too low for a good shower, so MJ, Eunice, Callchun, Win Nee and I headed to the river instead. After washing up, we boarded the bus again, and set off to Kemaman for dinner. We settled our dinner at the famous Restoran Tong Juan, and by the time we finished our dinner, it was already close to 10pm. Everyone was tired and we slept in the bus as it drove us back to KL (at its turtle speed again). We reach Tesco Ampang that night at 2am, and everyone returned to their home sweet home. I was slept at Eunice’s that night, and took a flight back to Singapore the next morning. 

"It's easy to say hi, but always hard to say goodbye"


I honestly never thought I would enjoy CBL as much as I did. As I can barely swim, I was expecting myself to shy away from the water and just help everyone take photos or read a book by the pool while the others swim around and play. I do have plans to learn swimming (been saying that for the past 2-3 years) but due to inconsistent schedule at work and my tendency to procrastinate, I had yet to sign up for any swimming courses. Turned out, I actually had a great time at CBL. I don’t normally make plans to revisit a mountain but I think possibly in the future, I might return to this place, not for the mountain but for the beautiful, crystal-clear water. But first, I would need to learn swimming. 

“Be opened to new possibilities and let the world surprises you”

Till we meet again, CBL! 

Thank you for reading all the way till the end. Too much info and you just want a summarised itinerary but too lazy to scroll back up? Well, here’s a summary I’ve drafted up for you. Hope it helps you with your planning.


**Disclaimer: Below are my timing according to my speed. So please take it with a grain of salt, as everyone is different. Have fun hiking the Jiuzhaigou of Malaysia *wink*

Day 1 (29/4/2017): Trailhead – Bukit Taubat – Kem B – Kem Y (campsite)
Total distance travelled: 4.1km 
0100 - assemble at Tesco Ampang
0200 - depart to Dungun, Terengganu by bus
0400 - reach Temerloh R&R for breakfast (nasi lemak)
0500 - continue to Dungun
0900 - reach Hutan Lipur Chemerong, fill up declaration form
1015 - briefing and group photo
1020 - ascend from trailhead
1145 - reach Bukit Taubat
1220 - continue to Kem B 
1240 - reach Kem B
1345 - leave Kem B
1435 - reach Kem Y, set up tent
1530 - lunch (salted vegetable and fish paste beehoon soup)
1700 - wash up
2000 - dinner (kam heong chicken and onion egg omelette with rice)
2200 - sleep

Day 2 (30/4/2017): Kem Y – Pokok Meraga Berlubang – Bonzai Garden – Berembun Peak – Langsir Waterfall (campsite)
Total distance travelled: 3.8km 
0445 - wake up, wash up and help prepare breakfast
0600 - breakfast (aglio olio with bacon)
0630 - pack tent and hiking gear
0755 - leave Kem Y
0815 - reach special tree (Pokok Meraga Berlubang), photo session 
0830 - continue to Berembun peak
0900 - reach Bonzai Garden (Taman Bonsai)
0915 - reach Berembun peak
1015 - reach Langsir waterfall, set up tent
1240 - lunch time (kimchi ramyeon with fried luncheon meat)
1310 - infinity pool
1445 - Langsir waterfall and plunge pools
1700 - Jeram Lesung
1745 - wash up
1820 - help prepare dinner
2000 - dinner (stir fry roasted pork with rice and preserved vegetable soup)
2300 - sleep

Day 3 (1/5/2017): Langsir Waterfall – Bangan River – Seraya Besar – Kem B – Chemerong Waterfall – Trailhead  
Total distance travelled: 4.6km 
0400 - wake up, wash up, photo shooting (Milky Way)
0530 - help pack lunch into individual plastic bag
0620 - descend to infinity pool for sunrise, photo shooting (sunrise)
0710 - breakfast (nasi lemak with curry chicken)
0730 - pack tent and hiking gear
0855 - leave Langsir campsite
0945 - reach Bangan river (Sungai Bangan)
1100 - leave Bangan River
1230 - reach Seraya Besar
1315 - reach Kem B, lunch break (fried beehon with luncheon meat)
1345 - leave Kem B
1415 - reach Bukit Taubat
1430 - reach diverged path to Chemerong waterfall
1510 - reach Chemerong waterfall
1615 - leave Chemerong waterfall 
1700 - reach trailhead, wash up
1845 - leave Hutan Lipur Chemerong
2015 - reach Kemaman, dinner (Restoran Tong Juan stuffed crab)
2200 - return to KL
0200 - reach Tesco Ampang

Tips and Recommendation:
Alternative hiking route:
***Disclaimer: The following tips are formed based on my personal opinion. As I’m not a mountain guide nor professional hiker, please exercise your own judgment before following. 

1. Day hike : focusing on Chemerong waterfall only or Chemerong waterfall > Sungai Bangan
For those are only interested in Chemerong waterfall and Sungai Bangan, you can use my hiking route but in reverse, stop at Sungai Bangan and descend the same way you ascend. This is doable in a day, for those who doesn’t have the luxury of spending three days in the mountain. The entire hike is probably 7 hours (excluding break and playing water) without heavy load
2. Day hike: Berembun > Langsir > Chemerong, purely hiking
You can complete the entire hike in a day, after all the entire hike is only less than 10hours without heavy load, but who would do this when the highlight of the entire hike is the crystal-clear river water and magnificent view of the waterfall? This place deserves more time to enjoy to the fullest!
3. 2D1N camping : Berembun > Langsir > Chemerong
Those who only have a weekend to spare and unable to apply additional leave, may also do this trip in 2D1N, following the same route. You may hike all the way to Langsir on the first day, camp there for a night and descend to Sungai Bangan and Chemerong the following day. Total hike to Langsir is about 5-6 hours (excluding break) at leisure pace and the descend towards trailhead is about 4 hours (excluding break and time spent at Sungai Bangan and Chemerong waterfall). But you are advised to start early on the first day so that you can reach Langsir earlier and have more at Langsir campsite. 
4. 3D2N camping: Chemerong > Langsir > Berembun
Basically the reverse route of what I did. You may get better lighting at Chemerong waterfall but as you start off with easier trek followed by steeper climb after you swim at Chemerong pool, you might exhaust yourself before you even reach Sungai Bangan. Third day descent via Berembun may also be either boring (no view and no waterfall and river) or exhausting (steep declining slope all the way down). 

Things you should bring, but you might not know it (apart from the usual hiking and camping gear):
1. Goggle – to see into the crystal-clear water
2. Float – if you can’t swim like me
3. Sunblock – so that you won’t get sunburn
4. Swimwear – because you will be swimming / playing water
5. Go Pro / underwater camera / waterproof phone – because you know, you would want to take 
         beautiful photos of yourself in the water
6. A good camera and tripod (or gorilla pod) – for Milky Way photography
7. A friend who love nature – for a good companion brighten up your days
8. And most importantly – YOURSELF

-Thanks for reading-

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