Taking a break from my posts on summer in Europe, today’s guest post features the other corner of the planet – exotic and gorgeous Malaysia. Food/travel blogger Mei from Cumi & Ciki brings us on an adventurous ride through her homeland, showing us Malaysia’s nature, biodiversity and challenging terrain. I’ve promised to get in touch with Mei when I go back home to Singapore, and I can’t wait to explore the wild side of Malaysia with her. Here are five adventures that she promises to bring me on:
1. Live with the Penan tribe
The Penans are an ethnic group of Borneo. Out of the 10,000 Penans, it is estimated that only 200 are still living their traditional nomadic hunter-gatherer existence in Malaysian state of Sarawak, Borneo.
In the Penan language there are forty words for sago palm, and no words for goodbye, or thank you – or thief. The Penan view the entire rainforest as their home. One that is under severe threat as commercial logging continues to destroy the forest around them.
Groups of up to forty move around a landscape of steep valleys and dense dipterocarp forest interlaced with numerous tributaries of the large rivers draining the islands interior to find stands of the wild sago palm.
What is this adventure?
Explore one of the few remaining unprotected areas in Sarawak that has not been logged.
Live with and learn about Borneo’s most fascinating, secretive and least understood tribe.
Getting off the tourist track and be integrated into the tribal life.
Opportunity to appreciate mountains, caves,waterfalls, lakes, forests and wildlife upclose and personal.
Experience the traditional culture of blow-pipe making, rattan weaving, storytelling, wildlife tracking, medicinal plants and ethno biology.
2. Mulu Adventures – hear the call of the wild!
Mulu is Malaysia’s adventure capital. Challenging jungle hikes, magnificent World Heritage caves, the ‘Pinnacles’, home stays in longhouses with native tribes – all set in the prettiest of tropical jungle landscape. Choose to mountain-bike to Mulu, swim or raft the rivers, climb the ‘Pinnacles’ or Mount Mulu, hike the once feared ‘Head hunter’s trail’, burrow deeply in adventure caves, search out wildlife or choose to do it all at a leisurely pace.
Main attractions around Mulu:
Deer cave – the single largest cave passage known to man and home to millions of free tailed naked bats
Clearwater cave – named after an underground river system that flows through the cave systems and culminates with high velocity through this chamber. This is the longest known underground river in South East Asia.
Lang’s cave – containing gorgeous formations that adorn the walls
Wind cave – named after its natural air conditioning and containing colourfully named chambers such as King’s and Lady’s chamber.
Sarawak Chamber – the world’s largest discovered underground cavity located in Gua Nasib Bagus. The chamber measures approximately 700m long, 415m wide and 80m high. In width, you could almost fit 7 units Boeing 747’s from wing to wing. In length, almost 10 units! It takes almost a full day to reach Sarawak Chamber and requires a certain fitness level. It is in the adventure-caving category.
‘The Pinnacles’ – a series of limestone razors that mystically jut out half way up Mount Api. The trail is only 2.4kms but the ascension is 1200m up a steep path to a viewpoint looking out over the Pinnacles. This is Malaysia’s 5 star hike!
3. Climb Mount Murud , the highest sandstone mountain in Sarawak
The Kelabit highlands is one of Sarawak’s last unspoiled regions with beautiful flora and a cool refreshing climate. The vegetation changes as you ascend and along the way, you witness local life with plenty of opportunities to interact with the friendly natives, mainly Lun Bawang and Kelabit tribes.
The first person to have successfully climbed to the summit of Mount Murud is a Swedish Zoologist and Ethnographer, Eric Mjöherg, in 1922. Mjöherg was astounded by the many species of plants found there, especially pitcher plants that are endemic to this location. He documented many of plants and flowers, describing the mountain as a paradise which will forever be embedded in his mind.
Many locals regard Mount Murud as a sacred location. Rumors of many astounding miracles is said to have happened here. Local folks make an annual pilgrimage to celebrate its majesty, therefore, it is no surprise that you will find a large church camp made of many assembled wooden houses on a plateau which can accommodate 1500 people.
4. Climb the World’s Highest Via Feratta on Mount Kinabalu
Battling the early morning chill, initial fear of the heights and mild altitude discomfort, the activities offered are not for the weak-hearted.
If you are afraid of heights then this adventure may not be for you as you will be walking on vertical surfaces as well as crossing valleys on cable lines. Although you will be led by an experienced guide, each participant will have the responsibility to look after each other as you are all linked together by a rope.
Besides a helmet and training before the activity, you will be assured double safety on the climb. A climber wears a harness clipped to a steel cable along the route and a second line is clipped to the next climber or the guide. The steel cables that line the route can hold up to 3,000kg of weight. The ladder rungs and footholds are rated to withstand up to 300kg of weight. The routes have been set up by the best via feratta builders from Europe and its no wonder that MT has been awarded a certificate of compliance based on European safety standards for Via Feratta. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves!
5. Accelerated Freefall
The Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) course is a private instructor-assisted learning process which teaches you to become a licensed skydiver. Its progression is several times faster than the traditional static line program and has now become very popular for individuals who want to reach the level of a licensed skydiver faster and with proper instruction from a USPA licensed instructor/s.
During freefall, skydivers generally do not experience a "falling" sensation because the resistance of the air to their body at speeds above 50 mph (80 km/h) provides a sense of weight and direction. So you are not exactly weightless, contrary to popular belief! And it gets better. Skydivers reach terminal velocity around 190 km per hour and no longer accelerate towards the ground. At this point the sensation is one of a hard wind!
If you like these sort of adventures, check out www.whoa-adventures.com.
**All photos provided by Whoa Adventures.
Mei is an avid traveler, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, who enjoys writing about her travel and gastronomic experiences. In her words: “It all started out a couple of years back as a means to journal our travels. We enjoy eating so much so this blog soon took on the form of a food blog: Cumi & Ciki is a Malaysian food and travel blog. The name is derived from a popular educational television puppet show for Malaysian children in the 70s and 80s. This is the tale of the two traveling, eating, thrill-seeking monkeys from KL. Follow Mei on Twitter.
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