A weekend at Tasik Chini
I have never been to Tasik Chini, so when I read that a trip to Tasik Chini was being organized by MNS Nature Guide Special Interest Group, I jumped at the opportunity. I contacted the organizer, only to be informed that I had already missed the deadline. But the good news was, there were a few people who had missed the payment deadline, so the organizer offered me a spot :D
* * * * *
I drove from Melaka to KL in time to meet up with a few others as well as to carpool to Tasik Chini. We drove from Cheras to Gombak, took the KL-Karak Highway which eventually merged into the East Coast Expressway. I am pretty familiar with these highways because I had been on them quite frequently in the past 6 months since I established my project site in Kemaman :D
We arrived at the guesthouse at about 11:30 pm, and we were promptly served sandwiches and tea before we made our way into our respective rooms and called it a night. The rooms are pretty basic and sufficient — each room has a double mattress, pillows, a mosquito net suspended from the ceiling and a stand fan.
Our activities started the next morning, at 6:45 am for those who wanted to go birding, and at 7 am for those who wanted to take a walk to the jetty. The jetty used to be surrounded by lots of lotuses just two years ago, but unfortunately, we did not see any lotus this time around :( Another structure near the jetty, called the “Sunset Bridge” had also been destroyed and could no longer be used.
After breakfast, we proceeded to Kampung Melat for a hike. Our guide, Jason (in the black tee with blue horizontal stripes), was extremely knowledgeable and accommodating. He made numerous pit stops to introduce various interesting trees, vines and roots to us. The other two girls, one in black and one in blue, were our Orang Asli guides. The girls led the way during the hike, made sure that the tracks were clear, demonstrated a traditional method of trapping small animals in the jungle and chopped off some liana vines for us to try the water the comes out of its vessels.
(I wished I had taken more pictures during the hike!)
On our way back from Kampung Melat, we were brought to an area which used to be a lotus haven. We were pretty disappointed to see only a couple of lotus buds, but at the same time, grateful that we managed to see (and photograph) them. According to our boatman, this area used to be choke-filled with lotuses just two years ago! The scientist in me feels that this site makes a very good study area, if anybody would like to conduct a research here.
The next day, while waiting for lunch to be served, we had a “survival” workshop, where we were taught and shown a few conventional and traditional methods of starting a fire (in case the lighter you brought into the jungle got wet). We were also treated to a crash course on choosing the right hammock, as well as the differences between a basic and a more sophisticated hammock. And of course, we were also taught some rope tricks so that we could securely install our hammock in the jungle :)
What would you do if you could successfully start a fire and put up a hammock in the jungle, if you didn’t have anything to cook/eat? That was why we had to learn blow-piping too :D
This trip would not be complete if we didn’t have a chance to mingle with the Orang Asli kids. They were extremely adorable and curious about our presence in their village. They participated in our fire-starting workshop, they were our audience during our blow pipe lesson and competition, and they even joined our cleanup activities! :D
So if you would like to experience staying in an Orang Asli village, and go hiking in the jungle with somebody experienced and knowledgeable, please contact Mr. Rajan Jones. Rajan owns a 10-room guesthouse, which can easily accommodate 20-30 persons.
Mr. Rajan Jones/Cikgu Nee
Kg. Gumum, Tasik Chini
Pekan, Pahang, Malaysia.
+6017 913 5089
More pictures taken during the trip can be found here.