It was early morning when we arrived in Kuala Kubu Baru, Selangor, the nearest town to Sungai Chiling. Here, we met up with the organisers.
After a light breakfast of wonton noodles and kopi-o-ais (iced black coffee), we drove up to Sungai Chiling on the road towards Fraser’s Hill.
There were already many cars parked by the entrance along the roadside. I was quite shocked to discover that what was supposed to be an outing with 30 people, had expanded to over 50 people!
We soon came to a signboard announcing the Chiling River Fish Sanctuary. This was the entrance to one of Selangor’s best waterfalls.
We came to a clearing with food and drink stalls, toilets, a picnic area and the ranger’s hut, where we paid the entrance fee of RM1 each.
The organiser sounded his whistle to call everyone together for a safety briefing and we were then divided into a few sub-groups (with a guide each). The adventure would involve crossing the river 12 times to get to the waterfalls and back.
This first and easiest river-crossing was a wooden bridge but there was a mini traffic jam here as hikers paused to snap selfies!
We hiked into the jungle on paths filled with muddy puddles (it had been raining the night before) with bushy undergrowth on both sides.
A crowd of bathers at the pools below a waterfall.
We passed by a signboard which prohibited littering and also feeding the fish in the river. I was glad to see that the area was relatively free of rubbish.
Soon, we came to a gigantic overturned log and I proceeded to climb over it. We then came to the second crossing, which was through the water. A squeal of delight pierced the air. One of the ladies was pointing excitedly at her feet and everyone rushed forward.
The water was so clear that we could see schools of beige-coloured fish swimming around her feet. Later, I found out from the ranger that these were “ikan kelah” (mahseer fish), which are a sign of pristine, unpolluted river water.
Excitedly, I whipped out my handphone (which was in a waterproof casing) to take a video clip. But when the crowd gathered, the splashing of feet in the water (and everyone’s loud chatter too) caused the fish to disperse.
Crossing the river can be precarious, especially when it has been raining and the water level is high and there are swift currents.
The river bed was sandy but there were also many slippery, slime-covered rocks. I had to be careful where I placed my feet (clad in sandals) to get a secure footing.
Some of the other hikers used walking sticks or hiking poles to assist them in crossing the river. An elderly lady told me that was helpful because she had knee problems.
The trail followed the meandering river and as we went deeper into the jungle, we began a gradual climb. The vegetation grew thicker but we could still catch glimpses of the river through the trees.
The next crossing was using a makeshift log. A few of the hikers were nervous and took some time to walk across the “bridge” while more unconventional ones like me decided to cross in the water, simply because it was more fun!
It had been raining a bit the past few days and the water came up to my waist. The currents were quite strong at certain parts and I was actually hugging huge half-submerged rocks for support as I crossed the river.
At a certain part, I almost got washed away, but thankfully, two guys in front of me quickly grabbed my hands! I was told that during the monsoon season, people had been washed away in flash floods before. There were two more water crossings to come, but they were not as “exciting” as this one.
Interesting rock formations near the first waterfall.
After walking for about 90 minutes, we came to the first waterfall. It was a majestic one surrounded by rocky outcrops, and there was a large pool teeming with fish – when we waded in, they tried to nibble at our feet. It felt rather ticklish.
There were already many other hikers here and some had even been camping overnight. After taking a dip in the water, we decided to move on to the next waterfall.
But suddenly, everyone stopped. There was a steep embankment and the hikers in front were hesitant about going up. However, there were some rough footholds and a rope for holding on to, as well as tree roots. We patiently waited to tackle the tricky climb.
When it came to my turn, I tested each huge tree root to make sure it could take my weight before using it as a climbing hold to get up the steep slope. Surprisingly, it didn’t feel as difficult as it looked.
We finally reached the last crossing and came to a second, quieter, waterfall. Surrounded by cliffs, it looked magnificent but it wasn’t accessible.
The waterfalls at Sungai Chiling, Selangor, are some of the best in the country.
After another ascent, we came to a third, upper falls which had its own amazing “private swimming pool”. This was the most scenic of the three cascades – and it was not as crowded too.
I sat on a rock in the middle of the pool with a friend to enjoy the view. Fish swam at our feet.
Some of the hikers unpacked their food and had their lunch. It was already late afternoon. Others went for a swim in the pool and tried to take selfies with the gushing waterfall in the background.
Soon, the whistle sounded. The guide told us that it was time to make our journey back. We started off and I kept walking quickly.
While there was a huge crowd in front of me during the journey to the waterfalls, on the way back, I suddenly I found myself with the front few trekkers.
We paused at each fork in the road to make sure that the trekkers behind could see where we had turned before moving on. Each group of trekkers did the same for the groups behind them. When we arrived at the log bridge, this time I decided to take the road more travelled.
After we had cleared all the river crossings, we took a break to wait for the stragglers to catch up. Then it was time to set off again.
I kept walking, not realising that the guide had paused to help someone. When I saw movement in the distance ahead of me, I rushed on. Not seeing anyone, I walked even faster thinking that they must be quite far ahead. Without realising it, I reached the wooden bridge and found the way out.
Strangely, there wasn’t anyone in front of me. What an “oops” ending to a great adventure!
Source : http://www.star2.com/travel/adventure/2016/05/26/braving-the-waterfalls-of-sungai-chiling/