Sunday, December 21, 2014

Paddy Field Experience - Sungai Nibong, Sekinchan

I’ve been invited from my secondary school friend Azhar for a ‘sawah padi’ (Paddy field) experience at his hometown in Sungai Nibong, approximately 10km drive from Sekinchan town.
His In-law own a few blocks of paddy field in small vicinity in Pantai Batu 23, Sungai Nibong (Parit 12, I think.. you may call it in a conservative way).
I always wanted for a hands on and have a closer look how exactly paddy look like in my naked hazel eye. At the same time, I need to expose my kids to this new set of life (other than Ipad, android, games, social media and astro).

The beach near the chalet. Not for swimming though


What can we do there? Can we catch a fish with our bare hands? Or fishing? Or play in the mud? Or harvest the paddy itself? – my questions to Azhar. He said “kind of” – meaning to say that the paddy has almost reach its maturity stage and waiting for the harvesting process and we may have 'that' experience. Oh well, we just have to give it a try – in view that it was a end of year long school holiday and feeling guilty of not having any plan for the kids.

On 30th November 2014, we head on to Sekinchan in Selangor state, about almost 100 km from the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Before that, I made an arrangement for accommodation with Pak Usop for a 2 night stay (you may google ‘homestay in Sekinchan’, you may find his handphone number) – by the way, Azhar know Pak Usop in person.

 It is important to share for a good cause. The contact number of the establishment.

 Another angle from the jetty

There are also room for let at RM60-00 per night

 Grocery shopping ...we ran out of supplies

About 1km from the main road, that’s where the chalet is. We arrived at noon and being greeted by the son of Pak Usop, Mohd Muzakir. The chalet is a nice maroon, sturdy building. Half of it were build on a stilt.
We immediately settled down in our cosy, spacious room. There is 1 queen bed and 1 single bed, - and the most important thing is, they have this veranda overseeing the jetty! I never expected that!
At RM80-00 per night it was not too shabby and worth for the money. Ample parking space, near to the eatery restaurant and its cheap!.

The spacious room

from the veranda...nice isn't it?

This is in front of our chalet, the eatery

 The chalet entrance

The Small Fishermen Jetty

From the veranda, we can view the row of fishermen boats, arranged nicely at the both side of the river. The river is heading towards the sea about almost 1km away. The amazing part here is that there was no unpleasant smell which normally derived from the river, the fish itself or something has been decayed. Its absolutely an amazing view! It’s a slow moving pace activities here during the day.

The mee udang specialist

 Panoramic view of our chalet (at the foreground)

At night we had our dinner in one of the restaurant, just 20 steps from our chalet. Having ‘steam siakap’ (a popular type of fish) cooked in lemon gravy was our scrumptious dinner for that night.
My my son, izz (11) and daughter (15) in front of our dinner spot

 Half consumed steam siakap in Lemon gravy...yummy!

The signature dish of local community and part of Sekinchan town

They also have the popular mee udang, burger stall, ‘roti canai’, satay and other fry cook dishes at this eating place. You don’t have to travel to town for a nice set of meal.

The next day, we had our lunch of ‘mentarang bakar’ (a type of shell – grilled) at popular eating spot named Faridah Mentarang Bakar located 7km away (towards Sekinchan town). It’s so popular that at certain times you need to queue for your turn. Faridah Mentarang Bakar had been featured in one of the popular TV show specific for unique eating outlet a while ago.

with shell-eating zombies

I'm not a shell eating fan...urgh...!!

 How it's made

This is the mentarang - a plate of RM8-00. The taste? err...hmmm...

The Paddy Field

Later that evening, Azhar took us for a ride at his In-law paddy field. That’s one hell of wide lush green paddy field ! The paddy field were nicely taken care off as it need gentle touch (I think). It is time to release the water from his part of paddy field to the adjacent stream. The area need to be left dry before the harvest machine can go in. The water level will subside in a day. We took this opportunity to swoop a fish or two using ‘tangguk’ (a type of net). Yes, my kids have their moment with this.
I can only see paddy field here...

 with my longtime friend - En Azhar

 Paddy field tour by En Azhar

 The rain is coming...

Azhar had left to Kuala Lumpur that night itself. As for us, we have another night to spent on. The next day, it is time to say goodbye to the paddy field with unforgettable memory – the beach, the prawn noodle, the ‘siakap’ fish, and mostly, the paddy field itself.
With En Azhar's father In Law - the legal owner of these profit making paddy field. Meeting the experienced and the young entrepreneur.

En Azhar is using his fish charm skill 

The canal at the right hand side is where the water will be disposed off

with my second son - the most stubborn and uncooperative lad

 Finally I have my own space for selfie
 In the foreground, the harvest machine in action.
On our way to Kuala Lumpur, we dropped by at this ‘Cendol Bakar’ (sort of shredded ice with coconut milk). At this eating outlet, there also have ‘nasi lemak’ (rice cooked with coconut milk), fried noodle, ‘keropok lekor’ (a type of fish cracker), a nice coconut shake and also gigantic curry puff. You should have it a try, relax and take a photo – you never know when you are going to be here again.

 Breakfast pit stop. Somewhere we belong

 The holiday mode is on

The keropok Lekor station

Keep calm and have a cendol instead

 mind my tummy and those oversized T90 pink black shirt

 On top of Bukit Malawati - that once become our fortress
 Overlooking the valley

With the monkey's food vendor

 Observing the life of monkey, just like animal planet

Desperately need to get acquaintance 

 We took photo here at the same spot couple of years ago, and we came back

Until next episode.....

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Greatest Achievement!
This is the revenge story of a crazy guy after failed attempt of climbing mount Kinabalu 2 weeks before.

Fast Fact (the fact that I’m unable to find during research) :

Guide Office operation hour – 7.00am – 5.00pm (answering the question can I register the guide on the day of the climb itself)
Timpohon Gate opens at 7.00am (not earlier than that), maybe close at 5.00pm (answering the question can I start early or not for a dayclimb)

Transport from KK Town (Padang Merdeka) (bus van) (to Kota Kinabalu – Ranau)  – last trip maybe around 4 to 5pm.
Transport from Kinabalu Park to KK Town – Last van maybe 5.00pm, just flag down at Partaban Restaurant road side

Fee : RM17-00 to RM20-00 per person one way. (Taxi – RM190-00 – RM200-00 one way)

the van bus...bound for Ranau

The last climbers to leave from Timpohon gate will most probably at 10.30am – 11.00am (a little bit late also can, depend on the guide as you will have 15 hours* to reach laban rata, relax).

* you need to start climb to the peak at 2.00am the next morning.

If you seem lost at any part of the park or KK town/KK park, just ask around, you will get the hang of it – universal tips.

Tips and Trick for a dayclimb :

1. High fitness Level

2. Book for 2 days 1 night accommodation from Sutera Sanctuary Lodges (RM366-00) – it’s all you need

3. On the day of your climb, during registration at the guide office, please state your intention to climb on the same day.

4. Sabah Park will allow you to climb on the same day only if you had booked accommodation at Laban Rata (the 2D1N package already include this)

The methodology is : you will climb from Timpohon straight to the peak of Mt Kinabalu on the same day, then descend back to Laban Rata where you will stay overnight, and descend back to Timpohon the next morning. You don’t need to wake up at 2.00am and join the rest of the crew, making you snail pace bee line to the summit.
* Mersilau Trail is not possible as the distance is much further - 2 km more

5. The trick is : after you had done the registration and state your intention for a day climb at the guide office, you actually have 2 chances to climb Mount Kinabalu. No. 1 is on the same day of your climb, if you fail to climb on day 1 due to weather or you physically can’t,...option no. 2, you can just overnight at Laban Rata, then try the next morning at 2.00am, like a standard arrangement .

6. If you’re likely to reach the summit after 1.00 pm, there is no one to stop you at 4,095 metres altitude rather than your guide, so, making good rapport with your guide is essential.

Achievement Summary of My Climb :

From Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata – in 2 hours 40 minutes (started at 7.20am – reached Laban Rata at 10.00am).
Distance : 6km
Rested for 20 minutes at Laban Rata

From Laban Rata to Sayat-Sayat checkpoint (7th km) – in 55 minutes (started at 10.20am – arrived at 11.15am)
Distance :  1km
Rested for 12 minutes

From Sayat-sayat to 8km checkpoint – in 37 minutes (started at 11.27am – arrived at 12.04pm)
Distance : 1 km

From 8km checkpoint to Peak – in 36 minutes (arrived at 12.40pm)
Distance : 600 metres
Rested 19 minutes, enjoy the view, taking photos – relax, there is no one here

From Peak to Laban Rata – in 36 minutes (arrived at 1.56pm) (crazy pace descending begins)
Distance : 2.6km
Rested 34 minutes, lunch

From Laban Rata to Timpohon Gate – in 1 hour 36 minutes (started at 2.30pm – arrived at 4.06pm)
Power walk in the rain. Yes, I’m crazy!

Here’s the Story

Climbing date : 20 September 2014 (Saturday)

One Day Climb had NOT been made possible beginning from August 2014 by Sabah Park (though many had successfully done it previously).

By looking at the compulsory requirement by the Sabah Park, that the climber shall reached the summit by 1.00pm and be back at Timpohon Gate by 5.00pm on the same day.

Meaning that a total of 10 hours allocated from the opening of Timpohon gate at 7.00am until the park close at 5.00pm.

It was believed that many had succumbed to injury, fatigue or various reason that resulted for them to reach back at Timpohon later than 5.00pm, which had cause inconvenience (in their own way) to Sabah Park.
my gear, supplement, protection

Arrangement Before Climb

One day earlier. Meet my guide who had been introduced by running friend at Parthaban Restaurant 5pm, few metres from the KK park’s entrance.
from Parthaban Restaurant
A Chinese Tea and Anchovies Bread
The Menu, a little bit pricey but ok still...
Where the payment was made, the guide himself will register and book for transport to timpohon gate. The deal is on to meet him tomorrow at 7.00am.

You may also register on the day of the climb (as I mentioned earlier) for a dayclimb (I’ve called Sabah Park numerous time to confirm this).

It’s getting dark, I packed fried rice for dinner from Parthaban restaurant (RM7-00). I walked to Kinabalu Mountain Lodge from KK Park for about 2km and another 800 metres further in.
The entrance from the main road

The main road, fruit and vege seller


Little bit more of climbing

Booked with for RM30-00 per bed per night was a worth one. Except for the squeaky iron double decker bed, everything is fine here. The toilet is outside, there is the veranda where you can view the surrounding, until its get dark.

Finally, I'm here....

The Verandah 

 the sun set around 6.30pm...nice ey..?

We have hot shower here..soap and conditioner. We also have moths flying around to accompany you.


Arranged for a call-taxi the next morning at 7.00am (RM15-00 per way). Woke up as early as 5.00am. Having breakfast of sandwich egg, great! Waited for the taxi until 6.45am, but due to panic (unable to reach KK park at 7.00am), I made my move by foot to KK park. I said to my Scottish new friend to pick up me on the way to KK park in case if the taxi came. As I reached 500 metres to KK park signboard, the taxi came to the rescue with my Scottish friend inside. Yay!!
waiting for my sandwich 

Mount Kinabalu is my cup of tea...

We reached KK Park at 7.06am, where I met my guide, who had already took my pre-packed lunch (egg, cheese sandwich, apple and mineral water) from Belsam Cafe (you already paid for the package). I taught a few steps on how to register for guide and porter to my Scottish friend, then, me and my guide hop on the van to Timpohon gate. No time to loose.

What do I bring on this journey : on my body – glove, tshirt, another layer of long sleeves shirt, shorts and another layer of long trekking pants. My backpack weight about 4 to 5kg (jacket, food, spare shirt and few essential items) (I should be only wearing few essential gear as we gonna climb only in one day, however, in case the climb is unsuccessful that day, I need to stay at Laban Rata for a night, so, the backpack and the items are important, if not I will freeze to death!). Not to forget footwear, the one and only Brooks Trailblade.

Stairs of Heaven

This is my 2nd ascending to Mt Kinabalu, we meet again. The steps initially were bearable, it was fast. Then it became slow until at one point I felt too tired to continue. I think at 3km mark. At this breaking point, my guide offered to carry my bagpack. I obliged – not to destroy my dignity and be such a pussy unable to carry that bag, but because the journey will be a lot faster for the benefit of us.

Yup, climbing stairs with nothing on your back was a relief. But not for long, the fatigue seeps in. I felt too weak. I lost energy. My guide said that I’m moving too fast and stepping too high to be the cause of the fatigue. We have less than 5 km to go. With that kind of distance when you are climbing was totally different measurement compared to running on a flat route. Your body will act as you run or walk twice the distance.

From the beginning of the climb, I will be in front, the normal guide will be at the back, waiting, watching and follow your pace. But…my guide doing the opposite, well, after seeing me with my crazy pace, he asked me to follow him. He will show the correct technique on how to climb the freaking stairs.

I'm holding the sandwich on my left hand, just waiting the perfect moment to consume it.

It was always with small steps. For every stairs you step, instead of 1 normal step, you break it down to 2 steps or more. The move was slow, but effective. We didn’t stop at any of the hut. Conserving energy in anyway we could. Consumed drink frequently is a must, Gatorade is my kind of choice.
My Gatorade tasted different - maybe it's the altitude

Where got tired?

We met few climbers who on their way down. We reached laban rata at 10.00am. One of the climber was surprised that we reached Laban Rata at that time. She said “astaga” some sort like “oh my god”, ha, ha…I never forget that face.

Anytime soon now... 

We replenished our water supply at the restaurant, plain water for free. Stacked up unwanted items from my backpack to another sack and left it at the counter. Then, we’re off to summit trail.
How is my hair?

My brooks trailblade never fail on me on those rocks. I don’t even need to hold on to the rope, but only at certain near to death section.

Sayat-Sayat Checkpoint (7th km)

We reached Sayat-Sayat checkpoint at around 11.15am, 37 minutes from Laban Rata. There was no one there. The gate was open. I think, if you brave enough to bend all rules, you might as well climb the mountain without the guide at this time (while you doing nothing in Laban Rata)…he, he…Even if the gate is close, just go around it, and continue to summit.

We rested about 12 minutes here. I had a short nap. The sun was blasting it’s bright light, the heat was a blessing. It’s cold up here. Please do take note that you body will mistakenly treat the heat as a non-harmful factor. But actually it will burn your skin – I’m suffering from a skin burnt on my face after the climb.

I quickly awakened by a high pitch voice calling out my name “ijam”! It’s time to move on. We started with slow pace, the rocks getting flatter much like an incline rock of savannah. The oxygen was getting thinner at 3700 metres. I need to breathe like a dog – gasping for more air.

My guide uses his umbrella to shelter from the sun.

Low’s Peak

From Sayat-Sayat (7th km mark) to the 8th km mark about one kilometre away took us about 37 minutes. What is in front of us were multiple summits consist of huge rocks. I would occasionally stop (err...50 steps) to catch my breath for the elusive oxygen then continued on.


We past the RM1 ringgit landmark, the donkey ears, and finally the summit. 600 metres to go with 200 metres of straight climb to the peak. The longest 200 metres for me in the history of mankind.


Reached the summit at 12.40pm. I just lie flat on the flat concrete of Mount Kinabalu summit signboard. My head was spinning and it hurt. After 5 minutes, I regain consciousness and properly sit down and enjoy the view. Finally, after 5 hours and 20 minutes, I’m on top of the world – the Majestic Mount Kinabalu!!. It was a sunny day with lots and lots of wonder clouds, intermittent mist that passed by. The wind was soothing but cold. For 19 minutes (yup, I monitor my time like a monitor lizard on it’s prey), then we headed down.


I think my watch need calibration (or the mountain?)

cloud 9!

Under my umbrella...ella..ella...ey..ey...

Proud pose 

I made it!!

Ok that's enough!

ok a little bit more : Selfie at 4,095 metres

Look what he's wearing - tights!!

Low’s Peak to Laban Rata

Crazy pace downhill is my kind of game. We did it in 36 minutes at 1.56pm. Having fried rice – though I don’t have the appetite. A few scoop of it, an Altitude Mountain Sickness Pill (AMS), Active Fast Panadol and endurolytes (hammer product) will be my supplement on the way down. I’m starting to feel sore on both my knees since the peak to Laban Rata descending.
A Big portion of fried rice

At 2.30pm, the descending from Laban Rata to Timpohon started. As I said, the downhill is my game. My knee is fine (thanks for the Paracetamol). Few word of encouragement for the climbers who had only few metres to reach Waras Hut in Laban Rata – ‘come on’, “u can do it”, “push it!”, “just a little bit more”!....

By 3.00pm the rain started to pours. For 1 hour we have to endure a wet, slippery and muddy trail. I put on my poncho bought at 7-11 for RM4.50. My pace will be much faster if it wasn’t for the rain.

My long trekking pants was giving me hard time, it’s 1 inch bigger than my actual waist, I forgot to bring the belt, so, it kind of slipping downward exposing my inner wear and it felt so uncomfortable. I need to constantly lift it up.

We overtook many climbers on our way down. There was one point whereby we met with a group of porter, one of them was ‘piggy-back’-ing a Korean or Japanese (I think) climber. I think she’s injured. I heard the cost of this kind of service will cost you dearly – RM500-00 per KM!.

The rain had stopped. In no time, I heard the sound of water fall – it’s carson water fall. Yay!! We finally made it home with one piece. We reached Timpohon Gate at 4.06pm. After 8 hours 46 minutes of climbing, I ended my journey.  I thanked my guide for his motivation and encouragement (by the way, he is a marathoner just like me..he, he..). With his capability and high spirit that pushed my lazy ass through those stairs. Mr Kudidi, you are one hell of a guide!!
it's actually 8 hours 8 minutes if I minus the resting time