Cuti-cuti Malaysia: Chamang Fall, Pahang

Chamang Fall - 08 Chamang Waterfall I think that Chamang Falls is one of the nicest waterfalls around that requires zero effort to get to. None of those trekking stuff: just park your car, walk a few steps and voila! your eyes will be well rewarded with a beautiful, powerful, cascading waterfall.

Chamang Fall is near Bentong town in Pahang, accessible from Karak Highway. Take the exit into Bentong/Raub and you’ll come upon brown signs directing you to town and subsequently Chamang Fall. This waterfall is quite popular and thus slightly commercialised: they have a huge carpark, and (paid) changing rooms and toilets. Very popular with the locals, gets rather busy on weekends and public holidays.


View Larger Map

There are camping and picnic areas. A couple of wading pools are big and safe for kids. During the rainy season, the current can get strong, no point risking your life trying to impress nobody by doing dangerous stunts. There are a lot of hidden whirlpools near the rocks and some parts are dangerous. There have been a lot of accidents and deaths here, so always be careful and mindful.

That said, I think it’s a lovely waterfall and you should definitely visit it if you can. A suspension bridge connects the two sides of the stream; before the bridge, people use to cross to the other side by stepping on rocks…! Scary because even at the lower levels, the current may still be strong. You’ll know it when you see it.

Chamang Fall - 01 Ryan at the bridge
Little explorer

Chamang Fall - 02 Ryan, Shirley, Yuki
At one of the bigger wading pools

Chamang Fall - 03 Ryan and Suanie
Ryan and his favourite Xiao Yi

Chamang Fall - 04 playing

Chamang Fall - 05 playing

Chamang Fall - 07 Yuki and Horng

Chamang Fall - 06 cascades

Videos:

Suggested day trip itinerary:

10.30 am: Reach the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary. Register and donate for a yellow sticker.
10.45 am: Drive out to the nearby Deerland, requires entrance fee. Spend some time checking out the animals. Feed the deer and have your photo taken with a sun bear.
12 pm: Get lunch. Either you’ve packed it or eat at the cafe at the sanctuary.
1 pm: Watch a screening of the introduction video at the sanctuary. Chill and relax, hang out.
2 pm: Elephant activities begin, yay!
4 pm: Either go straight to Chamang Falls nearby, OR: go to KFC in Bentong, have a feast THEN proceed to Chamang Falls. OR takeaway KFC in Bentong, proceed to Chamang Falls and have a finger lickin’ good picnic there.

Cuti-cuti Malaysia: Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary, Pahang

Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary - Ryan Shirley the Singaporean came visiting during the long Raya break. Since there’s not much to see in KL, I thought of bringing her to places other than shopping malls. I thought of revisiting the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary so we went on the eve of Raya along with Horng, Yuki and Ryan the Nephew.

The Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary is near Lanchang, Pahang. It was established years ago to translocate wild elephants that were causing problems for local villagers. It wasn’t entirely their fault as their natural habitat was being weaned off. Wild elephants like any wild animals can be dangerous, especially if they’re scared and confused. The centre also rescues and rehabilitate abandoned elephants, left behind by their herds. Since the late 90s, the centre opened its doors to the public for awareness and public monetary donations to help keep it going.

Getting there by car: From 1Utama new wing to the sanctuary near Lanchang is about 105km, less than 2 hour journey via the Karak Highway. Once you exit into Lanchang, there will be signs directing you to the sanctuary.


View Larger Map

The centre is open daily from 9am to 4.45pm except on major public holidays. However ‘activities with elephants’ start from 2pm onwards, so if you’d like to watch a video about the centre/ see the elephants do basic tricks/ ride on the elephants/ swim with the elephants, then you’ve to be there by 1pm and register yourselves. Only the first 150 daily visitors get to ride on/ swim with the elephants. If it’s a busy weekend or the school holiday season, you may be out of luck if you get there too late. You can still watch the show and feed the elephants but no riding nor swimming. Entrance fees are via a donation amount, don’t be stingy!

I was first at the sanctuary years ago and things have changed. The centre looks bigger, cleaner and nicely renovated. When you enter the main area where the activities are done, you’d see a few pens with baby elephants inside, waiting to be fed with peanuts and bananas by adoring visitors. Enterprising workers had set up a stall where you could buy snacks to feed the elephants.

Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary - getting friendly

They cordoned off the extremely large jungle area where the bigger elephants are kept. Previously it was like in a zoo and the elephants minded their own business from behind a fence. I think the area is still there but it’s now covered by a green wall. Pity, I prefer the open concept.

Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary - Suanie and Ryan

The show starts at 2pm. A guy with a mic stands at the stage, telling you of the different elephants that they have rescued. A few elephants appeared with their minders, did some tricks like lifting their legs. The guy explains that they teach the elephants these things not to make them perform like a cheap circus would, but it’s more for the elephants’ survival.

As I stood there in the sun staring at the elephants, I suddenly felt that they are miraculous creatures. What magnificent looking animals! God made them in his own image, eh?

Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary - rescued elephants

You also get to feed the elephants with fruits that the minders had prepared. The trays of fruits were a mixture of watermelon and bananas.

Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary - happy tourists

If you have a yellow sticker, you get to stand in line and wait to ride on the elephants! It’s without a saddle, apparently the hair is prickly and you just go around a small circle. At least it’s an experience.

Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary - elephant ride

After that, you can go into the water with a couple of elephants. They call it swimming with the elephants but from where I was (dryly) standing, it was a bit of a farce. Basically you get on top of the elephant in the water and the happy minder splashed water at you, while encouraging your friends and other people to do the same. The water didn’t look very clean to me so I didn’t allow Ryan to do it. We went to the nearby waterfall instead.

Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary - bathing with elephants

If you’re thinking of going to the sanctuary for a day trip, here’s a suggested itinerary:

10.30 am: Reach the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary. Register and donate for a yellow sticker.
10.45 am: Drive out to the nearby Deerland, requires entrance fee. Spend some time checking out the animals. Feed the deer and have your photo taken with a sun bear.
12 pm: Get lunch. Either you’ve packed it for yourselves or eat at the cafe at the sanctuary.
1 pm: Watch a screening of the introduction video at the sanctuary. Chill and relax, hang out.
2 pm: Elephant activities begin, yay!
4 pm: Either go straight to Chamang Falls nearby, OR: go to KFC in Bentong, have a feast THEN proceed to Chamang Falls. OR takeaway KFC in Bentong, proceed to Chamang Falls and have a finger lickin’ good picnic there.

Best itinerary ever!

Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary, Pahang
Opens daily 9am – 5pm, except on the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
Info on: TripAdvisor

A random funny thing

I’d attached some information to an e-mail and sent it off to my brother-in-law (BIL). In the body text, I simply wrote, ‘Nah’. You know how we talk, e.g. “nah here’s your book” or “nah got you the stuff you wanted”. I think it may be a local Chinese thing. In any case I didn’t think too much of it.

My BIL forwarded the e-mail to his PA and she wrote back asking for clarification.

“Dear Nah…”

:D

This incident has made me realise that I should address my communication better. After all, I’m nearly 30 soon.

(Still hanging on to 29!!!)