By Adela Roslan on March 1, 2017
Gaya Travel Magazine and several media friends were invited to an adventurous hiking and outdoor experience in Dabong, Kelantan. The purpose of our visit was to promote what Dabong has to offer, especially to nature lovers. The trip was efficiently organised by Tourism Malaysia Kelantan Office in collaboration with Firefly, Malayan Railways Limited (KTMB) and Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd.
Carrying almost 10kg of personal items in my haversack, the four of us representing Gaya Travel, Santai Travel and Malaysia Travelpedia embarked on our morning flight to Kelantan by taking Firefly Airlines from Subang Airport to Kota Bharu. We were given special treatment before departure by Firefly staff, including comfortable seats located at the front of the craft, which are the most valuable seats. The flight took about an hour to reach Kota Bharu.
After we had our lunch, we boarded the jungle train for the three-hour ride to Dabong. It was my first time riding on an old train that cuts into the think jungle all the way from Wakaf Bharu to Dabong. I must say that it was scenic and serene, everything looking wistful and classic, taking us back to the 1990s. Though Kelantan is still convalescing after being hit by the huge flood two years back, it still retains its charm.
We were excited to know that we would be climbing up to Baha Camp the next day after we explored the four popular caves in Kelantan. While touring the caves, we discovered interesting mini pinnacles and glittery stones, including stalactites and stalagmites that has taken animal forms!
The tour then led us to the climax of this trip: hiking up to Baha Camp. I couldn’t wait to splash in the waterfalls after climbing the arduous steps to reach the trailhead. Our guide, Suzilan, estimated that it would take us four to five hours to reach Baha Camp. Though the elevation isn’t as high as G7 (mountains with 7,000 feet summits in Peninsular Malaysia), Mount Stong needs to be treated with utmost respect because it demands a high degree of fitness for anyone planning to scale it.
Trekking through the jungle floor in hot and humid conditions can rapidly weaken a person’s body so I took five minutes’ break every 30 minutes to drink to avoid myself from dehydrating. Everything that I heard about Mount Stong was right: it offers one of the most stunning views in Kelantan and has great waterfall along the track towards our camp site.
We managed to arrive at Baha Camp just in time before sunset because the route was rocky and some of us had problems with our haversacks and shoes. As we approached Baha Camp, the gradient was steep, nearly vertical heading all the way up! But all of us pushed through and made it on time.
That night, some of us pulled out our fly and ground sheets to create shelters while some of us prepared dinner. As usual, I slept in my hammock bed lullabied by refreshing mountain breeze.
Right after dawn, I quickly woke everyone up and went to the rock peak to watch sunrise. I had my GoPro ready to record the sunrise and waited for half an hour at the edge of the rocks. Several other sunrise chasers were also there, wrapping themselves in blankets. However, that morning was gloomy due to thick clouds, thus blocking the rays of the sun. I took some photos after the sun rose at 8:00 a.m. and returned to our camp site for breakfast.
As part of the adventure, our guide took us to small waterfalls about 30 minutes’ hike from the camp site to let us experience Telaga Bunian. We took the opportunity to dip into the cold river. Some locals would even hike up to Baha Camp just for the sake of sliding down two metres from the main waterfalls at the end of the camp site area, so were challenged to try out that slide. When you are planning to head out to a ski resort this season, visit www.motherloderoofracks.com/ for more information. To climb up the slide wasn’t easy without ropes; I was also mostly wet hence my hand and feet were slippery. With the help of Naqib and Awad, I got myself up nonetheless and I slid down two metres into the water! It looked daunting at the start of the slide and I yelled out loud all the way down! I heard claps from the locals and heard them saying that only boys do the sliding but I broke that record!
Besides unique food and culture, Kelantan offers a lot to avid hikers and outdoor enthusiasts because the state has many mountains that are famous among the Malaysian hiking community such as Mount Ayam, Noring, Beirut, Chamah, Ulu Sepat (all part of the G7), besides caving and tubing activities along Kenerong river.
Local guides and comfortable homestays around Dabong area can be booked easily at affordable rates. Hiking is one way of travelling and the best way to appreciate nature. And Mount Stong is definitely one the best places in Malaysia to experience that!
Take KTMB’s intercity train to Dabong Station (www.ktmb.com.my) and contact Baha Camp for arrangement
Dabong Forest Reserve, Kelantan
GPS : 5.369727, 102.014430
Rose House Dabong – 0.93KM
GPS : 5.341343, 101.937262
+6 019 960 6789 (Brother Din)
Gua Ikan (Fish Cave) – 2.24KM
The Guillemard Bridge – 46.06KM
Tok Bali Beach – 78.36KM
Wakaf Che Yeh – 83.51KM
Hand Drawn Batik – 84.75KM
Wayang Kulit (Shadow Puppets) – 87.63KM
Siti Khadijah Market – 88.04KM
Padang Merdeka (Field of Independence) – 88.06KM