Blog: Berembun Fall

Kenny's blog

  • I’ve just returned from a 3 day/2 night backpacking trip to the Cemerong Forest Reserve in Terengganu, Malaysia. Malaysians are lucky. They have miles of pristine jungle trails and rivers of cold, crystal clear water.

My friend, Kiwi, who runs the nearby Paka River Camp, invited me along for this trip that he’d organized for his son and a few of his son’s friends.

From the Park Headquarters, we hiked from the bottom of Cemerong Waterfall to the top. At 305m, Cemerong Falls is the highest waterfall in Malaysia. At the top, we did what must be the most insane thing I’ve done this year! We crawled over slimy rocks, slick with flowing water, out into the middle of the waterfall and peered down over the edge! I’m sure it must be safer than it looked to me because Kiwi wouldn’t let his son (or his son’s friends) do something stupid and dangerous. Getting our 'macho' shot at the top of Cemerong Falls. From left: me, Yogi, Kisnu (our guide with the blue hat, obscured), Kelvin and Ee Feng. Marvin is taking the picture.

We spent the night in Camp ‘Y’ and hiked over the top of Gunung Berembun (1034m) the next day to Lansir Falls. It was a beautiful walk along a small trail beside the Sungei Lansir stream. The trail would crisscross the stream a few times. We spent our second night camped out on the granite shores Lansir Falls. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos to show you because my camera died on the morning of the second day.

The distance hiked each day was short, but if you looked at the distance and were expecting a short and easy walk, you’d be mistaken. The hiking was fairly technical, which is typical of this sort of jungle trek. There were a number of stream crossings, and some pretty steep ups and downs. In places where the trail splits, there may be no obvious signs which way to go. That, plus the lack of good maps, means that if you want to do this walk, you’ll probably need a guide. I suggest you email Kiwi at [email protected] or check out his website Paka River Camp for a heads up.

On the third morning, we hiked back out, stopping along the way for yet another swim in another crystal clear, cold stream.

Kok's blog WHAT was supposed to be an ordinary day trip to a waterfall turned out to be an extraordinary adventure at Lata Berembun, near Raub in Pahang.

It began at Kampung Baru Sungai Klau, where 10 of us eagerly climbed into two 4WD vehicles. These Jeeps, brightly painted green and yellow, were mean machines with big tyres to match and high suspension for maximum ground clearance. There was a reinforced bar with an eclectic mix of parts and extensive modification. These are the works of our local “American Chopper” on Jeeps.

The first few minutes were rather mild as we wound our way through the village but there was no turning back the moment we began our ascent. With an “insane” driver at the wheel, we had many heart-stopping moments along the dirt road that had room for a single vehicle only at any one time.

We hung on for dear life as our driver took sharp corners at blazing speed, honking like crazy. We screamed whenever we skidded and our vehicle came to within mere inches from the edge of the cliff.

“Come again during the wet season. It’s more action and more adrenaline-pumping,” said our driver. No thanks but we like it dry just fine.

The earlier briefing at the foothill was most appropriate. Scenes of lush forests and orchards of papaya, guava, durian and cocoa held our gaze every now and then. We dodged and laid low whenever we heard the word “down” or “branch”. A moment’s delay could send us flying off the jeep if a tree branch hit us.

A short lesson at the obstacle course was rather thrilling. The 45º gradient climb and descent at high speed was fun. Now I appreciate the joys of owning a 4x4 and going on expeditions.

Mad, Mad Ride

Instead of taking the fast and easy way across the stream via the bridge, our “crazy” driver decided to attempt the rocky stream itself.

Holding on to the reinforced bars, we rocked from side to side and were flung to the front and back as the jeep made its way over rocks.

At one point the vehicle got stuck in the stream and our driver used the opportunity to proudly show off his handling skills. We cheered when we finally made it to the other side.

Forty-five minutes later, we reached Lata Berembun. We tumbled off the vehicle and I was never so glad to be standing on solid ground.

With the shock treatment ride, I was sure some joints had been thrown out of place. But before I could complain out loud, a truck drove in, filled with a group of elderly men and women in their 50s and 60s. I was amazed that they had survived the journey.

Into The Water

Next, we hiked five minutes to the main waterfall. We wasted no time jumping into the pool. At 1,000m above sea level, the water was icy cold, sending a chill deep into our bones.

But it was worth every shiver. Some of us opted for an aqua massage right under the falls, letting the falling water unknot our tight muscles. The cool fresh air and serene environment was very relaxing and we saw some picnickers taking a nap among the giant boulders.

It took some teamwork to get to the next waterfall. A fallen tree trunk provided hold support as we waded through the water and slippery rocks. From there it was a steep climb up and we manoeuvred over tight ledges. I was glad to find ropes for hanging on to.

The water-slide was a big hit. One had to queue to enjoy the slide but it was worth the wait. The natural water-slide into the turquoise pool was so exhilarating we hurriedly rejoined the queue to have another go. Thankfully, my shorts survived and did not spring a tear.

Lata Berembun was a trip full of heart-stopping moments, breathtaking scenery and wet fun. I was glad to come out whole and without a scratch. Though there were leeches, I was not bitten by any.

On reflection, it was not without danger. There were moments when a wrong turn or skid would have sent us crashing down the cliff and a wrong step would have meant a twisted ankle or broken skull.

This is Berembun Waterfall, the Giant Fall or in Chinese “White Leaf Mountain”.

Berembun Fall