Thursday, March 9, 2017

Weekend Getaway in Malaysia: All You Have to Know about Sungai Lembing, Pahang

      Traveling afar is on everyone's bucket list, hence Iceland, Korea, Japan, Indonesia became the biggest trend among Malaysian travelers last year... However, even if budget doesn't allow, it doesn't mean that we have to put our traveling plans on hold. Here is our suggestion: instead of traveling far, why not explore our own backyard in Malaysia? Because beautiful places can be found in our home country as well, and it only takes a weekend! The moon is not always fuller on the other side. 
      Now, let's talk about Sungai Lembing, Pahang, Malaysia, the place we spent our last weekend immersing in total tranquility. Here we go! 
Sungai Lembing


HOW TO GET THERE: 

1. By flight and bus: From any big cities in Malaysia, take a domestic flight to Kuantan, Pahang's capital city.  From the Kuantan bus terminal, you'll be able to find buses to Sungai Lembing (hourly service).  
2. By car: Start the journey from Kuala Lumpur. Follow the East Coast Highway and Karak Highway to get to Kuantan. You'll be passing through a toll plaza after 3 hours. There will be another 30 minutes to go (Just follow Waze or the road signs). 


WHERE TO STAY: 

The Time Capsule Retreat (Click to read full review)
For our 3 days 2 night vacation, we checked into the Aurora Parallel room by Time Capsule Retreat. It is located in the Sungai Lembing town just a stone throw away from the main street. Surrounded by lush greenery, our room features soul-healing forest view. Perfect for a weekend escape from the tensed-up city life. 

Alternatively, you can choose from this list of Sungai Lembing hotels on Booking.com.


WHAT TO DO: 

1. Hiking
A) The Rainbow Waterfall
Sungai Lembing rainbow waterfalls       First up, riding on the jeep across mountains and rivers was undoubtedly an eye-opening experience, as we were treated with excellent views along the way. It took about an hour to reach a broader river before we made our way to the famous waterfall. And here comes the tough part... 

Friendly reminder:
Remember to pack your things in a water-resistant bag because what you will be dealing with is – A LOT OF water.

Sungai LembingThe river behind me is the river I conquered. Half of my body was soaked and the current was pretty strong. By holding on to a rope, we successfully waded (or should I say... swam?) across the water. Next, we hiked toward the waterfall. It took us around 45 minutes to reach the top.
     We didn’t get to see the rainbow at first because it was a little cloudy that day. It was colder than usual too. The wind was quite strong, bringing the water from the waterfalls towards us, it literally made me feel like I was showering in the rain... and this continued for a very long time. While waiting for the rainbow, our tour guide made us cup noodles and hot drinks. They are absolutely God-sent... or else I might not be able to "survive" the trip!

Friendly reminder: 
1. There will be leeches along the trail, so bring some salt with you. 
2. The appearance of rainbow is NOT guarantee because it depends on a) the weather, b) sunlight, c) your luck. 

Sungai Lembing waterfall

Sungai Lembing tour

And, FINALLY. We saw it-- The RAINBOW, formed beautifully at the foot of the gushing waterfall. 


       Thank God the clouds cleared up after some time and we were blessed with not just one but two rainbows! If you look closely enough, you will be able to see the second one 2cm above the first one on large scale photo. I was just too lucky!!  All the hardships turned out to be totally worth it!
       I must admit that as a Malaysian, I’ve seen pictures of the Rainbow Waterfall online too many times but I put them off as Photoshopped productions. A visit to the waterfall proved me wrong. I could never imagine how magnificent it is until I witnessed it with my own eyes. 

Sungai Lembing rainbow waterfall


B) The Panorama Hill
Another notable site at Sungai Lembing is the Panorama Hill. Here you'll be able to witness one of the most incredible sunrises in the region. From the top, one could also enjoy the enchanting view which the locals called "Ocean of White Clouds/ δΊ‘ζ΅·", by facing to the west. The trail is a well planned one, with steps leading up to the hilltop. The hike averagely lasts 45 minutes, suitable for visitors of all ages.   

2. Food-hunting
One important lesson learned, be an early bird in Sungai Lembing. Or else you’re gonna hear a lot of voices telling you that what you want is SOLD OUT. Luckily, there were still some nice local specialties left to satisfy my taste buds. 
What I've tried: 
The famous Yong Tau Fu, Putu Bamboo, Tau Fu Fa (near the suspension bridge), Pahang Version Mee Jawa, and the Famous Roasted Pork
Other recommended specialties: 
Lembing coconut biscuits/ Biskut Kuantan, Lembing Mee
Additional tips for first-time visitors to Malaysia: 
Try ABC (Ice Kacang) and Soya cincao (soya milk with black jelly). They are especially refreshing after staying long under the hot sun. 
Sungai Lembing Yong Tau Fu
Sungai Lembing Yong Tau Fu
Mountain water tau fu fa
Mountain water tau fu fa
putu bamboo
putu bamboo
Sungai Lembing roasted pork
Sungai Lembing Famous Roasted Pork
Lembing Mee



3. Walk The Town
Don't expect much as the town is very very small, however, the "Kampung" ("Village" in Malay language) ambiance is really heartwarming. To a kampung kid like me, it felt like home; For a city kid, things will definitely surprise you. The old buildings are perfectly preserved, no new construction projects are going on. So just slow down and sink into the calm kampung lifestyle... talk to a local, make some genuine human connections, and keep your electronic device out of this, for once.  
Other than that, if you are a fan of local productions and consider yourself fearless, try to wander the town at night in search of... (Lembing town is the setting of the horror movie "Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam II"


If time is on your side, I highly recommend checking out the old shop lots. A lot of these shops are still selling stuff we used to eat/play during our childhood, which will definitely bring all 80s-90s kids back to the good old days. I believe this is a great opportunity for Foreigners to learn about Malaysia, going deep into the roots about the culture, the people and the things we love, used to love and still love. A walk around the town is no ordinary walk... instead, it is a walk down our (Malaysian's) memory lane. 


Lembing Town



4. The Suspension Bridge
Also, don't forget to make time for the suspension bridges over Sungai Lembing! There are actually a few hanging bridges connecting both sides of the river, but you don't have to experience them all! Just ask the locals for the longest, oldest bridge. If you are feeling fit, bicycles are available for rent nearby, starting as low as RM 5.00 per hour. 


5. The Museums
Visit Sungai Lembing Museum or Mining Tunnel Museum to learn more about the town’s rich past. Some of our grandparents may have seen Sungai Lembing's heydays being one of the largest subterranean tin mines in the world... If you are one of those lucky kids growing up listening to those stories, it would be interesting to "experience the life of a mining worker" ourselves, right? Heigh-Ho, heigh-ho!!!


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Unfortunately, time was a restraining factor for us, but if you have more time, do check out the following places of interest in and near Sungai Lembing!
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6. The Handmade Lembing Mee Factory 
Lembing mee may look ordinary, but the first bite marks the difference -- they are more chewy, as we Chinese like to say, they are "Q". and also some say they are sweet... well I think what they mean is that the Lembing mee do not have the "alkali water" taste like other factory-produced noodles. If you are interested to know more about these noodles, pay a visit to the factory where it all started (70+ years ago). and just in case you need to buy something home as souvenirs, how about a few packets of raw Lembing Mee? They last for a week in the refrigerator.

7. Sungai Pandan/ Panching Waterfalls

Another waterfall just as impressive as the Rainbow waterfall, just that there is no rainbow formed below it. Other than that, there is no hiking involved, only a short walk to reach the falls. The basin of the fall is not too deep, leveling between waist to chest of an adult. 

8. Charas Cave (4km away) 

Located at the foot of Panching Hill, this natural wonder is famous for the 9m long reclining Buddha inside a hidden temple. The cave is now well equipped with lightings and walkways.  

9. D'Paradise Sungai Jin Deer Farm (5km away) 

Operate since 1992, this deer farm features a chance to interact with deers, originally "imported" from Mauritius and Australia. For those who prefer to keep a distance from the deers, you can observe them from a 25-feet-high 'Look Out Tower'. 

10. Kampung Orang Asli Sungai Jin (5km away)

Also known as "Kampung Mas", it is a settlement for the Orang Asli (directly translated to the original people of the land). For a living, they have turned to rubber tapping and cattle rearing.

11. Mount Tapis Nature Park (16km away)

Standing at 4, 957 feet, Mount Tapis is the 18th highest mountain in the peninsula. From jungle tracking, 4WD adventures, riding rapids to slower pace activities like camping and bird watching, this nature park definitely have something for everyone. 

12. Pasir Kubur (Sandy Graveyard)
This beautiful picnic spot has a chilly name due to a graveyard located nearby. Come here to chill out with the locals, and if you fancy a dip in the pristine river, you are free to do so. 


πŸ“ŒFor more travel tips, like Eat Love Travel Breathe with Miss HappyFeet. 
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Thank You for Reading! This post is submitted by MHF's blog contributor, Choco Yinnsbased on her recent trip to Sungai Lembing. Blog post cowritten by Blog editor.  
An ordinary girl who loves the beautiful world like everyone else. The only difference that set her apart from the others might be this-- She is willing to put everything down but her luggage, stepping out to experience the world she loves.
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