(Day 0-1) / The trip to Gunung Ulu Sepat was organised by Adventure Village. Led by team leader Robin Wong, the team of 25 experienced and literally un-experienced hikers gathered and set off to the adventure in the mountainous regions of Ipoh, Perak. The plan was to bus to Ipoh, have breakfast then take a 4 wheel drive to the Orang Asli Village where we'll start our hike to base camp. The next day, we'll ascend and descend in a day before departing the mountain range on the third day.
The team gathered at 8.30pm at Woodlands MRT station, before boarding our private bus bound for Ipoh. Departing at 9pm, the journey to Ipoh was an overnight one. In spite of the several stops we made along the trip, we reached Ipoh around 6am in the morning. Breakfast was held at the famous Dim Sum place. Damn that was nice!
Next, the bus drove us to a Mosque in Lasah, we then boarded 4WD to take us to the Orang Asli Village deep in the mountain range. Taking over 3 hours, the drive took us over bumpy terrain and logging routes where there were still signs of logging activities.
The Orang Asli village was clean, large and spacious. Despite my assumptions on the Orang Asli living in squatter houses, they actually live in proper elevated bamboo houses with slightly modern facilities. For example, some houses feature satellite dishes outside while most houses have zinc plate roofs. With running water and proper areas for play, living and transportation, the village was far from what i imagined.
We ate our lunch and prepared for the trip into the mountain range. Led by a few Orang Asli guides, and Uncle Ming (Our forest guide), we set off into the mountain range. The route was muddy and slippery. As the gradient was constantly heading upwards, the weather gradually improved too. We crossed many stream and rivers, and walked and walked for about 5 hours, before reaching our base camp.
The route took us upriver, on steps along the rapids and steep slopes up and down hills as we crossed streams. With weathered paths and the lush tropical rainforest, the forest was alive with activity from all areas. With deadfalls and overgrown roots, fallen trees and rock boulders to cross, the journey was eventful indeed. The last part was completed with a slight drizzle.
Base camp was a pretty and welcoming sight. Warm milo and cosy interiors greeted us when we reached the hut. The hut was slightly elevated with bamboo interiors. Despite the cold weather in the open, the hut was warm from the fire lighted within, where dinner is prepared. As I settled down and took off dirted clothing, I found myself aside the fire, slowly absorbing the heat while sipping some warm Milo. One word, shiok.
Base camp was beautiful too. Outdoor toilets were a 3 minute walk away, where the shit-hole was against a slope. Simple - Just shit and cover with your toilet papers. The wash area was a 5 minute downslope away at the shallow rapids. Running water from the river was available near to the hut, where the water color was yellow in color. Soon, dinner was served. Dinner was Stir Fried Long Beans, Salted Chicken, Omelette eggs and a whole lot of white rice - cooked perfectly.
After dinner, we had an early rest. The night was beautiful. As i headed out for a toilet break, the vast amount of stars were so much that I found myself bathing in awesomeness. Damn.. I'm not kidding. It's just like the opening in Star Wars!