9 Jun 2013

Camping Merapoh, Sg. Relau.

We spent a lovely weekend away at Taman Negara Merapoh, Sg. Relau with six other families.  When we first arrived at the campsite, we were really disappointed with how the campground looked. It was super hot, several trees had wasps nests, and the river that flowed next to campground was murky, not a breath of wind.  It looked no better than anyone's backyard and less than 10 minutes after arrival, one of the kids got stung, and several more received bites throughout the stay.

Some backed out of camping and decided to rent a chalet next to the campground. (Chalet costs RM90 with aircond.)  Well...the rest of us decided that since we'd driven all the way there, we might as well set up tent.  After setting up tent, we decided to trek to escape the scorching heat.


10 minutes into the jungle (err...quite a lot of leeches!), the air got cooler and we saw the river as it should be, the beautiful Sg. Relau river. Quite fast flowing at certain spots, cold and almost crystal clear. The kids jumped in immediately. Some started building structures with pebbles and slates they found, creating imaginary sushi and furniture shops in the river, some built dams and forts and some had races and water fights.

Boys having a swimming race upstream.

Exploring the beautiful Relau River. The current is strong and several slippers and stuff flowed downstream and away.

A splashing fight and good time.

After a really refreshing swim, we had BBQ for dinner, and of course marshmallows for the kids. Then the 17 children played till their heart's content while we adults sat and chatted. In between many insects dropped by to show off their colours. It's amazing how many varieties of insects we found! This thrilled us all, especially the bug lovers and children.

 It was hard falling asleep after that because of the heat. It only got cooler about 3am.

Were awaken early by the amazing sounds of the forest. That's one thing I really loved about Merapoh, it's just teeming with wildlife. First thing I saw was a huge hornbill flying across the sky. A group of gibbons called loudly from nearby and an amazing orchestra of insects made incredibly powerful sounds.

A few of us walked the forest path in silence listening to the morning sounds of nature. The children cupped their ears and were amazed at the high frequency of sounds traveling all around us.

Some of us then decided to take a 4WD towards Kelah Sanctuary. The ride was wild, going up and down steep roads at a rather fast speed. A friend mentioned that this was a really dangerous journey, because we were sitting on the top on handmade planks which moved forward and backward with the truck! But the children and adrenaline junkies imagined themselves on a roller coaster ride, screaming at every bend and slope. At quite many spots, we had to duck to avoid hanging branches, especially sharp rattan!

On the truck, heading to Kelah Sanctuary

Arrival at Kelah Sanctuary

First thing we saw were beautiful butterflies everywhere

The man who brought us in provided lots of fish food. We placed some in our palms and fed the fish, which boldly came and ate out of our hands. These are huge and strong fish which swim against the current. They really feel like toothless babies munching on our palms when they grab the food.

The man in charge caught several Kelahs for us to feel and hold. Well, some of us tried to catch one, but failed to do so. The fish  were just too powerful and strong.

Fruits that the Kelah eat

After the excitement of seeing the powerful fish swimming against the fast, shallow rapids, we went for a long cold cold swim in this really refreshing river. It was HEAVENLY and just made the whole camping trip worth it!
On our way back, we stopped at this high lookout point to enjoy the beauty of the forest.

I spotted two Prevost squirrel,  around our campsite. Very active and can really jump quite a far distance from tree to tree. Was thrilled to watch them in action.

In the end, despite the hot campsite with lots of bees and wasps, most of us enjoyed ourselves tremendously. The children certainly did, as one child said to his mum at the end of the camp "What am  I going to do without my friends mama?" 

Actually it was interesting observing the children as they played. We left them on their own, and they had a large space to run and a little hall with a stage. They created their own drama, and new games. When the lights went off, they made shadow dramas with their flashlights.  Sometimes in teams they played army and detective, defended forts and captured "enemies". Children left on their own become really creative and they are wonderful at organizing themselves.

If you plan to go, I recommend the chalets rather than the campsite. But then again, if you rented the chalet, you'd miss nature's beautiful sounds that ring through the night and early morning. So for us, we'd still camp.

(What can I say, I intended to make this a detailed post, but just got news that a good friend just passed away of nasal cancer. Deeply saddened, though I know he's in a better place.     :(  RIP Mr. Choo Chee Kuang.)

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2013



gail said...

So sorry to hear about your friend, Martha.

It is no wonder that you and your friends are so slender! You are always outside and active.

marie said...

Oh my gosh that setting is so picturesque. I am going camping for a week tomorrow and I would love if the setting were half that beautiful, but without the bugs :)

Divoo said...

your camp site looks beautiful! it's happy when you stay so close to the nature.

sorry to hear about your friend. may his soul rest in peace.

ChloeRuoyi said...

Your girls are so privileged to experience the wonders of nature in outings like this. Too bad I'm not an outdoor person although I do love nature. I'm too afraid of creepy crawlies and such, so I will surely end up being very stressed!

Michiko Johnson said...

Nel and Jo was good performer and wonderful time with ALL THE CHILDREN'S.
Relan river was Quite fast flowing at certain sport and cold for crystal clear the kids enjoy with jumped in the too.
You has BBQ for dinner of course Marshmallows for kids A splashing fight and good time.
The Adults show off their colour's with many of incelects we found this thrilled us all.
especially the buy lovers and children.

Martha said...

Dear G, slender? Nah, not anymore, but hoping too again..one day. :)

hey Marie: Awesome, I shall hop over to read your camping adventures. Camping in America is lovely, coz it's minus the bugs and leeches! :)

dear Div: thanks Div. Yeah, he was a great person.

hi Chloe: haha...well do whatever fits your family, something everyone loves. Doesn't matter where it is, as long as you enjoy the time. It so happens we all love bugs and nature. :)

Hi Michi: Yes, we enjoyed our BBQ and splashing good time.:)

Carolyn (Lil' Dahling) said...

I think home schooled kids are more creative. They enjoyed so much right? My daughter has ever requested for us to go camping. But I'm just worried that when the time comes, she might complain about the heat, this and that. LOL.

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