White water rafting in Gopeng

white water rafting

I had dinner with Jazz just now and recalled our white water rafting experience in Gopeng, Perak. The stretch of Kampar River that we went on is rated as Grade 2, which is very basic compared to the Class 4 in Pelagus Rapids, Kapit (about an hour from my hometown) and sea kayaking in Australia that I experienced last year.

talk to my paddle

However, it’s always fun to go white water rafting regardless of the skill level. I’ve even gone tandem white water rafting with no raft, Jackass style. Heh. I’m amazed at how skinny I was back then.

safety briefing

The white water rafting experience in Gopeng started with a safety briefing which goes through all the basics for beginners…

white water rafting training

…an introduction to the feeling of being swept away by the rapids – all of us went off the first churning stretch feet first without a raft.

You basically let the current take you down for about 100 meters while a guy at the end throws you a line with a flotation device to rope you back in. I thought that was a great idea to introduce new people to how being in the rapids feel like.

white water rafts

I was sitting in front and it’s a rush to go over the rapids by not holding on to the side raft rope (not recommended for beginners – look ma, no hands) while swinging the paddle ala Darth Maul in Star Wars – learned this trick from one of the instructors. ;)

white water rafting us

I fell out of the raft once but managed to get back in without any help. It’s a fun experience for all ages – you don’t even need to know how to swim (although that would be a plus) and if you go during the evening, I hear the rapids gets more intense.

instructor

Anyway, halfway through the course, me and the instructor got out heads together to throw Jazz into the water coz she was holding on to the rope the entire time. This effort was the reason I fell out of the raft myself as mentioned above – the plan called for him to signal me and we’ll both lean right to shift the center of gravity and flip the boat.

white water rafting capsize

Unfortunately, I confused right with left. I leaned left while the weight was to the right and promptly fell into the water. Haha!

white water rafting safe

We did save someone who fell in and got swept away, but we did not get Jazz into the water except during two planned capsizes in totally calm waters so we can learn to set the raft upright and get back in.

white water rafting team

Lina of Kosmo interviewed me about the experience so if you can read BM, here’s the link – it translates to Challenging the Rapids at Kampar River. I think. My BM is quite rusty.

bath

I love white water rafting in Kampar River, Gopeng. It was fun for me since I didn’t hunker down or hold on to the rope when we went over the rapids. Instead, I swung the paddle overhead while making appropriate whooping noises. smirk

Epic weekend: An impromptu trip to Ipoh, dodgy hotels, losing my wallet and my car bumper

brussels

The Friday night out

It all started on Friday night at Brussels Beer Cafe. It was during this inspiring round of drinks that the impromptu trip hatched. I was supposed to meet Bonnie there and truth to be told I don’t even remember how I got to know her and inquiring minds want to know. I also had half a mind to FFK the drinks on Friday thing coz I was really sick but I’m glad I didn’t coz it turned out to be one of the best weekends I’ve ever had. :)

We were having drinks in Jaya One when I finally got around to around to asking her how we know each other. It turns out that we don’t. She reads my blog, added me on Facebook and it was a random and casual “Okay, let’s have drinks sometime” that led to this particular day. Bonnie turns out to be 22 (!!!) and she’s a student at Monash. She also acts part time in local productions.

Anyway, it seems that we have something in common so we were just talking and suddenly I thought about going on a road trip. It was 12 am at the time and the plan was to head down to Ipoh for the dim sum.

house

I’ll follow her car back, pick her up, and then head down to Ipoh and stay the night at a hotel before waking up for breakfast.

Losing my wallet

The first thing that went wrong was losing my wallet. I think what happened is that I took it out and used my credit card to pump gas. I remember leaving the wallet on the boot of the car and taking the receipt but I did not remember taking the wallet back into the car. I suspect my wallet was still on the boot when I drove off. FML.

I had about 1-2k inside but what’s worse is the MyKad, driver’s license (!!!) and credit cards which I have to replace.

I only realized it when I got to Ipoh coz when it came to the toll, Bonnie paid for it but I was puzzled as to where my wallet was – it was supposed to be on the dashboard. However, after a prolonged search when we arrived there, it was nowhere to be found. My car can be a black hole sometimes, but it’s still a confined space so after looking into every nook and cranny, the most plausible explaination is that I left it on the boot and drove off.

Naturally, without any money, Bonnie had to withdraw from an ATM and we went in search of a hotel.

drive

She also took over the driving.

Dodgy hotels

room

I think we went to 5-6 hotels but all of them were full. It was insane! There’s apparently some kind of military function going on there and it was about 5 am when we finally drove up to this dodgy looking place called Shanghai Hotel.

bath

They had one room left and it was RM 40. I guess some would call it rustic and charming and maybe even full of character but it’s the kind of place where you’re afraid you’ll get syphilis, gonorrhea AND herpes just from sleeping on the sheets. >.<

This is what the hotel room looks like.

Anyway, my pillow had this really weird smell to it so I shared Bonnie’s pillow and we slept, fulling intending to wake up at 8 am in the morning.

dodgy

It was 11 am when I woke up.

Foh San dim sum

foh san

This is what we were down in Ipoh for. Bonnie swears by the lam mei pau. It’s a bun that’s filled with fatty pork and it’s absolutely fabulous. It was well worth the drive down.

foh san dim sum

We also had some other stuff – my usual har kao (prawn dumplings) and a memorable dim sum made with juicy succulent prawns and salted egg yolk.

lam mei

However, the lam mei pau was every bit as good as Bonnie said it was. We were afraid we’ve missed it but apparently even though the dim sim place tells you it’s no longer available, you can get it by going to the take away counter and ordering it.

ipoh white coffee

Try it, and thank Bonnie (or rather, her mom) if it works. We even got a box to tapau back home.

Caption: Why drink canned Ipoh white coffee in Ipoh?

Anyway, since I didn’t have a license and Bonnie was rushing for her class, she drove down instead. It was an interesting experience to have someone else drive you car at 160 km/h and swerving through lanes to avoid traffic. It’s like a roller-coaster, without the safety features. ;)

bonnie

Oh, and I also lost my rear bumper somewhere during the drive to Ipoh.

shanghai

It’s not an epic weekend unless you’ve lost a car bumper, your wallet and all the identification in it, slept in a dodgy hotel and sped back to KL…and the weekend is still not over. Bonnie crashed at my place last night and helped me out with something I had to get done during the weekend.

I know it sounds like a tragic weekend, but it’s really an awesome one. Seriously, it’s not a havoc weekend unless you’ve lost something and now I’m driving with no driver’s license, MyKad and with a missing bumper.

bumper

Cop magnet much? This illegal PRC immigrant says yes. I’ve been diligently avoiding roadblocks so let’s hope I can keep up with that until Monday.

I had a great weekend. How’s yours? ;)

Lost World of Tambun

sunway lost world of tambun ipoh

The Lost World of Tambun is a hot springs cum water theme park (just don’t read that sentence wrong ;)) operated by none other than Sunway. I headed down with Suanie and Carol over the long weekend for some R&R (and to soak my poor creaky joints in the hot springs). 

sunway city ipoh

There were a couple of false starts – I woke up at 8:30 am when we were due to depart 8 am, said “Shit!” and called Suanie. It turns out that she just woke up as well – Carol was the only one who was on time. Heh! After a quick breakfast of dim sum (where I ordered beer, much to the chagrin of my fellow road trip buddies – apparently dim sum places here don’t serve the amber fluid) we were off to Ipoh! 

sunway lost world of tambun

The Lost World of Tambun is in Tambun, Ipoh and it’s about a 2 ½ hour drive from KL. It is based on a Mayan (though official brochures calls it Malayana, whatever that means) lost city water theme park concept and built around natural hot springs. There is another public hot spring facility in Tambun about 2 km down from Sunway’s empire, but after a quick discussion of whether to go to the public one or the commercial one, we headed down to the latter.

Actually, it was Suanie who made the decree – since she was the one driving; we decided it would be a good idea to listen. ;) 

lost world of tambun entrance fee

The theme park costs RM 30 per person to enter, which I paid using my credit card since I was short on cash thanks to my spectacular vehicular mishap that set me back 11k (out of pocket, no insurance claims). The girls paid me back with cold, hard paper bills which I desperately needed since this is the precarious Credit Card Month (TM) where I charge everything to plastic. 

lost world of tambun wave pool

The RM 30 covers the entrance to the wet park and the dry park. It should be noted right now that the terms are used very liberally here – don’t expect a Sunway Lagoon setup coz the Lost World of Tambun is much smaller, with very few rides. Think David and Goliath. Or Lilliputian and Gulliver. 

lost world of tambun pool

The wet park consists of the standard wading pool with waves, which is pretty relaxing and much larger than your average swimming pool. There are various water slides around the park, which won’t exactly give you an adrenaline rush, but is fun for a couple of rides.

beach volleyball

It also has a sandy beach where you can play beach volleyball or lounge around.

lost world of tambun hot springs

However, the main attraction at Lost World of Tambun is their natural hot springs. It comes bubbling up from the bottom and the pool is quite hot – my guesstimate is 40+ degrees Celsius.

Not hot enough? I’ve got great news (and a challenge). The hot springs pool has this rock cover where boiling water dribbles down into blocks of stone where you can sit. 

tambun hot springs

I’m telling you, this water is fucking scalding hot! You can see the steam literally rise off the top and people flinch when they touch the water. Hell, I flinched when I touched the boiling hot water.

However, being a sucker for pain (and also to show the damn inanimate object that I won’t let it get the better of me) I sat on the hot stone blocks and let the searing water flow over me while I gasped for breath and my skin turned the proverbial color of red usually reserved for lobsters.

I’ll cut off my left testicle if the water isn’t at least 80 or 90 degrees Celsius. Int3nse.

uncle

Anyway, after showing the hot springs who the boss is and getting it to say “Uncle” (actually it was more like I was red and peeling after Carol dared me to stand under a particularly heavy torrent of skin cooking water), we proceeded to the dry park. 

pirate ship

It was quite a disappointment. I counted a grand total of two rides. There is a pirate ship (which doesn’t go 360)… 

carousel

…and a carousel ride where you get spun around. 

suanie

Suanie discovered her inner child on that ride though. 

lost world of tambun ipoh

The Lost World of Tambun is reasonably entertaining if you’re from Ipoh but I won’t drive all the way down from KL for it.

lost world of tambun limestone hills

The primary attraction is their hot springs and the great view of the limestone hills surrounding it, but this is marred by one very significant theme park policy that prevents proper enjoyment of the facilities…

lost world of tambun group 

It should be noted that there are no alcoholic beverages sold inside the theme park, unlike its Sunway counterpart. You’re not allowed to bring food and water in too. :(

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