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

I jumped off the top of Kellie’s Castle!

jumper

…and lived to tell the tale. ;)

kellies castle

This is Kellie’s Castle. It’s located in Batu Gajah in Perak (about 20 minutes from Ipoh) and it was built by a Scottish rubber and tin tycoon over a century ago. The construction of the castle never completed.

kelly castle

It’s quite a high structure as you can see from this picture. Here’s a vertigo inducing picture from the very top of Kellie’s Castle:

kellie castle view

I strongly recommend you do not attempt to jump off unless you are decked out in BASE jumping gear. However, if you want to do the “Goodbye, cruel world!” thing, you can actually scare the crap out of a lot of people by jumping from the other side of the castle and onto a ledge.

You have to be quite accurate though coz if you miss the ledge, there’s nothing to stop you from really plummeting down. Heh.

leap of faith

I also did the Leap of Faith in Sunway Lost World of Tambun. This is quite a quirky experience – you wear a harness that connects to rope and it’s basically a controlled fall.

fulcrum

The interesting bit about this is that it’s purely manual. This literally puts the man in manual as there are two people down there to act as counter-weights as you jump off.

harness

You climb up several ladders secured to the side of the limestone cliff and appear on a metal ledge 75 feet up. It actually takes three people (the third is a fail safe) to slow down your descent and your velocity actually lifts the two people down there as you stop in mid-air.

I wasn’t wearing anything under those board shorts and I highly recommend you do if you value your family jewels. ;)

Fun fairs in Ipoh is fun!

tesco

Those crappy fun fairs you see in small towns – FUN!

perak us

I met with this bunch of people this trip to Ipoh and on the very first night, Jazz wanted to head out for drinks. I was super tired but thought it’ll be fun to go along with them. I saw Anas downstairs and asked him to come along.

Thus, our group comprised of me, Jazz, Anas, Nicki, Jotunn, Li Wei. Anas and Li Wei wasn’t drinking though.

Anyway, we saw this fun fair from the hotel and the plan was to get some beers from a 7-Eleven and then walk to the fun fair. There was no 7-11 so we detoured to a Tesco and got our ethanol there.

tokens

It was fun to actually go to one of these small town fun fairs. I spent RM 24 on tokens trying to fish out a prize…

air gun

…and later shoot with a compressed air gun.

prize

It actually kinda worked. Kinda being the key word. Jazz with the haul.

tonight

Tonight, we’re at the designated party room…for the second round. This time Emily is with us!

It’s always fun to meet new people. :)

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? ;)

Tasik Temenggor Discovery Island

Tasik Temenggor Discovery Island

Tasik Temenggor Discovery Island (TTDI) is one of Perak’s best kept secrets. I was told we’re going to an island near Ipoh during the BMW drive and no one believed me. “There are no islands in Ipoh”, I was told. 

Tasik Temenggor rafting

Tasik Temenggor is actually an artificial (as in man-man) lake in Gerik. Xpax has coverage there so it’s a good thing I did a lot of XXL reloads during the drive there. There’s a lot of stuff to in Tasik Temenggor like playing basketball in the lake, fishing and kayaking but we went old skool and did rafting… 

Tasik Temenggor rafts

….on rafts made of bamboo! 

Tasik Temenggor swim

You get on the rafts and use bamboo paddles to navigate. It hardly looks seaworthy but it’s surprisingly stable. Each raft fits two – one at the extreme front and the other at the extreme back, and while paddling requires quite a bit of effort, it’s a lot of fun!

I went for a dip in the lake too. The water is cold and refreshing – perfect for a morning swim!

Menglembu Honey Chicken and Mini Wantan Mee

wonderful honey chicken menglembu

Menglembu is a town in Perak that’s famous for their peanuts. You know those peanuts with a huge ass thumbs up sign imprinted on the front that’s everywhere during Chinese New Year? Yep, those came from none other than Menglembu, Ipoh.

menglembu wonderful honey chicken

It’s also famous for their honey chicken so we stopped by Wonderful Honey Chicken on our way back from Penang. It looks like a simple roadside stall but the pure industry that goes on in the small shop lot behind the kitchen is nothing short of amazing.

menglembu honey chicken

Unfortunately, their honey roasted chicken was sold out (!!!) so we had to settle for fried chicken, char siew and “paper wrapped chicken” instead.

menglembu char siew

The char siew is made with the same sauce (e.g. honey) so if you close your eyes while eating the fried chicken dipped into the sauce and concentrate really, really hard, you can sort of imagine what the famous roasted honey chicken tastes like. >.<

paper wrapped chicken

*sour grapes*

Ching Bau Liang

The coffee shop by the roadside near Wonderful Honey Chicken serves a refreshing bowl of tong sui called Ching Bau Liang, complete with a quail egg! Do check it out if you’re ever in Wai Sek Gai (which is apparently what this entire food street is called).

menglembu wantan mee stall

Menglembu is also famous for their miniature wantan mee and the stall does a very brisk business late at night. We had to wait for about 30 minutes or so to get our chance at the ridiculously small portion of wantan mee.

menglembu wantan mee

I wouldn’t say there’s anything special about their wantan mee, it’s probably the Lilliputian serving size that provides most of the appeal. The side order of wantans we had that night was a bit off too.

menglembu wantan aunty

However, I do like the aunty manning the store, who did an impromptu kung fu pose for me. ;)

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. :(

Funny Mountain Tao Fu Fa

eat tofu

No, not that kind of eating tofu. I had a dSLR malfunction and the shutter went off at the wrong time.

funny mountain ipoh

There is a famous stall in Ipoh that has legendary melt-in-your mouth tofu fa. I was brought there by the EZY sisters – Eiling, Ziling and Yiling. It’s called Funny Mountain Tao Fu Fa

funny mountain press

…and it has apparently received accolades from the print media.

funny mountain queue

…as well as the locals, which is always a good sign. The line was long, but they process the queue with the ease of experienced old hands (another good sign – anymore and it’ll be like the second coming of Jesus).

funny mountain tff 

Tofu fa is made from soybeans and resembles a really soft pudding. It’s bean curd gelatin and it’s usually served with sugar syrup and consumed while hot. Best of all, it’s only RM 0.80 per bowl! =D

funny mountain us

Interestingly, tofu fa is translated as “tender tofu blossom”.

Related posts:
Eiling’s review

Nam Heong: The Original Ipoh White Coffee

nam heong

Ipoh is well known for their puzzlingly named caffeine export – Ipoh White Coffee. It’s not white, but it certainly is coffee. It has also spawned franchises of Ipoh White Coffee outlets at the speed rabbits breed but the original birthplace of Adam is none other than Nam Heong in Ipoh. It’s like the Bethlehem of Ipoh White Coffee, except I went with three queens instead of three kings.

nam heong ipoh

You have to queue beside tables for an absurd amount of time before seats are available. I’m sure this problem is compounded by the fact that it’s CNY and everyone from Ipoh was back for the holidays. I bumped into Jen there. Nam Heong is also famous for their dim sum which was probably why it was so packed.

nh coffee

We ordered Ipoh White Coffee (someone ordered the unorthodox herbal tea though). I forbid the EZY sisters from saying who drank what under the threat of cruel and unusual punishment. ;) I’m sure someone would tell anyway, Ziling and Yiling has threatened me as much. :p

nh ytf

Yong Tau Fu is also a great dish there – the fish is fresh and good. I think it cost somewhere around RM 13 for the bowl though, not cheap for Ipoh standards, but it was good.

nh kueh tiaw

This is Ipoh style char kueh tiaw, pretty good. I like the taste.

nh dim sum

It would be akin to heresy if we didn’t at least order a dim sum dish in Nam Heong so we went for the egg tarts. We had a quarter each since we were very full from all the eating that we did.

nam heong ipoh white coffee

Wanted: Alibi for the morning of 28th January from 9 AM to 10:30 AM certifying I was in Ipoh consuming genuine Ipoh White Coffee from the original birthplace of said beverage.

nh group

Thanks for the hospitality! More food posts coming up soon! :)

CNY in Ipoh

drive

Ipoh is a small town (but one with city status) about 2 hours away from KL. I drove down to spend CNY with the Lim sisters – Eiling, Ziling and Yiling. Ipoh is surrounded by limestone hills and the “hard” water is said to contribute to the famed Ipoh leng luis. It’s commonly said that Ipoh is a leng lui (beautiful girl) manufacturing factory so I think I made the right decision to spend CNY there instead of back home. ;)

welcome

I was made to feel very welcome in Ipoh, thanks to the entire Lim clan.

roast duck

I ate a lot of food – this here is the famed Ipoh roasted duck. Besides eating…

gambling

…much of the time was spent in…er, diversifying my portfolio to include liquidity based assets.

visiting

We also hit a couple of houses, do the CNY visiting thing.

camwhoring

I also consumed quite a bit of ethanol-based drinks considering its CNY and all. No, don’t ask, think about how many people have asked me already before you do that. ;)

grapes

It has gone Pharaoh-nuff! Get it? Egyptian pharaoh with Ziling, my camwhoring buddy. =D

group

It was quite fun actually, visiting the Lim sister’s relatives and friends. I even met a couple of people who reads my blog. Greetings!

ezy

We had planned to spend a night there but ended up spending three days and two nights in Ipoh. There are just too many photos to post up so the next post would be about places and food in Ipoh.

end

Thanks to the EZY sisters for having me in Ipoh! =D

Happy CNY everyone!

lengzai

P/S - Did you know that Ipoh is also famous for their leng zai? ;)

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