Xia's Journey

Go Gopeng

on April 23, 2012

Trip Date      : 5 to 8 April 2012, Thurs to Sun (over Good Friday weekend)

Trip Cost      : S$369

Venue           : Perak, Gopeng

Organized by : Singapore Adventures Nature Lovers (SANL) & Red Dot Explorer


5 April 2012, Thursday

10.30pm       :        Depart Singapore via overnight coach

6 April 2012, Good Friday

7am             :        Arrives Gopeng

9am             :        Check in, Wash Up at Earth Camp

10.30am      :        Rafting

PM               :        Rained and Waterfall abseiling was postponed to the next day

7 April 2012, Saturday

9am             :        Pinnacles High Ropes & Leap of Faith

3pm             :        Waterfall Abseiling

8 April 2012, Sunday

10am           :        Caving at Gua Tempurung

1pm             :        Returns to SG

Jerry and I almost didn’t make it for the trip.  We were on our way to the meeting point and he texted me at 10pm to say that he was arriving in 3 minutes time. At 10.10pm, there was no sign of him. By 10.20pm, there was still no sign of him! I got worried and buzzed him. During the first 3 calls, the line was not picked up. By the 4th to 10th time, the line went dead. I got really worried… Wondering what had happened to him; if he was abducted or met with any mishap on the roads? I went in and out, up and down, across and back at Lavender MRT station in search of him. I walked to the nearest junctions to see if there were any road accidents as well.

By 10.45pm, he was still uncontactable. I was already prepared to forgo the trip. How could I possibly still go and enjoy myself when I do not know what has happened to my friend and worse – not even knowing if my friend was dead or alive?! One of the team members mis-read the time and thought we were meeting at 11.30pm instead of 10.30pm. I thought to myself – if Jerry did not turn up before she did, I would very well forgo the trip.

At 10.55pm, Jerry finally showed up! He had dropped his mobile phone in the cab. He used his work phone to try to call the cab centre and traced the driver to get back his mobile, however, the driver denied seeing his mobile etc. There was a lot of hooha in between and he had to make several calls here and there to cancel his line etc. He came by the meeting venue one last time to check if we were still around, and there we were – still waiting for him and the last member who mis-read the time.

Despite our spirits greatly dampened, we decided to go on the trip anyways. Otherwise, not only did he lose an Iphone, we would have lost $369 x 2. Hence, in order to minimise the losses, we decided to go ahead.

Thankfully, all that did not begin well, ends well. We had a fantastic time on the trip, and for Jerry, it was a big blessing in disguise! God has been fair. He took something away from him before the trip, but gave him back something in return after the trip – just like the beautiful rainbow we saw during rafting.

Day 2: 6th April 2012, Good Friday

We arrived Gopeng at 7am and checked into Earth Camp. Prior to the trip, I had imagined Earth Camp to be tents in which we will be sleeping in. Thereafter, I read that we would be sleeping in ‘Tree Houses’. Wowww… That was something I was really looking forward to. When we got to Earth Camp, the tree houses were occupied by a group of Singapore Polytechnic students and we had to take the dormitories instead. I was rather disappointed, but the 16-bedded dormitory gave the 15 of us a good opportunity to bond and really know each other better.

Back to Nature Toilets

As I walked around the campsite, I was rather intrigued by the toilets.

The toilets were really rustic and back to basics.

The ‘shell’ was made from used water-tanks, the floor was cemented, the door lock was a chain with a hook and the corresponding end was simply a nail.

It was made almost entirely from recyclable materials.

There were no lights nor power supply in these toilets. The lights came through from a gap at the top part of the toilet and the slits in between the toilet door.

Showering in the nights were made more challenging when we need to power up our flash lights.

Back to Nature Toilet

At 10am, we departed for our white water rafting session.

I had a water rafting experience once in Chiangmai during my community service trip two years back. Hence, I guessed it would be pretty much similar to what I had.

I was wrong…!! Way too wrong… That previous experience was really nothing compared to this.

Zhu Zhai’s on the way to Water Rafting

We arrived at Sungai Kampar.

Sungai Kampar is great for beginners or intermediates with about 22 rapids ranging from Grade 2 to 3+.

Prior to the rafting, we had a full safety briefing, demonstration and dry (wet rather!) run should we capsize and drifted away.

White Water Rafting

We did the water rafting with Nomad Adventures which covers the longest distance at 6.5km whilst most other rafting companies take out after 3km. That really gave us more river time for our buck.

Safety was paramount with Nomad Adventures. During the safety drill, they demonstrated how we should lie on our backs if our rafts capsized. At the same time, they’ll throw out 5 lines to catch us. Many had gone before me, and I thought I should be able to manage too… When it came to my turn, I was not too sure if I was too light or the rapids were too strong, I did not manage to turn myself around and swim ashore. I only manage to catch the line after the 4th attempt and was almost drifted away. Thankfully, I caught hold of some hanging branches from the tree whilst catching the 4th line.

One of our members actually did drift away after a failed 5th attempt at catching the line. Our head instructor dived in without a second thought, and went all out to ‘chase’ after him. The waters were fast and furious and they only managed to catch hold of him after 20mins! I was very impressed with their safety standards and was very assured that we would be well-taken care of.

During the first part, there were lots of rapids and we had to raft really fast and hard. Left, Right, “Bong Bong”… – when all of us had to stoop down in our raft.

As we went along the more scenic parts of the river, we came across this really beautiful complete circular rainbow right before our eyes.

It was really spectacular when we saw it on-site.

The previous time when I saw it in Singapore, it was only half a rainbow.

Rainbow after our Storm

We ended our rafting at about 1pm and headed back to our campsite for lunch. As we headed for our waterfall repelling, it started to drizzle. By the time we got to the waterfall, it was pouring and we took shelter at the hut nearby. Since we were unable to proceed for the waterfall repelling, we waited for the rain to stop before heading back to camp.

Day 3: 7th April 2012, Saturday

When we first got to the Pinnacle Adventure High Ropes Course (HRC), the first thoughts that ran through my head were, “My goshh… What have I gotten myself into…!!??”

The Pinnacle Adventure HRC is a unique aerial circuit that is unlike anything. Participants can expect to conquer a series of high rope obstacles and rope bridges set amidst limestone pinnacles, trees and rocks. The obstacles include a combination of climbing and high ropes course elements of different designs ranging from easy to intermediate and challenging.

We did a ‘warm-up session’ on Route 1 and Route 2. When I got off Route 2, I thought it was the end of the session. Little did I knew, it had just started.

Getting on Route 2

We had a long line going on ‘Tree 3’ and hence, some of us did the ‘Leap of Faith’ first instead.

Leap of Faith

The Leap of Faith is a test of courage as we make the leap from a 10m above the ground in an attempt to ‘catch’ the ball.

Having done bungy jump in Chiangmai two years back, I suppose it should not have been that difficult.

But well, two years on, my guts had shrunk.

When I got up and stood at the edge of the board, I had to swallow back my guts. My bungy jump two years back was way much higher, but I took the plunge more decisively. This time round, it was much lower, but my legs were pleading with me not to do so. But after some cajoling to myself, I did the Leap ultimately.

A Big Leap of Faith

I proceeded to wait for my turn to go on ‘Tree 3’.

As the earlier participants took up quite a while and time ran short, I was the last participant to go on ‘Tree 3’, with about 5 of our members having to miss the ‘Tree 3’ course. It was such a shame.

I ascended on the first obstacle on tyres, ropes and ladder.

It was of no mean feat getting up as quickly as I could since I was the last participant.

Tree 3

The tyres swayed as I tried to move up.

Hugging onto the tyres, planks, ladders, I sustained bruises and more bruises.

Tree 3 Obstacle 1 : Ascending

When I got onto ‘Multi-vine’ – the second obstacle course, my brains were no longer working.

This was the ‘scariest’ obstacle that I did!

My legs went jelly the moment I got onto the obstacle.

My arms could not reach the top rope and I had to grab the vines and move across the line. I wanted to give up in my second step, but I persevered.

Tree 3 Obstacle 2 : Multi-Vine

At that point in time, I remembered Mark’s signature at the end of his email; “Courage is nothing but the management of Fear!” I seriously DO NOT know how I did it, but I did it! It was such a test of endurance, perseverance and it was now mind over body.

I got on to Tarzan Jump, and we had to hang on to the rope in the middle and jump 1m across to the other plank. I failed to jump across, fell in and hit the plank. My shins were bruised and cut from the fall. Oh Gosh… Ouch…!!

I went on to cover “Skateboard” where I stood on the board and flew across to the other end, and thereafter finishing the obstacle course with a 10m zipline.

Tree 3 Obstacle 3 : Tarzan Jump

Since I was the last participant, we quickly gobbled up our lunch and headed for the waterfall repelling, lest we run short of time again as like during the “Tree 3” course.

Waterfall Repelling

We arrived at the waterfall repelling site.

I thought the waterfall looked really mild, peaceful and serene – that was until I got up to do the waterfall repelling!

Seeing how the others did before me, and how much they raved about the activity, I was more than eager to get to my turn.

When it got to mine, feeling anxious and excited, I made my way down.

The currents were strong and came down on me in torrents, hitting my freshly bruised and cut shins. Oh my god… When is this going to be over?

All else went numb, all I could recall was how painful my shins were.

Secretly, I was glad that it was over quite quickly. I could not appreciate the rave about the activity nor how some could go on a re-run.

Waterfall Repelling

Day 4: 8th April 2012, Sunday

Gua Tempurung Caving

All excited and geared up for the caving experience, we left for Gua Tempurung.

Gua Tempurung is a massive cave system with half of it being developed as a tourist cave with concrete steps, walkway and lights. The other half was left undeveloped as an adventure caving route.

When we were told that the water was up to the waist level, I was excited and looking forward to it.

When we got into the cave and started going on all fours; crawling and swimming, and at some parts, we only had our chins above the water, it upped the adventure to another ante.

We explored the huge caverns, squeeze through tiny gaps, climb down the pits, slide down on our butts – all of these in little or almost no lights!

As we wade in the waters, the sand and gravel got into our footwear, piercing through our feet unmercilessly. When we finally got to see daylight at the end of the tunnel, boy, were we glad.


Despite the pain, bruises and cuts I sustained, I was really glad to have been on this amazing trip. Many times, I would have chosen to give up. But as I persevered on, it was no longer just physical strength but mind power. We never know what we were capable of, until we were pushed to the limits. And through this trip, I pushed myself, overcame my fears, endured the physical pains and finally saw myself through a different light.

Please see below video link for the wonderful Gopeng experience. This video was done by an earlier group and had been used with permission from author. The sequence of events were not exactly the same, but the activities and experiences were…!! : )

For more adventures of a lifetime, visit SANL at http://www.meetup.com/Singapore-Adventurous-Group or join them on their Facebook.


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