Shady and Hilly Trail Southern of Klang Valley

If you are looking for a hill to hike close to Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Bangi, Kajang or Sepang area, you can consider Melati Hill in Nilai. It is approximately 30 minutes drive  from these areas.

I spend my Saturday evening there with Fazu and hike for about 3 km. At Melati Hill, there are four peaks named Centipede Hill, Monkey Hill, Mosquito Hill and Mosquito Hill.

Kudos to the Residents and Community for making the trail fun and hiking-friendly. Photo taken at Monkey Hill

Melati Hill is located next to a residential area (google map) , and I was made to understand the trail is maintained by the community. You can park along the road and walk to the entrance and start your hike.

The trail is mild – you can easily hike up the trail until you reach Centipede Hill. It takes 5-10 minutes to get there. Once you you reach Centipede Hill, you will see a signboard with directions to subsequent hills. Just follow the direction to get to Monkey Hill. You can stop for a few minutes to enjoy the view of Nilai before continuing your hike. There are many hikers from various ages, from a 4 year old child to 60+ year old lady. Some regular and a few, like me – new to the trail.

The hike from Centipede to Monkey Hill is longer and you’d go down and up hill. The canopy of trees gives good shade throughout the hike. You’d go through a trail surrounded by rubber and palm oil trees and pass a small pond.  Before you reach Monkey Hill, you’d need to climb pretty steep steps.

The landing area at Monkey Hill is pretty spacious. Don’t be deceived by the name. There is no sight of monkeys when I was there. You could take a rest, enjoy the view or continue your hike to either Cobra or Mosquito Hill. If you want to cut your hike short, follow directions to Mosquito Hill.

Continue your hike and if you want to find your way out, just follow the “OUT” signs.  Watch your steps as you go down the hill.

The trail gets easier as you reach the exit. Your hike ends once you reach the roadside. You could see areas where the community put up tents for shade and to sell recreational items. Apparently, items are put on sale there on Sunday morning.

I would definitely continue the hike to Cobra Hill the next time I go to Melati Hill. It is also a  good place to do hill training.  It takes us 1.5 hours to go through the three hills and we stop many times to enjoy the 3 km hike. It is family friendly, well-maintained by a friendly community.  Don’t forget to bring water and put on visible sportswear and a good pair of hiking shoes. I wear Nashata white hoodie gen and the red riada salasa pants.

Sir Bani Yas Challenge (29-30 March 2018)

Marwa Al Wadhahi, a young Omani lady who is enthusiastic about sports and adventure shares her experience at the Sir Bani Yas Challenge 2018. She loves challenges, pushing her limits and experiencing new things. She works in the Oil & Gas industry during the day and passionately practices sports in the evening and holidays. 

Marwa Al Wadhahi

I was very excited when I saw the announcement of Sir Bani Yas Challenge which was originally consisting of 3 km of kayaking, 10 km of trail running and 37 km of cycling. I was excited because I never cycled and kayaked these distances, I’ve never been to Sir Bani Yas and I’ve never done a 50 km challenge in single day. Basically the challenge had a variety of activities and in a unique and exciting venue.

Wildlife at Sir Bani Yas

Sir Bani Yas Island in the Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, was the venue of the challenge. The island was one of the first “Greening of the Desert” projects established by Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 1971. Over the years it became one of the UAE largest animal reserves and is home to over 15,000 free roaming animals and birds.

Due to circumstances out of control, the cycling was cancelled and the challenge was modified to become a total of +33 km of an amazing hike on & between mountains, fun kayaking and a long trail run.

The challenge was tough, we started at 6.30 am where the weather was foggy and nice then it got hotter as time passed approaching noon. I personally absolutely loved the hike and the kayaking, I found the trail run (which was the majority of the race) fun at the beginning but then it was really torturous due to the heat, strong pulsing cramps and trail that felt like infinity as the long distance was new to me.

I pushed myself hard, I felt like crying, I felt like giving up, I thought to myself “What made me do this? What was I thinking” I literally felt physically and mentally exhausted. However, because I signed up for the challenge with a mindset and goal to finish as a minimum and despite all the pain and torture I felt, I was absolutely determined to finish, I limped, I walked, I jogged with pain until the finish line.

Husaak Support Stations

On the other hand, the organisers, Husaak Adventures, and fellow participants along the way were very supportive which injected me with positive energy amid the suffering, I smiled to them, felt positive and said to myself that I can do it and I should not give up even though I felt like it! Giving up was just not an option for me. I had fun chatting with some participants along the way and cheering others to continue as well which really makes a difference and pushes people further. Organizers were at the water/food stations and also driving back and forth with cars cheering, checking on us and supplying water

Hiking Trail Views

With a few hundred people participating, Alhamdulillah I’m proud to finish 4th out of more than a 100 female participants, and 33th Overall out of almost 300 male & female participants 🏁 I really pushed myself that day. I haven’t had specific training for this event, just my regular gym training. So I was basically fit but not really trained for this kind of long distance running.

Trail Run

I believe if I hydrated more in the weeks leading to the event and practiced long runs, it would have went even better. Maybe I wasn’t trained enough or ready to go at the pace I was going at but the experience was definitely enriching. The feeling of true struggle that I haven’t felt in a long time, but pushing hard and fighting pain & fatigue to reach the finish line was priceless.

Hiking essentials

I run and work out more often than I hike, hence, I have never called myself as a “hiker”. Occasionally, I do enjoy being disconnected and off the grid for a few hours, and I find that Gunung Nuang is one of my favourite places to “escape” (it feels like a quick holiday!). As beginner, I learnt the hard way about some of the items that you must have. Based on my limited knowledge, I think that this list is very basic, yet I am still finding a balance between packing light and being prepared. Let me know what you think, and I’ll add on more to the list!

Disclaimer: This list is only suitable for day trips, not for overnight stays.

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Until next week,

The Weekender Runner and Newbie Hiker.

 

Our Hong Kong Trekking Adventures

My new year began with a promising trip to Hong Kong for an overseas assignment. Needless to say, we immediately planned for new terrains to explore, to be inserted in-between assignments. Why waste an overseas opportunity right? Surprisingly there were many highly recommended ones. One would not normally associate “Hiking” with Hong Kong you see. We finally decided to indulge in two of the more popular sites, The Dragon’s Back Trail and Ng Tung Chai Waterfall.

The Dragon’s Back is a popular escape that deservedly gets regular mentions in travel guidebooks. A short hop from the bustle of Hong Kong East, the trail provides stunning views of Shek O, Tai Long Wan, Stanley, Tai Tam, and the South China Sea. The Dragon’s Back is a path connecting Wan Cham Shan (226m) and Shek O Peak (284m), stretching vertically over D’Aguilar Peninsula. The path undulates between these hill tops, reminiscent of the shape of a dragon’s backbone.

The Dragon's Back  - 8.5km undulating path of connecting hills

The Dragon’s Back – 8.5km undulating path of connecting hills

The Start Point - Shek O Wan

The Start Point – Shek O Wan

We started in the late morning after a good breakfast and completing my first assignment. The start point was easily accessible by bus but we took a cab since we were residing at Repulse Bay which was quite near. Do note that cab fares are rather high in Hong Kong. It was a sunny day and the temperature was between 14-15 degree Celsius. We dressed lightly and traveled light with just water, some energy boosters (chocolates and nuts!) and warm clothing just in case. A caution we took because the wind could be icy cold they say.

The initial climb up was a steep 60-75 degree elevation, mostly steps. We were surrounded by mainly shrubs and the view was awesome. It became magnificent as we reached the first peak. Do pardon us Singaporeans as the little red dot is although rich in other things, we are not blessed with natural monuments which our neighbours have aplenty. We get dumbstruck at the first sight of natural beauty hehe. We were struck first by the biting coldness of the wind which was blowing us off-balance!

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                                              The journey ahead from the first peak

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The view of South China Sea

We continue the hike along the undulating hill tops that made up the dragon’s back, enjoying the fantastic view of the beaches, islands and South China Sea. Back in the army, walking along the ridgeline was a big mistake. I’m sure glad to be here today as a tourist! The highest peak was at 284 metres and it took us about 45mins. We stayed awhile to admire His wonderful creations, refuel and continue the remaining 7km towards the end point which is Big Wave Bay.

Difficulty level : 3/10 Beginners Total time Taken : 3hrs  Satisfaction level : 100%

The peak at 284m

The peak at 284m

Look at the wind!

Look at the wind!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Two days later, we set off again across mainland Hong Kong towards the north.

Ng Tung Chai Waterfall is the best-known and biggest waterfall in Hong Kong. Located at the northern side of Tai Mo Shan, Ng Tung Chai Waterfall consists of 4 waterfalls at different altitudes. From bottom to top, you will see Bottom Fall (Fall under the well), Middle Fall (Horse Tail Fall), Main Fall (Long Fall) and Scatter Fall. The steady flow of water of Ng Tung Chai Waterfall comes from Tai Mo Shan and irrigates the farmlands around Lam Tsuen River, and ends at Tolo Harbour.

The scenic route towards the first fall

The scenic route towards the first fall 

We took the MTR to Tai Poi Market Station followed by Bus 64k to the start point. It was drizzling and temperature was between 16-18 degree Celcius. My last visit to a waterfall was donkey years ago, so i was really excited for this trip. Again, do keep in mind that we are Singaporeans and there are no natural waterfalls here. Do excuse my raging excitement. The journey to the start point took nearly 2hrs. We started climbing around 3pm knowing that we had to start descending before dark which was by 6pm due to winter.

The initial climb was a series of steep winding slopes through a village, a cemetery, many dogs and a monastery. I would be kidding if i said that I did not feel frightened at all. I was! Kecut kejab jantung akak! I was well-trained in the army to somehow mask the expression and keep the fear in control. Fortunately, I have my partner to protect me Yeaaay! If I have long nails, it would have cut into his poor hands… (Good for him that I don’t).

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Are we there yet??

Anyway, the ground was wet. The mud and slippery rocks made the climb much harder than it was and it took longer. We took great caution throughout as I remind myself that I was here in Hong Kong for work so, I couldn’t afford to get injured.  Looking up and welcomed by more steps and up-slopes, the sight began to suck the life out of me. These are moments when I question myself why..Efah? Why did I choose to do this? (This usually happens around the 30km mark of a marathon, halfway through a round-island canoeing expedition and the likes. When your energy level in nearly used up and motivation is down low). However, the sounds of the roaring fall and snippet sights of its magnificence amidst the beautiful canopy, propelled us to continue climbing regardless of the exhaustion.

Alas, the first fall came into view. It was love at first sight. The sun was still shining and the reflection from the water made it magical. Allahu Akbar!

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The Bottom Fall

I was reluctant to leave but I knew we were short for time. The Middle Fall was not too far away and it was more awesome ma shaa Allah. As darkness slowly looms above, we took a few moment to admire its magnificence before we hike on towards the last fall.

The Middle Fall

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The Main Fall – We took a dip! If you can see my face, it was all frozen from the cold. I couldn’t feel my legs!

We took a wrong turn and had to retrace our steps. I was actually quite concern about time but I knew I had to reach the Main Fall regardless. The last one was much further than expected and I was totally exhausted but the view that welcomed us was worth every ounce of pain and effort! We performed Asr by the fall which was totally invigorating. The experience brought khusyuk and gratitude towards the blessings of the AlMighty to a whole different level.

Darkness falls and out came the headlamps! We changed and made our way down the same path. The trek continues to the peak of Tai Mo Shan but we only planned to visit the falls so down we go, back to reality.

Descending was easier of course but much tougher for our aged and torn knees. After “swimming” in the icy cold water, I couldn’t feel my toes so my shoes felt empty. It was rocky, muddy and slippery from the rain so it was doubly hard to get down. Every step was a calculated one. I slipped a few times, heart dropping moments as I see the steep fall below.

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As we stride towards the last stretch, hand in hand, (limbs no longer cooperating), I reflected on the journey we took. Like life itself, I know that in my best and toughest moments, He will always be there and He gives me the best company always.

To more adventures!

Difficulty level: 5/10   Satisfaction level : 100%   Total Time Taken : 4hrs

Things to note: Wearing the right attire is of utmost important to ensure safety and comfort throughout the whole journey. I am glad I have on comfortable and modest ones. Ensure you have sufficient water and food to sustain and replenish your energy. Do read about the destination, heed warnings and check the weather condition especially if you are going up by yourself. Get a great buddy for your trips! Enjoy and be safe!

Love, Efah Anuar

Embracing elevation at Gunung Nuang

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My partner had no idea what she got herself into when she agreed to go on a hike with me!

People hike for various reasons. Some love breathing in the fresh air, some enjoy the meditative feeling of being close to nature, or some are addicted to the thrill and exhilaration of a strenuous sport. I, on the other hand, learnt how to embrace elevation.

Hate it or love it, hills and slopes are a part of any run regardless of the distance. A few hundred metres of elevation adds challenge and fun to a run, however, a few thousand metres that I will encounter in my next ultramarathon is a different league of its own.

Running in loops at the base of Gunung Nuang, that I affectionately call as Nuang loops (from the entrance up to the first checkpoint before Camp Lolo) is my favourite spot for trail runs because of its elevation and long stretch of uphills and downhills. Since this is the last week of training before Cameron Ultra, I decided to go all the way to the peak, giving myself 2 weeks to recover if anything goes wrong. At 1493 metres, it is the highest peak in Selangor, providing the perfect spot for some last minute elevation training.

What we plan to accomplish for that day.

What we plan to accomplish for that day.

We hiked up at about 7am and reached the peak of Gunung Nuang at about 12.45pm. Overall, it took us about 10 hours of hiking from Pangsun entrance – Peak – Pangsun entrance. While still in Nuang loops area, I proceeded to run-walk to the first checkpoint, Camp Lolo, because it is the easiest part of the hike. The real ‘fun’ begins after Camp Lolo. The distance between each checkpoints are reducing, but the route was getting more challenging. From the starting point to the peak, it was around 10-12km. It was definitely not a hike for beginners. Not to mention that it was drizzling too, so the ground was muddy and slippery. Personally, I found the hardest portion of the journey was between Camp Pacat and Puncak Pengasih. There was a lot of natural obstacles such as big rocks and fallen tree trunks that required using all 4 of my limbs. It was also very steep, so I had to use a lot of my quads to push myself up (strength training was slowly paying off!).

This was just the beginning

This was just the beginning

The second hardest portion for me was going down. I confess that I am scared of heights, so the sight of a really big gap forced me to get down on my bum and slowly slide down until I trust my footing. However, once I gained the rhythm and technique, I jumped and ran down at every opportunity possible. I was also rushing to get back to Camp Lolo for Zohor prayers. It resulted in a few miscalculated landings, but hey, what is hiking without a few bruises and cuts.

What goes up, must come down. The question is now HOW do I get down???

What goes up, must come down. The question is now HOW do I get down???

Resting and zohor prayers at Camp Lolo before we head back to the starting point. There is a waterfall and stream, perfect for washing up and ablutions. Previous campers also left tarps and kiblat indicators.

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Resting and zohor prayers at Camp Lolo before we head back to the starting point. There is a waterfall and stream, perfect for washing up and ablutions. Previous campers also left tarps and kiblat indicators.

Now I understand why hikers like to subject themselves to the ‘pain’ – there is an indescribable sense of accomplishment once you complete the trek, and it’s a addictive. While nursing your legs in pain, you find yourself wondering which mountain or hill to scale in the nearest time. You just want to go on and on. Runners, does that sound familiar?

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.

From trails to tarmac

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After one week of resting (with the exception of a couple of crossfit sessions at Fuel Athletics) to give my knees a break from last week’s full marathon at Kuching Marathon, I finally decided that it is time to start training for my next big race: Cameron Ultramarathon or Cultra for short.

I did an ultramarathon once, so I am not worried about the distance. With enough LSD training, I have a high chance of completing the race. However, Cultra will be different because it will be a trail run, and elevation is not a stranger. In fact, trail running IS elevation. Therefore I must learn to embrace it rather than being in denial thinking that road LSD will be sufficient. I have to prepare my feet for a lot of uphills, downhills, and uneven terrain.

To get a taste for Cameron Ultra’s elevation (2240m) I head to the tallest peak in Selangor called Gunung Nuang. Gunung Nuang has a trail fondly known as ‘Nuang loop’ among the running community. The loop consist of 5km uphill to the first checkpoint called Camp Lolo, then another 5km downhill to the entrance. The 10km loop was only 530m total of elevation gain, however I was panting! Overall, it took me about 2 hours (at a very leisurely pace) to complete one loop. Then I repeated the same thing again.

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Hey guys can I know what your legs are made from? Because I need the same thing for my legs to keep up!

 

There is never a lack of company in the trails. “Why is this human with only 2 feet is so eager to run? I have hundreds of feet yet I never want to go up and down these Nuang loops.” – said the giant centipede.

There is never a lack of company in the trails. “Why is this human with only 2 feet is so eager to run? I have hundreds of feet yet I never want to go up and down these Nuang loops.” – said the giant centipede.

Looks like the Nuang loops will be my training ground for the next few weeks. I will be back again to train harder!

The next day, I head to an event called My Buddies Run for a quick 5km fun run. I rarely participate in short distance events, but after yesterday’s hard work I took this fun run as a way to reward myself. The highlight of this event was not to break any PB, but rather getting dressed up in costumes and just simply enjoying the race since the route was easy.

IMG_2933IMG_2940IMG_5330IMG_5352Many came dressed to impress! My Minnie Mouse ears was nothing compared to the scale of their costumes.

Clearly I was excited to get dressed up. Just like any event, one must do their best to follow according to the dress code right?

Clearly I was excited to get dressed up. Just like any event, one must do their best to follow according to the dress code right?

Fun runs gave me a fresh perspective on running. Since it was a non-competitive and friendly event, many families came with strollers, elderly couples walked holding hands through out the route, and kids jumping around in their costumes…Looks like it is never too young or too old to inculcate the joy of running!

It has been a productive weekend for me. Now I am all recharged and ready to face Monday again!

Until next week,

Hooda Sports Hijab : New Colors, Revamped

We heard you girls! Now Hooda Sports Hijab is all revamped with more colors, more sizes and facelifts.
Now, achieve your fitness full potential in Hooda Sports Hijab. Put no limits to your workout!

Watch this video to see key functions of Hooda Sports Hijab used for different types of sporting activities. #cycling #running #yoga #jumping

2 New Colors

  • Now there are Metallic Silver & Aqua Turquoise in the Hooda Sports Hijab collection. The Metallic Silver offers neutral  & easy to match option while the bright Aqua Turquoise offers more safety to your workout. Plus, you get to be spotted easily in a crowd with it on.

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Bigger Sizes

  • We introduced Hooda Sports Hijab in two initial sizes (M & L) last month and now we added two more sizes to suit tall ladies.

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Hooda Sports Hijab

 

Facelifts

  • Reflective logo at the back of hooda sports hijab
    Nashata reflective logo is now on the back to give you better protection for night use. This is especially useful for cyclists and hikers who train or race in the same direction of traffic.

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  • More room and space in the front for better chest covering
    No matter what size you are, the hijab now looks balance front and back.
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  •  Flat awning on the forehead face
    The awning has been altered for a better fit while working out. The design is flat on the forehead and the is no space in between your forehead and the hijab.

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 If you would like to get one of these cool revolutionary hijab, visit nashata.com

 

Unbelievable Achievement for Beginners

Going to the mall every weekend can be quite boring; not knowing what to buy and experiencing the same thing in a concrete building. To make our weekend interesting, my sister and I decided to go on a trail hiking at Bukit Kledang, Ipoh. The place is quite famous for the residence living nearby.

Everyday, this place will be crowded with visitors, especially during holidays. The fresh face and friendly smiles from the young generations to the old ones given to each other spreading positive vibes are something that I don’t always get in the mall. Everyone is enjoying the view of nature.

 

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See that red circle? Yeah, that’s where our goal is.

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Stunning View from Up Hill

Along the way up to the hill, is well-equip with toilets on few checkpoints, outdoor exercise equipments and they also have a plant nursery where you can snap photos. All these facilities are only provided half way through the journey. The next half way won’t be any proper toilets for you to use.

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I would love to wake up to gardening every morning. It’s just so peaceful and refreshing.

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Half way there!

Based on what we’ve learnt from the others and my GPS, the distance is almost 14km total from going up to the hill and going down from the hill. It took us 2 hours to climb up to the top of the hill and almost another 2 hours to get down. Our legs were wobbly as we went down and we had to walk flaccidly to loosen up our muscles.

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Found a highly dangerous baby blue coral snake. We didn’t know it was venomous till we made research on it. So, avoid getting too close to anything that you know nothing about it. You don’t want to end up in a hospital.

Make sure you fill up your tummy before hiking up and bring enough drinking water or food (if required) as there is no stalls or places for you to fuel up half way up onwards. There are only stalls selling fruits at the foot of the hill. It is quite a shady walk, so you need not bring hats. Go up light! But do put on sunblocks just in case.

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Yay! Mission accomplished!

Alhamdulillah. We made it to the top! I never thought I could do it. The key to this achievement is to have a supporter or motivator that keeps you moving on because the only thing the stops you is your mind.

It’s a perfect place for a family weekend! So, what are you waiting for? 😀

Photo credits:

http://mohdreffi.blogspot.my/2010/08/bukit-kledang.html

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/community/2014/03/22/nature-lovers-create-garden-group-clear-undergrowth-and-fill-it-with-beautiful-plants/