The Weekend Runner: Fairy Cave & Mount Singai, Sarawak.



Salam Eid Al Adha to everyone! Most Malaysians love travelling back to their ‘kampung’ (villages or hometown) to celebrate Eid with the extended family. So last Thursday, I packed my bags and flew back to my dad’s hometown in Bau, Sarawak to celebrate Eid with them. The district of Bau is situated about 22km from the capital city of Kuching on the Borneo Island. Bau used to be a thriving, bustling gold mining town until the 1970s. But these days it’s a small, simple ‘kampung’ rich in natural attractions, such as limestone formation, rivers, and jungles. First on the list is Fairy Cave.


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How to get there: the only way to get here from the city is by car. However, if you want to travel like the locals do, take the bus from Kuching city and walk a few kilometers from the Bau bus station.




To get to the cave entrance you have to climb about 4 storeys of stairs. Alternatively, you can take a ‘faster’ route if you are feeling adventerous (Harness, helmets, and other safety equipment not included!)



The cave entrance. Have Nashata top, will travel!

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The walk into the cave will be dark. But inside, the belly of the cave will be flooded with natural light.


IMG_0870According to the locals, this place is called Fairy Cave because there is a stone formation which resembles a divine deity.


Difficulty level: 1/10 – Very Easy. 

Duration: Less than 30 minutes.

Additional note: Bring your own torch light.


The next day, we decided to do something more adventurous; hiking up Mount Singai, located in Kampung Singai, Bau. Unlike Fairy Cave, this place is not very famous amongst tourists so we relied heavily on directions by the local villagers. Overall, the hike will take you about 4 hours in total (2 hours ascending and 2 hours descending) at a very leisurely pace. Take your time to appreciate the surroundings, and you will spot many plants species that are indigenous to Borneo only.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 4.48.30 PM How to get there: the only way to get here from the city is by car. This is the nearest landmark to get to the parking entrance. You will need a good ol’ map to Kampung Singai and a friendly face to ask for directions, no such thing as Waze or Google around here!


This mountain is also a holy site for the locals. So there are well-maintained stairways to get to the church. The church is also a halfway marker to the peak of Mount Singai.

IMG_0912After the church is where the real fun begins!


IMG_0916Chatting with the locals. The old man has been coming here for all his life.

IMG_8095IMG_0933More flora and fauna.


IMG_8098Sadly, the view at the top was blanketed by the haze. At least my Azeeza Zip Up is in a more cheerful shade of grey.


Difficulty level: 3/10 – Easy to Moderate (depending on your fitness level) 

Duration: 4 hours, approx. 1600 ft.

Additional note: Bring your own water and gloves. Sneakers/ any work out shoes


I did not realise that this sleepy kampung has so much to offer. With some proper planning and infrastructure development, Bau has high potential to become a eco-tourism spot in the future.

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Pristine, beautiful, and green – there is still so much more to explore and discover here.


Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.

The Weekend Runner: Jungle trekking at Royal Belum Rainforest

Once in a while everyone needs a break from the city. Taking advantage of the long weekend, me and my family packed our bags and head up north to Gerik, Perak which is well- known the second largest man-made lake (Temenggor Lake) in Malaysia and one of the oldest rainforest in Malaysia (Royal Belum Rainforest). We stayed on a man-made island (Banding Lake Resort), and judging from the non-stop crowd this hotel serves pretty much as a rest point for bikers, hikers, and trekkers looking for an adventure. It was a long drive from KL to Gerik, but we were rewarded with a stunning view upon checking-in.

IMG_8630 The view from the hotel. Spot the rainbow!



A few outdoor activity packages. No running package, but jungle trekking was fine by me. Not in the brochure is a 3 day trek all the way to Gua Musang that is available upon special arrangement.


The next day we were looking for an adventure of our own. So we signed up for the Lembah Belum Discovery as no permits were required. I took this opportunity as a low impact, cross-training work out to supplement my regular running routine. Overall the trail was easy (if you have been working out regularly), however the whole trip was long. Temenggor Lake consists of different ‘islands’ (they were actually peaks of mountains before the lower grounds was transformed into a lake), so to get to the next trail takes more than 30 minutes of boat rides.

IMG_8640 A lake as vast as the eyes can see.


To call the track beautiful would be an understatement; it was gorgeous beyond words. It was nothing like I have ever seen before! I was in awe with some of the plants and insects that I saw, because they were new and unfamiliar. Except for a few traces left by loggers and conservationists in the past, Royal Belum Rainforest is still untouched and unexplored.  According to the guide, some wild elephants still pass by the bushes just behind the hotel. The forest was dense and lush, and we took our time taking in the natural wonders along the trail.


IMG_8648Class in session: Jungle trekking 101

IMG_8667I have never seen a tree so huge and tall in my entire life!

IMG_8664Hello there, little friend.

IMG_8654There are still some indigenous tribes that call Royal Belum Rainforest as home.


At the end of the trek I was left with a curious feeling that there is still more to explore. There were still several ‘islands’ that we did not go to, and according to the guide these were still unchartered territories or you need to apply for a special permit before entering. There is so much more to discover, and I guess that was the reason why the rainforest was named as ‘Belum’, which roughly translated into ‘Not Yet’, i.e. not yet discovered, not yet explored.


Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.