Semenggoh Wildlife Centre

“The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves” – Jane Goodall, primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace.

I am no animal expert or hardly the Jane Goodall of Malaysia, but I do believe that we need to learn about the natural flora and fauna. After releasing baby turtles from a hatchery last year, endangered animals have a special place in my heart . Since I was in Kuching, Sarawak, last weekend, I took the opportunity to visit Semenggoh Wildlife Centre where they run an orang utan rehabilitation programme. The orang utan too, is an endangered species in Malaysia, mainly due to logging, destruction of their natural habitat, or illegally kept as pets.

IMG_5114Activewear is the best form of travel wear

The best time to visit them is during their feeding time (9am or 3pm). At this rehabilitation centre, they are free to roam yet they are not encouraged to come in close contact with humans. This is to ensure that the injured or orphaned orang utans are assimilated back into their natural habitat as soon as possible with minimized exposure to humans. Therefore they will only come out during their feeding time, and visitors can watch within a safe distance.  They are still unpredictable wild animals, so the consequences are unimaginable if they run amok.

At exactly 3pm, we head to the feeding station. On the day that we visited, there were not many orang utan that showed up, because according to the guide it is now fruiting season so food are plenty in the jungle and they might already be full. However, we were lucky enough to witness a mother with its baby and another young juvenile. They seem to know that the daily feeding schedule is at 9am or 3pm!



IMG_5086The feeding station. Mom with her baby, while a younger juvenile waits for his/her turn to take food to avoid confrontation.

Orang utan might look cute with their orange fuzzy hair, big eyes, and limbering movement yet do not be deceived by their childish appeal.  Orang utans are actually smart and strong creatures. Out of all the fruits that were presented by the guide, they chose coconuts. This is an interesting observation to me. Coconuts are not a part of their normal diet (coconut trees are not abundant in dense rainforest jungle). Without any tools, they figured out how to crack the coconuts open by smashing the shell against a hard surface like a tree trunk. This is also how the mother passed down skills required for its offspring to survive in the jungle.

I wonder will my children or grandchildren will ever be able to observe these interesting animals too in the future? If we do not continue to preserve the nature and treat it with respect, then the only animals that our future generation will be able to watch are kept behind bars in zoo or behind the screen in the television. I believe that with educational trips such as this, more people will learn to appreciate wild, endangered animals. In words of Jane Goodall,

“The greatest danger to our future is apathy”

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.

For more info:

The Weekend Runner: Rock Climbing at Xero Gravity, PJX

If you have been reading my blog posts for some time, you might notice that 1) I have absolutely zero experience in rock climbing 2) I am scared of heights. Yet I found myself hanging at least 10 meters in the air with a harness, and trying my best not to look down. My arms were shaking from gripping, and the fear was paralysing. My instructor who was belaying me from below, continued to encourage me: “Just two more steps to reach the top! Trust your shoes and harness, don’t look down, and just reach for it!”. I looked up, and I was so close to finishing. I have to complete what I started!

IMG_2458The funny thing about rock climbing is that you can’t think too much about your next move. Take a deep breath, and just do it! 

I came across this indoor rock climbing gym while collecting my race kit at the same venue. I was drawn to the indoor rock climbing concept – modern, bright, safe (upon supervision), and you can climb at any time of the day under any weather condition. So I signed up for the Explore Climbing class, and it includes one hour of coaching to cover the basics + one week free access to all facilities + equipment rental, all for RM50. I think it’s great value for money; the facilities are top notch, the instructor is knowledgable and professional, plus you have access to the pool as well.


IMG_2431It looks like a massive playground to me!

IMG_2477Xero Gravity also has an outdoor pool. Access to the pool is included in the Explore Climbing class.

IMG_2430Climbing shoes rental were included (blue colour), bring your own socks. It’s meant to be tight and uncomfortable because you have to rely on your toes to be able to pivot on the rocks.


In my humble opinion, I don’t think you need special talents to be able to do rock climbing. It’s a matter of logic sequencing and finding your balance. Even kids can do it too. As simple as it sounds, there are some basic techniques that you must master to be able to progress, which is why having an instructor for your first session is highly recommended. So we started with some very simple moves while bouldering. Bouldering is climbing on low walls without a harness or rope. But don’t worry, there is 12-16 inches of protective padding if you fall down.



Before moving up, you must learn how to move sideways. This is called traversing. The rocks are coloured for a reason. All you need to do is pick a colour and follow it until the end.

Lastly, it was time to strap on our harnesses and go for top-roping. Top-roping involves scaling a wall with several meters of height, and it takes the challenging factor up a notch because the rocks were close to mimicking the natural conditions of outdoor rock climbing. Unlike the bouldering area which is open for anyone to drop in, this area can only be entered under the supervision of a certified belayer.

IMG_2469Yeah I made it to the top! This is the part when I tried my best not to look down.

I had a good upper body work out, even in the muscles that I never knew it existed. I think this is a great way to build strength as an alternative to pumping iron at the gym. Plus I think I can overcome my fear of heights in the long run because it helps to improve my confidence and mental endurance. I can’t wait to go again next weekend!

For more info, head to their website:

Note: If you are already an experienced climber who does not need any classes, and a subscriber of the KFit app, you may book a slot without paying an entrance fee (since it’s already covered in your KFit monthly subscription). Explore Climbing class is not available through KFit.

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.