Taman Negara Pahang (Pahang National Park)

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”- John Muir, Father of National Parks.

I don’t hate modern technology and the comforts of modern, civilized city. But, we are getting too dependent on them, it’s unhealthy and borderline addictive. It hit me that I was one of those addicts when I freaked out that Taman Negara Pahang has no wi-fi or 3G! How am I going to get in touch with everyone? What if an important email comes in? Will I miss out on an important news or announcement?

So I took up the challenge for a gadget-free weekend of ‘Digital Detox’. Deprived of the 21st century amenities except for a simple room with mattress and running water, I embarked on a simpler way of life. Electricity and telephone reception was available, but it was unstable. We weren’t deprived of food, but it was a non-fussy ‘kampung’ method of cooking.

I tried not to dwell on what was not available. Instead, I wanted to focus with the fact that I was in one of the oldest rainforest in the world. Surely there is plenty to look around then looking at the screen of my phone. My friend and I walked around the small village, chatted with other visitors and locals while waiting for our night walk.

After dinner, we proceeded with our night walk. Some of the interesting animals and insects we spotted were:

IMG_3851A poisonous cave centipede 

IMG_3856A docile, domesticated tapir comfortably taking a nap despite surrounded by a crowd. According to the guide, the tapir was orphaned since it was a baby so park rangers raised him instead. From time to time, it will appear on the hotel ground.

A trip to the rainforest would not be complete without any jungle trekking. The highlight of the trekking was a canopy walk and the view on Bukit Terisek. It was a very mild hike as most of the path had platforms or stairs, so it’s suitable for family trips or beginners. We went to an Orang Asli (aboriginals) settlement too to learn about their culture and way of life. Since this National Park is protected, it is interesting to note that only a few of the Orang Asli tribes are allowed to hunt and harvest in the jungle as they are still living their traditional, nomadic way of life.


IMG_3901Canopy walk. The suspended bridge was hanging 40-50 meters above the ground.

IMG_3894IMG_3900The hike to the top of Bukit Terisek for a view of Gunung Tahan, the highest point in the Peninsular of Malaysia. It’s about 7 days of hiking and trekking to get to the top from Kuala Tahan. 

Our last activity was called “Rapid Shooting”. As the name suggests, the guide will zoom us on the Tembeling River with a lot of splashing, and ending it with a swim in the river. By this point, we realized that there is no point in bringing along our gadgets. We locked them safely back in our room. We did not have any camera to capture the moment, but the fun memories were safely stored in our brains for us to relive it over and over again. While everyone was fumbling with keeping their phones/ cameras dry and busy pressing buttons, we did not have to pose for photos, we weren’t concerned if our gadgets will get wet or fall into the river – We were totally focused on living in the moment! It was very liberating.

In the end, I didn’t manage to totally cure myself from depending too much on the comforts of modern society, and I don’t think I ever will be. But it did made me think about “So what did I miss out on?” The main answer was: Nothing much. People will still proceed as their normal lives would, and the world will continue to spin like it should. Perhaps I should go for another round of ‘Digital Detox’, this time it will be longer than 2 days.

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner

The Weekend Runner: Releasing turtles and Putrajaya 100 Miles (Support Team).



For this week, I had to swap my number bibs for name cards and lanyards as I head up to the East Coast of Malaysia for work. We were lucky enough that our accomodation was pretty close to a turtle hatchery. So one evening, after we were done for the day, we decided to participate in a program to release baby turtles into the sea.


IMG_1848A little briefing on handling these precious baby turtles. Their shells are still soft and will harden as they grow older.

IMG_1859Moments like these make me want to say “I really love my job”.

I spent a few minutes with my turtle before it was time to release, but I was already getting emotionally attached to it. A million fears were racing through my mind my baby turtle swam into the open sea. My biggest fear was that my children or grandchildren will only know turtles from pictures in books. What if they will never knew the unique swirls on each turtle’s shell? What if they will never meet the eyes of these creatures, and look deeply into their gentle souls? If we continue to pollute the sea with plastic bags, or do not stop eating turtle eggs, these animals will be pushed to the brink of extinction very soon. I would hate to think that my worst fears might come true if we do not change our ways and realize the deteriorating impact of our actions to the environment.


For more info on this programs, bookings, and arrangements, head to: http://www.pahangtourism.org.my/index.php/destinations/islands-beaches/cherating/pantai-chendor


The next day on Sunday, I headed to Putrajaya to cheer friends who ran in the Putrajaya 100 Miles in the 100km category. It’s not everyday you get to be a part of an ultramarathon event, and 100km is a really big milestone in every runner’s career. They needed all the help they could get to stretch their physical and mental endurance.

The race started yesterday (Saturday), at about 7am. The support team was already on standby at the checkpoints, helped the runners pace, or carry the essentials. I was unable to join them on Saturday because I was still travelling, but I kept tab of their progress (and pain!) through social media and text messages. So the least I could do was cheer for them at the finishing line and helped them take pictures on Sunday. The cut-off time was 30 hours, and they managed to complete the run in roughly 26-27 hours.

IMG_1944The support team who worked just as hard!


IMG_1939Sleep-deprived, exhausted, and sun-burnt, the least I could do was be a familiar face at the finishing line, cheering for them to finish strong.


It was an interesting experience to be a part of an event from a support group’s perspective. I have always thought that running was an individual sport – the only person you need to think about is yourself. However going solo was never a viable option in an ultramarathon. Without proper coordination, planning, and strategizing from the rest of the support team, a runner’s performance might be severely affected, or worst, he/she will not be able to complete the race. It was a humbling experience, and there are lots more for me to learn.


Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.