My December highlight wasn’t wading through traffic, be it cars or human, to witness a display of firework.
It was going on a hike and having a picnic with six vegan friends which I helped organised.
I meant to wake up at 6am so that I’d have time to meditate, stretch, and perhaps have a light breakfast.
But I didn’t do any of that. I had only half an hour to get ready before Suba arrived.
Thankfully, I had packed my bag the night before. What kept me from waking up earlier was simply my going to bed slightly later than I had planned.
I went to my usual dance class the night before and got back around 11pm. Then, I had supper and took my time resting a bit too long before I finally took my shower.
Long story short, I got to bed at around 01:30.
But at least I didn’t have to shower again in the morning, as I would be going to a waterfall anyway.
Suba arrived and we followed Waze’s way to Sungai Chiling, located in Kuala Kubu Bharu.
The drive was quite long — 1.5 hours. It was because we were from Shah Alam, having to drive 100 km up north. For those who live in Kuala Lumpur, it would be just under an hour drive.
At least there was no traffic and the otherwise dull drive was filled with conversation and music.
Just before arriving to our destination, I saw a message from Aina on our Whatsapp group. She said that Chiling was closed for conservation and that they were parked at a viewing spot.
We didn’t know where the viewing spot was. We had passed by one or two already. So when we saw the next one we turned left immediately.
Turns out they were there. Yay!
It was so good to see Aina, Azlan and Elina despite knowing that we couldn’t go to Chiling anymore.
The place we stopped at had a viewing deck overlooking a dam. The view was slightly hindered by some trees.
I think Suba suggested that we wait for another two of our friends, Davina and her husband Jakob, at another better viewing platform just before this one, a few hundred or so meters away.
And so we did.
Of course we didn’t want to give a good day up.
So Azlan suggested we go to Kanching Falls in Rawang.
We all didn’t mind anywhere as long as it’s relatively near and the place has trees and water.
We just wanted to be surrounded by Nature.
We told Davina of our impromptu plan B and she agreed to meet us there.
Our convoy stopped by a petrol station.
By this time, we were a bit hungry already, or at least I was. Even though I brought food for the picnic (mandarin oranges and Biscoff biscuits), I bought Mister Potato chips anyway for quick carbs. Not the healthiest, I know, but I just had to fill my tummy.
Waze said we would reach Kanching Falls in around 20 minutes.
We had to pay parking and entrance fees, as it is a Recreational Forest managed by Tourism Selangor. (Poor management, dare I say. Read on further to know why)
So the parking fee is RM2.
Entrance fee differs depending on your nationality, or rather presumed nationality.
It’s RM1 for a Malaysian citizen and RM3 for a non-Malaysian.
Davina and her husband were charged the non-Malaysian fee, even though Davina is Malaysian. They didn’t bother to check. Because of Davina’s silver-coloured hair, possibly her accent as well and also the fact that she was with her Danish husband, they assumed she was a foreigner.
This was definitely unfair.
But we brushed it off and not let the discrepancy affect our hike.
Neither of us had been to Kanching Falls so we didn’t really know what to expect but we were definitely keen to explore.
Before this, I only knew that there was this massive waterfall with many levels. Soon enough we found out there were seven levels in total. Don’t ask me how people counted that.
After reaching what we thought was the 7th level (it could have possibly been the 6th), we went back down a level or two and parked ourselves at this amazing spot.
Our senses were heightened.
The surrounding lush trees filled our visions. The fresh smell of nature filled our noses. The rush of the waterfall was constant background music to our ears. The cool water tingled our skins.
And of course, our simple breakfasts tasted delicious.
If it was possible, I would’ve stayed longer.
Alas, life had to go on and so we made our way down.
Along the way, we picked up some trash. We didn’t bring any plastic bag specifically for trash so we made do with our plastic bags meant for our wet clothes and/or that had carried our (now gone) food.
And oh my, there was A LOT of rubbish.
This is why I said the park is poorly managed. It’s not just the management, of course. The people are mostly to blame for throwing the trash mindlessly in the first place.
We just couldn’t brain it.
It’s ridiculous how irresponsible and ignorant people are.
Malaysia needs a public, nationwide PSA on all television and radio channels reminding people sternly to not litter our forests.
We reached the bottom and got to our cars. We changed clothes there discreetly because the public toilet charged a fee and it looked dirty even from the outside.
To tourists, Malaysia may seem beautiful from afar. But look closely and it’s actually littered with trash.
Have I mentioned that I’m ashamed?
We bid farewell to Davina and Jakob who had to leave for another engagement.
The rest of us made our way to lunch!
Lunch was at Destin Vegetarian Restaurant in Sentul (near Riverwalk Village).
It’s a Chinese Vegetarian restaurant with the typical mixed rice dishes. I think it’s technically vegan.
Chinese vege dishes suit my taste quite well. My favourite dish has always been a sweet sour dish, which right now as a vegan I really like the sweet sour mushroom.
But really all the dishes are flavourful!
It was such a pleasant hike with my vegan friends… despite the litter.
Honestly, I wish I could spend most of my time with people of similar interests, mindset and vision.
My day-to-day would be filled with mind-stimulating conversations and good vibes. I wouldn’t have to ‘prepare’ myself when eating with them. I wouldn’t have to explain to them why I specifically told the waiter to omit meat, dairy, eggs and ikan bilis.
I wouldn’t have to see carcasses on plates.
But then, what is life without encountering people with different worldviews?
And if I distance myself from meat-eaters, how could I possibly impart the knowledge of veganism?
Well, it’s a conundrum for another time 😉