My friend Jan has been talking about exploring some parts of the jungles near bentong in Pahang for some time now. I always imagined Bentong to be hours of driving from where I live. But as it turns out later, it is only about an hour drive away and the jungle there is surprisingly nice.
Jan had an idea that perhaps Spencer Chapman did cross over from Bentong over to Kuala Kubu Baru back during the Japanese occupancy. I have to say that Jan has been very diligent in doing his research on Chapman’s trail. To help him, I got him some pretty cool topo maps for use.
There is a huge area of jungle in Bentong. As we drove around, we pass through a big open area which I believe used (and probably still is) a garbage disposal ground. But instead of the usual smelly stench you’d expect from a garbage dump site, this site is covered is clay dirt and flattened flat. But as we were driving in, we can’t help but notice what seems like lamp posts sticking out from the ground, littered all over the site.
But upon closer inspection, we found that the ‘lamp posts’ were actually wind turbine connected to big pipes stuck to the ground. We came up with some crazy ideas about what it is but we believe there are ‘breathing’ valves for the decomposing rubbish buried underground. Probably a way of releasing trapped methane gas from inside the ground.
As we got closer to the fringe of the jungle, we started to notice a peculiar character in the landscape. Trees must have been chopped, land cleared exposing huge boulders. It turns out later that similar landscape is found in the jungle.
Somehow I have the feeling that they jungle will not stay that way for long. There were tractors moving the large boulders to one side. Seems like a big project happening. Nearby there was a military camp doing some jungle exercise. I was tempted to take some pictures but decided otherwise. As long as they are not doing some firing exercise, I guess we should be okay.
There was an obvious jungle trail. We decided to follow it. Some locals we met told us it will lead us to some Orang Asal communities inside. It was close to noon time and the heat of the day was more than enough of a motivation to us to start walking.
The river reminded me a lot of Sungai Luit. 10 minutes into the walk and already we had to cross a stream. A usual thing in the jungle. Along the trail, there were several bridges made of bamboos. We reckon these were made by the Orang Asal. Some of these crossings even had old remains of wooden bridges which were either rotting or has broken down.
We met an Orang Asal couple. Husband and wife walking into the jungle to hunt and set up traps. Ah Seng was carrying a blowpipe. I wanted so much to take pictures of him and the blowpipe but reckons our ‘brief’ encounter would be a bit of a rude shock to do so. He was telling us about the jungle and how he and many from his village go hunting there. All the while, I can sense that the wife is rather ‘suspicious’ of our intentions. He later pointed us to his hunting hut by the river, which we decided to stop for a break.
We parted ways with Ah Seng and his wife. We decided to move on. Further on the trail, we came to a small waterfall, much to Jan’s delight. I am just glad I could cool off in the water.
We explored the trail a bit further up later on. But at a point, there was a landslide and the trail was broken off. We decided that exploring further on would have to wait another day. This trip has to be a one day trip only.
Walking back on the same trail, we took more time to look around. Below are some scenes from the trail.
All in all, it was a good day out. The jungle is good with visible trail. I think it is safe to say that we made new friends with the Orang Asal which is something I am looking forward to. There’s plenty to learn and discover about the jungle and bushcraft through them. I am grateful that Jan managed to convince me to join him to explore the jungles of Bentong.