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River walk with Orang Asal…a place best kept unkown

Some rivers, jungles are best left unknown to the rest

Some rivers, jungles are best left unknown to the rest

Many adventurers, hikers, waterfall addicts and campers in Malaysia would love to find that one awesome place that offers the best the jungle has to offer. A place that no one else would find out and know. A place to keep to oneself and never to be shared. Sounds selfish? Yes it is but in a country where there are more inconsiderate, self professed (misguided) tree huggers than true nature lovers, some place are better left unknown. Especially when our indigenous (Orang Asal) people call it home.

I think it is turst and honesty that brought us to this place. We have been working and building a relationship with an Orang Asal guide (Raman) for some time now. He decided to show us a place where he and his people would go for picnics and hunt sometimes. With the condition that we keep the place to ourselves. He feels that it is bad enough the damage that the place has endured thanks to development works further upstream.

The river is refreshingly beautiful, peaceful and calming. As we walked, we were told of how the jungle is full of resources that would provide sufficiently for the Orang Asal. The bamboo makes their home, the herbal plants their medications, the animals for food and rivers for life.

Raman collecting some rattan that was washed down by big water. Rather than let it rot away, he will use it for his weaving work

Raman collecting some rattan that was washed down by big water. Rather than let it rot away, he will use it for his weaving work

 

The beautiful river...a place to be kept a secret

The beautiful river…a place to be kept a secret

Baka Wali- a herb for mothers after giving birth

Baka Wali- a herb for mothers after giving birth

Shirley must be thinking...is this place for real?

Shirley must be thinking…is this place for real?

We did not walk too far. After about just 30 minutes slow walk, with many short stops, we arrived at a nice place to rest. I was the first to get into the water. It was freezing cold. The water crystal clear with the deeper parts of the river in a shade of blueish green.

What a way to spend a day...what can be better than this?

What a way to spend a day…what can be better than this?

Raman was kind enough to start a fire. The fire kept us warm and we made some hot drinks too.  It took him just a few minutes to get a good fire going. Occasionally telling us how the fire should be kept. “Let it breath…let it breath” he pestered on.

Raman, our dependable and knowledgeable guide building a fire for us

Raman, our dependable and knowledgeable guide building a fire for us

We spent some time enjoying the river. Chit chatting, listening to Raman talk about the jungle and how much it has changed. He felt that his people has lost a lot, cheated off their land with little or no claim to jungles that were once roamed by their ancestors. He shared with us names of a few places that Orang Asal used to live but now over run by outsiders who do not consider the locals. What we (city slickers) claim to be recreational is actually affecting their livelihood. For example…when outsiders visit a place in the jungle, they do not consider who’s land they are tramping on. Nor do they consider the disturbance they create to the jungle wildlife, scaring the animals further and further away, making it extremely hard (if not impossible) for the Orang Asal to hunt. It made me realize how ignorant we can be.

Raman harvest only what he needs, this one for the mouthpiece of his blowpipe

Raman harvest only what he needs, this one for the mouthpiece of his blowpipe

Another part of the river

Another part of the river

Amazing experience

Amazing experience

The pictures says it all. We ended our day trip with an agreeable nod among all present to keep the place personal to Raman and his people. Perhaps there is more to this place than just the pictures above, perhaps there isn’t. Nevertheless, I have seen quite a many places and this I would say is among the top ones. Will I go again? I want to but I probably better not. Its a place best reserved for Raman and his people. A jungle river pristine for them to roam, hunt and live.

 

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