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The Great Upper Falls of Rajah

Height: 1683m
Location: Bentong, Pahang

Level of Difficulty: 2.5/5 if do up to Naning Falls (3 - 3.5 hours), 4.2/5 if up to summit (6 - 8 hours) as is similar to Nuang Pangsun but longer
Terrain description:
Up to Naning Falls:-
1 hour on gravel road (mostly open) from Chamang Falls to Red Rocks; 
1.5 - 2 hours muddy trail (closed jungle);
30 mins steep trail to Naning Falls.
Few puddles & 1 river crossings

Naning up to the peak (dayhike - backpack):-
Naning - Kem Hijau, 1 hour 15 mins
Kem Hijau - Kem Permatang, 1 hour - 1.5 hours
Kem Permatang - Vertical Rock climb, 30 minutes
Vertical Rock to LWP, 20 minutes - 40 minutes
LWP to peak, 30 minutes daypack

Team: Daypack to Naning Falls- My group of 7: JP, Yeh Ern, Otto & Carmen, me.
                                                                               ST & PL made to last river.
                                                Jan's group of  6: Jan, Vivian, Edwin, Harry N, Alvin C, Esther L
Daypack to Summit - Barry, YapKC, WanCk & son (they made to Summit at about 2.30pm)
Backpack campers at Naning Falls -  Khor, Jeffrey & co

Guide: My friend, Barry... so no charge. Petrol, toll & dinner sponsored by my team mates.

Why I choose G.Rajah:

I love waterfalls, and the waterfalls in Pahang never fail to amaze me. Not been to Bentong nor G. Rajah, so I wanted to explore. Heard that it is equivalent to G.Nuang, so it is a training to prepare for G. Benum camping trip.

To get to Bentong, it takes 1 hour 10 mins drive from KL via Karak Highway. There was a strong wind blowing at our direction that almost blocked our view, this especially when we drove "upwards" on L shaped road.
In 2004, 2 hikers out of 22 hikers were struck to death by lightning at their campsite on the summit.

The adventure:
It was Tuesday morning, 5 days to Labour Day 2011, when I received a surprise text from Ben to invite me to a camping trip at G. Rajah on Labour Day and G. Benum on mid May. I had prior plans for the weekend and was stuck in the situation of Go or No-Go for G. Rajah as I had not been there. Coincidentally, Barry's group is planning their day-hike at Gunung Rajah and some of his friends are making to upper falls only. I thumbed up to flexible day-hike at Gunung Rajah and immediately persuaded JP and ST to join me. They were training for Mt Kinabalu in mid May 2011. A decision to go for day-hike was made on Saturday.

We were to meet the rest at BHP Petrol station Gombak Toll at 5.30am but I overslept till 520am. My buddies whom I carpooled with made it at 6am there, and convoyed with the rest of their friends including a German couple to Bentong for our first visit. Barry's gang were in Kepong for BKT instead. It wasn't difficult to search for Bentong Market, as the town is small. For the first time, my group of 7 met Jan and her gang at 23 hours behind the Bentong Market at 6.45am. They suggested us to try wan ton mee at another coffee shop near the market instead.

After breakfast & tapau snacks, we left the Market at 7.30am and looked for the turning point to Chamang Fall on our own but we were "lost" using GPS, aha! I saw Barry at the Market and immediately asked for human direction instead. As fast as we go on our own towards the end of junction near Bomba (again! the guys were confident and excited, must be!), we turned left, right, right and into a Buddhist cemetery! I knew something not right and asked them to turn back. We were on our right track again after calling Barry for direction. On another trip, I found out that there was another way by main road - turning right at the Bomba junction and past a hospital, then make left turn for Chamang Falls exit.

It took half an hour to reach Chamang Falls from the Market, and we parked our cars (it was early morning, no parking charges). YE's eyes opened wide in excitement to see the powerful Chamang Falls before him. I walked towards Barry and his gang to introduce myself,  and asked for his Tuli's keel. It was said to help reduce injury on our knee, ankle and hip. Barry brought an extra pair, and I thought it could help ST as well. The price was RM70, so he did not buy it.

We began the trek at 8.30am. I expected hard trail in the beginning of trek as those in Nuang Pangsun, so I wore New Balance off road shoes. I did not feel anything hard beneath my shoes, and the gravel road were mostly sandy for an hour open trek until a place I called Red Rocks. But as we trekked into the dark jungle, the trail became soft, wet and muddy so I changed my shoes to kg Adidas. Everyone were trekking fast ahead of me, so I paced faster. 

Then the dark jungle turned to sunny open area, where the trail became dry. I saw ST flicking leeches on his leg when I arrived. The next thing, I saw a shiny, light blue dragonfly on the dry bush branches next to him. I stooped quietly above it to snap it several times. There were orchid plants as well. 

As I trekked fast, I saw JP & YE who had cut me earlier. We had to crawl over and under a split log, where YE suspected where we earned our leech bite on belly. It was fascinating to find interesting plants along the way - some looked like apples, mandarin oranges, orange cups and even onions. Then we came upon the big river, where Jan, Edwin, Harry, Khor & Vivian were waiting. However they took wrong turn along the river following a marker, as I had suspected that we would have to cross the river instead. Edwin managed to find a shallow river to cross -next to the big rocks where a marker was placed. And guess, we landed from a shoulder-length hill unto a "beach" before crossing the river! JP was screaming and flicking leeches from his feet when he took off his shoes (to cross the river). I realised that my Mosiguard was missing from the bag's side pocket. JP, YE and I trekked first as PL was tired and ST had knee pain. We persuaded them to continue trekking as there was an upper falls not far from here, I estimated 15 minutes. It was 11.30am when we would have reached Naning Falls in 3 hours.  
The climb took us 30-45 minutes instead as the trail was steep. I realised that JP was missing behind YE. So both of us waited for JP while calling "Oi, Oi" but no reply. I knew JP had difficulty on steep trail. Ten to fifteen minutes later, JP arrived looking tired. He smiled broadly and told us that if he did not see us in 15 minutes more trek, he would have turned back. JP did call YE and ST but both did not hear him, and saw a white monkey instead. I suggested JP to bring his whistle along in next hiking trips. We slowed down while waiting for JP making his steps like a baby learning to walk. JP experienced dehydration and muscle sore although he drank lots of 100 Plus. I suspected JP experienced Hyponatremia - lacking of sodium (salt).

Then I heard a roar of waterfalls. I saw Edwin was waiting for us, and trekked up to where the rest of his gang also waited. Only then I realised all of us had not been to Naning Falls cos we were puzzled how to get into the waterfall. ha ha! Edwin checked for direction further up, and signalled us to trek further. After 5-10 minutes, we arrived at Naning Falls where the rest of day-hike groups rested (they arrived at 1130am).
Twenty minutes after my arrival at Naning Falls, Ben arrived with his backpack and told me that ST & PL had turned back. He was leading the camping group. Then I saw Ye Ching. Drizzle came, and we could not go down to the big waterfall. The rest of hikers made their move to descend. Barry & 3 friends had left earlier to continue their mission to G.Rajah peak. I was hoping the drizzle remained and not going to downpour. Yes, indeed! Praise God! Only Edwin was happily swimming into the small river (above the Naning Falls), even jumped into it - implying it was as deep as mid head height! I shouted in awe.. .I never seen such river soo deep.. YE & JP went further to swim. Then Harry prompted me, Jan & gang that we were going down to the big falls. I shouted to JP about 20 feet away from me if he would like to join us, but he wanted to continue swimming. They also did not miss the jacuzzi pool. 

The hike down is rather dangerous as it was wet after drizzle. As we came down midway, we felt a woosh over our face.. The wind from the falls was strong that it was a lovely sight and sound to behold. I shouted in joy. My camera could not escape from its wet splash. So was my pants! My whole pants were totally wet and I was shivering when we went down to the base of falls. We were all so happy experiencing the kisses from Naning Falls, even Edwin challenged to swim to touch the Falls where a log was laying. We saw a group of backpackers above us, and I could recognise Stanley, Tee, Siau Chin and Jeffrey. (Jeffrey said the falls at that time was in full splash compared to previous trip he went when its water was less, thus good for photography.)

Khor, who carried 20 kilo backpack for camping while trekking with us, joined us when we were about to climb up. Oops, we forgotten him when he was still in his tent! JP & YE about to descend at 1.30pm when I was climbing up (and took another pictures again). There were over 20 Malay backpackers at the Naning river. Edwin dreaded to leave the Falls, and made a stone stand. It was 2pm when I made a move to catch up with my carpool mates, JP & YE. I found my Mosiguard hung unto a branch near landslide, thank you Samaritan! I also appreciated the paper trails left by Ben for his team campers, as it helped me to find my way down faster while I was alone catching up JP & YE. The rest left later, but managed to catch up with me until I paced faster to unite with JP & YE after 45th minute. I saw the green dragonfly again at the same spot near the yellow ribbons X marker, but it ran away again.  
It was fun trail running down as there was no one. On the way down, I managed to spot the pitchers that grew from the ground, that I had seen in Jimmy's album. One could miss it easily (I did not notice it during ascend) as they were small. I was excited as I had totally forgotten about it! We were out of jungle in total 2.5 hours, and saw Chamang Falls were full of crowds coming for picnic and swim. We went down to a riverside hidden behind a big stone - a good spot for us to wash up away from the public view. I went to the public toilet to change my clothes but were charged 30 sen (Early morning there was no toilet charge).

Overall, the trip was fun, and I enjoyed the most for discovering its rich flora & fauna in 6 hours return hike. The waterfall experience was spectacular, and I wish to come back again for camping trip cum summit hike.


  1. Great coverage!

    Despite the leech, it was a real fun after all. When should we revisit this again?

  2. Check with Harry Nian: You should see the 60m/200ft lower Naning fall, I'm going in for a camping trip on the 11th June, Janine Foo & co are doing day trip on the 12th.

    I might not make it due to GDOP weekend...Saga Hill soon for sure!

    thx for comments!