Lata Kinjang is a spectacular waterfall visible from the North South Expressway when driving from KL to Ipoh. Every time we have driven past we have said that we wanted to visit but had never managed to get around to it. Last weekend we decided to go and visit Gua Tempurung, one of the key show caves in Malaysia and used as a base for communists in the Emergency and, some say, as a Japanese prison during the occupation. Sadly when we turned up it was closed for repairs (no notice to this effect on their website).
|Bathing at the base of the waterfall
Rather annoyed at missing a chance to see it we decided to try to find the route to the waterfall. A short drive down the road later and we found the sign. We had to pay for parking but it was absolutely worth the RM15(£2.50). There are a number of hawker stalls run by the Orang Asli (aboriginal Malaysians) who live in the village by the park. Kampong chickens, including very plump, beautiful, healthy looking roosters just wander around and there are plenty of spots to set up a barbeque.
|Making the most of the water
A little further on and we came to the pool at the base of the waterfall. Although the water enters the pool with some power it is ‘gentle’ enough that those who want to can sit under the flow and feel brave. Looking to the side it is clear that the waterfall doubles in width when the flow is at its heaviest. Bathing is not supervised or regulated but the park authorities had placed a lot of very good quality information signs to highlight the dangers people should be aware of when visiting waterfalls. In particular it warned to be careful in periods of heavy rain and the signs of the headwater phenomenon including sound of advancing water, foam and twigs that indicate that a headwater surge might be on its way.
|The path up the side of the waterfall is easy to walk and well maintained
We played around in the water for a while, as we had not been intending to go to the waterfall we did not have swimwear with us but the children were quite happy to just roll up their trousers and get a little wet. After a good long play (the water was surprisingly warm) we climbed up a paved pathway to a rope bridge connecting the right and left banks of the fall. It is possible to climb further although the children could not have managed the trails (which were very steep and not at all well delineated) Mr EE had Mini EE in the carrier and could not go off the path at all. It was possible to swim in the pools here as well but the water was cascading with more force and we decided not to allow the children in (we were not dressed to do more than wade ourselves so could not supervise them).
|People enjoy bathing further up the falls
A walk across the rope bridge allowed us to see to the very top of the waterfall and the water seemed to dance of the rocks in sheets. On the other side of the rope bridge a forest path leads back down to the base of the falls.
|The falls are truly spectacular and mesmerising to watch
Malaysian forests are very thick and it is not unknown for people to go missing. Just a few months ago several Orang Asli children went missing from their school and despite extensive searches were not found for weeks. In the end only two survived, and they were located less than 500m from their school. For this reason we do not go walking in the forests although we had been planning to wait until raffelesia were in season, get a babysitter for Miss EE and hire a guide to take us to see the plants.
|We could have spent hours!
The route from the bridge down to the base of the falls, while vague, was marked every few meters and was suitable for walking alone, it was also very short. Master and Miss EE wanted a chance to ‘hike’ through the forest I took the children down this route while Mr and Mini EE took the wider and more sure path back down on the other side. On that walk he had some time to explore the tributaries that entered the main fall and saw, in several places, some shrines of offerings of fruit and candles set up by some of the local Orang Asli from the village.
|The start of the forest path down - it got less
defined very quickly
The forest path that I took was indeed overgrown and barely visible in places with some trails going off to the side and had we not had the waterfall to our right to guide us I can see how it would be easy to lose bearings. This was a safe way to give the children a taste of the forest – just challenging enough for them to feel they had done something adventurous and brave and close enough to the village and waterfall for me to know that we were ok.
|The children get ready for a well deserved paddle
Back down with the children feeling on top of the world, we had another wade, removed some leaches the children had picked up in the forest (of which they were incredibly proud for some reason and whipped off with little complaint which surprised me as I loathed and was scared of them at that age) and picked up some treats from one of the stalls.
It was a fabulous way to end what had started as an extremely disappointing day and we would love to return, properly attired, for a swim and relax.
Posted as part of the monthly #TravelAtHome linkup. Click on the picture for more posts on less well known but absolutely wonderful places around the world.