Fun hiking at Pelepah Waterfalls Gunung Pelepah

Some call it Pelepah Waterfalls. Some call it Gunung Pelepah or even 水晶山瀑布. It is different from Kota Tinggi Waterfalls which is more for tourists 🙂

Updated 20190809 – Take note the trail markers (ribbons red/white) had been removed. We spend quite some time trying to find the right path. Do not go alone if this is your first time, go with a guide or regular. The new post and direction is at this blog link. If in doubt, do drop me an email.

Pelepah Waterfalls was my first waterfall hiking too.  Unlike normal hiking, 30% to 40% of our journey is on water!

Best thing about Pelepah Waterfalls is there are so many ponds and waterfalls for you to jump into! Imagine trekking through the forest and seeing a waterfall in front of you!

 

As an estimate, it is about 2 hours up, and 2 hours down.

Me acting cool at the last Waterfall

I kept imaging how my kids would have enjoyed themselves at Pelepah Waterfalls, a pity they “were underage” (Hello organisers :p )

Checkout out our Waterfalls adventures at Chiang Mai (sticky waterfall) and Kota Tinggi (too touristy). I thought Pelepah Waterfalls was easier than Gunung Panti.

This trip was organised by Anchorvale Youth Club (Yes, I am not that old yet), and SGTrek (guides  Vijay and James). There were about 40 of us, including four local guides from Malaysia.

Pelepah Waterfalls trail head
Pelepah Waterfalls trail head

Pelepah Waterfalls trailhead (GPS 1.826111, 103.835556) is near the entrance of Kota Tinggi Waterfall entrance.

(Photo below) Gate is locked, hikers had to go under the bridge and wade one min behind the gate. This would be called trespassing in Singapore hee hee, but online references indicated this is ok 🙂

From the first min, our shoes and socks were never dry. Yeah!

Do wear socks, to minimise sand and pebbles bruising your toes. Seasoned hikers swear by Kampong Adidas.

 

Palm oil seed, shoes soaked

For first time hikers, permit and guides are strongly recommended. The tracks are well marked but you can still get lost or injured. I would recommend going with someone experienced.

Fyi, follow the red/white tape and keep to the track.  I noticed these white patches on the palm oil estate ground. Follow them on the way back (like Hansel and Gretel) and you will find civilisation again.

Malaysia Hiking trail markers
Malaysia Hiking trail markers

We can actually wade in the stream to our destination, but the meanderings will take up precious time. That is why we trekked through the estate.

If one is lost, just follow the stream.

This image is taken on the “return” trip

15 to 20 min easy trek through estate.

After 20 to 25min, you will see this bridge. From here onwards, we will be trekking in the forest.

Checkpoint 1 at 30 minutes mark.

At around 40min point, you will see the first pond.

Our guides told me this is Japanese Garden or Rock Garden, I forgot the sequence, but both landscapes are enchanting.

If you are going to Pelepah, help me confirm with the local guides ok.

Climb over the small boulder and another landscape awaits 🙂

水晶山

Pardon me if there are too many selfies, I love Nature and Pelepah Waterfalls trekking had been amazing thus far!

Our guide told us nicer waterfalls is just ahead WOW!

This steep 80 degree wall is our first obstacle.

The view behind is worth the climb 🙂

Our FIRST WATERFALL, although a small one, is enough to keep us happy. Take note the water can be 2 to 3m deep at the other end.

We were more reserved and shy at the first pond, but everyone could not wait to jump into this pond! We spent almost 20 minutes here.

The cool water washed away our fatigue. Invigorating!!

Found another waterfall model :p

Everyone was soaked inside out, the next segment was the most beautiful along the entire trek.

We waded through a “narrow corridor”. Water is waist deep (90 to 100cm), and we were flanked by two walls.

The rocks can be uneven and slippery, be careful when you are taking photos. I saw many folks stopped for wefies 🙂

This path is dangerous during rainy days as flash flood can sweep us away. Look out for incremental weather.


Everywhere we hike, we heard the sound of water streaming, more water FUN beckons.

Around another corner (15 minutes from first waterfall), we spotted our SECOND WATERFALL!

If the water is emerald, you might believe I am in the Philippines :p

Personally, this is the best Waterfall for me. We spent another 20 minutes here, showering and taking more photos and jumping jacks too.

 

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Modeling at #PelepahWaterfalls 😆 Invigorating and refreshing trek 😍👍 #kotaTinggi #pelepah #gunungPelepah #sengkangbabies #skbHiking

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#PelepahWaterfalls I must bring the kids along next round, so much 🚿 FUN 😊 #kotaTinggi #pelepah #sengkangbabies

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Chilling and powerful cascades of water soothed our shoulder and joints. Shiok lah!

Pelepah Waterfalls
Pelepah Waterfalls

Be careful of the hidden logs and stones underwater, I can understand why many would like to dash under the cooling waterfall haha 🙂

This is the same reason why “cliff or log” jumping might not be recommended.

Google indicates some folks do abseiling here too 🙂

Our guides had a hard time peeling us away from FUN haha. The last waterfall is 10 mins away.

Video (YouTube link):  Water Fun, I would do Pelepah again 🙂

The THIRD WATERFALL looks majestic but less fun then the second one, and it is very slippery too.

Waterfalls are super cold but our adrenaline and body heat (from hiking) meant we got to enjoy the cool dips!

The waterfalls tiers might offer a good spot for group photo but keep body low and on all fours (if necessary) to navigate the rock face.

I slipped and fell on my bums at least twice. If someone at the top slips, Domino Effect!

We had our packed lunch here.

Pelepah Waterfalls photo
Pelepah Waterfalls photo

Do take note that return trek is along the forest path and minimum water crossings. We will not u-turn along the same path, so NO more ponds and waterfalls 🙁

We did spot a few campers at Checkpoint 1.

Hiking and Swimming at Pelepah Waterfalls was a good workout for my body, my muscle still felt a bit numb on the second day 🙂

If you love adventures, do checkout all our Gunong hikings in Malaysia (Belumut, Panti and Taman Nagara )

Our Waterfalls adventures are here (not all are hiking). Three images below credit YEC and SGTrek 🙂

More photos can be found on Facebook Anchorvale YEC and SGTrek .

Additional tips :

-REMEMBER to waterproof your belongings, especially passport

-Hikers can shower at the Kota Tinggi Resort (nominal fees). Small tap

-Malaysia Waterfalls listing – http://waterfallsofmalaysia.com/24pelapah.php

-Waterfalls can be dangerous, slippery rocks and careless photographers. Be vigilant and exercise caution. SAFETY First.

-Do take note of these emergency contacts:
a) 999 or  112-This will activate Police or Ambulance

b)994-Bomba (Emergency Rescue)

-Try not to ingest too much waterfall waters, especially if water is static. This helps city folks avoid stomach upset or even rat urine poisoning

-We did not encounter any leeches but I suspect I got some minor sandfly bites. For leeches, just spray saltwater to detach

ps.. Follow our Instagram tag #SengkangBabiesJohor for more JB adventures

 

ps 2019Aug, we did a family hike to Pelepah again! Blog – https://sengkangbabies.com/sports/johor-waterfalls-pelepah-hiking

Taiwan Day 8 Elephant Mountain and Raohe Night Market

When friends saw the view of Taipei 101 from 象山 Elephant Mountain, they were curious to know more.

Where is Elephant Mountain?
Can anyone hike up Elephant Mountain?

Nearest MRT station is “Xiang Shan”, literally 象山. From here, it is a short walk (850m) to the Trail head (base)

Alternatively, you may wish to walk 1.3km from Taipei 101, but beware, it is easy to get lost in the small winding lanes (you will need GPS navigation!)

Most will hike from trail head (steps picture, GPS 25.027377 121.570769).

Elephant Hill
Elephant Mountain trail head

Even after 5 min climb, you can already see Taipei 101 from different perspective. This is a motivation for you to climb higher and get a better view.

Steps can be steep and seem endless, but go slow and everyone can make it to the top.  Can you spot the “elephant hill” outline below?

 

As an estimation, we took about 20 minutes to reach the top, hop and walk and rest. For first time hikers, aim for 30 to 40 minutes slow walk and have frequent rest.

Hiking in Taiwan is different from Malaysia (read our Gunung conquers). Taiwan treks and trails are well paved with steps and pavements, you do not need to crawl on on fours and get muddy.

Elephant Mountain is actually part of a ‘animal mountain range” called 四獸山 (Four beasts). You got Elephant, Leopard, Tiger and Lion.  Conquer these four beasts to reach the peak at “九五峯” (this will require 1/2 day).

For casual tourists( you and me), we would recommend to aim for the “6 boulders” at Elephant Mountain, you will reach a few huge boulders along the climb, but who is counting the stones?

There will be platforms for visitors to take photos and enjoy the splendid Taipei metropolitan landscape view.

Day or night, you can expect some nice scenes. If you want some unique experience, hiking elephant Mountain will provide you the thrills, perspiration and sights.

 

In my previous solo trip, I climbed up the huge rock for some “epic” photos. the best view would be normally around sunset, this is also the most crowded period.

The girls did not joined us, they were shopping at 五分埔 Wu Fen Pu (GPS 25.048103, 121.580061) .

From Song Shan station (松山車站, GPS 25.049504, 121.578211), we had earlier plan to meet at 饒河夜市 Raohe for dinner and supper 🙂

Wu Fen Pu is just 5 min walk from Song Shan station. Wholesale shopping awaits shoppers and visitors.

If you love shopping and finding unique designs, Wu Fen Pu might be your cup of tea. There are endless rows of niche shops and merchandise.

Map below, Song Shan Station is in the middle of our activities. Elephant Mountain is South. Those heading to Ruifang, Keelung, Jiufen, Shifen will also have to transfer at the same train station. (Check out the other cities’ blogs on out 10D9N Taiwan Itinerary here)

 

The highlight for the night is food again, and 饒河夜市 (Raohe) is one of the popular night markets in Taiwan.

Raohe GPS 25.050917, 121.577669 , and there is a famous Mascot dog too 🙂

胡椒餅饒河 Black Pepper Bun (pork filling) is one of the most famous snacks. The buns are sticked to the side of the oven (urn?), heated to perfection and  piping hot. The juicy pepperish taste will stun your tongue.

The original stall always has queues 20 minutes long! I tried the smaller stall outside which claims “Not Nice Eat for Free haha!”

Seriously, I cannot tell the difference between the two stalls 🙂

Just grab smaller portions and share with families, that is the way to enjoy Taiwan Night Market street food.

December weather is cool, so anything soupy or fried would warm our tummies.

The torched beef cube are available at many night markets. The one at Raohe is over-rated.

 

This one is good too, deep fried ribs. No bones and crunchy chewy.

Raohe is niche and small compared to Shilin night market 士林夜市. But you can easily spend 2 hours eating, shopping and exploring 🙂

 

Games for kids, and we did not do the traditional Face massage (With strings).

 

Good range of souvenirs, for humans and pets :p
There are a lot of dogs lovers in Taiwan.   

 

Do take a photo at the famous 松山慈祐宮 Ciyou Temple just outside Raohe Night Market too.

You have seen the popular Night scene of Raohe Night Market. Cross the river and visit the LOVE bridge too, this bridge is beautifully illuminated in the evenings.

In the day time, the meandering river offers a panoramic view.

We would recommend renting a YouBike to cycle along the scenic river way too. The design is similar to Singapore’s Park Connectors, but Taipei’s cycling tracks are much wider. (you will need a local Taiwan number to rent a YouBike)

Besides the bridge and Elephant Hill, I have two other less common attractions to recommend.

a) I ran 13km to/fro from Raohe to Songshan Airport (Domestic) for some cool plane spotting too. 濱江180 (Binjiang) is super happening if you are  plane lover. Many folks will YouBike here too. (GPS 25.070849, 121.538490). More aeroplanes photos on Facebook album.

 

b) If you are visiting in December, take note the most-happening Christmas decorations and countdown activities are not around Taipei 101.

Everyone in Taiwan knows this, but visitors will always assume Taipei 101 is the spot (maybe due to New Year Fireworks countdown images?)

Head South-West to outskirt Banqiao 新北市板橋區 (GPS 25.013666, 121.464886). More details here.

All our 10D9N photos are in our Facebook album, do pop by to select your best activities.

Photo albums :

Day 1 Aowanda, Cing Jing
Day 2 Cing Jing
Day 3 Xitou Nature Education Area, Monster Village, Sun Moon Lake
Day 4 Taichung (Zhongshe flower, ShengXin station, Cycling, Fengjia)
Day 5 Taichung (Animation Lane, Rainbow, Miyahara)
Day 6 Keelung 基隆
-Day 7 Ruifang, Jiufen and Shifen
-Day x Taipei HomeAway and Neighbourhood
Day 8 永康, Xi Men Ding, 象山, 饒河 Raohe
Day 9 and 10 北投 Beitou, Toyshop, 士林 Shilin

Blog posts :

** Taiwan Itinerary for families 
Day 1 Google Sheet, Aowanda, Cing Jing
Day 2 Cing Jing Farm
HomeAway Recommendations for Taiwan
Day 3a Xitou Nature Education area (溪頭)
Day 3b Monster village 妖怪村 and Sun Moon Lake
Day 4 Cycling Taichung 台中 
Day 4a 台中 Taichung  attractions
Day 5a 台中 Taichung food Ice cream and Bubble Tea
Day 5b 台中 Taichung Fengjia night market
-Day 6 基隆 Keelung
Day 7a Jiufen attractions
Day 7b Shifen attractions
Taipei Neighbourhood around our HomeAway Vacation Home
Day 8a Yong Kang Street and Xi Men Ding
Day 8b Raohe Night Market, Wu Fen Pu and 象山 Elephant Mountain

Instagram Hashtag #sengkangBabiesTaiwan

Instagram #sengkangBabiesTaiwan