Why Hike

Funny cause I’ve been to only like 3 mountain hikes with altitudes of just less than 1000 meters, yet I am here blogging about hiking. I am no expert, I have not even hiked the highest mountain in my country. Hard core hikers will surely be laughing at me. But hey, we got to start somewhere, right. They may just be easy to moderate hikes but they are already something for me. Although I grew up in the mountainous region, I really haven’t been into long hikes before.

The feeling I get whenever I reach a peak of a mountain is just indescribable. It somehow makes me feel strong, brave and independent. It is not just about the reward of having to see the view from the top but the effort and the pain endured just to be there. Those moments where your body and mind are like giving up at the middle of the hike and would just like to turn back, but you keep convincing yourself that you can make it. There is somehow an “emotional element” in there.

It sounds cliché but it really feels great to be with nature. If only I have all the time and resources, I would gladly join every training hikes to prepare myself to reach at least one of the highest peaks in the world. I wish to set foot in the Himalayas.

Whenever I am in a hike, I think of nothing but the trails, on how to cross a path without slipping, how to control my balance and breathing, how safe is the rope considering my heavy weight, where to land my foot next and when do I get my water break. For a day, I get to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of a city, as well as from the usual boring routine.  For a while, I get to escape from depression, frustrations, stress and whatever it is that is bugging me. For a moment, I get the chance to appreciate the beauty of a creation, thank the Creator above and thank those who had hiked ages before us for making the paths easier. For a second, I get to pat myself at the back for this little accomplishment. For a lifetime, I have something to look back on and at least be proud of.

And for goodness’ sake, I am sounding so emotional about this hiking thing and yes I honestly am. It really has an impact on me.

So yeah, if you haven’t climbed a mountain yet, I know you don’t feel the same way I do. You’re probably laughing at me. Climb one, no matter how high or small it is, then surely, you’ll land on the same page as I am.

Rock Climbing in Tabur East

Tabur East, from a no-expert-hiker’s point of view, is one scary hike coupled with rock climbing. I have no proper training on rock climbing, thus scary. What made it scarier during our hike were the falling loose rocks and pebbles from soft surfaces. But there is nothing we can’t conquer, right. It does not require that much endurance but is risky with its steep slopes and vertical drops. You will depend on the ropes for most of the tough parts of the hike. They are the lifelines on this trek. You get to rest a little bit longer as you take turns using the ropes, so you will like stand or sit there for a while staring on someone’s butt as he makes his way to the top.

But seriously, there is no time for butt-staring as you will be more focused on the technique on how he climbs up so you’ll do the same or even better.

For safety reasons, it is advisable to stick to the trails no matter how expert you are. Do not be in such a hurry to reach the peak, stay with your group and most important of all, do not overtake your guide. If you happen to encounter falling rocks, give a heads-up to the people behind you.

Sometimes, it just feels crazy to go through these dangerous and brutal paths for the sake of a nice view. But then again, it is worth the effort and worth the risk.

Tabur East, by the way, is located in Selangor Malaysia, close to Kuala Lumpur. Permit is required before embarking on this trek. Once at the peak and on a clear day, you will get a panoramic view of the Klang Gate Dam and of Kuala Lumpur. We set foot on a hazy day so we got the haze as our backdrop.

Essentials: Gloves, knee pads, first aid kit

We are heading there.

We are heading there.

Just imagine a beautiful dam & parts of KL in the backdrop.

Just imagine a beautiful dam & parts of KL in the backdrop.

Enveloped in haze.

Enveloped in haze.

See what burning forests can do.

See what burning forests can do.

ctto

Photo ctto.

And it's a wrap. Photo ctto.

And it’s a wrap. Photo ctto.

I Left My Heart In Borobudur

A month before my 28th birthday, I have decided that I must do something memorable and different on that day to celebrate my 28 years of existence. And so, I have decided to travel alone. Sounds boring to go solo? Well, not for me.

So, without much hesitation, I booked my flight bound to Yogyakarta. The main purpose of the trip is to visit the Borobudur temple at sunrise. Borobudur Temple is located in Central Java in Indonesia and according to Master Google, is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument.

Exactly on my birthday, 12th of April at 4:00 AM, I left for the temple on a motorcycle with a tour guide. Availing of the sunrise tour is worth it because there are only a few tourists, so that would mean less crowd, better photos maybe, and you do get to appreciate its beauty in peace.

The moment I reached the top of the temple and while waiting for the sunrise, no exaggerations but I really felt at peace. I was so mesmerized by the breathtaking view and the place itself that no matter how many photos I take, they won’t give justice to its beauty. This place has to be experienced and be seen by the naked eye. It just felt so good standing on that temple merely watching the sunrise and observing the sky changed its color every single second.

Here comes the sunrise!

Worth the early wake up call

I so love this shot.

Buddha statue at the temple’s top terrace

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Sunrise + Temple + Quiet = Simply Magical

The Stupa

The Stupas

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The Stupas and Mt Merapi at the background

You are looking at the sleeping Buddha on that mountain (as per the tour guide).

There is a formation of a sleeping Buddha on that mountain

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Tourists are requested to wear sarong which are provided by the Borobudur staff. This is to show respect and protect the dignity of this holy place.

Ladies & gents, I present to you the Borobudur Temple. Looks just like any other monuments but go and explore the place and you'll see how amazing it is. And oh, much better if you visit at sunrise. =)

Ladies & gents, I present to you the Borobudur Temple. Looks just like any other monuments but go and explore the place and you’ll see how amazing it is. And oh, much better if you visit at sunrise. =)

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I'm really amazed.

Moments that count.

Something to remind of this place

Something to remind me of this place

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Wish I could show all the photos here, but as I’ve said earlier, they don’t give justice to this magnificent place.

So moving on…I had no other plans aside from the temple tour but the tour guide suggested a visit to the Merapi Volcano theater on the same day where I watched a short documentary on the eruption of the said volcano. I saw how damaging the eruption was and on the middle of that show, I got so scared I want to fly right away from Yogya, fearing for another volcanic eruption. I got a bit emotional and pitied those who have been affected. Outside the theater was the view of the volcano itself. The volcano is so beautiful in a perfect cone-shape and surrounding it are the beautiful villages that were once affected by the calamity. I just wonder how these people still get to stay in that place after such disaster. I hope and pray the volcano would stay dormant for a long period of time.

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Merapi Volcano

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Nearby villages

On the next day, another very early wake up call to catch the sunrise in Puntuk Setumbu as suggested by the guesthouse staff. It is overlooking the Borobudur temple and is indeed another sunrise-worthy place. And what better way to enjoy a sunrise than having a cup of coffee. No hassle carrying your coffee with you for there is someone selling hot drinks right at that spot. Felt so glad to see other fellow sunrise-lovers there. Moments like this is worth waking up so early.

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And last but not the least, a village tour to end the trip.

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So that’s it. A birthday gift to myself. Amazing experience, an emotional one even. Wish I could have stayed longer. I guess I can say, I left my heart in Borobudur.