1. Team ASEAN Media in Gopeng, Perak ready to conquer Gua Kandu

1. Team ASEAN Media in Gopeng, Perak ready to conquer Gua Kandu

I do not see myself as an outdoor adventurer and if given a choice, I do not like to get wet and dirty when I am travelling.

2. gearing up

2. gearing up

However, if I am compelled to participate in these activities, I do not hesitate to get down and grubby because I know that it wouldn’t be something that I would willingly pursue on my own. Hence, I take up the challenge – to push myself beyond my comfort zone.

3. Edgar Alan Zeta-Yap poses at the mouth of the cave

3. Edgar Alan Zeta-Yap poses at the mouth of the cave

Gopeng was selected as one of the places to visit for the delegation of ASEAN media who was in Perak on a familiarisation trip. What does one do in this former tin mining town besides sightseeing? Well, it is best known for its outdoor adventures with the Kampar River running through it.

4. rock formation

4. rock formation

Even though I am a Perakian, I have never indulged myself in such activities in Gopeng, so it was something that I looked forward to, albeit with apprehension. Nonetheless, I pulled up my socks and sleeves and dived right in with the rest of the delegates.

5. participants abseil within the cave

5. participants abseil within the cave

Our morning began with caving in Gua Kandu. The two plus hours of activity was quite a challenge as it was extremely dark inside, even with head lamps. Some passages were very narrow, some had steep drops and we had to climb up and down with the help of ropes.

6. there is light at the end of the tunnel

6. there is light at the end of the tunnel

The trail ended via a zipline out of the cave, followed by via ferrata down the wall. Finally, we had to descend some flights of steep stairs until we reach solid ground. Phew….

7. Ayu exits the cave via a zipline

7. Ayu exits the cave via a zipline

In a way, caving in Gua Kandu to me, is moderately challenging. At least, we did not have to commando crawl and the cave was dry. Pengkalan Hulu’s Gua Gendang was much more challenging for me with the water rising up to my nose and my head already touching the ceiling of the cave.

8. the via ferrata is not as scary as initially envisioned

8. the via ferrata is not as scary as initially envisioned

Nevertheless, there were sections of the course in Gua Kandu that made me think, “Sh*t! What have I gotten myself into??” I am glad to say that at the end of it, with a little nudge, I managed to complete the course.

9. Mawardi comes out of Gua Kandu victorious

9. Mawardi comes out of Gua Kandu victorious

After lunch break, it was time to further challenge ourselves with whitewater rafting. It was dry season when we were there. Having less water in Kampar River doesn’t mean that it is easy to navigate through. In fact, the dry season comes with its own set of challenges. For one, we had to “jump, jump” and “bump, bump” more because we got stuck between boulders way more times than usual.

10. water confidence exercise

10. water confidence exercise

This wasn’t my first whitewater rafting adventure as I have done it before in Sabah’s Sungai Kiulu. However, here, we were put through a water confidence test prior to getting onto our inflatable rafts and as a non-swimmer, that got me really nervous, although I know that the survival skill would come in handy if I got thrown out into the river.

11. whitewater rafting along Sungai Kampar

11. whitewater rafting along Sungai Kampar

Due to the river condition, our activity took longer to complete than planned with much more energy expanded. In terms of challenge, it was also moderate. I have to give credit to my guide, Soleh, not only for his skills but also for literally throwing us into (shallow) water, making this expedition way more memorable. As the saying goes, “It’s not what you do but whom you do it with.”

12. participants take a breather

12. participants take a breather

Both our caving and whitewater rafting activities in Gopeng were expertly handled by Nomad Adventure, the winner for Best Tour Package, Adventure / Nature for 2D/1N combo of Raft & Nature (whitewater rafting and caving) at the 19th Malaysia Tourism Awards 2014 / 2015 in February this year.

13. Puteri Idayu waves to the camera

13. Puteri Idayu waves to the camera

For more information about the company and packages offered, log on to Nomad Adventure official website HERE.

Photo credit: Gaya Travel Magazine

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