Sungai Lembing has a legend that their local ruler one day saw a vision of a spear in the river and so the town was named after this vision. It’s been a mining town traditionally and at one point the mines were some of the deepest and largest anywhere in the world. Today, however, a trip to Sungai Lembing speaks not of mining, but of the anticipation to experience something that is truly great!
Organised by Singapore Adventurous Nature Lovers, and with 32 like-minded adventurous people joining together, this was going to be an epic trek. There were plenty of games prepared for the bus journey, but after crossing the Causeway it was clear that we would all need some extra rest for the adventure we were about to have. The extra games were discarded so we could all gather our strength for the next two days of trekking!
“I am always after spectacular sunrises. SG Lembing has always been one of the places in Malaysia I wanted to visit after being introduced to this place by one of teammates.”
Day 1: The Rainbow Waterfalls and More
The day begins early because if you don’t reach the Rainbow Waterfalls in time, you’ll miss out on the experience until the sun rises again. Upon arriving, the emerald waters greeted us with a fantastic sight! The rainbow was there in full bloom, beckoning to us against the backdrop of the green-tinged rocky cliffs like a long-lost family member. Depending on how far you venture out, you can see double or even full ring rainbows in the mists of the waterfall!
but first, let us cross a river
There were more than 50 people there that morning, but it seemed like the experience belonged just to our group. It touched my heart to see that so many people could trek out to see something so beautiful and still leave it seemingly untouched by human hands! The Rainbow Waterfalls truly are one of the best hidden gems this country has to offer.
“The rainbow was so vivid in our midst…”
Later on, we took time to explore the Sungai Lembing Museum, which is a tribute to all of the mining work that took place in this community for several generations. There are numerous artifacts on display that detail first-hand accounts of what life was like in the mines. There are even replicated environments to give visitors a taste of the mines in a first-hand way.
Next was the Old Mining Tunnel. I must admit some apprehension as we were loaded into these cars to ride on the tracks to begin the exploration. Inside, however, the old tunnel is well lit and is an eye-opening experience that will certainly be a treasured memory for some time to come.
The final stop on Day 1 was to explore the community, including the suspension hanging bridge that drapes out over the river basin. There were visions of rickety boards and swaying breezes causing everyone to hold on, but the bridge is well constructed and provides an amazing view of the river as it is being crossed.
Day 2: Panorama Hill and Charas Cave
The second day of this weekend trek started off early so that we could see the stunning sunrise that has brought many travelers to Sungai Lembing. The trail up to the summit was a little easier than expected and so when we arrived at the top, it was still nearly pitch black. It was a long 45 minute wait to see the first rays of the sun begin to glow in the sky, but once that began the intense beauty of the region was put on display before our eyes and it was breathtaking!
The mists of the morning still clutched to the trees in a tight hug as the sky began to glow in the gentle orange glow of the sun and the distant monuments seemed to rise from their slumber. As the sun moved higher into the sky and the oranges turned into blue, the transition became complete and a touching highlight of the journey.
While in the area, we also took the time to explore Charas Cave. Climbing up the metal steps, this journey in many ways is a summary of what local life has been like through the ages. Some believe the cave is over 400 million years old and inside there are temples and a large sleeping Buddha to see. It is dark and cool inside, but at times the light shines through a pinhole and shines a light down to wake the monument throughout the day.
It was an adventure that has some challenges. The plumbing didn’t always work, the food wasn’t delivered on time, and things didn’t always go as planned. Yet in the chaos, a beauty emerged that was profound and meaningful. We had a time together the first night that was a fusion of camp fire, oldies, and modern music. Everyone sang their hearts out and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly! The empty stomachs from a missing breakfast allows us to enjoy the local market, which would have been largely ignored if we were full.
Sungai Lembing delivered an amazing experience! The only regret from this weekend adventure was that it couldn’t be extended for even more trekking opportunities!
more pictures here