It’s been a while, almost a year, since we last set foot in Kiding village. This time, we brought members of the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) for a scouting trip project to the village. We started off in the morning at the village foothill, and before long, reality would hit us that it was going to be a tough hike up.
Day 1: Going up to Kiding!
Road conditions were okay but we were the ones without the necessary fitness level to make this hike easier. Apprently, the statement “Kiding is no kidding!” still holds true. The elevation from sea level is around 420 meters with hills and winding roads.
Before long, the morning sun has dawned upon us and we soon found ourselves exhausted and struggling to walk up the hills. We were taking breaks along the way and it took us a quite a while to reach the scheduled pit stop at Singapore Waterfall.
After a short break we continued our journey up to the village. Kiding is situated at around 420 meters above sea level but it took us around 3 hours to trek up there. Kiding village has always had a special place in our hearts ever since our first trip there, and that motivated us even in the midst of exhaustion.
Finally reach the village
Upon arriving, we were very hungry and proceeded to have our lunch at the village chief’s house. After that, all of us had our siesta time relaxing while waiting for the temperature outside to go down before our scheduled village tour.
At 4 p.m we went around the village and proceeded to the village viewpoint to catch the breathtaking scenery of the village and the surrounding mountains.
Introduction of traditional music
After coming back down from the hill, we were treated to dinner and we all had our fair share of food, we were all full. And it was just in time for us to pay a visit to the musicians in the village.
That night, we were introduced to some of the traditional musical instruments used by the Bidayuh people. They were the Rahtung and Gedok. Rahtung has the form of cylinder made of bamboo and it could be most similarly compared to the modern day guitar. Gedok is a percussion drum made of leather and wood. Interestingly though, both of the instruments came with their own companion instrument in order to execute the performance. The music that the villagers performed was written and composed by the villagers themselves and are not found elsewhere, only in Kiding village.
We were all having fun and trying out the instruments when one of villagers decided to show us some of his moves by performing a live Rejang dance. One of the STB members who used to be a dancer was also called upon to perform something to complement the whole performance.
Day 2: Wake up for the sunrise
It was 6:30 am and it had been raining the whole night. We woke early just to have a chance to catch the sunrise at the village view point and it was rather disappointing knowing that the chances are pretty slim given the overnight rain. Nevertheless, around 10 of us from the group decided to go anyway.
Upon reaching the top, we were greeted by another fascinating scene of the mountains being surrounded by mist. It was simply breathtaking and it had this soothing effect on all of us. It was cool and slightly dark when we went up and we were just taking it all in and relaxing at our friend’s “tanju” (veranda).
As the village itself has very limited cellular network coverage, we were rather surprised that there was actually 3G coverage up there. It was good to get connected with the outside world once in a while, so out came the cellphone!
We were made to wait for around 15 minutes for the mist to clear and the view sure wasn’t as bad as we thought. Even thought we didn’t manage to catch the sunrise, we did have a good time taking photographs, chatting with each other and more importantly, enjoying the wonderful view of the early hours of the day.
All good things have to end and after spending an hour on top of the hill, we soon headed back to the village chief’s house to have some proper breakfast, as well as gearing up for the walk to the waterfall later.
Time for Waterfall Trekking
After a quick break and gearing up, we were all set to go to Tanju waterfall. The journey would take around 3 hours per way and off we went on what would be our memorable trek, with a taste of both bitter and sweet.
And boy oh boy wasn’t the journey a challenging one, one steep ascend after another, and although seasoned jungle trekkers wouldn’t find it much of a challenge, it certainly was for novice trekkers as ourselves. Before long, everyone was taking a break at pit stops set up by the villagers, how thoughtful!
After 5 minutes or so, we continued our trekking to the waterfall. Along the way we came across many local plants and geological formations such as big rocks and hills.
Ijok Palm Tree
One of the most interesting plant that we came across was this Ijok palm tree. It is mainly prized for its ability to produce alcoholic drinks. We were however fooled into thinking its fruits were used to produce the drink when the latex like sap is actually extracted from the tree itself. We were told by our guide from the village that the fruits are just an indicator to whether the tree is ready for an extraction.
Up until the midway point, we reached a cliff overlooking the Bengoh valley, where the cluster of villages around the hills; Semban, Rejoi, Sting etc were located. Due to the Bengoh dam project, some villages have since been submerged underwater with some untouched, but the roads going is now a large pool of water.
Despite the feeling of sadness over the loss of the original scenery along the way to Semban village, the journey there has been cut short and made easier using boats. That will be our next destination!
Reaching the Tanju Waterfall
Resuming our journey to the waterfall, we were spent and exhausted but we were determined to march on. And after another hour or so of trekking, we finally reached the waterfall and boy, even the mere roaring of it didn’t disappoint. We hurriedly put our bags down and proceeded to relax at the waterfall. Hours of jungle trekking and we were finally at our destination and rewarded handsomely.
It was such a refreshing experience to be so close to nature, after overcoming the challenges to get to this place. The water was chilling and soothing, and the current was quite strong due to rainfall the night before but fortunately, the waterfall is still pretty safe to swim in as long as we didn’t stray to the edge.
And it’s lunch time, time to get out from the water and grab something to eat. Due to the unpredictable weather, we decided to pre-pack our lunch at the house to eat at the waterfall. Interesting enough, our guide Jirung managed to pick up some leaves for us to put our food in. It was both practical and environmental friendly! Throughout our lunch session, we were also visited upon by butterflies and other little creatures, how interesting!
Nevertheless, after spending an hour at the waterfall, it was time for us to pack up and leave. It is fair to say, that we left with a heavy heart, partially saddened by the fact we had to leave such a wonderful place, and partially because we had to repeat the journey, the way round back to the village, such is life!
For some reason, the journey back; even thought it still took around 3 hours, felt more relaxing, it could be due to that relaxing dip at the waterfall, a big thank you!
Upon reaching the village, it was already 4 pm and we were supposed to go back down to the intersection before 5 pm. However, we from Backyard Tour decided to stay another night due to fatigue, with the STB team trekking down due to the need to catch their respective flights.
Day 3: Time to say Goodbye!
The third day began almost like the second, minus the sunrise viewing the other day. Our friends had left and it was our turn to go down. After having breakfast and bidding farewell to the villagers, we started our journey. Overall there wasn’t much to write home about the journey down, except for the fact it took just ONE hour to get down! That was a huge difference compared to the journey up, perhaps all those jungle trekking beefed up our muscles?!
It was such a long due visit and we were glad everything went well, and now to prepare for another trip in July, with even more people. Oh the excitement!!