River Abseiling, Rafting and Caving in Gopeng

Gopeng is small town located in the District of Kampar, Perak, Malaysia. It is situated about 20km south of Ipoh. The town was once was bustling with tin miners and locals who busied themselves with the great tin mining industry of Malaysia until the collapse of the tin empire in 1980s. The town being in close proximity to Kampar river (water rafting, abseiling etc) and limestone outcrops like Gua Tempurung (caving) is becoming a major attraction to outdoor enthusiasts. Lim Bo Seng WWII resistance fighter of Force 136 was captured by the Japanese at a roadblock in Gopeng in 1944.

We signed up for a 2D1N outdoor adventure program in Gopeng (2okm south of Ipoh). The program consisted of water abseiling, water rafting and cave exploration. We spent a few days in Cameron Highlands before travelling “up  and down” to Ipoh.  Ipoh is located northwest of Cameron Highlands and it is more than 1,000m lower in altitude than Cameron Highlands.

Day 1: Water Abseiling and White Water Rafting

We took the 8am coach from Tanah Rata bus station in Cameron Highlands and reached Medan Gopeng bus station in Ipoh at around 930am. The distance between the two towns is about 86km- along a descending road from Cameron Highlands (1,400m asl) to Ipoh (47 m asl). Along the way, we saw several petty stalls made of tree branches and leaves selling petrol in plastic bottles. We believe that these stalls are operated by the Orang Asli as there are some Orang Asli settlements around the area.

We were transferred by 4WD from Medan Gopeng bus station (do not be misled by the name, Medan Gopeng bus station is located in Ipoh and not Gopeng) to Gopeng. Other than the driver whose name i can’t remember, we were also accompanied by a young lady called Hajar who served as our “caretaker” for the duration of the program.

The program package included all meals and one night accomodation in Rumah Rehat Adeline (aka Adeline’s Rest House) – a simple non aircon hut with floor mattress and shared toilet. One of my “atas” friends Mr Ray was so horrified by the simplicity of the hut that he coaxed us to upgrade to a better accomodation. We then ended up in Adeline’s Villa – chalet style accomodation with aircon, queen size beds and attached toilet. Both Adeline’s Rest House and Adeline’s Villa are owned and operated by the same owner – Adeline Kuo. But the Rest House and Villa compounds are not connected but a few hundred metres from each other.

We had a sumptuous buffet lunch at the Villa’s open air canteen. There were cut fruits, ice kachang, homemade grass jelly drinks, nasi padang, special bamboo soup, goreng pisang and other finger foods. We ate like a glutton even though we knew that we shouldn’t eat so much before strenuous activities. After lunch, we rested for an hour before commencing the activities at around 2pm.

We attempted the waterfall abseiling at the 15m high Ulu Geruntum waterfall, situated 5km away from Adeline’s villa. The abseiling height is  about 10m or three-storey high. The briefing session which covered abseiling equipments, technique and safety was conducted on the spot and  completed within 15mins. It was more of a crash course. You have to abseil (w/o assistance) down the waterfall, only using your legs to support against the wall of the waterfall. The only protection you have is your safety helmet and the two lifelines that passes through your safety harness carabiner. One of the lifeline is the abseiling line which is attached to a fixed anchor point at the top of the waterfall. The other lifeline is attached between yourself and the instructor without which you might fall straight down to the bottom of the waterfall if you slip off the wall. Mr Ray carelessly slipped off from the wall and gave up immediately. I abseiled from the top to the bottom three times.

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