The bunch of us took a much needed break last weekend. Well actually, one of us was going to ‘balik kampung’ to Terengganu and the rest of us decided to tag along and part ways halfway, depending on where we were headed. We did some research and came up with a few choices and eventually landed on Sungai Lembing. Among the 4 of us, only one has been here and that too about 10 years ago. So, it was definitely an adventure, as we were heading to a place most of us haven’t been to before …. off we went.
Here are some basic information, if you are travelling from KL to Sungai Lembing.
Tol/Touch N Go cost : 33 ringgit one way. To be safe, just make sure your card has 70 ringgit in it. There is No ‘Tambah Nilai’ counter available throughout the journey at a single tol. However, there are several ‘Kawasan Rehat’ and Petrol stations along the way for you to ‘tambah nilai’ if needed.
Travel Time: Heading to Sungai Lembing from KL takes a lil longer – 3 hours, as oppose to heading back to KL from Sungai Lembing, at about 2 hours 30 mins.
Fuel: We drove a Myvi there and fuel cost us about a 100 ringgit, two ways. Keep in mind that there is No petrol station in Sungai Lembing. The nearest one is about 20 km away. So, do fuel in accordingly.
Just in case you guys are wondering, the distance between Sungai Lembing and Kuantan is about 25-30 km, 30-45 minutes away. If you guys are planning to spend a few days, the travelling up and down doesn’t hurt as the distance is short.
Anyways, I know that whenever we write about Day Trips, the post kindda focuses on food first, travel second. When it comes to Sungai Lembing though, food is not bad at all but let’s be honest – no one is going to travel all the way to this side of town solely for the food. Kuantan – yes perhaps but Sungai Lembing, not so much.
Foodwise, what Sungai Lembing is known for is ‘Waterfall’ Tofu, Hoover Restaurant for dinner, Mee Tomato, Ah Ding’s Crack Pork and Tau Foo Fah. We managed to try a few of them, not all as we had limited time here. We tried the Mee Tomato and the Tau Foo Fah.
Kay then, let’s get straight into it, shall we ??
Lots of visitors head into Sungai Lembing to visit :
1) Bukit Panorama
2) Rainbow and Sg Pandan Waterfall
3) Jambatan Gantung/Hanging Bridge Kolong Pahat
4) Gua Charas
5) Sungai Lembing Mines and Muzium
1) Bukit Panorama
This is where people head to when they want to see and experience sunrise, with a spectacular view of the whole Sungai Lembing valley below them. To do so, people usually start hiking up at 6 am. It takes you about 45 minutes on average to reach the top, just in time to catch the sunrise. Be sure to bring torch light as it will definitely be of help when you are hiking up in the dark. Wear proper shoes, please or at least something with a proper grip as it does get wet and slippery at some points. The journey from the bottom to the top and vice versa has a walkway with steps all along. So, this isn’t one of those super difficult hiking trails. It is pretty straightforward but it sure does test your fitness level. I am one of those who exercises regularly and even I started getting breathless halfway through. Almost everyone on their way up takes a few breaks in between. So, do not try and be Usain Bolt when you are nowhere close, yeah? Take breaks, be safe and remind yourself that the view on the top is worth it … because it was, sooo worth it. Amazeballs, yaw.
You’d definitely be able to experience the sunrise but whether or not you’d also be able to see the spectacular view of the Sungai Lembing Valley from up above is dependant on your luck. During the time of our hike, there was a light drizzle with lots of mist and it kindda remained that way throughout the sunrise. No perfect view of the valley for us. We ain’t complaining though, witnessing the sunrise by itself was a humbling experience.
When you are done with the climb and have descended back to the bottom, head to the morning market for some breakfast. It is barely 5 minutes away from Bukit Panorama, literally straight down the road. We walked over instead of driving.
There were quite a bit of options – noodles both curry and fried, rice and rotis. After walking around and checking our options, we opted to have breakfast at Nasi Kukus Saleha. This was basically an ol’ school shop that serves food ranging from ‘kuih’ to nasi lemak, nasi minyak, nasi dagang and noodles, all ranging between 3 to 4 ringgit.
I went with Nasi Dagang, 3 ringgit. You’s get rice + gravy + ikan tongkol. It was basic but delicious. The gravy was thick with a slight sweetish taste and the ikan tongkol was fresh and was generous in portion size. My friend ordered the Nasi Minyak …. um, skip that please. It isn’t worth a mention.
When you are walking around the market, do keep a look out for a father and son who operates an Apam Balik stall. Buy loads of it because it is finger lickin good. Definitely one of the best I’ve tasted in a long time. It is a Malay duo and no one else seemed to be selling the same item, so it is unlikely that you’d miss them. The apam balik in KL are usually either too thick with very little filling or too thin and crisp that it breaks apart like a biscuit the minute you bite into it. The one here though while small and crispy, it was still tender and buttery. It doesn’t break apart easily and taste awesome. The filling had plenty of nuts and corn in it but not in an overwhelming amount. It was soo delicious that each of us ordered 4 each and even that wasn’t enough. If we weren’t already in the car, I am pretty sure we would have headed back for more.
2) Sg. Pandan Waterfall/Air terjun
After the hike and breakfast,around 9.30 am, we decided to go cool down at this waterfall. Why this and not Rainbow Waterfall? Between the two, Rainbow Waterfall is definitely more exciting as it has the allure of the rainbow. If you look it up online, you’d notice many pictures with the rainbow and the people in it in one photograph. If you are in Sungai Lembing for more than a day, then a visit to this waterfall would be good. With us though who were on a day trip, having to rush down from the top of Bukit Panorama, meeting up with some group of strangers who are heading to this very waterfall, get on a 4 wheel drive/ truck while it transport you there …. ugh, let’s just say it seemed a lil to rushed for us. We wanted the chilled out version and that was Sg Pandan Waterfall.
Unlike Bukit Panorama, which is located in Sungai Lembing itself, Sungai Pandan is located about 20 + km out, in Panching town. There are several location tags on Waze and not all of them works. The first three we tried, gave us a ‘couldn’t find the end location’ notification. The 4th option was the one that worked. It provided the time of arrival, the distance and etc. Try not to miss any turnings as it would lead you to an unneccesary fuel wastage because the amount of time and errors Waze made to recalculate the route was ages. So, follow Waze, concentrate and it will get you there.
Driving to Sg. Pandan yourself is the best. Taking GRAB is not advised. This because this waterfall is located in the palm oil estate. Half of your journey is through it, there is no people and houses, all you’d be passing is row after row of palm oil trees. After you’d passed that, then you’d have drive over a somewhat rough, pebbled road. Be careful here because sometimes you’d come across ‘Lori Ganas’ that wont slow down around the bend. So, be alert. Anyways, getting a GRAB to send you Sg Pandan is no issue but getting one on your way back is difficult. Well, if you do not mind hitch-hiking, then I suppose GRAB is an option.
There is an entry fee into the waterfall that you would pay at the entrance. 2 ringgit for locals, 5 ringgit for foreigners and 3 ringgit for parking. The water level at Sg Pandan isnt deep, barely reaching knee level. You’d be able to lots of families having picnics and lots of fun. I saw many people literally park themselves over the rocks where they would get a direct ‘shower’ from the water flow. Besides some slippery rocks here and there, it is otherwise safe. The bunch of us had a jolly good time here.
After the fun filled time at Sg Pandan, we headed back to Sungai Lembing for lunch.
There is no one particular restaurant that serves real good Mee Tomato. What is good depends on your tastebuds. Sungai Lembing is ultimately a small ‘kampung’, the town itself is perhaps a lil bigger than Bangsar South, which is pretty small. There is a stretch of shops, a few rows facing one another. Most of them open for breakfast and lunch, half of them close for dinner.
This is what Mee Tomato looks like. Although this is Sungai Lembing specialty, you’d be able to find this dish in KL as well. There is a blatant difference between the two though. Based on the ones I’ve tasted, the ones served in KL mostly has limp, lifeless noodles with gravy that has an overwhelming taste of tomato ketchup/sauce. The one here though had a nice blend between tomato sauce and puree. The noodles, made in Sungai Lembing has a more bouncy, chewy feel to it. Definitely has more character and taste to its KL counterpart. There were more ingredients too – chicken strips, vegetables, tauhu and it only cost us 5 ringgit.
Would I order this dish again though?? Umm, most probably not. I don’t usually fancy my noodles drowning in thick gravy.
3) Jambatan Gantung Kolong Pahat
This is a 200 + year old bridge. It is old but still very much sturdy. Most tourist visit the bridge because it is fascinating to take picture on it as well as the food goodies you can buy in the village on the other side of that bridge.
After the bridge crossover, you’d come across 3,4 shops that sells Tau Foo Fah and other treats – fish crackers, coconut biscuits and etc.
You can get the popular Tau Foo Fah here. Ummm, maybe it is just me, I am nowhere an expert in this particular dessert but the little that I’ve tasted in KL, the ones here is kindda the same. It is nice but it is no different than the ones I’ve had in KL. It is served in a small, round packaging as displayed in the images above, at a cost of 2 ringgit. What I truly enjoyed was the Blue Flower Jelly Tau Foo Fah and The Lemongrass Jelly with Basil Seeds because those those 2 dishes were unique and yummy.
The Blue Flower Tau Foo Fah, 2 ringgit was a half and half. A layer of Tau Foo Fah on the top and a layer of Blue Flower Jelly on the bottom. The combination was awesome. Not only were there a difference in texture, tastewise – it was also uniquely different. While you are tasting the tau foo fah, the distinct taste of Blue Flower is evident. What it taste like? Similar to the variety of flower teas out there. The combination was tasty. The Lemongrass Jelly with Basil seeds, 2 ringgit is basically Lemongrass tea in solid form. Why didn’t I think of it, ey? This would totally be something I’d be interested in making at home. Anyway, it was nice and refreshing, no too sweet.
4) Muzium Sungai Lembing
So basically, back in its glory days, Sungai Lembing used to be a mining town. At the muzium, you’d be able to learn all about it. How the town came about, the early days, the whole works of mining back then, the great flood back in 1920s and how it affected the transportation of ‘bijih timah’ as well as all the utensils used and many more. If you enjoy history, then this would bring you joy … if you don’t, then this may bore you. It may not be everybody’s favorite.
The Mines is located less than 5 mins away. We gave it a miss because we weren’t that interested in this particular activity. If you guys are, plenty of information available online to assist you.
5) Gua Charas
This would have been our last stop before heading back to KL but one of had a work emergency and that is that. We had to leave earlier than anticipated, which meant that we did not visit Gua Charas. If you have time on your hands, do visit it. It is a popular tourist-ty and spiritual place that is worth a visit. Charas Cave is a big cave that is home to a Buddist shrine (sleeping Buddha) and a Hindu (Sivan) temple. Located just about 10 km from Sungai Lembing, it opens from 9 am – 5 pm. Do not miss it!
*** Accomodation/ Stay: What is popular here is the Time Capsule Retreat. At a price tag of 118 ringgit a day, you’d get to stay in one of those fascinating cylinder capsules, in the midst of nature. They also have a bigger room for the same price tag, with either a queen or 2 single beds + attached bathroom. At night, you can use the available utensils to BBQ, roast and cook. Although we did not stay overnight, we read about it online and decided to ‘kepo’, drop by and check it out.
Well, we had plenty of fun in Sungai Lembing, more than expected. We hope it would be the same for you guys too, if you are planning a visit.
Signing out now, Ciao.