IT was a rough and bumpy ride as we negotiated the obstacles that made up the jungle. The winding and muddy trail was, in parts, dangerously narrow and pockmarked with large holes, left behind by the passage of rainwater.
We watched in amazement at our driver Anuar Mushaddad as he expertly showcased the capabilities of a Toyota Landcruiser during a recent media preview of a night’s off-road adventure package, organised by Amberstone Eco Resort, Ulu Yam.
The thrills and spills began as soon as we drove by Kampung Orang Asli Gurney, Ulu Yam, shortly after 5pm.
Anuar, who participated in the recent Petronas Trans-Himalayas expedition, was obviously enjoying himself as the Landcruiser struggled to find traction on slippery uphill stretches.
“Driving a 4x4 vehicle on rough terrain is my hobby,” said the 46-year-old.
For those who have never tried going off-road in a 4x4 vehicle, such as 23-year-old Loh Sock Chee, it can be an experience.
She gaped in amazement each time the Landcruiser waded into a small river, filled with small boulders, and crossed it with ease.
“It is different from watching it on television,” said Loh.
There were a few heart-thumping moments when the Landcruiser slid backwards on an uphill slope as Anuar revved the engine and turned the wheels. His superb handling of the vehicle finally put our fears to rest.
Tree branches brushed aside as the hardy vehicle made its passage through.
Occasionally, we had to stop as resort general manager Mohd Nasir Che Sab and the driver of another Landcruiser, Mohd Azam Zainal Ali, took out parangs to cut and clear away tree branches that blocked our path.
We took a short break at the three-tier Sendat waterfall. Taking a dip in the cold water was a welcome respite.
For urban denizens, like us, the sight of an owl provided some excitement.
Mohd Nasir said the jungle was filled with wild life such as the kijang (barking deer), mouse deer, ant eater, porcupine, wild pig, monkey and otter.
We continued on our journey through another rough and bumpy ride before stopping at an oil palm plantation for dinner.
A hot spring at the plantation helped warm our feet while providing us with some much-needed relaxation.
After a simple dinner of fried chicken, rice and vegetables, we drove through the jungle to a hill where, halfway up the slope, we spotted the bright lights of Batang Kali, Ulu Yam Baru and Serendah.
We also found the footprints of the kijang on the hill and followed them, but they petered out inside the jungle.
There was also a fruit orchard on the hill where we enjoyed the fresh and cool night air before heading back to the resort.
In all, the trip took about six hours.
The next morning, we went for a dip in the Kalong river, located in front of the resort, where the water was cold and refreshing.
Later, while having lunch at the Sembang-Sembang café, we took in the quiet and scenic sight of lush greenery and trees that surrounded the resort.
According to Mohd Nasir, the resort had already received about 5,000 visitors since it was opened in March.
“Our customers include corporate clients, associations, schoolchildren and families,” he said. “It is an ideal venue for training, meetings, group discussion and seminars.”
Facilities at the resort include four conference rooms and a field for outdoor activities and obstacle courses.
Recreational activities at the resort include karaoke, barbeque, water volleyball, swimming and jungle trekking.
Accommodation comes in the forms of air-conditioned chalets with water heaters, A-Frame huts with bamboo roofing and dormitories.
Tents for those who prefer to camp outdoors are also available.
The one-night off-road adventure package, priced at RM280 per person, includes a drive by 4x4 vehicle into the jungle, accommodation in an air-conditioned chalet (based on twin–sharing) and meals.
For details, call 03-6258 6228 or log on to www.amberstone.com.my