‘Damn the politicians, not the rivers’
A new word I learnt the other day was ‘glamping‘ defined as a ‘a form of camping involving accommodation and facilities more luxurious that those associated with traditional camping’ (think large canvas, semi-premanent tents with running water, wifi, electricity and the like).
There are some people who get a bit sniffy about this sort of camping, just as they do about those who use caravans or go camping next to their cars . I am not among this rather purist crowd and, as far as I’m concerned, as long as people practice a ‘leave no trace’ approach and have respect for others, then they can camp however they please and their experience of being out in nature is as valid as anyone else’s.
These thoughts were going through my head on a recent trip I took up to Lake Temenggor. The lake itself is man made – a result of the Temanggor Dam – and another reminder that the environmental impact of governments and corporations far outweighs that of the jungle trekker who cuts the odd sapling or two to clear a path.
In some ways kayaking reminded me of my days camping with the off-road crowd – with both a kayak and a 4×4 you can afford to carry far more weight with you and that opens the door to bringing along luxuries (an ice box full of beer!) that, were you forced to carry the load on your back, you would sensibly do without.
Also, in both cases you are are both enabled and tied to that mode of transport – you can travel further and don’t have to fight your way through the jungle but it’s also difficult to simply leave the kayak/4×4 somewhere and head off into the jungle for any length of time for fear that something will happen to the unattended kayak/4×4 while you’re away. And, with both off roading and kayaking there is a greater amount of pre-trip organisation required, you can’t simply pick up your pack and go where you please.
Of course, the key difference between kayaking and off-roading is the environmental impact and it’s hard to imagine a mode of transport less damaging to the environment than a kayak (unfortunately the same can’t be said for off-roading). Also in a kayak you feel like you’re really out in nature whereas inside a vehicle it’s almost as if you’re cocooned from the outdoors and watching it through the TV-like-view of the windscreen.
Oh, and kayaks are silent whereas 4x4s most certainly are not!
There are certainly advantages in seeing the jungle by kayak vs jungle trekking – you get less dirty and sweaty, less scratched up by the rattan and thorns, there are less bugs and biting creatures to deal with, no slippy hills to clamber up or wild boar to worry about, no heavy pack slowly breaking your back either – and, at the end of the day, you still set up camp in the jungle and experience the sights and sounds of a night in the forest.
So, in this video I thought I’d show some footage from the trip as maybe kayaking is an alternative way of camping in the jungle that might appeal to you. If you live in, or are visiting, Malaysia and want to know more about kayaking and possible trips then I can think of no better person to contact than my friend Chadel (a nicer and more helpful person you couldn’t hope to meet) – he is passionate about kayaking and a great contact for anyone wishing to start kayaking over here – here is the link to his Facebook page where you can find out more (or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org)
For some reason, however, I have always liked to walk when in the outdoors and trekking is where my heart lies but, when I get too old and crickety to pick up my pack and walk over the next hill, then I think I’ll invest in a kayak.
And when I’m too old to even paddle….
…well, there’s always glamping!