The inhabitants here are of the Temuan tribe and indeed there is a dog at every turn. Aboriginal dogs were originally kept as hunting dogs and were lean and mean.
Acting also as guard dogs for those staying deep in the jungles, they alert human companions to approaching wild boars, bears and other aggressive wildlife. Importantly, they provide endless fun and companionship for Orang Asli children growing up without toys, gadgets and electricity.
Here at this village, the dogs are mostly lethargic and sleep in the middle of the road. So do be very careful if you drive through the village.
I was enchanted by the rustic settings and asked a village elder if there is some kind of homestay hut. Although he speaks impeccable English, just like the aboriginal character in Crocodile Dundee, he didn’t understand the term ‘homestay’. I mentioned ‘hotel’ and he smiled.
Me, him and the dog ended up hiking up a steep jungle trail. Panting under the weight of my equipment, I stopped him to ask if this mysterious, fabled jungle place has a porter to help with my luggage.
Not surprisingly, he said “No!”. But then he added: “They have a Nepalese sherpa”. Haha. What unfolded next is mind-blowing.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 125, f4, 1/500 sec.
The holes were located in a lonely but beautiful park in Serendah. Not sure if it was the threatening rain clouds or the mystery of the holes that made everything there very eerie.
Since the sink hole strainers are missing, do I dive into one of the ‘rabbit holes’ and will it take me to Wonderland? Apparently not; as further investigation revealed the water flowing into underground channels and released, like sewer, a little further down the cascaded river.
The place was very deserted at the time I was there and there was no one around to ask for info. Oddly, there were no information signboards, even though it is billed as a tourism attraction.
I found out two versions of its history and reason for existence from nearby villagers (subsequently). Originally, there were natural whirlpools in the river .
For some safety or silly reasons, a crazy British colonial administrator flattened the river and turned it into this bizarre man-made structure. It was called The Seven Wells of Serendah (Perigi Tujuh) .
Another local told me a more plausible but less romantic story. Serendah is named as such because it is very low-lying (rendah). It was also a tin mining area with many water canals.
Every time it rained in those days, the surrounding villages became flooded quickly as the river and canals overflow. The seven wells and water channels acted as part of a stormwater management system.
It is so hidden, isolated, relaxing and peaceful here, one will find many ‘ponteng” school students ‘lepaking’ here.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f4, 1/1250 sec.
Not since Chamang Falls, have I seen a massive, roaring waterfall so accessible. One can literally drive to the edge of its drop pool. Unlike the one in Bentong, this Serandah drive-in waterfall is not far from the main road.
Photography Notes: Without ND filters and a tripod, I opted for the opposite end of the speed spectrum. Instead of using a slow shutter for a silky effect. I used a fast shutter to crystallise the droplets and spray.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 2500, f4, 1/8000 sec.
I asked a friendly local for food recommendations. He suggested the Chinese Tom Yum stall down the road and I went there right away. Since the shop was quite busy, service was understandably slow. So I cleaned my lenses and a lady finally came to take my order.
She said there is no Tom Yam at her shop. Wrong place, wrong corner. Haha. She drew me a map and gave me directions as that other stall has no signboard or name. I ordered a drink, feeling bad that I used her table and received help. She said I shouldn’t feel bad and that I should hurry as the other stall might close soon. What wonderful people.
Finally found the real Tom Yum stall and they were friendly too, even though they are famous among locals. I ordered seafood Tom Yum with Kuey Teow (Chinese Fettuccine). It came with three fairly big (and fresh) prawns, mussels, loads of cuttlefishes and squids. Amazing.
Even more amazed to find out it is only RM 5.50 for the sumptuous bowl!
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f9, 1/1250 sec.