Monday, November 3, 2008

Paya Indah Wetlands, Dengkil

The old kayaking/boating lake with a new jetty.


When I heard that they had reopened Paya Indah Wetlands I just HAD to go check it out. Must. MESTI. MOST DEFINITELY SIR. The wetlands used to be my favourite getaway from the city. Beautiful and peaceful I fully explored it either alone or with groups comprising Bart, Winnie, O'Loon and the Bagley from Dudley among others.

After my visit on Saturday here's the skinny:

1.It is NOT OFFICIALLY open. It's just a soft launch.

2. It is FAAAAAR from anywhere it's former glory. Currently the public have access only as far as the crocodile enclosure (which is like a quarter of the park) which is why entry is free.

3. Sadly it does not look like they have done much over the past 2 years.

4. It's as if they've left it all to rot. They seem to have added additional chalets and a new jetty. The original chalets were priced at RM600 per fucking night! Which of course had no takers.

5. No one is sure when it will open up officially. The official reason is that they are still re-planting trees and clearing up the overgrown paths and surroundings.

6. Bottom line - the basic beauty and calm tranquility still remains under all the overgrown paths and lakes. The calls and chirps of birds still break the sound of the wind rustling through leaves, lalang and brush. Only the intrusive sounds of aircraft taking off from nearby KLIA breaks the ambient natural serenity.

There is hope though, as the park is now under the Wildlife Department and although the old guard at the entrance was a rude bastard the rest of the staff were incredibly nice, HELPFUL AND POLITE - something you don't get from 'gommen' agencies.

Malaysians love to 'beautify' their surroundings with 'natural' shit. This eye sore 'pond' near the car park was not here the last time. The clowns basically dug up the ground to build a new man made pond when they are already surrounded by lakes of all shapes and sizes.

I was getting very apprehensive. The signs were not good when I realized we could only go in as far as the crocodile pond and also when the guy at the counter kept harping about the making sure we caught the hippo feeding session. It looks like the park's main attraction is Hippo Feeding Time. If I want to see fat pieces of blubber chowing down on food I can go to a banana leaf restaurant .

There was bonus as they actually gave us a special pass that allowed us to drive our car in! Quite cool as the NEW opening time on weekends is 9.30am and it gets hot out there without that much tree cover.

The drive in - less grass and greenery, lake in poor health.

Some sign of hope...

FAAAAAAK...... but they're actually re-planting but its going to take a while to grow. This used to be a small hill with thick bushes and small trees.

Hope.....I didn't give a shit. I walked through the no entry sign onto the old trail that would take you further into the wetlands. This place belongs to me. I've come here so many times NO ONE has the right to stop me..... (cue maniacal laughter....)

The Lotus Lake is now a brown patch but at least lotus blooms can be seen in abundance.

One of the few signs repair - the new jetty.

I got got stopped before I could make it to the Kampung House at the edge of the Lake. A very nice Wildlife officer had seen my car parked by the path and had suspected correctly some badly brought up idiot had gone wandering around the park. He was nice. Apologetic. I didn't make a fuss as he drove me back to my car.

Hope again. The pelicans and storks are still here. Nothing more beautiful to see a stork gliding low over one of the lakes.

Hippos are still here. One has been reported to have died a while back.

I wanted to get angry and pissed. I WAS at the beginning. But the beauty is still here. Sure many of the palm trees that made Palm Street look like Rodeo Drive are dead, or missing, sure the lakes are murky and muddy, the ponies are gone, sure the buildings have not seen a new coat of pain and some of the roof tiles are old and peeling but the sense I got from the folks from the Wildlife Department was that of SINCERITY. They may not know what is best for Paya Indah Wetlands. But at least they are TRYING their best.

I sincerely wish them all the best. Paya Wetlands needs to be brought back to full bloom again.

See below for earlier post and especially scanned photos from my earlier trips almost 3 - 4 years ago.


Here are some pictures of some old photographs that I recently test converted. The image clarity and colour lost about 15% - 20% from the original but it will give me a chance to share some of my old shots here. I'm trying to find a cheaper alternative and may have to invest in my own high resolution printer. Does anyone have suggestions how best to preserve my old photos in digital format as best and as original as I can? Would really appreciate it. Lotsa good momories chilling in my retro photo albums!

Located just after Dengkil town (turn off after the Putraya Jaya exit along the highway, head until the junction with the petrol station and turn right at the traffic lights. Head all the way straight until about 3-5 minutes after the bridge that spans the KLIA highway and look out for the turning on the right), the Paya Wetlands was one of my most favourite getaways in Selangor/KL. About 30 minutes from Subang or Puchong it was actually a project that was truly impressive in it's ambition to sustain an ecological balance in nature.

For RM 10 bucks we got to ride bikes along endless trails surrounded by at least 7 to 8 lakes, ranging from the small the the large. There was a great eco-system and it was a bird watcher's wet dream. There were about 3-4 hippos donated by the Rwandan government(!), some crocodiles in enclosures and our favourite, a heard of wild buffalo that roamed the park freely.

I have attached a picture from Google Earth to show how large the area is/was. I marked the exact location where I took the picture above as "path to small island" at the top center of the image. The image doesn't represent the true beauty of the place, with its blue lakes, greenery and startling blue skies above. The lakes are designated as the almost black areas and the greenish one which I marked with Kapal Korek. Yeah this used to be an old tin mining area.

I'm good memories here, countless cycling trips with Bart August, Gav O'Looney, Ah Chanzzz, The Bagley from Dudley, Jon Jon and Ah Wong. I even took part in an 8km cross coutry run here that had us splashing across flooded paths when the lakes had breached their banks after too much rain. I also used to go in solo with a flask of coffee and some buns to just chill out under the one or 2 shaded areas and just listen to the birds, the buzzing of the bees, the wind rustling through the tall lalang and leaves with the background sound of the planes landing in the nearby KL International Airport.

Sadly in true Malaysian style this was not to be and the place shut down after 2 plus years of my visiting amindst some drama. The goverment had spent about RM160 million on the place over 5 years and it had lost all the money. I think the Forestry Department took it over about 2 years ago but there has been no sign of a re-birth for this slice of beauty.

I'll do a proper post after I get the rest of the Wetland pics scanned.

PS - Bart! hey if you still have the pic of you near the lake can I borrow it to scan? Its one of the few shots I took with a human being in it!


Han Solo said...

really lovely pix, how sad that the place is closed now.

Chindiana said...

yeah, i went in there last year i think in June and the place looked bad! I also saw excavators in some of the lakes. must be taking the sand out to sell as I witnessed myself 2 years ago.

malaysia boleh eh?

winniechan said...

sigh... malaysia serba tak boleh... pandai buang duit, makan rasuah, rogol mak nature.

we had so much fun terrorizing the wildlife (few as there was) picking lotus seeds to eat yummy and throwing our bikes over fences trespassing all sorts of restrictions !

best part is being rewarded with bak kut teh & ice cold beer after all the sweating & huffin & puffin.

i really hope that by the time i get back to KL PIW will return to it's natural beauty

Chindiana said...

Ah Chanzzz! I hope so too. You come back and even if it's not open, we can go break in again! Those we such simpler times...

ghoul said...

U should offer to snap pictures for the NST's Zoom! tourism pullout. the pictures they are using now suck most of the time :(

Word verification: scounceg

Chindiana said...

Thanks Ghoul! Let me know if they need any freelance work! They cannot edit my profanity though! :P