Does a smoky barbecue after a dip in the cool mountain water sound like the perfect weekend getaway to you?
by Tommy Duncan, Carrybeans
KDCA may be a huge attraction to both tourists and locals throughout May, but after a whole month of Kaamatan celebrations, the nemophilist me needed some nature to soothe the soul.
As all of you know, Kaamatan celebrations were dampened by rain for a few days. Our family and friends had planned an overnight trip as part of our post-Kaamatan celebrations, but it was raining cats and dogs. Worried and anxious, we considered calling the trip off.
I was truly glad we didn’t.
From Tuaran, it took us a little over an hour to reach Melangkap Campsite in Kota Belud. Upon our arrival around midday, we were treated to an awesome view of the majestic Akinabalu right in front of us. Another sight that really caught my eye was the presence of huge boulders along the river banks. These boulders are the size of small houses and were a result of the strong earthquake that hit Ranau in 2015.
Those who enjoy being immersed in nature and breathtaking sights will not be able to deny that Melangkap offers an unforgettable experience. Other campers had arrived and we scurried down to the grounds below to secure a good spot to set up camp. The other thing on my mind was getting my Nikon up and running; so many scenes to shoot!
The water was brown and muddy, a usual scene after heavy rain. Some of the gang were already dipping their feet into the water, while other campers headed straight into the water with tyre tubes in hand. I wandered around to snap a few memories of the place.
Night fell shortly after the corn had a nice brown sear on the barbecue pit. Soot-blackened faces stared hungrily into their food after an hour barbecuing sausages and chicken wings, and around us other campers too were munching contentedly on their food. It was a hearty meal accompanied by white wine and beer that chilly Saturday night.
Since we were sitting down to eat, I decided to try a long-exposure shot of the stars. So for the above photo I pumped my ISO to 3200, aperture to 3.5 and shutter speed to 30 seconds. The absence of city lights created an opportunity for beautiful night photography and for a first-timer, I am pretty proud of myself.
We ended the night with campfire songs (mostly about Kaamatan) and a Facebook live session.
Woken up by a ringing alarm from someone else’s phone, I realised it was 4:44 am. And since none of my group members were awake, I decided to go down to the river. Surprisingly, the water was warm and not as cold as I thought it would be.
Four hours, two packets of IndoMee and five sunny side-up eggs later, I was finally ready to jump into the water!
Even though it was only a one-night stay, the experience at Melangkap Campsite was truly unforgettable. Most of the campsites here are operated by locals who own the land. It’s amazing that they’re willing to share the beautiful surroundings of their home with visitors like us for a minimal fee.
If you haven’t gone camping here yet, it’s a must-go for both Sabahans and tourists alike! Don’t forget to bring great food for a barbecue (sweet potatoes, meat, sausages, chicken wings, potatoes) as well as bread and other sides. You may also want to bring enough drinking water.
Till next time, Melangkap!
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