Sungei Lembing Trip – Part 5

When I was cursing complaining of my ill fate of having to climb in Mt. Bromo, my friends who had visited Panorama Hill warned of my impending trip to Sungei Lembing. The steps are 3 times more than Mt. Bromo even though the latter is higher and if you think Mt. Bromo is tough wait till you scale Panorama Hill.

I’ve been warned!

And I was really worried because I was still suffering from flu. Will my lungs collapse? Will I suffer acute mountain sickness? Should I really go on this trip at all? I didn’t want to, not really. I was afraid I may die. There’s a lot going for me at the moment. You see, I’m going to be a grandma this year! Yes! Valerie’s pregnant and we’re expecting the stork to deliver in August, an *SG50 child. And if the birth date is 9th, it will be a big bang!

I cannot back out because I had been entrusted with Vincent’s daughter and then there’s Desmond. I was the one who asked him to join this outing. I have obligations. So I said to myself, “Let’s see how it goes, Sam. Don’t push it”. If I felt really unwell, I would stay behind and rest at the lodge. My friends would understand. And before I could breathe another word, I’d conquered Gua Charas 😉 Afterwards, in the bus, my eyes started to tear (too dry) and nose runny. Without much sleep the day before, I was feeling lethargic during dinner and didn’t eat much. I must have been delirious when I blurted at the dining table, “I’m going to climb Panorama Hill at 2am. I want to do a star trail and hopefully catch the Milky Way before sunrise.”

Those shooting sunrise would start their ascend at about 4am. I knew I had to go earlier, allowing myself to slowly walk up the hill. If others took 30 minutes to scale it, I would need double maybe triple the time. I had a mission, perhaps a death wish… “Nana scaled Mt. Bromo and Panorama Hill, caught a Milky Way and did some star trails the year you were born!” That made my lips curled with satisfaction! 😀

Michael conducted a mini tour around town visiting the tin mining museum, the hanging bridge, etc… etc… I was already seeing stars with a couple of cuckoo birds circling in front of me, not unlike jet-lagged condition. After a quick shower, I managed some small talk with Charlene out of politeness before hitting the bed when we finally reached the lodge. I needed sleep. I overslept. Desmond was at knocking at the door as I came out of the bathroom, all freshened up for the big climb. “Coming out!”

In the end, those who intended climb at 4am turned up at 2.30am. They reckoned it was better to go in a bigger group. Ling helped me with the tripod. Joel was the first man and the rest fell in line with Ricky as the last man. Slowly but steadily, we reached the peak in 45 minutes. I didn’t even take any break in between. The steps were more (some said 800-900) but they weren’t as steep as Mt. Bromo. The gradual elevation helped tremendously and I wasn’t rushed.

At the top, I laid out my goodies. I had heat packs, snickers, charsiu buns, fisherman lozenges and filtered water. It was a clever move to bring those stuff because unlike Mt. Bromo where there are stalls selling hot drinks and cup noodles almost round the clock, this hill does not offer such essentials, not even toilet. So I put aside my bladder for the next 10 hours. Ling was getting weak and I offered her a snickers bar. Charlene, according to Desmond, looked parched and he fished out a bottle of water from my goodie bag. Yes, it was a good thing I was prepared.

Snickers to the rescue when Ling felt ill.

Snickers to the rescue when Ling felt ill.

Desmond, Mr. Aw and I stayed near the hut. We took some star trail shots and joined the rest on the side of the mountain when more hikers came up. Their torchlights were disturbing my time-lapse shots. After a while as I realised more people were heading up the hill to catch the sunrise, I gave up shooting star trails and went to join the rest of my group. Ricky said, there’s the Milky Way on your right. Voila! Lucky me 😀

Milky Way @ Panorama Hill

The Milky Way was sighted at about 4plus in the morning.

Panorama Hill Sungei Lembing

It was very cloudy and most of us weren’t expecting it but the sun peeked out of the cloud.
Everyone at the hill cheered when the sun rose, albeit slightly late!

Panorama Hill Sungei Lembing

The sun was very red, like the deep rich colour of a salted egg yolk.
Its movement was like being fast forwarded.

When we arrived at the resort later, a neighbour few doors away from our room, consoled us that it is not everyday one witnessed resplendent sunrise.

“We heard you guys… went out at 2am plus right? Too bad there’s no spectacular sunrise.” Shook their heads, too.

“You mean you didn’t see the sun rise??? It was a huge kiam nerng (salted egg)!”

I shouldn’t gloat but I felt rewarded when we found out that our poor neighbour had gone up before dawn and left when the sun didn’t rise at the forecasted time. Patience was key here. Michael had already advised that the sun needed more time to “climb” the sea of clouds before rearing its head.

Panorama Hill Sungei Lembing

This photo could not accurately reflect the magnificent sunrise that morning.
This image had been desaturated quite drastically as the red hues created bands in the photo.
I wish you were there to see it in all its glory!

Panorama Hill Sungei Lembing

Gua Charas Cave “floating” in the sea of clouds.
It is situated on the left corner of the photo above as Michael had tipped us during the night’s briefing.

The time had come when most of my companions dread,  walking down. They said their sore muscles felt it was more strenuous than climbing uphill. I, on the other hand, felt it was easier to go down and made it to the foothill in quick time, 15 minutes!

Sg Lembing Panorama Hill

The sun rose and everything was bright and cheery 😀

Sg Lembing Panorama Hill

This was a very misty scene and I had to “defog” when editing the photo.

Sg Lembing Panorama Hill

Checking on Mr. Aw to see if he’s alright with the broken off trail.

Sg Lembing Panorama Hill

We couldn’t see when climbing up but these were the steps.
At various junction, there weren’t any concrete steps, so we had to keep to the right when ascending as the left are the slopes.

Sg Lembing Panorama Hill

Panorama Hill…
Conquered 😀

Benny, Leonard, Robin, Rosemary, Zen and Michael were waiting at the foothill. When I arrived, someone said he thought I’d be the last. Shaddup your face 😉 Time to pee and then break fast!

Panorama Hill 林明山顶
Located near Pollock Creek.
26200 Sungai Lembing.
Pahang, Malaysia.

Happy eating, traveling and bonding 😀

*SG50 – We call this year SG50 as Singapore celebrates her 50th National (Independence) Day on 9th August!

Our photography outing was lead by Michael Lee of Xing Asia (亚洲行). You may contact him at: or visit their website:

Xing Asia provides exceptional value and authentic experience for like-minded people to experience Asia through photography.

One Response to “Sungei Lembing Trip – Part 5”
  1. Amazing photos. Too bad a Milky Way bar wasn’t as appropriate as a Snickers, would have gone nicely with your photos of the night sky. Congratulations on the impending grandmotherhood.

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