Monday, November 23, 2015

Fashionista's Escapades: Skytrex Adventure

This morning we decided to do a little bit of skytrekking at Skytrex Adventure, Shah Alam. Skytrex is kind of an obstacle course park and there are three levels to choose from, Little Adventure for beginners, Big Thrill for intermediate level and Extreme Challenge for the advanced level. I initially wanted to try out their Little Adventure as I wasn't sure of my ability and stamina. However, some of our friends had been there a few weeks ago and commented that Little Adventure was too easy and would most probably be better suited for kids rather than adults. Thus, we decided to take on the big guns and opted for the advanced level i.e. Extreme Challenge.

Me, Azima and Tazmeen, post Extreme Challenge. I am surprised we survived! 

Skytrex is located within Taman Botani Negara, Shah Alam, and getting there was not difficult. When you get there, there's a parking fee of about RM2 (or RM3 if I'm not mistaken) and park conservation fees of RM3 per person. These fees are not included in your Skytrex tickets. Once you have parked, the Skytrex pickup truck will then shuttle you from Taman Botani's carpark to their centre (which is about 5 minutes drive away). 
We chose the 8.30 am session because on weekdays there is only one session available for Extreme Challenge. For each session, there's a maximum limit of 25 participants per session and according to their instructors, they would try to ensure that there's an instructor per every 5 person on this track. For our session, there were roughly about 15 people and I could see there were about 3 instructors at different checkpoints. 

Tazmeen, Azima and me right before we went on our training circuit. 

First, we were given a briefing at the registration counter, and we bought disposable gloves (RM5 each), rented a medium sized locker (RM3 with RM10 deposit) and rented a bottle carrier so that we're able to bring our bottle on the course (RM2 with RM10 deposit) and were told to go to the loo before we go on the course. This is because, there's no toilet while you're on the obstacle course and the obstacle course itself would most probably take about 3 hours, thus, it makes sense to go and empty your bladder before you go on your way. 

Then we were given our harness (which the staff kindly helped us to put them on and tighten them as well) and then went off to the next briefing before starting our obstacle course. There's also a short training circuit which we needed to complete and this is where the instructors taught us how to use the clickit and pulley which we will be using. The training circuit consists of three activities, climbing up the rope ladder, traversing from tree to tree and the flying fox.

Here are some photos of the activities that we did for the Extreme Challenge:

Climb up the rope ladder. 

There are four rope ladders in all, first is during the training session, the second one is right after the flying fox from the training circuit, the third one is right halfway the obstacle course and the last one (which is climbing down), is almost towards the end of the obstacle course. I find the rope ladder to be quite difficult as the rope sways a little when you're trying go up the ladder, and the height can really get to you (I experienced a slight acrophobia sensation while climbing up) and because of the harness that you are wearing, let's just say that it's not that easy to find your footing.

Flying fox.

The flying fox is definitely one of the best parts of this obstacle. There are about four or five flying foxes that you will be on, the first one is from the training circuit, the second one is right at the beginning of the course, i.e. the second activity right after climbing the rope ladder, the remaining three is in the middle of the course. I was quite apprehensive at first because but let me just say that from my recent experience, the equipments at Skytrex are well taken care of and I find them to be very secure and safe for users and climbers alike. 

Some of the obstacles include walking inside a giant net bridge.

This activity is not that difficult for me. However, the rope shifts as you move (as your weight on the rope shifts, the rope will readjust itself to distribute the weight) so tread slowly and take small steps. 

Pipe planks.

This is among the toughest activity, in my opinion. If I'm not mistaken there's only one pipe plank activity and even then, it's quite a challenge to complete this activity. You need to sway the planks slightly so that you can move your feet to the plank in front of you while at the same time maintain your balance, have a firm grip on the ropes and also maintain a steady balance so that you do not tip the planks too much. Did I mention that the planks are of uneven size (there are small and large planks) and unevenly stacked (i.e. some are placed slightly below the others).

Traversing via rope. 

This activity was also not that difficult. If I am not mistaken, there are two or three of these throughout the course. The only difficulty is that after a while (especially halfway through the obstacle course), your energy levels have gone down and your arms get a bit tired of being held up over your head. 

V Ropes.

This is also one of the toughest activities to complete for me. There are two of the V Ropes that you need to complete. You need to swing the rope slightly so that you can reach the rope in front of you (i.e. catch hold of it using your feet) and then move forward. I felt like one of those circus trainers on this one. 

Climbing down the rope ladder. 

This was the final rope ladder *phew*. The only difficulty here is that it's quite a distance down and you have to be careful in making sure of your footing (because it's not easy to see where to put your feet) but overall activity was quite okay for me as well. 

And we did it! Hurrah! 

Okay, truth be told, Extreme Challenge is not easy, so proceed with caution. And unfortunately I have never done the Big Thrill (the intermediate challenge) so I'm not able to comment on whether you should try the intermediate challenge first.

However, I do recommend for you to try it out. After all, YOLO! (that means You Only Live Once, by the way *duh*).

In terms of cost, the Extreme Challenge costs RM58 (inclusive of GST) but not inclusive of the additional costs (i.e. locker, bottle holder, and gloves) as mentioned previously. The gloves are especially useful for all the activities (without it I know my hands would have blisters by now) and if you already have a bottle with a strap, you may bring that if you like. If you'd like to know more on Skytrex, do head on to their website [here].

To many more adventures to come.

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Fashionista's Escapades: Climbing Broga

So yesterday we took the opportunity of it being a public holiday (it was Deepavali) and went on a hiking trip to Broga. Truth be told, I was quite apprehensive about the trip up until the last minute. We were scheduled to leave for Broga at 4 am and at 3 am I was texting Azima on whether we should go and that it would be dark during the climb up the hill and whether the environment would be safe for us (I mean, it is a jungle and there would be animals roaming around). Azima managed to calm my fears and we went off to Broga and this is how it went:

Broga is located in Semenyih, roughly about almost an hour away from KL so when you're making plans for climbing, do take note of the traveling time that is required. There's a parking fee of RM2 charged and there'll be parking attendants showing you where to park which is great because it will allow the cars to be parked properly and you can easily leave the area quickly after you're done with your climb.

The path is on an earth trail which gets muddy if it rains, so do check the weather forecast before you leave for Broga because if it rains, the trails can be slippery and quite treacherous. Please don't climb when it's raining, or if it starts to rain when you're already halfway up, I would actually recommend for you to stop climbing and start your descent instead.

Breaking dawn over Broga.

Most people would start climbing at 5 am, and when we got there at 5.10 am, there were already quite a number of cars parked in the parking lot. Do bring a torchlight to light your path, there's no streetlights to aid your climb and whatever light that the stars and the moon beamed on us was definitely not enough to light the way. And yes, the handphone torchlight would be enough to light your way. Do also bring a small towel or some wet wipes, you will get sweaty and slightly muddy along the way. A small bottle of water is necessary and maybe some dry biscuits would be enough to tide you over if you're hungry.

The trail. This would most probably be a 30 degree incline (or decline, depending on how you look at it).

In terms of the trail, most of the time it was roughly a 20 degrees incline but there are some parts where the incline was 45 - 50 degrees so that can be quite daunting, especially for first time climbers. Don't worry, there are ropes to help the climbers along the way, especially when the terrain got a little bit steep and be mindful of your step, as you might slip and stumble if you aren't careful. The whole climb took perhaps about an hour and a half for us and if you're fit, it would most probably take you about an hour. We actually stopped many times along the way to catch our breath and to me that made all the difference, I was able to enjoy the whole climbing experience in a more relaxing manner.

The first two peaks.

There are three peaks, the distance between the first peak to the next is about 10 minutes walk and similarly the distance from the second peak to the third is also about 10 minutes walk. The first two peaks are flatter in nature and offers a great 360 degree view of the town and its surrounding areas below while the third peak is covered by some trees and huge boulders. However, once you get on top of the boulder, it definitely offered a better view than the first two peaks.

Climbing down from the third peak. The first peak is at the far end and the second peak is in the middle.

Do bear in mind that there will be a lot of people on the hill. I expect perhaps roughly 50 - 100 people were on the first two peaks while the third peak looked like there were perhaps 40 over people. So it will be crowded (especially during the weekend and public holidays) so if you don't like the crowd, come during the weekdays. Personally for me, I prefer having a huge crowd around me simply because I am a novice climber and there's safety in numbers.

As we were climbing down, there was still a large crowd making their way up so if you prefer, you can always pray fajr first and then climb up the hill. 

If you're wondering about fajr prayers, most people actually prayed fajr at the peaks so just bring your praying mats (or whatever material that's comfortable for you) for prayer. Some groups even prayed jamaah together so there's absolutely no worry of you missing out on your prayers.

Me, Azima, Lin, Ariff and G with the wonderful bright early morning sun ray behind us. Blessed, Alhamdulillah. 

And for parents, if you're wondering whether you should bring your kids along, just so you know, some parents brought kids in their carrier (hint: kids would be below 3 years old) and kids older than that were climbing their hearts out. I do believe this would be a good activity for kids and it would definitely teach them about perseverance, hard work and enjoy getting themselves dirty.

Broga. 1312 feet or 400 meters above sea level.

Waiting for sunrise. 

The sun peeking from the horizon.

This shot was taken from the first peak at 7.30 am while we were climbing down. 

I would definitely recommend the climb for most people, the view is breathtaking and the climb is absolutely worth it. I loved the whole climbing experience and would not mind another climbing trip, inshaa Allah.

xoxo Mrs Fashionista