Chiling Waterfall

Waterfalls of Malaysia

Chiling Fish Sanctuary

Chiling Fish Sanctuary was established by the Selangor Fisheries Department in 2005 in order to create a protected area for several species of carps (family Cyprinidae), including the Malayan mahseer (Tor tambroides), known as 'Ikan Kelah' in Malay, and the near-threatened Copper mahseer (Neolissochilus hexagonolepis), or 'Ikan Tengas'. Both these fish fetch very high market prices (the 'Empurau' for instance, is priced at RM2000 per kilogram!) and as such are suffering from a severe decline due to over-fishing. The drop in numbers is also attributable to habitat-loss (most often related to dam building) as well as pollution. The Malayan Mahseer inhabits pristine rivers and avoids tainted and silted water, which means that their presence in a river is a good indicator of the river's health and cleanliness. This is another good example of why LNT principles are so important when outdoors.

Before we go on, please jot down the numbers that are listed below. If you do see any suspicious behaviour when out hiking, encounter things like traps and snares, or even see protected animals or their parts that are sold as either collectibles, pets, or for (so-called) medicine, then please do not hesitate to contact the wildlife crime hotline. Be sure to try and document it as best you can with photos or video without putting yourself in danger, and take note of the details: descriptions of those who are involved, as well as when and where it took place.

"The Wildlife Crime Hotline, managed by the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT), provides YOU an avenue to report offences involving endangered wildlife in Malaysia. We protect the identity of all informants, only key info of the reports are forwarded to the authorities."

Wildlife Crime Hotline019 356 4194
Emergency Numbers
Wildlife Crime Hotline 019-356 4194

Wildlife Department 1800 885 151

Hulu Selangor Forestry Department 03-6091 613

Selangor Fisheries Department 03-6064 1214

Kuala Kubu Baru Hospital 03-6064 1333

Fraser's Hill Police Station 09-362 2222

Fraser's Hill Health Clinic 09-362 2482

Klinik Desa Bukit Fraser 09-369 7919

Getting There

To get to the Chiling Fish Sanctuary, one needs to follow the road that leads north-east towards Frasers Hill for approximately 15 minutes. The entrance to the sanctuary lies beside the road on the right, shortly after passing the Selangor Dam and crossing the Chiling river bridge. There is a carpark just across the road from the entrance, whereas the registration and ticketing booth lies 400 metres in from the entrance, just before the first river crossing. Please bear in mind that the sanctuary is only open from 08:00 to 18:00 from Friday to Sunday.

Getting to the Chiling Fish Sanctuary from Kuala Kubu Baru

Difficulty Rating : 1.8 / 10.0 (Class 1 - Extremely Straightforward)

*Cick here to learn more about the difficulty rating.

The Trailhead

Once you have registered and paid the MYR1 entrance fee, make your way up and over the bridge and to the trail-head on the other side of the river. There is an immediate left turning almost right after. There are also five other river crossings after this one, but this is the only time where you will actually be crossing a bridge.

The first river crossing

The trail is very wide with occasional swathes of rock caps scattered around here and there, and you'll quickly notice that you are following a stream of sorts--a shallow flow of water running along the trail for at least the first hundred metres or so. If you happen to go on a weekend, or a Friday that coincides with a public holiday, you will undoubtedly bump into 'people-trains' that slowly make their way up the trail. This is a good opportunity to just slow down and either immerse oneself in the roaring sounds of the river cascades, or to peer closely and appreciate the wonders of nature that surround you.

The early part of the trail


The sides of the trails are absolutely brimming with fern fronds, but if you look closely you might spot the occasional pitcher plant (Nepenthes sp.). As you make your way deeper, this frondescence seems to rise up and transforms what was once just a wide lane into a deeply shaded verdure tunnel. Ferns are seedless plants and like moss, use spores to reproduce. Ferns are vascular however, which means that they have tissues that carry water and other nutrients throughout the plant, whereas mosses are non-vascular. As plants, both exhibit alteration of generations: the gametophyte or haploid (n) generation, where spores are dispersed, grow into gametophytes which then form sperm and eggs; and the sporophyte or diploid (2n) generation, which begins after the sperm fertilises the egg to form a zygote. The zygote then goes on to produce sporophytes, which eventually disperse spores when mature.

Fern fronds

You may also notice certain ferns that line the trail that have almost metallic-coloured fronds, sometimes reddish at the tips and sometimes with a reddish or blueish sheen that seems to coat the fronds. This is willdenow's spikemoss (Selaginella willdenowii), which is also sometimes called 'peacock fern' because of its iridescent leaves. This iridescence is produced by a thin layer of cells within the leaves that are thought to protect the shade-adapted plant by reducing the effects of strong sunlight.

Willdenow's spikemoss (Selaginella willdenowii)

Next : Chiling Waterfall (Part 2)

Waterfalls of Malaysia

Circinate Vernation

You will also see plenty of young fronds that are emerging in a process called 'circinate vernation'. These fronds are tightly coiled up in what are called 'fiddleheads' (referring to the top end of a violin), which is how the ferns protect the tender tip of the frond. As the parts that have already emerged expand and photosynthesize, they toughen up and help to expand the rest of the frond.

Examples of circinate vernation

River Crossings

At the 1.25km mark, approximately half way in, you'll come upon a junction that has been blocked off. Taking the left turning here will bring you straight to the river and to your second river crossing, but this time without a bridge. All the crossings are marked with very large blue signs, so keep an eye out for them if you are uncertain where to cross.

When crossing rivers, please ensure that the waist strap of your backpack is undone just in case you are forced to ditch the bag. All the crossings here tend to be fairly straightforward as water levels generally do not surpass one's thighs, and thus can be navigated alone without group formations (such as 'line astern' or a 'group wedge'). This may not be the case however after heavy rain so please refrain from making river crossings in those conditions. Try to always make it a point to cross rivers at their widest points as the narrow points tend to have faster currents.

One of the river crossings

An extra form of support such as a stick or a walking pole can help immensely with your balance when crossing rivers. Try to face upstream diagonally, and lean forward slightly into the stick/pole. When moving, move a little bit at a time and shuffle your feet forward so that one foot stops downstream of the other. This narrows your profile and reduces the build up of water pressure. Try to also keep your footwear on as injuries can occur out of nowhere (I once had to treat a dislocated toe that got wedged between rocks).

If you do fall and cannot immediately regain control, consider removing the bag as it could push you under. Face downstream as quickly as you can and begin defensive swimming by raising your feet to protect yourself from oncoming rocks. Keep your back straight to ensure your bum does not bump on submerged rocks but your neck bent so that you can see where you are going.

Defensive swimming

Next : Chiling Waterfall (Part 3)

Chiling Waterfall

The trail continues on from here running parallel to the river once again. The third crossing lies at the 1.6km mark with the rest of the river crossing located fairly soon after each other. You arrive at the first level of the waterfall (and the hoards of people) shortly after the sixth crossing. There are at least two other levels (with some saying seven) that used to be accessible at the junction at the last river crossing, but the upper tiers are now out-of-bounds due to higher rates of accidents and fatalities.

Chiling Waterfall

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Waterfalls of Malaysia