Sungai Terengganu Mati

We had heard that Sungai Terengganu Mati was a very tough trail leading to very good fishing spots. Our team leader, had been on this trail before and advised us to take an additional day off from work in case of any eventualities that can happen on such a trail. This meant a 3D2N trip with an additional day just in case.

Because of the difficulty involved and also because we were only going in two vehicles, we decided to go in with the barest minimum in equipment and food. Our team leader assured us that the fishing would provide us with more than sufficient fish to have good meals. So we brought along just what we needed to live off the land.

Our first stop was at Ajil, where we had a short rest and picked up another team member. After a good breakfast where we also packed some rice dumplings in case we reached our campsite late, we headed for Jerteh and then to the Oil Palm estate at the base of the hill we were going to tackle.

The top of the hill in the background of the above image is where we were heading.

Just as we were ready to head into the jungle, we discovered that the 4-wheel drive for one of the vehicles would not engage. This 4WD was bought just the day before this trip and had not been tested yet. Most drivers who have tackled this trail before would have turned back under such conditions, but since we had come so far, we decided to go ahead. The other vehicle could tow us or we could winch ourselves out if the situation called for one or the other.

This trail lived up to the stories told about it. After about a quarter of the way up, the winch on the vehicle running on 2WD gave way. The ground was of soft, loose soil that made it even more difficult to tow, especially up the steep slopes and muddy river banks. We also had to build two log bridges along the way as part of the trail had washed away, leaving deep, steep gullies. With the towing, winching and bridge building, what should have been a four hour journey took twelve hours to complete.

The sight we got when we finally reach our camping spot made it all worthwhile. The view from the bottom looking up to where we had been standing a few minutes ago shows how high the hill was. Although the camp ground was very rocky, we hardly felt it when we were sleeping on our air mattresses under a fly sheet. There were droppings from elephants at the site, but we were confident that they would not pay us a visit during our stay there.

As we arrived just as darkness was approaching and it was too late to fish, we had the ‘jung’ rice dumplings we packed at breakfast for lunch and dinner. We also had biscuits so it was not too bad.

The first thing in the morning, our team leader, Stephen, caught two ikan haruan bujuk for me to cook for lunch. The bigger bujuk did not take a liking to being caught and fought back. The result can be seen in one of the images at the bottom of this page.

His first attempt at removing the lure embeded in his ankle failed and being the tough guy that he was, Stephen decided to leave it in and continue fishing the length of the river until he reached his favourite fishing hole. it was only after an hour that he managed to get the lure out. So what do you do with a fish that causes you injury? You make a fish curry and eat it, of course.

While three of the guys went for more fishing, the other three of us stayed behind to prepare the meals and enjoy the serenity of our surroundings. True to Stephen’s words, the guys came back with lots of fish for dinner and supper.

That night, it rained right up to the morning. That meant that the journey out would be even more difficult than when we came in. Ten hours into the journey out, it was already dark and we encountered our worst obstacle. A part of the trail was flooded with fine mud and we could not get any traction under the wheels of the lead vehicle. The worst part was that the only other winch we had gave way due to the constant winching most of the way out. After trying for another three hours, we decided to sleep in the vehicles and see what options we had the next morning.

When the sun came up the next day, we decided that the only option was to build a new road running along the side of a deep ravine. This meant clearing the undergrowth, leveling a path and using logs to reinforce the edge of the ravine. It was hard work that took another two hours but we finally cleared that part of the trail.After this challenge, the rest of the trail out was considered much easier. Twenty-two hours after we left the campsite, we finally reached the oil palm estate at the foot of the hill.

This was really one of the toughest trips we had been on in a while. It was a good thing we had prepared for an extra day away from work. Our greatest asset on this trip was Stephen. His “never say die” attitude and vast experience in off road driving got us out of a number of sticky situations.

Would we want to attempt another trip to Sg. Terengganu Mati? Well… of course! We made it in and out again on 2WD and with both winches failing, so bring it on. The experiences we had will remain in our memories for a long time