Sungai Terengganu Mati Merdeka Trip Day 1

Sungai Terengganu Mati is located in Hulu Terengganu in the state of Terengganu. The distance from Kuala Lumpur is approximately 540 Km and takes about 6 hours to arrive. The road in is heading towards Kampung Felcra Keruak and is opposite the junction leading to the Pulau Perhentian Jetty.

The river we were headed for is a haven for angling enthusiasts. Access to this place can only be done with 4-wheel drive vehicles or dirt bikes. Because of the difficulty of the tracks, only experienced drivers dare to come here. Many off road groups use this track to test their skills. Many quit before they even reach the half-way point because of damages to their vehicles due to breakages or the vehicle tipping over.

We had been to Sg Terengganu Mati 4 years back. It was very tough and broke both the winches of the vehicles we went in with, as well as the 4WD system of one. It took us 12 hours to reach the river at the top, and 24 hours to get back down. At one section of the track coming back, we even had to build a new road along the side of the hill to by-pass the flooded trail we were stuck at for almost 6 hours. You can read our post Here 

G4 Off Road Team

For this trip, we teamed-up with another group from Kuala Lumpur known as the G4 Off Road Team. These guys may be young age-wise, but they are very experienced off roaders. The challenge of this trip was to take two trucks to the top. Everyone we talked to about Sungai Terengganu Mati, said it could not be done as the trucks were too long for the many v-gullies, as well as too heavy to get through the mud pools. So, we set off with 3 Land Cruisers and 2 Ford Rangers, to prove to ourselves that it can be done with the right team.

Our expectations were that we would take about a day to reach the river, camp for 3 nights and then head back down on the 5th day and drive back to Kuala Lumpur.

 

We drove to a friend’s resort at the beach town of Cherating, Pahang the day before, so that we could get enough rest for the challenges we expected on the tracks. We still had a 2.5-hour drive to cover the distance of 270 Km from Cherating to out meet-up point in Jertih, Terengganu.

Day 1

We arrived at Jertih around 8 am. Found a nice restaurant for breakfast and sent the location to the G4 team to meet us there. In total, there were 11 of us comprising 9 guys and 2 gals. We enjoyed the local dishes of Terengganu and then refueled before heading to Aring, the entry point to Sungai Terengganu Mati.

On the way in, we met up with another group of friends who were also going in. They would head in first to set-up the campsite as they were driving off road buggies that were specially modified for hard-core driving. Their vehicle were lighter and more powerful and would complete the route much earlier than us.

After Kampung Felcra Keruak, we reached a palm oil estate where we had to cross two rivers before reaching a logging camp. We stopped there to air-down our tires and then started our climb to the top of one of the higher hills in the region on the path to where we were supposed to camp by the river.

The first hill slope we encountered was a very steep climb. There were no problems here and we made it to the top without any issues. After that is where things started getting interesting. Even though the trail looked easy, there were deep potholes that were very slippery and made traction difficult. Even when we change lines, the wheels would slip and slide back into the holes. The best solution was to winch the vehicles out of this stretch. Just after that was a stretch of uneven track with deep ruts just before a steep slope. We had to rely on our spotter to guide us along the best line to get through this stretch without damaged. We had heard that a few vehicles belong to other groups we knew, had tipped over at this stretch.

We did not tip over, but one Ranger broke a CV while the other popped a bead on the rear tire. After the repairs were done, we headed on to face the next challenge. The next part of the track also involved a very steep hill with deep ruts and loose earth. This made traction difficult and the winches were put to good use.

When we reached the top of this hill, we decided to have lunch and take a break for a while. We knew that we did not have time to cook, so we had packed lunch at the restaurant where we had breakfast.

After lunch, it was more hill climbing, loss of traction and lots of winching. These were the challenges we were looking for on this trip. It was tough, but it was also good fun.

The day was almost evening and we decided to stop and set up a temporary shelter for the night. So, we threw a tarp over two rigs, laid out a ground sheet and two chairs for our sleep tonight. Fortunately, we had anticipated a tough first day and had prepared a menu that did not require much preparation. After that, we washed up in a nearby stream and went to sleep, preparing ourselves for what lies ahead the next day.

The first day was over and we were still a long way from our goal.