“We are going to camp at Bukit Tabur.” I think that’s what each of us in the gang had been telling others when asked about how we would like to spend the May Day holiday.

Yup, we were under the impression that it can be done, although most people were skeptical and asked “Huh? Are you sure it is possible to camp overnight there? Where’s the camping site??

Uh-oh… None of us knew actually.

But Madam Organizer was so enthusiastic and confident about her grand plan that nobody questioned it. She was even so ambitious to suggest going to a waterfall after the hike. None of the guys dared to respond to her emails until she fumed.

On the eve of May Day, when rain and thunderstorms were forecasted for the next days, we sobered up. We decided to scrap the camping plan and do a daytrip instead. We certainly didn’t want to be human lightning conductors, getting struck and combusted by lightning at the exposed peak. Becoming a ‘siu-yuk’ (crispy barbecued pork ala Chinese) was definitely not in our May Day agenda.

And so, at the ungodly hour of 5 on a fine Saturday morning, four of us dragged ourselves up from slumber land to make the trip. No way to escape because Madam Organizer gave everyone except Ghee Beng the Iron Man a wake-up call.

It was a rather tough hike up Bukit Tabur’s rugged limestone cliffs and peaks. The challenge is at two vertical cliffs where abseiling down the rope is necessary. These are dangerous spots where a wrong footing can bring you all the way downhill, up to 100 metres. They say if you slip from the Everest, you drop all the way to America. Here at Bukit Tabur, maybe you’ll end up in the garden of one of the rich men’s bungalow at the foot of the hill. In any case, it is a harrowing vertical drop.

Thrills and accomplishment aside, everyone seemed to have little discoveries of their own that morning: Seeming discovered that he can actually pose for photos sans stiffness; Ricky discovered that his belly has ballooned again after his last hike; Ghee Beng discovered that being a model for Seeming’s intense-looking climbing shots was no easy task; and Madam Organizer found out that she brought two left foot that morning.

The most important discovery has to be the fact that Ricky’s little P brand point & shoot digicam managed to outdo three heavy C and N brand DSLRs in capturing the sunrise view.

All in all, everyone had a fantabulous, awe-inspiring, fat-busting, nerve-wracking, jaw-dropping, heart-palpitating, unforgettable, successful and fruitful hike.

And it’s good to know that whenever we yearn for some private moments with Mother Nature, we don’t have to look far and beyond – there is a gem tucked snugly at the backyard of our city. But seriously, don’t even think about camping there…

* Bukit Tabur (also known as Melawati Hill or Crystal Hill) is located at the fringe of the city, behind Taman Melawati, some 20kms away from the city centre. Here lies the world’s longest quartz ridge, and the hill boasts sweeping vista of the city skyline and Klang Gates Dam. The sunrise panorama here is nothing short of phenomenal.

Narrated by Joyce Lee, the alter-ego of Madam Organizer