Are there any clean campsites in Malaysia? Campsites that are free from human rubbish? I have started jungle camping and over the past few months, I have come to the conclusion that Malaysian are not very good in keeping their jungle clean. Almost all established campsites I visited so far are littered with rubbish.
It is really frustrating that so many nice campsites in Malaysia are in terrible state today. Campsites at Perting waterfalls near Janda Baik used to be in such pristine condition. Many years ago, it was only accessible by foot but now off road vehicles has made its way through. This accessibility brings more people in and this impacts the campsite tremendously. This ‘impact’ comes in many form. For a start, the ‘jungle trail’ is now a small little highway. Put aside the fact that trees have been cut down for vehicle access and building bridges, the ground is now bare and susceptible to erosion. Then there is the human waste. Things like food scraps, plastic bottles, empty food cans and even human faeces can be found all over the place. All these attracts flies and rats which in turn will cause more health problems in the long run.
Social media is a two sided coin in all this. I blame and credit it at the same time. Some groups and individual hikers/ campers have started to raise concerns over the environmental degradation that surrounds them. If all the campsites and trails are polluted and damaged, what is the point then to go out and enjoy mother nature?
Groups on Facebook like Hiking & Camping Around Malaysia has been steadily promoting a more responsible approach to outdoor pursuits in Malaysia. More and more posts highlighting irresponsible practices like leaving rubbish at campsites, putting up unnecessary posters/banners right down to cigarette butt disposal are more common now and hopefully is a sign of elevated awareness.
On the flip side, it is also through the same social media that more campsites, trails and waterfalls are being exposed to more and more people. Many are hunting down these pristine crystal clear rivers, magnificent waterfalls and mountain tops to add to their bucket of ‘achievements’. Never mind the motivations, it is the ethics and attitude in achieving these ‘goals’ that is the culprit to messing up nature. All they care is to get there, take tonnes of selfie pics and post them on social media. What’s left behind in the form of trash, cut down trees, food scraps and human wastes seem to matter very little in the pursuit of fame and recognition.
So, where can I find clean campsites in Malaysia? Will there be any waterfalls, jungle trails or picnic spots left for us to enjoy in the future? Is there anything done to ensure these places are kept clean? Are the authorities doing anything (besides nothing that is).
Personally, I stopped searching online or on social media for places to go. I have made up my mind to do my part preserving nature by not venturing anywhere near places that are popular. Instead, I have discovered few very unpopular (some unheard of) places but very decent locations to hike, camp and relax. I bring out whatever I bring in and I plan to build a more ‘permanent’ toilet site there too. That way, me and friends can ‘dump’ in a more systematic way.
So, if you are looking for clean campsites in Malaysia, you are better of spending some money (can be very expensive) on privately run campsite grounds or find a secret location and keep it to yourself (or just within a small group). Be careful how you stroke your ego with pictures on social media for it may well one-day work against you.