By Karen Bong
TUCKED away in the interior of Padawan lies a small village called Kampung Assum that is home to not one but four waterfalls that are just waiting to be explored. Just as interesting, one of them is named after a dog.
Kampung Assum is located about 60km from Kuching city and is also neighbours with Kampung Sapit, which is only a short 10-minute drive away. Those camping out at Kampung Sapit should take the opportunity to embark on an adventure to scale the four waterfalls of this Bidayuh village.
The Bidayuh people are known for their hospitality and warmth, and visitors to Kampung Assum can expect a warm welcome from the locals who are always ready to share their knowledge of the four waterfalls that are hidden in different elevations of the village. Each waterfall is more magnificent than the last, making Kampung Assum a true hidden gem.
The first waterfall is called Nub Waterfall (also known as Pasir), and it is the easiest one to access. From the village’s community hall, it is just a short hike away over a gravel road surrounded by a lush jungle landscape. It is a gentle cascade that tumbles down a rocky cliff into a pool below that also serves as a reservoir, which is connected to a micro hydrodam system.
According to Kampung Assum Sport and Recreational Club chairman Simus Pasi, Nub Waterfall is named after the father of the first Bengoh assemblyman, the late Datuk William Tanyub Nub.
“His late father used to go hunting in the forest and one day he was not able to make it back to the village when night fell. So he spent the night at the waterfall,” he shared.
The second waterfall is called the Bubby Waterfall, and it requires a bit more effort to reach. The journey to get to this waterfall involves crossing a bamboo bridge over a rushing stream from Nub, climbing up steep hills and descending steep slopes.
Amusingly, this is the waterfall named after a dog called Bubby which Simus said was left there by a man.
With the path to get there winding through dense forest that obscures the way from most casual onlookers, Bubby is considered the smallest of the four waterfalls in the village. It features a smaller cascade that drops down to a shallow pool. Despite its size, Bubby Waterfall exudes its own charm and beauty.
The third waterfall is called Apot Waterfall, and it is the tallest and most awe-inspiring among the four waterfalls. The hike up to this waterfall is more challenging than the previous two, but it is a sight to behold.
The special reason why Apot is considered the most legendary is because this place was once shrouded in eerie mystique, and perceived as deeply mysterious and untouchable.
“There are some stories about this place which I cannot share, but in the past it was known to be a ‘hard’ land. Like Kuching people would refer to being easily getting ‘libas’ (easily affected by negative energy),” Simus said, perhaps referring to the spiritual energy embedded in this land which used to support a village back in the early days.
“In the early days, villagers were pagans before the arrival of Christianity. Now everything here is ok. We brought a priest to bless this land.”
When you reach the waterfall, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of a towering cascade, dropping 40 metres down a series of rocky ledges into a huge pool. The sheer power of the water is awe-inspiring, and you can feel its cool mist on your face as you gaze up at it.
This is the most scenic spot for a refreshing dip in the pool or visitors can simply relax on nearby rocks and take in the beauty of the waterfall and natural surroundings.
The fourth and final waterfall is called the Suran Waterfall, and it is the highest and most secluded of the four. To reach this waterfall, you will need to hike through dense forest and up several vertical cliffs. The cliffs have ladders to assist climbers, as it would otherwise be impossible to ascend.
Named after the land itself, the waterfall is a hidden gem nestled in the highest corner of the mountain surrounded by towering cliffs and greenery. Once you arrive, the sight of the beautiful waterfall cascading down and a tranquil pool below would undoubtedly be a welcoming and refreshing sight after a long journey.
Kampung Assum — a charming village for nature lovers, adventure seekers
The entire hike to scale the four waterfalls in Kampung Assum covers about 4.8 kilometres. It is a challenging but rewarding experience that is perfect for adventure-seekers and nature-lovers alike.
The lush jungle landscape, rushing rivers, and the cool water of the waterfalls all combine to create a truly exciting and unforgettable adventure that’s unlike anything else.
These waterfalls in fact belonged to three villages comprising Kampung Assum, Kampung Kakas and Kampung Parang. However, the tourism activities in the village are currently operated by Kampung Assum Sport and Recreational Club.
Local visitors will be charged a fee of RM25 per adult and RM13 per child, while the fee for non-locals is RM35 per person. All visitors are required to register themselves and advised to engage a tour guide or a local village trekker.
“The fees collected are crucial as it will enable us to manage and take care of our tourism products, especially to replace all the bamboo infrastructure like bridges and steppers as well as clearing overgrown vegetation along the trails which are tasks requiring physical labour and are quite costly. This is to ensure visitors can continue to enjoy the natural beauty of the area safely and comfortably,” Simus explained.
He also hopes that the fees collected will enable the village to develop and expand its tourism offerings, attracting even more visitors and tourists to the area.
Simus also hopes for greater support from both the Sarawak and federal governments, especially the tourism agencies, to ensure sustainable and resilient tourism-based economic activity for the village.
By working together, Simus believes that Kampung Assum and the surrounding villages can continue to thrive as a popular tourist destination, while also preserving their natural beauty and cultural heritage for future generations to enjoy.
The waterfalls of Kampung Assum is one of the featured attractions under Sarawak Tourism Board’s (STB) Sarawak Product Experience programme. — DayakDaily