If you are Malaysian and have an e-mail account, at some time of other you would probably have received a chain e-mail containing a number of photos of pretty waterfalls, which the e-mail claimed to be from a certain “Sungai Jagung” (Corn River) in the state of Kedah, northern Peninsular Malaysia.
We had to endure two days and two nights cooped up in our rooms in a guesthouse in the village of Grabovac in Croatia, watching re-runs of sitcoms, while waiting for the episode of bad weather to pass. But when the rain finally ceased on the third day, we were finally able to confirm that the e-mail was indeed a hoax. So, ladies and gentlemen, while there is no question that no such river by the name of “Sungai Jagung” exists in Kedah, the waterfalls shown in the e-mail are actually from Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Created in 1949, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is the oldest park in Croatia. It was also one of the first natural areas in the world to be listed as a World Heritage Site, having been inscribed in 1979 in recognition of its “outstanding natural beauty, and the undisturbed production of travertine (tufa) through chemical and biological action.” It is now a major tourist attraction, as well as an important refuge for plants and animals, including the European brown bear.
It’s a spectacular place, and also interesting from a geological perspective (Google it, we’re not going to get technical today). The lakes are generally divided into two groups: The Lower Lakes and upper Lakes. The Upper Lakes have smaller pools and cascades, with very pretty natural gardens. The Lower Lakes are more spectacular, with limestone gorges rising up around them. Visitors can choose from a number of routes that traverse across and around the 20-odd lakes in the park. The routes, which range from 2 to 6 hours, are very doable, and the park authorities provide bus and ferry services to get around the less scenic areas. We noticed that the majority of the visitors (on the day we were there) were senior citizens.
This post is dedicated to Bob. May he rest in peace.