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Jungle Survival Tips
Essential knowledge on jungle survival
Survival Program - Wilderness Survival, Wilderness
Awareness, Nature and
Outdoor Survival, Adventure Team Building Programs
retain : 10%
of what we read,
20% of what we hear,
30% of what we see,
50% of what we hear and see,
70% of what we say, and
90% of what we say and do
Will you be able to survive the ultimate wilderness test? In the
last eight months, local newspapers have reported nine cases of lost
trekkers in Malaysian forests. What does it take to get out alive?
JUNGLE SURVIVAL PACKAGES
Venue : Endau Rompin Selai
Entry from Bekok Johore
Other locations available :
Baik, Gopeng , Sungai Chiling Kuala Kubu Bahru, Sedim
Recreation Park, Lagenda Park, Tangkak Johore, Lata Kijang Waterfalls, Ulu Yam,
Package Rates per person
Above 10 pax
Lubok Pasir -
Merekek Camp Site
Merekek Camp Site
3D/2N - Survival Extreme - Endau Rompin
Selai Johore National Park, Malaysia
1100 hrs Arrived Bekok Town. Early lunch at own
registration at Endau
Rompin Park HQ transfer to Kampong Selai.
1400 hrs 1. The facilitator / trainer will brief
schedules and rules and regulations.
2. Participants will be divided into groups
3. Distribution of rations, tents etc
4. Non essential belongings will be kept at the
1500 hrs Transfer by 4WD vehicles to Lubok Pasir
1600 hrs Shelter and survival kits
Set up tent
Collection of firewood
Meals and cooking
Setting fishing net
Learn to tie fishing hooks and preparing fishing rod
from Bertam trees
Cooking rice in mess tin
1900 hrs Dinner time
2000 hrs Campfire session
Discussion session - lessons learned
Myths and truths about the jungle
Cooking rice and chicken in bamboo
0800 hrs Breakfast
Coffee and boiled tapioca
0900 hrs Break camp
Identification of edible and medical plants
Trek to Kampung Selai
Enroute participants will learn to identify
Plants with medical value
Wild animal treks
1300 hrs Lunch - Aborigines cooked food with jungle
1400 hrs Transfer by 4WD Vehicles to Lubok Merekek
1500 hrs Survival cooking
Cooking rice and dishes in bamboo
Boil and BBQ tapioca
Slaughter live chicken
1900 hrs Dinner time
0800 hrs Campfire session
Discussion session - lessons learned
Demonstration how to do bamboo water container
1000 hrs Real life survival situation participants
1. Sleep in the open
2. Take turn to keep fire burning until morning and
care of safety
We will do impromptu inspection every few hours to checkv
maintained well and the participants' safety assured.
0800 hrs Breakfast - Coffee and BBQ sweet potato
0900 hrs Preparing traps
1200 hrs Discussion session - closing
Return of personal belongings
1300 hrs Lunch (prepared)
1400 hrs Return to Bekok by 4WD vehicle
Survival lunch cooked in mess tin by the waterfalls
Here are some worthy tips.
are lost and the worst thing you can do is to continue walking
and drain yourself. Access your condition. Ask yourself: What do
I need to do today, right now, to survive? How long can the food
you packed last? Prioritising and do the most important chores
first can help save your hide.
The looming nightfall and darkness is lost
trekkers worst enemy. It’s also the time when 90% of wildlife
come out to hunt and find food - that’s you, if you’re not
careful. If nightfall is drawing near, looking out for a safe
shelter to spend the night should be your priority.
Go with the flow
Chances are, you fair better getting lost in the rainforest than
anywhere else. Our forest is mostly damp and most plants are
soaked in dew in the mornings. Collect dew and rain water with
large leafs. Small stream in the jungle is mostly pristine and
is safe to drink. Also remember, the smallest tickle always
strings itself to a bigger waterway. Go with the flow and you’d
usually end up near a river – and human settlement
Pack smart, not more
packing your stuffs, always put some thought for “what if I’m
lost” essentials. Keep all your survival items into one waist
bag and don’t leave camp without it. Below are the must-haves in
your survival kit and collectively they should not weight more
1. Carry at least 3 ways to start a fire –
Vaseline soaked cotton balls, magnifying glass and cigarette
2. A small bottle of iodine to disinfect water. Use 1 small drop
for every litre.
3. A few zip lock bags for holding water.
4. Dental floss (100m). It’s a light and tough string with many
5. Mini flashlight.
6. Heavy duty garbage bag. It makes great raincoat and
waterproof shelter. You can also use it to collect rainwater.
7. All purpose knife made of carbon-steel that can throw sparks
when struck on granite.
8. A bottle of antibiotic ointment.
9. Some energy bars.
10. A whistle to draw attention.
Although it’s not easy to find natural resources dry enough to
start a fire in the damp forest, some resins, like the keruing
tree’s, and bark strips are good fire starters. Look out for
natural shelters. Young Leonard Hendrik and Milos Johed who got
lost in 2005 in Bau, Sarawak made a cave their home for two
nights before being found. Note what wildlife eats in the
forest; monkeys are the best indicators. If it’s edible to them,
it is most probably to you too.
off branches at eye-level, 5 feet above the ground, along the
path to help rescue team track you. One can also leave heaps of
stones, piles of branches or leafs for the same purpose. A
whistle never fails to draw attention and its piercing shrill
can echo far.
When making a smoke signal, you get more
smoke by adding leaves than wood to the bonfire. Understand that
from the air you’ll be a tiny dot. Find an open spot where the
plume can rise beyond the forest canopy.
Caveat - take care not to start a forest
fire and jeopardize yourself.
Getting along with wildlife
Walking around the rainforest is not like walking through the
carnivorous exhibit’s cage in the zoo wearing a sheep’s skin.
Carnivorous animals like to mark their territory and leave
plenty of clues. So pay attention.
So, if you’re worried about stumbling into
a hungry beast, it won’t happen. Firstly, the jungle is too
dense for your eyes to make anything out of it. A camouflaged
flying fox can fly pass you in a blink. Secondly, your human
scent is strange to them and wildlife almost definitely scoots
off before you see them. The only ones aren’t backing off are
females defending their little ones or nest. So, do give way to
a nursing mum.
Keep your sense of humor
Staying positive is everything.
With practice, movement through thick
undergrowth and jungle can be done efficiently. Always wear long
sleeves to avoid cuts and scratches.
To move easily, you must develop "jungle eye," that is, you
should not concentrate on the pattern of bushes and trees to
your immediate front. You must focus on the jungle further out
and find natural breaks in the foliage. Look through the jungle,
not at it. Stop and stoop down occasionally to look along the
jungle floor. This action may reveal game trails that you can
Stay alert and move slowly and steadily through dense forest or
jungle. Stop periodically to listen and take your bearings. Use
a machete to cut through dense vegetation, but do not cut
unnecessarily or you will quickly wear yourself out. If using a
machete, stroke upward when cutting vines to reduce noise
because sound carries long distances in the jungle. Use a stick
to part the vegetation. Using a stick will also help dislodge
biting ants, spiders, or snakes. Do not grasp at brush or vines
when climbing slopes; they may have irritating spines or sharp
Many jungle and forest animals follow game trails. These trails
wind and cross, but frequently lead to water or clearings. Use
these trails if they lead in your desired direction of travel.
In many countries, electric and telephone lines run for miles
through sparsely inhabited areas. Usually, the right-of-way is
clear enough to allow easy travel. When traveling along these
lines, be careful as you approach transformer and relay
stations. In enemy territory, they may be guarded.
The Art of Staying Alive
In the SAS Survival Handbook,
author John Lofty Wiseman says survival is the art of
“You must know how to take everything possible from nature
and use it to the fullest, how to attract attention to
yourself so that rescuers can find you, how to make your way
across unknown territory back to civilisation if hope of
rescue is not on the cards and navigating without compass or
Wiseman says any gear you have is a bonus. You not only have
to keep healthy, you need to know First Aid in case you or
your group members are sick or wounded AND maintain your
Sounds like a tall order. But Chin’s case proves the point.
Even the most experienced trekker can get lost due to a
misstep or wrong judgment. So, when you’re thrown into this
kind of situation, what do you do?
Stay calm and think positive,”
advises Tham Yau Kong, one of the pioneer adventure
operators in Sabah. In 1999, Tham and Sadib Miki set up Miki
Survival Camp in a village at the foot of Mt
Kinabalu. At the camp, students
learn to identify edible food or fruits, pick up traditional
using forest herbs, learn to build
shelter and fashion animal traps out of forest products.
“Leave markers on the trail as you try to find your way out
to ensure you’re not going in circles,” Tham adds.
If you still fail to find a way out, set up a base by
building a shelter and try to signal to alert others that
you’re lost in the jungle. In the meantime, source for water
and food to survive. (See sidebar on Survival Basics.)
Outward Bound Malaysia field instructor Azirin Aziz
recommends trekking in a group of no less than four people
as a safety measure.
“When lost, send out a trekker team (maybe two from the
group) to clear and check tracks in order to determine the
better path to take,” says Azirin who is based in Lumut,
venture out about 100m forward, to the right and to the left
from the original bearings to look out for visible features.
Then return to the rest of the team and report. Try to gauge
your location on the map if you have one.
“It’s good practice to walk on a ridge instead of in a
valley because it’s easier to get spotted by rescuers from
there. A valley’s feature is usually rocky with creeping
vegetation. Streams are useful in determining direction, but
they are not the safest terrain to walk on, Azirin adds.
In Chin’s case, a bunch of
volunteers from the Association of Backpackers Malaysia (the
lost hikers are members) and the police had started a search
and rescue effort. At 7am the next day, Chin and her friend
tried to retrace their footsteps. One-and-a-half hours
later, they found their way out.
“It’s embarrassing. We are
experienced trekkers but because we were overly confident
and didn’t leave any markers, we got lost,” admits Chin.
“Never assume you’ll find your way out of an unfamiliar
place. Even though you don’t think you may get lost,
sometimes people get injured in accidents or get
disoriented. Just make sure you carry the kit.”
( See sidebar on Survival Kit.)
with a group of friends, it’s easy to let your guard down,
Chin cautions. Always see where you’re going, know where you
are and stay alert.
Sources: Wiseman, John Lofty SAS Survival Handbook;
Harpers-Collins Publishers, 2003 and Hattingh, Garth The
Outdoor Survival Manual; New-Holland Publishers, 2003.
Don’t lose your way
Prevention is the best cure, they say, so before setting
out, it’s crucial to plan your trip, load up on the right
gear, check the weather and ask yourself: Are you
experienced enough to do the trek without a guide? Are you
fit to tackle the trails? And do you have the right gear,
maps and directions?
“Effective planning separates the responsible hiker from
the common hiker,” says Azirin Aziz, an outdoor field
instructor at Outward Bound Malaysia, Lumut.
important to spare your family, friends, the authorities
and rescue organisations the anxiety.”
hikers should never attempt a tough and unfamiliar trek,
especially without a guide, Azirin adds. Besides your basic
survival kit, you need to know simple navigational skills
using a compass and map.
Unfortunately, in Malaysia, the public has limited access to
topography maps unless they are part of organisations like
Outward Bound Malaysia or the Association of Backpackers
trailblazer C. S. Goh and his group of experienced
adventurers find challenge in bushwhacking their way through
pristine jungles in Peninsular Malaysia. Though Goh swears
by his GPS (Global Positioning System), he still relies on
his map and compass-reading skills for back-up. GPS is
reportedly 95% accurate and to receive clear signals, you
need to stand still and out in the open, away from tree
branches or any obstruction.
“I still have to take note of the direction I’m travelling
in and observe the terrain or vegetation around me,” says
Goh, a part-time trekking guide who organises
Keep an eye on what’s around you and make mental notes of
lakes, rivers, caves and waterfalls. And don’t rely solely
on your group leader in case you get separated from the
If you reach a junction and you’re not sure which trail to
take, leave some markings, in case you go on the wrong trail
and need to backtrack.
“I use a parang to make three slashes on both sides of the
trees along the trail,” adds Goh.
“Try not to fold the tree branches as markers. It’s hard to
spot them when it’s dark or if the trail is thick with
Most importantly, always let someone know where you are
going, when or what time you are expected back.
A shelter will
keep away the rain and wind, and keep you warm. Look for a
campsite that’s sheltered from the wind, a higher ground
with less risk of flooding, safe from rock falls and away
from animals’ watering holes. Most “lost” cases in Malaysia
happen to day hikers, thus you’re likely not to carry a
tent. You can make a simple A-frame shelter with a plastic
sheet or your poncho and tree branches. Or gather some
branches, make a frame and use leaves to cover up. Bamboo
makes great shelters but be careful of sharp slivers or
splinters when it is cut
A fire not
only keeps you warm, it’s a morale booster and can be used
as a smoke signal. In wet conditions, get dead branches off
trees and shave them. It’s easy to kindle the fire this way,
says Tham Yau Kong of TYK Adventures. Always carry matches/a
lighter in waterproof bags. Dry bamboo, termite’s nests or
cotton balls dipped in Vaseline make excellent tinder while
twigs, small leaves and dry bark will keep the fire going
your mobile phone – you never know where it will work. Don’t
scream your lungs out – you’ll waste energy and your voice
won’t travel far unless rescuers are within hearing
distance. A whistle (pic) is a great piece of survival gear.
If you need to start a signal fire, choose a clearing away
from overhanging branches. Dig a trench or build an earth
wall around the fire if it’s close to other trees or plants.
Rubber tyres or green branches give a good, dense smoke.
Spread out a reflective blanket (if you have one) to help
searchers spot you from the air. Use a compact mirror, a
knife blade, a thin foil or ready-made signal mirror with
the sun to flash light signals
Though you can
go without food for at least a week, hunger weakens the body
and makes you more susceptible to hypothermia. Look out for
wild fruits, roots, leaves, the soft heart of young stems or
palm tree’s branches. Ferns and bamboo shoots are delicious.
Though not appetising , boiled lichens are safe to eat. A
tip for testing plants: if a plant smells of almonds
(hydrocyanic acid) or peaches (prussic acid) when crushed,
dump it. Rub a piece of crushed plant lightly on a soft skin
area (inside of arm) and wait five minutes to check if any
rash, swelling or burning appears. Worms (pic) and insects
are a good source of protein if you can get over the
IMAGINE YOU ARE TREKKING IN A
JUNGLE WITH SOME FRIENDS AND SUDDENLY YOU FOUND YOURSELF ALONE !
Here are some tips on what
to do if you are in such a situation - lost in the jungle. To
be lost simply means you are all alone and you cannot see or
hear your friends anywhere. Your first reaction is do not panic.
Apply the S.T.O.P approach
— Stop, Think, Observe and Plan.
STOP – Take a deep breath,
sit down if possible, calm yourself and recognise that whatever
has happened to get you here cannot be undone. You are now in a
survival situation and that requires you to:
THINK – Your most important
asset is your brain. Use it! Don’t panic! Move with deliberate
care. Take no action, even a step forward, until you have
thought it through.
OBSERVE – Take a look
around you. Assess your situation and options. Take stock of
your supplies, equipment and surroundings.
PLAN – Prioritize your
immediate needs and develop a plan to systematically deal with
the emergency. Make a plan and keep to it. Adjust your plan only
as necessary to deal with changing circumstances.