First, find one with a funky unforgettable name. This one is called Pisang, which is Malay for banana. You’ll be able to tell the story to your grandkids without pausing to recall its name.
Second, find out if there are facilities. The availability of toilets or changing rooms, food stalls or vendors, and camping and cooking facilities (or not) will help you decide what to wear (including footwear), how you are changing out of your wet clothes, what food to bring, and how much water you will drink on that day. In this case, all are non-existent. Pack accordingly.
Third, check the weather and the terrain. You don’t want to be caught out there in a monsoon storm on a muddy hill as daylight is disappearing.
Fourth, make sure you will not chicken out halfway to the waterfall. Pisang waterfalls (skill level: piece of cake) is an easy walk in the woods on a narrow dirt trail, if you start from the northbound side of the highway. If pre-schoolers can do it (and there was a busload of them), so can you. The only climbing is going down to the bottom level of the falls for a dip.
Fifth, be ready for the likely event that you will have to swim or jump from a height, regardless of whether you planned to or not. It’s called peer pressure. And seriously, do you really think you can stay dry? For added courage, make all your companions do it before you do. And always have a backup buddy close by should some mysterious creature bite your legs as you go under. Glug, glug.
Lastly, be considerate. Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints. And when other groups arrive, let them through. Waterfalls are for everyone to share. Like rainbows, clouds and unicorns.
GETTING THERE Pisang Waterfall is off the E8, north of Kuala Lumpur, past Batu Caves in Selangor, Malaysia.
Do you have any other waterfall tips, semi-serious or otherwise? Let me know.