Waterfalls are magical, but nothing beats the journey to get to it. Living in a country blessed with natural wonders, Malaysia does not lack for waterfall hikes and if you are looking for something to do this weekend, why not head towards one of the waterfalls listed below?
Image by Seanthana from Instagram
This place has a special place in my heart. Why, you might ask? Because my first exposure to it was when I was asked by some friends to hike up this seven tiered waterfall in a dress and sandals just to attend their wedding! I was half tempted to go up in sports attire and my trusty old wellies but really, how would I fit into the “smart casual” wedding dress code then?!
Jokes aside, Kanching Waterfalls is a stunning place for a hike (and an outdoor wedding, lets not forget!). Set in a 500 hectares forest reserve in the district of Rawang, this is a popular place for picnics, camping and jungle walking. There are clear footpaths and cement steps leading you up the initial four out of seven tiers, including fresh pools to indulge in a swim and natural shower.
The concrete steps end after level 4 and the trail gets harder but the end result will be worth it. Just beware of the monkeys when they flirt too close to you. Those hands move fast!
Image by Oh Bulan!
Located in Pahang close to Kampung Sungai Chalit, the Lata Berembun Waterfall (“Lata” means waterfall in Malay) is one of the top ten mountains in Peninsular Malaysia and a jewel of the state.
Like all good things, this journey is hard work. If you are trekking by foot, it will be a gruelling 10 kilometers journey through mud, dirt and gravel. Even if you opt for a 4WD vehicle, the 1 hour journey will prove no less eventful. Most of the pathway is made of laterite and filled with portholes which will make it a very bumpy ride, especially after a downpour, but hang on. Think of what awaits you.
The entire falls is a series of 7 cascades and there will be opportunities to jump on several natural “water slides” as well as a dreamy pool beneath the main fall. If you are going to put in all that hard work, make sure you have brought along your swimsuits and a large picnic basket!
Image by Deen Dong from Instagram
Berkelah Waterfall is so named for the mahseer (or ikan kelah) that once called this place home and popular among waterfall hiking enthusiasts.
This seven tiered waterfall can be accessed from the Berkelah Park entrance. It takes around 20 minutes to arrive at the twin waterfalls where you can take your first break or move on. It also contains a campsite which tends to get crowded fast but there will be more campsites further along the trail.
The journey itself is a challenging, slippery joy, and the rocks you are traversing will shift from dark to light brown the higher you climb. The seventh and highest fall is estimated to be around 50 metres high but you can decide at any point when you have had enough and turn back.
Image by Fitry Yusof from Instagram
Jerangkang Waterfall is another gorgeous fall tucked in the rainforests of Pahang. Close to Berkelah Waterfall, its more famous counterpart, this waterfall consists of a large series of cascades along a large ravine where large pools are formed and fed by the cold mountain water sloshing down from above. As you trek, you can stop at each waterfall to relax, swim and eat. Some of them have lagoons that are so deep, you can even do a little diving!
If you can, head up towards the natural infinity pool you see in the picture above. You can even pose on the log jutting out of the edge for that perfect shot. If you have time to spare, stay at one of the campsites nearby so that you can capture both the sunset and sunrise in this gorgeous terrain.
Image by Lik from Instagram
Kuantan too can boast of a spectacular 100 meter fall known as the Sungai Pandan Waterfall (also known as the Panching Waterfalls). Located some 25 kilometers from the city and secreted from the bustling Jalan Kuantan-Gambang, this place is popular among families and friends looking for a quick city escape.
With its series of cascading rapids, Sungai Pandan Waterfall eventually combines to form a pristine light green pool that is close to the colour of the pandanus plant which inspired its name. A unique feature of this place is the suspension bridge that hangs across the natural pool. We think that this is the perfect place for a view of the entire cascade so don’t forget to get your bridge shot!
Image by Uzaer Sohigh from Instagram
Lata Puteh Waterfall is the third highest waterfall in Southeast Asia and we humans look like midgets in comparison!
Getting here requires a full days’ hike so make sure you start early. There are two main parts to this: the Curtain Waterfall as well as the upper falls that require a strenuous hike through thorny trees up a steep slope. The result is an incredible waterfall that looks like a massive downpour with plenty of backsplash. You can also catch a stunning vista of the valley beneath.
Unlike the other waterfalls listed here, this place is rarely visited. This shows in the dense forestation and lack of evident trails. As such, we would advise trying this with someone who knows the way.
Image by Sarawak Forestry Corporation
Dinding Waterfall is a secret gem of East Malaysia. It is a mere 30 minutes’ drive from the city of Miri in Sarawak and tucked deep within the 6,952 hectares Lambir Hills National Park, which is known to be one of the most ecologically diverse sites in the world. The park is inhabited by some 157 types of birds and other wild animals including the Tarsiers, gibbons, wild pigs and even the clouded leopard! However it is unlikely that you will encounter them as these animals tend to shy from human beings.
Dinding Waterfall is one of seven waterfalls located within the park and will take around 2 hours to complete the steep 4.7 kilometers trail. It is known for the thin trickle that plunges straight off a steep wall without cascading down the wall’s face to form a large, freezing pool. Due to the natural properties existing in the surroundings, the water consists of various shades of brown and turquoise blue which makes it an Instagram haven.
A popular spot for a day of picnicking and frolicking in the clear water, try setting aside a day for this if you can. There are also overnight accommodations available at the park headquarters as well as an in-house restaurant.
The thing about waterfall hikes is that they are so rewarding. The perfect place to cool off, have a picnic and even spend the night among nature. Malaysia is blessed to possess so many incredible scenic spots, some accessible and others requiring more effort. If you have yet to visit a waterfall, why not start with this list? There is so much to explore and too little time to cover them all.
A faith-driven Sarawakian lawyer who believes that it is never too late to start crafting a socially impactful legacy. When not grappling with warranties and liabilities, she loves pursuing adrenaline-fueled adventures, improving her Español and playing the violin. You can find her at @vidadeliya or https://www.vidadeliya.com