You’ve been out of breath for the last 15… no, make that 30 minutes. Everything is in slow motion and your legs and shoes feel like they’ve melted into each other. Your thoughts have moved from “Let’s do this!” to “Why the heck did I sign up for this hike?!”. Then suddenly you hear it: the sound of trickling fresh water. It gets louder and faster, and your pace follows likewise. The trees start to clear and there your destination is, the mighty waterfall. “Ahhh!!!” You’re waist-deep in its cool waters and feeling a million times better than you did just five minutes ago. Your mates have all jumped in and someone is already setting up the picnic. Everything is wonderful again. This is what you really signed up for.
Most of us who aren’t very athletic can probably identify with this. But who’s to say that a hiking trail is off limits for those who may not live and breathe the good outdoors? Hiking can be an extremely rewarding activity, especially when you know what’s waiting for you at the top of a mountain or at the end of a trail. Just know which trail is suitable for you and make sure you go with good friends who will keep you going.
Here are some amazing trails in Malaysia that are incredibly rewarding in their own way.
Rewarding factor: Easy hike. A beautiful cliff view of the sea.
Image by kembaraskyra.
From the entry at Tanjung Tuan, there are two trails that lead you 26 meters above sea level to the peak of Bukit Batu Putih (White Rock Hill). One of them is perfect for beginners. It’s literally just a 30-minute walk in the forest that leads you to a cliff with a breathtaking view of Port Dickson’s seaside. Get your we-fies done, feel the breeze, then head back down to the beach for some fun in the sun. If you feel like pushing your newbie envelope just a tiny bit more, try the other trail that lasts about 45 minutes to an hour.
Rewarding factor: K-Drama hilltop experience.
Located about an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur, this of the most popular places for hikers - especially on the weekend. It’s a moderate trail depending on your fitness level and can take up to an hour to reach the first peak. This is where you’ll experience the stuff that Korean drama scenes and music videos are made of. Tallgrass blowing wildly in the breeze and a fantastic hilltop view. Definitely a recommended place to experience a hilltop without trees near the city - especially if you can get to the top in time to catch the sunrise!
Rewarding factor: Easy hike to a waterfall.
Image from Santubong Forestry.
There are plenty of trails in Peninsula Malaysia that lead to waterfalls, but if you’re planning a trip to Sarawak and hope to include a waterfall trail in your travel itinerary, Mount Santubong Jungle Trek would be it. The trail takes you on an easy loop, although for 2 hours in total. You will probably want to spend extra time at the lovely little waterfall that’s located along the way. Pack a picnic for this one and bring firestarters and charcoal as there are barbeque pits there that can be used to cook a good hot meal too.
Rewarding factor: A majestic view
Image by Andy Saiden.
One of the top trails in the state of Negeri Sembilan is the trail that takes you to the peak of Gunung Datuk. Also known as Gunung “Dato” or “Datok”, this mountain stands at about 855 meters above sea level and takes about four hours to the top and back down again. The terrain makes an interesting journey as it ends in a pile of massive boulders that can only be overcome with the help of a few steel ladders that you’ll find when you reach there. The view that awaits you once you get up is simply spectacular. There’s a certain feeling that you get to experience when you’re admiring nature in all its glory at that kinda level. Soak it all up!
Rewarding factor: Mountain wildlife and plants.
Image by syahirahtemezeblog.
Most hikers love going to Gunung Berembun for the kind of wildlife and plant species you can only find in high mountainous areas. There are four different trails to choose from on this mountain. The easiest trail starts where MARDI offices are located and can take up to three hours to reach the peak. If you prefer a slightly more challenging trail, try Trail No.5, Trail No.6, and Trail No.2. Each of them starts at different locations and you can get further information online.
Rewarding factor: A fairytale experience.
Image by World & She.
The state of Pahang is very famous for Cameron Highlands. It’s where Malaysia’s most popular tea plantation is, attracting hundreds of local and international travellers every weekend. What’s less popular mainly because it takes some effort, is the trail that goes up Gunung Irau (Irau Mountain). However, this trail is special because it takes you along Cameron Highlands great enchanted Mossy Forest, which is also shared with Gunung Berembun. This trail can be quite challenging due to the mere fact that it takes almost 6 - 7 hours to complete. However, some people find the experience of being in a fairytale setting and its fresh cool environment worth the try. This trail can get quite foggy, wet, and chilly at times so wear good shoes, cover up in bright clothing, and bring a good jacket!
Rewarding factor: A convenient choice for Singaporeans.
Image by myfarrahdise.
Here’s a good outdoor activity idea for Singaporeans who would like to experience hiking in Malaysia within 24 hours. Gunung Pulai is about an hour’s drive from the heart of Singapore and is about 700 meters above sea level. It’s also part of Gunung Pulai Recreational Forest where the water catchment which is a part of the reservoir system supplying water to Singapore is located. Jungle Trail No.2 takes about 2 and a half hours to reach the summit and you’ll come across interesting rock formations and there’s even a waterfall too!
Rewarding factor: Bragging rights.
As one of the World Heritage Sites that put Malaysia on the global map, we had to include this one. If you’re traveling from abroad and would like say you’ve conquered the highest mountain in Malaysia, this is your mountain. You’ll need at least two days for the full trail, beginning at 7:30am so you can reach Laban Rata base camp in time for dinner and to watch the sunset. You’ll resume your journey the next morning at 3am so that you’ll get to catch the sunrise as you stand at 4,095 meters above sea level on the peak of that mountain.
9. Gunung Nuang, Selangor
Rewarding factor: Feeling prepared for Gunung Tahan
Image by Smart-i Malaysia.
At this stage of the Top 10 list, it’s time to give you something to really conquer and that’s the trail on Gunung Nuang. Going the full trail to the peak at 1,493 meters high will require you to camp for a night at the first stop, Camp Lolo. The camping ground is very basic but there’s also a waterfall there which helps as a water source and makes a refreshing dip. The terrain is anything but flat and the trail is quite technical, calling for a total physical and mental devotion to your destination. When you’ve taken on the Nuang challenge, you know you’re probably ready for the top trail on our list.
Rewarding factor: Real bragging rights.
Source: Airpaz Blog
Surprise, surprise. Climbing Gunung Tahan or “Endurance Mountain” is the real deal! (Bet you thought it was Mount Kinabalu) Just like its name, this mountain will challenge your endurance to newfound levels. At 2,187 meters above sea level, it is the highest peak in Peninsula Malaysia and many hikers who have beat the climb often say Kinabalu is a walk in the park in comparison. Depending on which of the three main trails you take, the trip can last anywhere between 4 to 8 days with the Merapoh trail being the shortest. The mountain is located within Taman Negara so there’s a fair amount of time spent trekking through the jungle before the actual climb begins. If conquering Malaysia’s most challenging trail is on your travel bucket list. Make sure you take on this one!
Some friendly last tips of ours are: wear good shoes (or river sandals), bring enough drinking water and energy-boosting snacks, a first-aid kit, mosquito repellent, a rain jacket, and if possible a good pen knife and a box of matches. You never know when they might come in handy to fend off leeches or cook a good meal. Don’t forget garbage bags too. You’ll need them for collecting your own trash along the way. Leaving the place in a better condition than when you found it is the mark of an eco-friendly traveller. The final and most important thing to do is to make sure you have an emergency contact number to call (which only works if there’s network coverage in the area) or an experienced guide to take you in. Have a great hiking trip! You CAN do this!