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8 Breathtaking Hiking Spots In Malaysia For A City Escapade


Nursyazana Kahardy •  Jun 22, 2018


Every once in a while, it’s nice to just get out of the city and immerse yourself in nature. What better way to do that than by going on a fabulously scenic hike?  Luckily for us, Malaysia is blessed with an abundance of scenic landscapes, lush national parks and majestic mountains that would light a fire in every adventurous soul ?. That being said, here’s a list of 8 stunning hiking spots you could visit on your next hiking trip! Credit: Giphy
1. Gunung Pulai – Johor

Credit: @huaychienchien on Instagram

Difficulty level: Easy

Duration (to and from): 2 – 3 hours

Highlights: Gunung Pulai Reservoir, waterfall, park

First on the list is Gunung Pulai or Mount Pulai in Johor - a veritable walk in the park for seasoned hikers. Located a mere 90 km from Singapore, this hiking spot is popular with both locals and Singaporeans alike for its stunning views - making it a real hotspot during the weekends. ? If you’re a beginner at hiking, there’s no better trail to start off with than this one, as the 5 km walk to and from the summit utilises a well-maintained tarmac road - making it suitable for families with children and even senior citizens. ? Plus, it’s also super easy to turn back if someone in your group doesn’t feel up to hiking all the way up to the top (just putting this out there).

Credits: @traveloguewaneq on Instagram

Gunung Pulai is 654 metres high, (which is almost 4 times higher than Bukit Timah in Singapore which stands at 164 metres high) and if that’s not attractive enough, there are also some splendid waterfalls along this scenic route that you can take a quick dip in if the heat gets to be too much!
2. Panorama Hill – Pahang

Credit: @sbhaiss on Instagram

Difficulty level: Easy

Duration (to and from): 45 minutes – 1 hour

Highlights: Sea of clouds, sunrise, Sungai Lembing track

Next on our list, is Panorama Hill (Bukit Panorama); located in Sungai Lembing, Pahang. Now this place should be familiar to most hikers, but for those of you who don’t know, Panorama Hill is an easy hiking trail that is much beloved by tourists and locals alike. It gets super busy on the weekends and during public holidays though, so if you can manage it, try coming on a weekday to avoid getting jostled about in the crowd. ?

Credits: @amber.ang97 on Instagram

The way up to the top of the hill is via a set of steep stairs that are kept well maintained by the folks of Sungai Lembing. It’s even equipped with a holding rail in the middle so you’ll have some support when you make your climb. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with an amazing view of a sea of clouds, rolling gently over lush, green foliage. ? For all you morning people, Panorama Hill also offers some spectacular views of the sunrise ?. Just make sure to head up early enough to catch it! If you start climbing up at around 5 am to 5.30 am, you’ll be able to get up in time with plenty of breaks in between to catch your breath!
3. Gunung Raya – Kedah

Credits: @smqattali on Instagram

Difficulty level: Easy to Moderate

Duration (to and from): 3 – 4 hours

Highlights: Highest mountain in Langkawi, hill resort, view of Andaman Sea, hornbill

Third on our list is Gunung Raya, located in Langkawi, Kedah. It is the highest mountain in Langkawi with an elevation of 881 meters and rich with a wide array of flora and fauna. ? If you’re lucky, you might even spot great hornbills, leaf and macaque monkeys, and Langkawi’s famous eagles ???! The Gunung Raya trail is considered to be a soft trek and there are also various types of trek packages available for first timers and seasoned hikers alike.

Credits: @joseph_foo_ on Instagram

To get to the peak, you can either drive up (which is boring as you won’t really get to see much of anything) or rely on your own two feet to get you up there. Of course, trekking up is the best way to get your fill of the beautiful scenery; but in order to get up to the peak, you’ll have to climb up 4,287 stairs. The steps start off at a slight incline but as you progress further, they get steadily steeper (this is definitely not a senior friendly trek ?!) Once you reach the peak of Gunung Raya, there is also a watch tower that affords you with a magnificent 360-degree panorama view of Langkawi, the Andaman sea and even the mainland of Thailand. Entry to the tower costs about RM 10 and you even get a complimentary cup of tea ?!
4. Gunung Baling – Kedah

Credits: @emmettrashid on Instagram

Difficulty level: Easy to Moderate

Duration (to and from): 3 – 4 hours

Highlights: Rocky terrain, beautiful ridges, view of Mount Pulai

Standing at 546 meters above sea level with a well-marked and straight forward trail is Gunung Baling, Kedah. The trek up Gunung Baling actually starts from the carparks and is about 1.85km long with a height elevation of 450m. Now, the first 400 meters might leave you a bit winded as the slope starts pretty steep with an incline between 30 to 45 degrees. Since the trail is mostly soil, it can also be a little slippery/muddy if there was a downpour the previous day; so, remember to exercise caution! ?? After that, the trail eventually flattens out as you walk up stairs through the jungle trail. Nearing the last part of the jungle trail, the terrain gradually becomes rockier and you will also need to climb up a rock obstacle and crawl under some rocks to reach the ridge line.

Credits: @kee_obsessedred on Instagram

It’s definitely nothing too difficult to tackle and even beginners should be able to overcome this obstacle with a little guidance or ingenuity. To reach the summit, simply walk around the ridge line and you’ll be able to savour the fresh air as your eyes (and cameras) feast upon the magnificent view. ❤️
5. Broga Hill – Semenyih

Credits: @BukitBrogaHill on Facebook

Difficulty level: Easy to moderate

Duration (to and from): 1 – 2 hours

Highlights: 3 summits, popular sunrise spot

Made famous by its incredible panoramic views (especially at dawn), Broga Hill, also known as ‘Bukit Lalang’ is a hill in Semenyih that is popular with nature lovers, hikers, trail runners and photographers ?. Standing at 400 meters high, trekking up Broga Hill is not too difficult as the trail is pretty straight forward with only moderate slopes. A word of caution, it can be quite crowded during the weekends and public holidays, so if you can manage it, try going up during a weekday. You should also come prepared with water bottles, adequate cover and a ton of sun screen as the hill doesn’t have much in the way of coverage so you’ll be mostly exposed to the sun ☀️.

Credits: @mnazreemalek on Instagram

Climbing up Broga Hill, you’ll be able to see three viewing points marked by RHB signs at 880 feet, 1150 feet and finally at the top at 1312 feet. The entire climb will be enough to get your heart pumping but the scenic view of the of the plains, alongside the rainforest, oil palm plantations, villages and towns, with the distant mountains looming majestically in the background makes the trek entirely worth it. ?
6. Chiling Falls – Selangor

Credits: @wagsandweightlosspodcast on Instagram

Difficulty level: Moderate

Duration (to and from): 1 – 2 hours

Highlights: Three-tier waterfall, picnic area, river crossing

Note: Open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday only from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Nothing says adventure quite like hiking to Chiling Falls in Selangor. Situated 21 km from Kuala Kubu Bharu on the road to the Gap/Fraser Hill, Chilling Falls is controlled by the Selangor fisheries department with a section of the area being used for research. As a result, the area is only open to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Before you can even begin your trek, you’ll have to register yourself at the ranger’s office in order to be able to climb to the top of the falls. You’ll also be required to check back in by 5.30 pm latest.

Credits: @ezmeerputera on Instagram

In order to reach the mother falls, you’ll have to pass six river crossings, the first crossing being the easiest as it can be done via a suspension bridge. ? The second crossing is a 40-minute walk away and after that, the remaining crossings are just a few minutes apart from each other. Do ensure to wear waterproof/rubber shoes (like crocs) on this trek because you WILL need them as the other river crossings involves you wading through the water ??????.

Credits: @aemil_93 on Flickr

Overall, Chilling Waterfall is a great place for relaxation, hiking and swimming with its abundance of waterfalls, wildlife and beautiful scenery. ?
7. Bukit Tabur (West Trail) – Selangor
[Update on 27 April 2019: Our readers have informed us that Bukit Tabur is closed to hikers indefinitely. We hope this hiking spot reopens soon!]

Credits: @ricoyaw on Instagram

Difficulty level: Moderately challenging

Duration (to and from): 6 – 8 hours

Highlights: The Dragon’s Backbone (world’s largest quartz ridge), Klang Gates Dam, Melawati Hills.

Opening hours: Thursday, weekends, and public holidays from 8.30am to 5pm.

Note: A permit is necessary to go hiking on the trail in Bukit Tabur. The permit can be obtained at the Selangor Forestry Department for RM5 per person.

Located 20 km away from Kuala Lumpur is the famous Bukit Tabur (also known as The Dragon’s Backbone ?). It is a quartz ridge that offers a panoramic view of Kuala Lumpur, the Gombak forest reserve and the Klang Gates Dam. With not one, but FIVE different peaks, it is a suitably challenging trek for experienced hikers and for those who want to try and push their limits by going through an intense boulder crossing. ?

Credits: @fareezmuslim36 on Instagram

The Bukit Tabur West trail is the most popular out of all five treks and is both straight-forward and challenging. The whole loop would take about 3 to 4 hours, however, just around 30 to 40 minutes into the trail, you’ll come across a viewpoint that overlooks the Klang Gate Dam; a perfect spot for a quick photo or selfie ?!

Credits: @nurfidaiy on Instagram

Despite the West trail being one of the ‘easier’ ones, remember to be extra vigilant as there are many sections on the trail where you will need to use both your hands and legs to climb up and down the rocky surface. All in all, its going to be a killer workout but the views you’ll be able to see (and not to mention the bragging rights from conquering Bukit Tabur) is going to be well worth the aching muscles ?!
8. Mount Kinabalu - Sabah

Credits: @fotovu on Flickr

Difficulty level: Very Challenging

Duration (to and from): 2 – 4 days

Highlights: Highest peak in Malaysia, Laban Rata, national park

Note: A permit is required to climb Mt. Kinabalu

Saving the best spot for last, you can’t finish a list of scenic hiking spots in Malaysia without including the one and only Mt. Kinabalu in Sabah ⛰️. Mt. Kinabalu is one of the highest mountains in Southeast Asia, standing at 4,095.2 meters above sea level. A summit climb from the trail head covers 8.72 km. and it is by far, one of the toughest trails a hiker can go through.

Credits: @mtkinabalu on Instagram

It takes two days and one night to hike to Mt. Kinabalu. On day one, you'll cover the first 6 km before taking mandatory rest in a mountain hut. Day two involves you waking up super early to complete the final 2.72km climb up to the summit (called Low’s Peak) in the hopes of arriving just in time for the gorgeous sunrise ?.

Credits: @lisasavitsky on Instagram

When making the climb, it’s important to have a local mountain guide with you as they can give you advice and support throughout your hiking journey. Being physically and mentally prepared is super important in order for you to be able to reach the summit. But I promise you, once you DO make it up there, it will be one of the most satisfying moments in your life ?! Credit: Giphy Well then folks, that’s the end of this article. Hopefully, some of these scenic hiking spots have tempted you enough to go on an adventure! Until next time ??????!