The Cameron Highlands are a group of jungle covered mountains in the centre of main land Malaysia. They are popular with tourists for hiking and visiting the local tea plantations. Please see my next blog to learn about the tea plantations.
This blog will be about the hiking route number 10.
Where to stay in the Cameron Highlands
The main tourist town in the Cameron Highlands and the centre for most of the hike is Tanah Rata. Here you will find many accommodation and food options. On a Sunday a few of the shops shut, however there is a small market with clothes and fresh produce.
Options for Trekking
When you arrive speak to the people in your hostel to find out about the trekking paths. The paths often move due to flooding or landslides. Below is the map which was shown in my hotel at the time of my visit. I was told by the staff that this was already out of date and they were waiting for a new one to come through. I was advised that treks 1 and 9 were no longer possible, and that there was a new track leading off track 10 which would be on the new map.
There are tour companies around who will provide you with a guide and can take you to see some of the main site as well as a trek, but I don’t think that this is necessary. All of the walking trails marked on the map are suitable to do by yourself or with a group of friends. There are regular sign posts along the trail which makes them easy to follow. Some of the trails are harder than others so talk to the staff in your hotel about which one is suitable for you.
After speaking to a variety of people I decided to do track number 10. I was told that it was a relatively easy trek up to the summit of Gunung Jasar (1670m). The decent was down via a road to the north of Tanah Rata. The whole trek should take around 4 hours.
Finding the Start
The trek starts in the southern part of the town from Oly Apartments. I had a little trouble finding the beginning of the trek. From the main road I followed the sign towards Oly Apartments and too saw a path leading up a hill to my right. “This must be the way” I thought. I was wrong.
The path was steep and open. At the top it passed through some bushes before revealing a view over a small valley with some houses. From here there was a couple of other paths which lead into the jungle. I tried both of them but each one just got narrower and ended up leading no-where. Eventually I gave up and headed back down the steep open path.
As I descended I saw a couple of other hikers disappearing into what looked like the entrance to a hotel. I followed them and just after passing through the gate a small path appeared on my left. Tentatively I followed the path through a bamboo plant before seeing a sign post. The post was pointing towards another path on my left and announced the start of trek 10. Finally I had found the correct way.
The first half of the was relatively easy. It was a flat path around the side of the valley. The only obstacles were fallen trees with lay across the path however these were easy to climb over. Just watch out for the lines of ants scurrying across them.
After Approximately 30 minutes of walking the path spits into two. There is a sign post to the right for trek 11 or you can continue on trek 10 by going straight.
From here trek 10 start to go up hill very steeply. The path is lined with trees and is made up of their roots. These form a kind of natural set of steps.
It is a constant climb and can therefore be a little bit difficult for people who are not so fit. Take your time and stop if you need to.
Finally the climb ends. The path winds through a few more trees before emerging into a clearing. Infront of you is the summit with a pylon planted on top.
Following the path around to the pylon you start to get your first views over the surround countryside. Although this is not the highest peak in the area it certainly feels like the top of the world. As you follow the path around you are treated to almost 360 degree views.
The Way Back Down
From here there are a few options; you can return the way you can which is the quickest way back to town. You can go back to the point where you first saw the pylon and take the path to the left. This will lead you down to the Cameron Valley Tea Plantation. Or the final option is to continue on route 10 down the other side of the summit.
I continued on route 10. This path was still through the jungle and covered in tree roots, however it was not as steep and therefore I found it much easier.
There are a few junctions on the path. Trek number 11 joins up with 10 again. I considered going back along that way but was not sure how long it would take and I was starting to feel a little tired so I continued with trek 10.
The next junction provided the opportunity to visit the power station or to continue through the jungle. I took the path to the power station and quickly regretted it. This path was very steep and slippery. I fell down a couple of times.
The power station was nothing special but the jungle path finally ended and I joined a paved path.
Getting back to Town
This power station is 3 kilometres from town. After following the paved path for half a kilometre there is a junction. If you take the left turn you will quickly end up on the main road where it is easy to hitchhike back to town.
I took the left turn which is a round still under construction. This road was actually more muddy than the jungle trek however there were nice views back toward the mountain which I had just climbed.
After a lot of sharp bends this path ended back in town.
Tips for Hiking Here
- Wear good comfortable shoes, trainers or hiking boots are best.
- Use suncream, although you are under the cover of the trees for the majority of the hike you can still burn.
- Use insect repellant, it is the jungle there are mosquitos everywhere.
- Take plenty of water, at least 1 litre.
- Take some high energy snacks, this is a long hike so you will get tired and hungry.
- Finally have fun. Take your time, don’t push yourself and only do what you are capable of.