Malaysia has a number of tropical mountains which make good hiking trails, and the most popular one is, of course, Mt. Kinabalu. Being the highest in Malaysia, locals and foreigners challenge themselves to conquer the peak of this sacred national asset. Nevertheless, Mt. Kinabalu is not even No.1 among these toughies!
Tips: Always register with local authorities if possible, prior to your climb, and bring salt to loosen yourself from the blood sucking monsters.
10. Bukit Kutu, Kuala Kubu Bharu
Bukit Kutu is the least difficult trail in this list. Though it’s not tough to climb, it’s filled with lots of bamboo trees that grow in all directions, vertically and horizontally, you will have to duck walk or do some matrix moves just to get across these thick bamboo “forest”.
9. Fraser Hill
Fraser Hill has 8 hiking trails, and the toughest one will be Pine Tree trail. Starting at 1,200m, a 300m climb to the peak might sounds easy. But, never underestimate something that looks simple. There’s a part where you have to pass fallen tree logs and steep stones that you need to climb with ropes before you reach the top.
8. Bukit Tabur, Far East & Extreme Trail
Different from the popular East & West trails, there isn’t much info about Far East. However, it has a more picturesque view than East / West trail which has been mostly obscured by thick forest.
The least climbed Extreme Trail have softer grounds and loose rocks that will make your footing unstable. Due to lack of cleaving of the paths, plants with lots of thorns will prick you and cut into your flesh.
7. Mt. Santubong
A most climbed mountain in Sarawak, but it’s only 810m tall. Tiny huh? But do not judge it before you actually climb it. At the final phase, you are required to show some rock climbing skills (90 degrees steep) and maybe some hawk eyesight to watch out for poisonous snakes and tree saps, creepy crawlies and also monkey thieves.
6. Mt. Ophir (Gunung Ledang)
It’s the highest mountain in Johor and ranked 6th most difficult to climb mountains in Malaysia. Starting with concrete steps, you will then come across with jungle trails.
Trail after CP5 (Check Point 5) gets even steeper, as it is known as KFC (not finger lickin’ good fried chicken, but Killer For Climbers). Heed this: totally not for Acrophobiacs! My legs are trembling when I see the pictures of ladders at CP6 to CP8!
5. Gunung Nuang
The starting point is at 190m, but imagine hiking all the way up to 1,439m. Gunung Nuang is ranked 5th toughest to climb in Malaysia. There's a trail called the “never-ending-winding-road”, which already sounds boring to me, and so to say, this mountain has nothing much to see. Be prepared for a strenuous hike when you reach False peak. It’d be a 40 minutes steep climbing and crawling down, and back up again before arriving at the peak.
Psst, there’s 2 stray dogs on the mountain too, but don’t freak out as they are a friendly pair. Maybe bring some food to feed them?
4. The Pinnacles, Mulu National Park
People who have climbed the Pinnacles will recommend you to challenge this mountain. Why? The peak itself is the reason. Pointy and grayish limestones enormously jutted out from the forests. Hiking this mountain is not for beginners, though it doesn’t sounds harmful. ONE misfooting is enough to take your life away.
The trail is terrifyingly steep and requires lot of rock climbing. Piece of cake? The sharp limestones are actually the ones that you should be worried about. It may cause deep cuts if you are not careful and it’s also a reason that guides wouldn’t bring climbers up when it rains. So, pray for good weather!
3. Gunung Tahan
The highest mountain in West Malaysia with the height of 2,187m tall, you can expect a breathtaking view from the peak. The trek can last as long as 7 days, and the toughest part? Carrying a 20~30kg bag with you when you climb those steep trails, 'cause there's no base! Ooh! I can’t imagine how one can climb those 90 degrees stone walls with that bag on.
During descending, there are muddy spots where you need to watch your footing so you don’t slip. And watch for bugs too! I heard some bugs will cause itchiness for at least 1 week!
2. Mt. Kinabalu
I guess most people have heard about the name, Mt. Kinabalu. Being the tallest mountain in Malaysia, it has been a must-climb for all hikers. People tend to train before they actually hike it and there’s no way you can climb it without a guide due to safety reasons.
Temperature can get quite low in the evening. Bring along warm jackets and windbreaker so you don’t freeze. As for the spoiler: Don’t expect any flat trails, and you have to climb the steepest part in the dark at the final phase!
Tips: Don’t go naked, else you will make the forest gods angry and might trigger an earthquake!
1. Mt. Trusmadi
Ta-daa! Mt. Trusmadi has come face to face with Mt. Kinabalu, with a little more challenge. Being second highest mountain in Malaysia, it is nicknamed as Terus Mati (Straight Die), and meant for hardcore hikers.
Mt. Trusmadi is Sabah’s best kept secret (oops, sorry for exposing it), and you need to request for permit at least 2 weeks before the climb. You also need to bring all necessities to survive through the days, and get a 4WD to bring you to the starting point (1,600m).
It doesn’t have any flat trails, and when you need something to grab on for support, you might end up pricking your hands by thorns! I guess this is the more challenging part compared to Kinabalu climb.
*All content provided here is for informational purposes only. Tempting East will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the use of this information. Please be extra cautious.*
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Written by Elley
Born, fed and grew up in Malaysia and have a strong interest in Korean language & culture too. Love travelling and taking pictures that doesn't seems attractive to others and believe that determination brings success in the future.