A half-day hike to a peak with views over the Titiwangsa mountain range and Selangor Dam, less then two hours drive from Kuala Lumpur.
Whenever I get to Malaysia (we have an office in KL) I try and fit in a walk – there’s great walking without a few hours of KL, as well as amazing walks further afield including Mt Kinabalu and Mulu Caves. I’ve also found a passionate and experienced local guide – Eddie Yap – who knows where to go. So I asked Eddie to find me a strenuous hike we could do in half a day.
The result: Bukit Kutu, about 90min drive from my hotel in KL. At 1,050m high it’s technically a hill (bukit) rather than a mountain (gunung), although it is also referred to as Gunung Kutu and Treacher’s Hill. It was originally a hill station with buildings below the peak; after WWII these were abandoned and the access road has become a jungle trail.
The climb begins from an an Orang Asli (meaning “original” or “natural” people) village, after Kuala Kubu Bharu, with the final few kilometres on a gravel road. We continue along the gravel road by foot after leaving the car in a small parking area along the Sungai Pertak river; it’s possible to continue a little further by car but the road gets rough. After about 500m the road stops at a suspension bridge, which we cross. It’s a popular picnic spot, although few people are here today. Just some rubbish that’s left behind, which is unfortunately a common sight on most hikes in Asia.
The walk continues on a well-graded dirt trail for a while, and after about 1km a second river is crossed, this time on a steel bridge that’s clearly seen better days.
A bit further on there’s a fork where we go right (the left-hand track leads to Medang Falls). There’s one more river crossing (the Sungai Pertak river) before the wide trail starts to narrow, and we start to climb more steeply. Trees roots often provide helpful foot or hand-holds. Eddie points out a bee’s nest, a long and almost translucent tube extending from a tree. (I always learn a lot about Malaysian fauna and flora from Eddie!)
The trail continues relentlessly upwards, and we stop for a break at a set of huge, overhanging boulders at around the 4.5km mark. They are enormous: photos just don’t capture their scale. We meet another hiker here, the only other person we see on the trail.And a dog that follows us all the way to the the top – and back down.
There’s another short (800m) section before we reach a clearing a little below the summit. This is the site of the abandoned station, with just the chimney remaining. There are a two deep wells hidden in the scrub; I’m not sure I would trust the water (as people throw litter into the wells), although one of them looked clear.
A final, steep climb of about 500m and the rocky summit is reached. The time up has been about 2.5 hours with a couple of breaks. The very top is reached by a set of ladders – there’s 360-degree views over the surrounding areas, including the Selangor Dam, KKB and the Titiwangsa mountain range in the distance. (Be careful of a wasps nest under one of the boulders, which from other reports has been there since at last 2012.)
It’s just under two hours to get back down, with a refreshing swim in the Sungai Pertak river before the drive back into KL. Thanks Eddie. I’m looking forward to my next hike!
|Location||Kuala Kubu Bharu, Selangor, Malaysia (90min drive from KL)
(Starting co-ordinates: 3.572510N, 101.738128E)
|Distance||12km return, with total ascent of 800m|
|Grade||Moderate (steep/slippery in sections)|
|Season/s||All year, but best to avoid monsoon months (Nov-Feb)|
|GPS route||Routie GPS trail. View route and export to KML format.|
|Resources||Track notes – Yellow Tuk Tuk and Grace Abundant|