Besar Endau-Rompin

Facts

  • Elevation: 1,036 m (3,399 ft)
  • Prominence: 986 m
  • Ribu category: Spesial
  • Province: Peninsular Malaysia
  • Google Earth: kml
  • Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Bagged it? Be the first to rate it)
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  • Other names: none.

Bagging It!

This pleasant National Park is named after the two rivers in the region. There is plenty of information available on the Endau Rompin Park itself but very little on getting to its highest peak, Gunung Besar (‘big mountain’). In 2019, things are slowly changing with the Park actively promoting hikes including a day-hike to the top of Gunung Besar. Reports suggest it can be hiked from Kampung Tenang, and that most groups require 2 days to complete the trek although it can be done in one long day.  

Unfortunately, there is a bizarre policy of a minimum of 7 participants and a high cost of RM150 per person! That means, should you be a small group or individual, you would need to cough up an astonishing RM1050 (!!!!) for a day hike in the forest here. Not only is this policy discriminatory towards the less wealthy or those who do not have 6 friends who want to do exactly the same thing as them, but it also seems utterly ignorant of the fact that larger groups are noisier and more harmful to the wildlife that calls this forest its home. It seems that money is more important for the time being.

If anything, smaller groups should be encouraged in order to minimise the impact on the environment. If senior management are reading this and would like to discuss how these issues could be improved, and are keen to make this forest accessible to all responsible trekkers, then please feel free to get in touch for some suggestions.

Practicalities

    • Getting there: coming soon.
    • Accommodation: Yong Peng has hotels and is near the expressway.
    • Permits: Required from Johor Forestry Dept. Speak directly to Endau Rompin Selai for help with this and for a guide.
    • Water sources: Unknown
    • Travel insurance: We recommend World Nomads insurance, which is designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities including mountain hiking.

Local Average Monthly Rainfall
Average precipitation (rain/snow) in Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Location

2 thoughts on “Besar Endau-Rompin

  1. Hi Dan, I have also filed a police report for Azize. Exact same story. I’ll try and find you on social media to share info with one another. Assume you still haven’t got your money back or got hold of him?

  2. After 3 great Malaysia weekends, number 4 of 4 turned out so bad that I had another one of those weekends in a cheap hotel drinking cheap beer waiting for my flight home and wondering why I was doing this project! It happens from time to time, in my experience especially in Peninsular Malaysia. But I was partly to blame for trusting someone that didn’t deserve it.

    After a great hike at Gunung Ophir/Ledang back in February with guide Azizi I kept in contact with him and we made plans to do two day hikes – to Gunung Besar in Endau Rompin and also Belumut the following day.

    The permit side of things can be a real hassle, especially if you are overseas or cannot get the contact details for the relevant forestry department. So I sent the money ahead, trusting him as he had been my official guide for Gunung Ledang and had worked there for several years.

    Fast forward to around midnight at Johor’s Senai Airport where we were due to meet before driving to a hotel on the way to Endau Rompin. He was nowhere to be seen and would not answer his phone. It was clear he had pocketed the money and decided not to bother fulfilling his side of the bargain by actually doing the work I had paid for. And paid for well at that.

    So, in quite a dreadful mood, I took a taxi into Johor Bahru, found a cheap hotel for two nights and fell asleep after sending a couple of messages, firstly to Endau Rompin asking if they knew who he was and if he had indeed got a permit for us, and secondly to his boss (now ex boss) at Gunung Ledang.

    The next morning, Endau Rompin confirmed that they had no idea who he was and he had not contacted them about a permit. His Ledang boss was quite worried and told me to make a police report. So, I spent that day making a police report about Azizi. Not what you want to be doing on your weekend. Very sad indeed, particularly as he had seemed friendly, competent and trustworthy on our first meeting. The sad lesson learned is to never send money ahead except to an official National Park account that can be traced, and also to never assume that guides here have any integrity or morals whatsoever.

    I spent the second day at Johor Tourism telling them about my experience and also that part of the problem was due to the daft permit bureaucracy making sending money ahead more or less necessary unless you have an extra day to spare getting permits in place (for example for Gunung Belumut where we wanted to go). The overcharging of small groups (currently total price for a group to Gunung Besar if you hire a Park guide directly is an insane RM1050) is another issue that needs dealing with by Johor Parks if they seriously want folk to visit. Just double check what the average wage is in Malaysia and ask yourself if paying RM1050 represents good value for money for a walk in a forest.

    As guardians of the forest the authorities do have a responsibility to allow folk to visit, as they always have done, humankind being part of nature after all, including those who do not have over a thousand ringgit ready for what is a fairly normal day in the forest. For that price you could fly to Sarawak or Sabah or Indonesia and do something genuinely world-class and still have money left at the end of your trip, but Johor thinks it can charge Singaporean prices and to hell with normal people who do not have massive amounts of cash to burn. Foreigners already have to pay extra for hotels in Malaysia (10 ringgit per might tourist tax sanctioned by the government), not to mention suffer the standard over-charging simply because you are ‘not from round here’. If it were happening in the UK, it would be illegal, and rightly so.

    The other issue, outlined above, is that the minimum participant policy is detrimental to wildlife. Large groups are noisy, high impact visitors. This scares wildlife away. Smaller groups should be encouraged if the authorities have any interest in genuine conservation and not just over-charging visitors. After all, assuming you do pay RM1050 for a guide to take you up Gunung Besar (minimum 7 hikers at RM150 a person), how much of that actually goes to the guide and where does the rest of the money go to? The standard guide fee in Johor is around RM100 for a day hike, so do the maths, as they say. The permit alone for Belumut at present is allegedly RM150. Just to get ‘permission’. What a rip-off.

    Were we supposed to be staying at Lee Hotel in Yong Peng before the Endau Rompin trek and at Greenpeace Guesthouse in Kluang before Belumut the following day. Perhaps I’ll go back one day when the Parks have made less exploitative prices. But I certainly won’t be sending money ahead again. Shame I lost my money on these hotels as I obviously never checked in but it was by this time too late to try to get a refund.

    As for Azizi, here are his details (below). Do not trust this man. I doubt he will work legally ever again as a guide in Malaysia, and rightly so as he is a cheat and a thief with less of a moral compass than an amoeba. I will update if I get my money back or if the police catch up with him. He owes me RM825 plus additional transport and hotel expenses. Photo of both Azizi the Thief and my police report available upon request….

    THIEF
    Muhammad Azize Bin Zuaini. Date of birth 12 Aug 1991. Passport number: A53371547. Email: aziziputradwa@gmail.com. Address: Batu 26 1 / 2 Kg Chabau, 77000 Jasin, Melaka. Previously worked for Gunung Ledang National Park as a guide for several years. And, based on my experience, in technical terms, a complete f***ing tosser.

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