|Elevation:||705 m (2,313 ft)||Prominence:||705 m|
|Ribu category:||Spesial||Province:||Bangka Belitung|
|Google Earth:||kml||Other names:|
Gunung Maras is the name given to the largest mountain range on the island of Bangka. Whilst not especially high by Indonesian standards, it consists of two fairly separate peaks with a not inconsiderable drop between them. The range is one of the best places on the island to spot wildlife and the higher slopes offer some decent panoramas of the land below and coastline in the distance.
The northwestern of the two peaks is the most commonly-hiked, and there is even a sign for Gunung Maras at the village of Berbura which lies to the north of the range (about 1hr 30min from the main town of Pangkal Pinang by car or motorbike). This peak is generally known as Gunung Maras, although at 699m – or possibly less – it is actually the second-highest. The true summit is the southeastern one, which is rarely climbed and probably known as Bui.
The regular trail up the northwestern peak starts at Desa Berbura at an elevation of just 50m. It is important to start as early as possible and to take plenty of water with you. The earth here is sandy, and as the trail leads through rubber plantations you will find yourself walking on the sort of earth you might normally expect on a beach known as ‘pasir putih’ to Indonesians. You will see the mountain straight ahead with a number of minor tops.
After a short while you will have reached a small junction near a river. Straight on is a litter-strewn bathing area and right leads up the mountain itself. The trail passes through patchy woodland offering some decent views to the valley below and Teluk Kelabat beyond to the north and northwest. You may be able to pick out the small island possibly still known as Pulau Kajuanak.
After an hour you will be in an area which offers a great view of Gunung Maras above. Sadly, this great view was made possible by a forest fire in the last year. The trail from this point steepens and begins to feel more mountain-like as you gain the ridge. From an elevation of around 500m or so you may be able to spot pitcher plants – Nepenthes Reinwardtiana – growing near the path. There is also a rock with a very interesting pattern in it which appears to be an ancient carving. This object deserves further research by experts.
The first ‘summit’ you reach is a large wooded area where locals often camp at the weekends and enjoy the views. It should have taken you no more than 2 hours to reach this point. However, another 15-20 minutes will take you to a grassy peak with an Indonesian flag. This grassy peak is around 695m in elevation and in clear weather the views are very nice.
Alas, the highest point of the range, probably known as Bui, is 1.25km to the southeast and via a steep drop down to a col. Bui appears to be 705m, according to archival US Army Mapping Service (AMS) maps from the 1940s. The same figure of 705m on modern provincial maps of Bangka Belitung is given as the highest point, which conflicts with the more commonly found figure of 699m for Maras itself. The accessible grassy peak known as Maras to most local hikers probably is around 699m or perhaps a little under, but at over 700m Bui is the true peak. The 1940s maps suggest that there is a trig point at the summit of Bui, so this deserves further investigation too.
To get back down to the trailhead from the grassy peak is less than 2 hours. For those wishing to try to reach Bui from this side, it may take a few more hours so you might consider camping at the grassy peak, or trying to reach Bui and return the same day, or else trying a different route entirely.
Bagging information by Dan Quinn (May 2017)
|Getting there||Numerous flights from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang every day. It takes about 1hr 30min by car or motorbike from Pangkal Pinang to the mountain range.|
|Accommodation||Several options including both city hotels and beach resorts.|
|Permits||None required but take a copy of your passport photo page just incase.|
|Water sources||The waterfall area at the foot of the mountain (100m above sea level only).|
|Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm):|