West Malaysia, or Peninsular Malaysia (Semenanjung Malaysia), is the part of Malaysia which consists of the Malay peninsula and nearby islands. Although generally more densely-populated and not as wild as Malaysian Borneo, there are some serious, lengthy and wonderful hikes here. At 2,187m, the highest peak is Mount Tahan and it takes around 5 or 6 days to complete the full traverse. Mount Korbu is the second-highest in Peninsular Malaysia and it is also the highest peak in the vast Titiwangsa mountain range which runs roughly north-south along much of the peninsula from the border with Thailand in the north.
One list of peaks here which is already known to local hikers is the G7, which consists of the 7 peaks overs 7,000 feet high (around 2,134m). These are Tahan, Korbu, Yong Belar, Chamah, Yong Yap, Ulu Sepat and finally Gunung Gayong (2,173m) which, less than two hours away, is essentially part of Gunung Korbu.
There is very little information at the moment on a few of the lesser-known peaks here, so it is hoped that this list will provide some incentive for Malaysian hikers to explore new areas.
You need to hand in a list of hikers at local police stations for many of this region’s peaks. Here is a template to use – be sure to complete the name of the mountain or conservation area.
Unfortunately, there are several down-sides to hiking in Peninsular Malaysia when compared to Indonesia, especially for solo travellers and small groups. These include the following points:
- Guides are over-priced. It is not uncommon for a guide to ask for RM200 or more for a day-hike which is around Rp700,000 – more than double the standard price in Indonesia. They often say this price is for up to ten people, but in our view one guide is only sufficient for a team of 3 or 4 hikers. Johor is particularly bad in this respect, perhaps because they feel they can charge corporate Singapore prices for a simple hike in the forest. Single hikers and small groups really suffer, paying Western prices in a country where salaries and the cost of living are still relatively low. Sadly for Peninsular Malaysia, there are far better hikes in Java for a tiny fraction of the price. However, if you can enlist the help of Orang Asli in rural areas then you will often get strong guides with great local knowledge at an affordable price.
- Many hiking trips have a minimum number of participants required. This makes life difficult for solo travellers or small groups who may not have enough friends who wish to join them (as if the overly-high guide costs weren’t enough). Many hikes can be done without a guide, but unless you have GPS, compass and at least a couple of friends with you, do you really want to be hiking alone in what is technically tiger country?
- There is no ‘ojek’ (motorbike taxi) culture in Peninsular Malaysia. Whereas buses usually leave on time (unlike in Indonesia), getting to remote areas can be expensive, especially if you are on your own, as you will need to hire a full car or taxi rather than simply jump on the back of a motorbike (the latter is ideal and affordable for solo travellers).
- Guides in this region often ask for some money in advance, usually in order to pay for permits (and take further profit from in the form of some kind of ‘management fee’). Unfortunately, this encourages cheats to take the money and disappear, as has happened to us! It’s a difficult situation, but one which the authorities could improve by simplifying the permit issues by having tickets available at the trailheads instead of obscure forestry offices. Thankfully, most forest areas are now covered by the Forestry Department of Malaysia website and online system where you can register your hike and pay for permits in advance – ideally at least 3 weeks ahead. Consider this before sending money to a guide. Hopefully more people will start using this online system instead of hiking without registering or paying extravagant prices for simple admin tasks.
- As noted above, the awful ‘minimum number of participants’ rule in many areas such as Gunung Ophir/Ledang and Besar (Endau-Rompin) means that as a solo hiker you either pay several times the already high price to go for a hike with a guide. It also means the mountains are frequented by noisy, large groups who disturb local wildlife (high impact trekking). If anything, there should be a maximum number of participants and small groups encouraged in order to minimise the impact on wildlife. Any conservation officer should know this, but apparently money is more important than treating habitats with the respect they deserve. Perhaps in time the authorities will reconsider these stupid policies that are only in place to make money.
A Selection of Photos of Peninsular Malaysia’s Ribus
Map of Peninsular Malaysia’s Ribus
Download these peaks as a kml file.
Statistics and Links to Peninsular Malaysia’s Ribus
|Tahan||2,187 m||2,140 m||Tinggi Sedang||Eurasia|
|Korbu||2,183 m||1,993 m||Tinggi Sedang||Eurasia|
|Yong Belar||2,181 m||615 m||Spesial||Eurasia|
|Chamah||2,171 m||1,041 m||Tinggi Sedang||Eurasia|
|Yong Yap||2,168 m||638 m||Spesial||Eurasia|
|Ulu Sepat||2,161 m||775 m||Spesial||Eurasia|
|Batu Putih||2,130 m||974 m||Spesial||Eurasia|
|Irau (Malaysia)||2,110 m||668 m||Spesial||Eurasia|
|Benum||2,107 m||1,959 m||Tinggi Sedang||Eurasia|
|Liang||1,933 m||1,020 m||Kurang Tinggi||Eurasia|
|Bintang||1,862 m||1,566 m||Kurang Tinggi||Eurasia|
|Semangkok||1,825 m||623 m||Spesial||Eurasia|
|Ulu Kali||1,772 m||910 m||Spesial||Eurasia|
|Bubu||1,657 m||1,494 m||Kurang Tinggi||Eurasia|
|Chemerong Peak||1,571 m||1,334 m||Kurang Tinggi||Eurasia|
|Lawit Terengganu||1,519 m||1,292 m||Kurang Tinggi||Eurasia|
|Tapis||1,512 m||1,227 m||Kurang Tinggi||Eurasia|
|Nuang||1,493 m||856 m||Spesial||Eurasia|
|Ulu Bakar||1,391 m||1,029 m||Kurang Tinggi||Eurasia|
|Ulu Soh||1,324 m||1,090 m||Kurang Tinggi||Eurasia|
|Ophir / Ledang||1,276 m||1,204 m||Kurang Tinggi||Eurasia|
|Bujang Melaka||1,234 m||1,083 m||Kurang Tinggi||Eurasia|
|Jerai||1,217 m||1,184 m||Kurang Tinggi||Eurasia|
|Kajang||1,038 m||1,038 m||Kurang Tinggi||Tioman|
|Besar Endau-Rompin||1,036 m||986 m||Spesial||Eurasia|
|Belumut||1,010 m||975 m||Spesial||Eurasia|
|Rembau||884 m||638 m||Spesial||Eurasia|
|Raya Langkawi||881 m||881 m||Spesial||Langkawi|
|Western Hill||833 m||833 m||Spesial||Penang|