- Elevation: 2,181 m (7,156 ft)
- Prominence: 615 m
- Ribu category: Spesial
- Province: Peninsular Malaysia
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: none.
Gunung Yong Belar is the second-highest peak in the huge Titiwangsa mountain range and only a couple of metres below the very highest which is Gunung Korbu. It is a popular hike during weekends, usually with several groups hoping to complete a trek to one of Peninsular Malaysia’s highest peaks in a single day or two days and one night.
The starting point for the usual trek is in Lojing (1,420m) which is to the south-east of the peak and where there is a prominent mosque (Masjid Lojing) on the left side of the road (if heading up from Ipoh), along with public toilet facilities and ample parking for plenty of cars. Some hikers spend a few hours sleeping here in their cars before setting out on the trek at first light.
You can either follow the cement steps and black water pipes from Blue Valley Dam (1,540m) up to Pintu Rimba, or save an hour or so (each way) by arranging a 4WD to Kem Cabin at the end of a private vegetable farm which has a locked black metal gate at one point.
Most groups decide to take the 4WD several kilometres closer to the peak to Kem Cabin in the vegetable farm known as Kebun Sayur (1,579m, ‘vegetable plantation’) where cabbages, onions, potatoes and other vegetables are grown. This is not cheap at RM36 per person to simply sit or stand in the back, or presumably around ten times the amount if you want a vehicle to yourself. Luckily you can often join with another group doing the hike assuming you are heading up on a weekend. It certainly saves time when attempting the day hike.
You might think that only having to gain a little over 600 metres of elevation from the trailhead to the summit would make this an easy hike, especially in cool conditions up above 1,500m. However, this is a hike along an undulating ridge, with countless ups and downs and therefore total elevation gain is probably closer to 1,000m. It takes a similar amount of time to ‘descend’ again after reaching the peak. In this way it is rather like Gunung Semangkok, but at 9km one way a fair bit shorter in trail length!
Beyond the shacks where hikers are usually dropped off at the Kebun Sayur, the trail leads up a mini escarpment before entering forest (‘pintu rimba’, 1,624m). The first section of trail actually offers some pleasant views as it leads along a ridge with several ‘false summits’, notably at 1,756m (reached after just over one hour) and at another spot a further ten minutes along at 1,729m. You may be able to see Yong Yap, Bubu and Tok Nenek on the right of the trail.
After these false summits, the trail leads down to Kem Tidung Periuk (1,660m). Most hikers will have reached this point in under two hours. The ground is quit muddy and full of tree roots but this is one of the two main camping spots favoured by local hikers. One of the reasons for this is the stream on the trail just beyond the camp area itself. Take care descending to the stream – there is a thin rope to help on the steep, slippery rocks.
The next important point on the trail after Tidung Periuk is a junction (1,700m) where a left will take you to Pelaur Waterfall (‘Air Terjun Pelaur’). You may have heard the water from the false peaks. Continue right, dropping down a little way, crossing a minor stream, and continue heading on the main trail towards Yong Belar peak.
The trail now leads upwards and you feel you are making good progress. Once again, to the right of the trail there are one or two opportunities (including at around 1,855m) to look over northwards towards Yong Yap, Bubu and Tok Nenek, assuming the weather is fine. Look out for pitcher plants in this area.
The next campsite is Camp Kasut (1,950m) which is about 2 hours beyond Tidung Periuk (or 3.5 to 4 hours in total from Kebun Sayur). This is similar to Kem Tidung Periuk in that it is a little muddy and rooty meaning you definitely want a decent mat to sleep on. There is a basic water source nearby (approximately ten minutes) but you are advised to bring enough either with you or boil the stream water from Tidung Periuk.
The peak of Yong Belar is not far away, but the terrain gets increasingly challenging, with steep sections of mud and awkward tree roots and gnarled branches making progress rather slow. It takes most hikers about one more hour to reach the summit of Yong Belar, so about 5 or 6 hours up in total.
From the summit there is a fantastic view in good weather. You can see Gunung Korbu and its neighbouring top Gunung Gayong around 8 kilometres away to the northwest. Korbu is the highest peak in the Titiwangsa range, the second highest in Peninsular Malaysia, and just a couple of metres higher than Yong Belar. You can also see the shapely peak of Yong Yap in clear weather directly north. As usual, the earlier the better as far as getting a good view is concerned, and that is one reason that camping at one of the two camping areas can be a great idea if you have the time.
Just before the summit is a thin cement pillar marking state borders. This is where very tough hikers on multi-day expeditions known as Trans Titiwangsa drop down to the ridge connecting Yong Belar and Korbu and Gayong and ascend up the other side to what is known as Gunung Junction. Left here leads to Korbu and Gayong (this is Trans Titiwangsa Version 1). Right leads to Tok Nenek, Bubu and Yong Yap and to combine the whole lot is known as Version 2 and takes at least a week to cover most of the key peaks of the Titiwangsa range!
Back down should take no more than 5 hours, and hopefully you will not have to wait too long for your 4WD journey back to Lojing. Should you need to descend on foot without 4WD, it is probably better to head down to Blue Valley Dam (approximately 1 hour down) than follow the 4WD track (estimated over two hour walk down).
Bagging report by Dan Quinn (July 2019)
- Getting there: Ipoh is the closest train station (about 1hr 15min away by car). Arrange 4WD from Guandi Miao temple or the mosque in Lojing to the trailhead (40 minutes) – in 2019 this costs RM36 per person (return) and each 4WD fits over 10 people in the back.
- Accommodation: Kampung Raja is the closest place to the trailhead, although there are more options at Brinchang, Tanah Rata and down in the very pleasant city of Ipoh.
- Guides and GPS Tracks: Want a PDF version for your phone? Looking for a guide? Need GPS tracks and waypoints? Yong Belar information pack can be downloaded here.
- Permits: Required in advance from Jabatan Perhutanan Negeri Pahang. Normally your guide will arrange this. You can register and pay for an e-Permit online from the Forestry Department of Malaysia website.
- Water sources: Available in stream just beyond Kem Tidung Periuk (1,660m). Also available near Kem Kasut (1,950m) but not as good quality.
- 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.
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