Hiking down Malaysia’s Gunung Brinchang

After reading about all the tours offered to hike through the mossy forest, aka Gunung Brinchang, we decided we’d do it ourselves and not on a tour, since we’d only be allowed a limited amount of time in the forest and we wanted to stay as long as we liked to take some photographs.

Gunung Brinchang is the highest accessible peak in the Cameron Highlands. Its also the highest mountain accessible by car. We took advantage of this fact by hiring a cab to take us up to the top of the mountain-and then hike back down. Yea, we’re a little lazy. We knew we’d only have energy to hike one way, so of course we chose down.

Mike and the emergency umbrella

Our taxi driver was really nice-we negotiated a price from Tanah Rata (not really cheap, about 60 MYR) all the way up to the observation tower. He explained that the rate was so high because of the steep terrain-and he was not even driving a 4×4.  He drove us all the way up to the lookout point (after making us get out of the cab at one point so he could go over a huge hole in the road) and pointed out where to start walking on the trail.

View from the lookout at Gunung Brinchang

At first, the hike was a little muddy, then it got much drier and the light coming in from the forest was creating wonderful photo opportunities.

Views when we started the hike

A striking moth hanging out on the fence

We met a couple on the way who had climbed up in a few hours and were on their way down too. They made it sound like an easy hike-then again they looked like serious hikers and we are so out of shape (and chubby) that we knew it’d take us twice as long.

Fungi!

I was not concerned because I was in photo heaven.

Mossy Forest

Naturally lit tiny flower

I oohed and ahhhed every 3 seconds while trying to keep Mike safe from bees-he’s allergic to bee stings and I told him if he got bit he’d probably die because he was too chubby for me to carry him down.

We called him the tree man

No editing...its all natural light

There are clear signs as to which way to go-lots of ribbons on trees and arrows. It would be really hard to get lost.

Another delicate flower

We kept seeing signs for the km left to get out of the forest, however-those calculations were definitely off because we would hike for a bit, take note of the time, and we only seemed to be advancing a little before we’d see a sign with more km left than the last one! At least the weather was bright and sunny, perfect for hiking.

Tiny fern, I think

 

Flowers all around in the forest

We were so relieved to see the beginning of the gravel road signifying we had made it out. Tired but happy, we wandered along the road and bumped into this guy.

This goat was really upset to be tied so far from his friend

We tried to calm him down but he just got more upset. His leg got tangled in his rope so we called the farmer over, who was nearby, to untangle the poor goat. He kept complaining to his goat buddy as we left him.

This vehicle sits at the end of the trek, on the side of the road

This was a great trek and I would recommend it to hikers and non-hikers alike. The scenery was kick ass, the weather was perfect and its pretty hard to get lost with all the markings guiding the way. If you don’t mind hiking up, then you’ll save the 20 or so bucks we paid to get up by cab.

If you’re a little out of shape like we are, or short on time, it’s worth it to splurge on a cab and make it to the top and hike the way down. I think it took us about 2 1/2 hours to get down. However, it was starting to thunder and I would not want to be there when it starts to downpour. The mud can be a little slippery. Once you hike up, be aware you’ll have to hike down again, as there are no cabs to hail from up at the lookout point.

14 Comments

  • Kyle says:

    That light is UNBELIEVABLE!

    Seriously, it looks so fake in some of the photos. Gorgeous shots, btw. Any huffing and puffing had to be worth it for this scenery.

    • Mica says:

      Aww coming from you-well I am speechless. You made my day! I know Mike was not understanding what I kept going on and on about with the light. Now that he’s seen the pics he’s like ohh.

  • Jaime says:

    Wow this hike looks amazing. I love your pictures they are very good. Im so out of shape but for some reason tend to find my self hiking a lot of things…lol!!!

    • Mica says:

      I know, we do so many things we might not do if we lived ‘at home’! That’s why I love being on the road. Trust me, Mike and I are so out of shape we had to get 2 hour massages the next day!

  • Lauren says:

    Wow, those photos are amazing! It looks like an incredible hike… Added to my list of things to do in Malaysia 😀

    • Mica says:

      Awesome! You’ll love it in the Highlands, I know I did. The cool weather was amazing. Such a break from the heat of Thailand and KL.

  • Mark Wiens says:

    I’ve been to Malaysia a number of times, but I’ve never been able to make it to the Cameron Highlands. Your incredible photos, make it look like a great place to visit. I love the way you used the contrasts of light in the the uneven lighting conditions of a jungle to capture the details – amazing!

    • Mica says:

      Mark, thank you so much for your kind comments! I loved the highlands so much and the cool weather felt amazing. I would go back in a heartbeat, especially since we bought some homemade strawberry jam and I wish I had bought more than one jar. Delicious.

  • Great photos, I bet they bring you back to the hike. Photos always seem to favor with me a little bit more when I had to work to take them.

    • Mica says:

      Cornelius, the best part of writing the story for me is having pictures to remind me of everything that happened. I love the name of your blog!

  • *adds to travel bucket list in Malaysia*

  • Michi says:

    The tree man was my favorite photo! The toughest part for me is waking up early enough to climb those steep mountain paths. The one time I did it in Italy, we were caught in a tropical downpour and we had to seek shelter in the bushes. That’s what D-Man calls a “Michelada” – I do something and Murphy’s Law interferes.

    • Mica says:

      Oh, when we were walking back to town, thinking that we would be saving money and getting exercise, we got caught in the biggest downpour ever. We had an umbrella, so we hid the backpack under it and ran while rapping to Tupac. I almost peed myself laughing. I was wondering how shitty it was for those people still stuck on the mountain. La Michelada esta comico eso!

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