So again, after another long hiatus, this is my nth attempt to restart and continue my travel blog… after having had so many people tell me “you really should do a travel blog with your wealth of travel info”. Well, well, here we go again. I thought we’d start with something short, simple, and recent (yes, I have too much backlog).
Mount Belumut in Kluang! (July 2016)
So I used to be in Rovers Adventure Club back in school, where we’d organise short hikes to Malaysia every holiday. Ever since we graduated and started working, everyone started having 101 reasons not to go for such hikes – too tiring, too rushed, too busy, too dirty… Well, I manage to pull together a few friends and manage to do a slightly more “atas” version of such hikes… i.e. no sleepless nights on overnight buses, hotels instead of tents, and climbing at our own pace.
I picked Belumut because of the following reasons:
- Proximity to Singapore (3-4hours by car)
- Lots of delicious food options in Kluang town
- Belumut is also considered one of the more challenging hikes (2nd tallest in Johor, after Mt Ophir, with a comparable difficulty level)
Some pictures from our trip… (Hover over / click on the pics to read the details.)
We chartered a van to take us directly from Kranji MRT to Gunung Belumut, which only took us a short 2hr journey. Along the way, we stopped by Kampung Gajah to have breakfast and check-in at the police station. We were told by the police that we have to register at the Department of Forestry, which is only opened on weekdays. Since we are already there, we decided to go ahead to the National Park to see if anyone can help us at the entrance. But alas, the place was deserted except for a few construction workers. It seemed like the office was under reno and there was no other officers / hikers around.
And so it turned out that we were the only ones on the trek! The hike is definitely challenging and very steep in certain sections, specifically between checkpoint 2 to 4. We had to make use of the ropes. Research showed that most people take about 4-6 hours to go up, and with our trekking experience (albeit a little out-of-touch for some of us), we took 4 hours to go up. Coming down also took 4 hours due to the steep terrain and our old and unused knees. Although it’s 1,010m tall, the summit was a little disappointing as it is covered by trees and you can hardly see anything.
The early hours and 8hours hike definitely took a toll on us as we were so exhausted that we decided to scrap our Gunung Lambak plans for some sleep-in and food time. Because Kluang is such a food town, we definitely are not short of makan options! We stayed in Starz Hotel at Jalan Pejabat Kerajaan and right next door are the famous Kluang Rail Coffee and Restoran Ikan Asam Pedas. There’s also the famous Kaki Kaki Reflexology next door if those overworked muscles need some pampering. On our way back to the train station, we took a detour to the market at Jalan Panggung to eat the famous Botak Curry Mee, ending it off with a traditional ice kachang and cendol from the stall next door. Satisfying!
Trip Summary: Weekend Hike at Gunung Belumut + Food Hunt at Kluang Town
- 0500hr – Pick up by chartered van from Kranji (we used MST Transport / +65 9188 6848)
- 0715hr – Arrive at Kampung Gajah, outskirts of Kluang (https://goo.gl/maps/jQMh8FjRksk). Stop for breakfast, check-in at Police Station (Balai Polis Kampung Gajah)
- 0900hr – Arrive at base of Gunung Belumut / Start hike
- 1010hr – Checkpoint 1
- 1110hr – Checkpoint 2 (Steep climb ahead)
- 1150hr – Checkpoint 3 (Steep climb ahead)
- 1240hr – Checkpoint 4
- 1250hr – Clearing (aka the fake summit)
- 1310hr – Reach the REAL summit / Lunch
- 1400hr – Start descend
- 1800hr – Reach base of Gunung Belumut / Taxi pick-up (+6(0)13-769-9991)
- Overnight at Kluang Town (Starz Hotel)
- (Supposed to climb Gunung Lambak, which is just 6km from Kluang city centre.. but we gave in to the zzz monster)
- Brunch + Lunch in Kluang Town (Check out Restoran Ikan Assam Pedas as well as the market at Jalan Panggung -https://goo.gl/maps/dn8dktHCzF72)
- 5-6pm: Train from Kluang – JB Sentral
Total Damage: approx SGD74
**Additional info about climbing Mt Belumut**
- Most of the sites say you need to register with the Dpt of Forestry and to get a guide with them in order to climb. Do give them a call, however, they are only opened on weekdays. (Pejabat Hutan Daerah Johor Tengah /+60 7-772 5944)
- If you are hike on your own, just follow the red paint on the trees. But hike at your own risk!