2009 - Gunung Irau's Peak (2,110m / 6,900ft)

Outdoor Adventure
Gunung Irau's Peak (2,110m / 6,900ft )
04 Jul <> 05 Jul 2009
the 10.30am group front row (R-L) Bernard Lee, Ching Neng Bin, Sharon Tan
(L-R) Ching Neng Bin, Bernard Lee, Lim Cheng Tee and Peter at the car-park


Getting There

We left Ipoh at 6:30am on 04.07.09 via Simpang Pulai - Kg Raja - Tringkap road, reaching Brinchang the highest town of Cameron Highlands (70km) at 8:00am. Since we were early and only expected to meet the KC group from Kuala Lumpur for the hike at 9.30am, we drove to Tanah Rata to look for the apartment for the night. After having located the apartment, we had breakfast in Tanah Rata and then to Brinchang to Ee Feng Gu Honey Bee Farm just beside Hotel Equatorial where we met the KC group which consisted of more that 50 enthusiastic hikers from KL and Singapore. From here we drove in a convoy through the Sungai Palas Boh Tea plantation to the car-park/starting point at Gunung Brinchang. It took us about half an hour. The hill lane winding country road drive up was not so bad except it was very narrow, but, it was a breathtaking view to see the hills and the tea plantation. Do you know that the highest road in the whole Peninsular Malaysia is located here at Gunung Brinchang and is the second tallest mountain in Cameron Highlands after Gunung Irau.

(L-R) Lim, Ching, Bernard, and Caroline at the steps

look at the mossy vegetation around me
smiling Bernard with his tongkat

Sharon Tan, is that you at the back?
another 1.55km to the peak

a stone marker: PK is Perak and behind the stone PAH is Pahang
the beautiful white fungus
the huge monkey cups can be seen along the trail
the mossy and muddy trail all the way up

The Hike

After taking group photos at the car-park, the 1st group started trekking at 10.00am, 2nd group at 10.10am, 3rd group at 10.20am and my group together with the rest at 10.30am. We were very slow at the beginning in view of the narrow and slippery path and also the large number of trekkers. After about half an hour trekking I decided to break away from the group so as to catch up with the earlier groups.

The whole trail was covered with tree-roots and the very muddy brown pit soil which is very slippery and dangerous. A lot of hand-work grabbing of roots for balancing were needed as the trail were narrow and sometimes very steep (95 degrees). Fortunately the roots were there to support and acted as handles to pull up where needed. All the way, I have to be very careful when stepping on the ground. Many a time my shoes got stuck in the 5 to 8 inches mud.

Along the way, I didn't really feel thirsty, simply because of the refreshing cool air and low temperature (20celsius).

As for the journey of this hike we have to trek down from Gunung Brinchang, then only head back up to Gunung Irau. For Gunung Irau, there are actually 2 peaks. The first one is meant for camping and it's a fake peak for many first timers. It should take another half-hour to reach the actual peak. I am glad to say that I managed to catch up with the 10.00am group to their big surprised. One of them commented that so far nobody could overtake them, but I did.


the muddy trek all the way

at the 2110m Gunung Irau peak and Brinchang is 2.35km away


The Peak

I reached the peak at 12.30pm after 2 hours of hiking - the average time is 3 hours. When the first group of four and I finally reached the peak, we were surprised that Tony Quay was not there, and he was supposed to hike up at 9am to set the plastic tape directional labels marker. I couldn't believe that we finally made it to the peak without the trail marker. We later learned that he was late because he missed his bus.

The scenery on the peak of this hill is not breathtaking, it’s like an old man’s head – bald on top. It's the scenery along the journey to the peak made this trip interesting. Its peak marks the border of two states, Pahang and Perak.

Having eaten our packed lunch, we hiked back at 1.30pm. The return trail became more slippery, muddy and chocolaty; after so many hikers passing through. We also had many knock on our heads from vertical tree branches. Happy that we reached the top, we were equally thrilled to reach the base at 4pm with Caroline waiting for us.

look at my muddy shoes and pants
our muddy shoes

Conclusion

Merged the forest in Lord of the Rings and a Chocolate Factory and you’ll get Gunung Irau; truly mossy, misty and muddy! The hike up Mount Irau was amazing and mud-venturous and pretty tough one. It is 2110m (6900ft) making its summit the highest peak in Cameron Highland and the 15th tallest in Malaysia. Popular among local and international hikers, Gunung Irau consists of the fragile ecosystem of the ever famous Mossy Forest, a sight to behold.

Much recommended for those seeking new hiking experiences and those who don’t mind getting drenched and muddy! Fitness first, it is essential that your limbs and muscles are strong as it could really get physical and rough. It was really the greatest experience among the hills I've been to. I highly recommend it to all hikers for the mossy and cold condition. Just make sure that you start your hike early!

The Evening

We changed our muddy shoes and clothing and drove back to the apartment. We were glad to hear from Ms. Thong (012-5052868) who arranged our accommodation has kindly upgrade our Royal Lily apartment to Tanah Rata Resort Apartment for RM180 a night. We had steamboat dinner (RM14 each) at May Flower Restaurant at 77A, Persiaran Camelli 4, beside Maybank in Tanah Rata.

at the May Flower Restaurant (05-4914793) for hotpot at RM15 pp
(L-R) Peter, Ching, Caroline, Lim and Bernard

Day 2 - In the morning we drove to Kia Farm to buy vegetables and sweet corn. Visited the Ee Feng Gu Honey Bee Farm and The Smokehouse Hotel & Restaurant.

the Honey Bee Farm

The Smokehouse Hotel and Restaurant. This English Tudor style Hotel built in 1939 provides you with the ultimate in colonial ambiance. It's RM400 a night stay.

Angels Trumpet flower - despite its name, there's something very evil about this plant. The toxins it contains can be fatal to humans and a number of animals. Known as a powerful hallucinogen, angels Trumpet should not be used for recreational purposes, since the risk of an overdose is very high.

We had noodles as our brunch at Sakura Kopitiam at Royal Lily apartments. Ms Thong came at 12noon to check us out and presented us a box of tomatoes - thank you very much Ms Thong.

Cameron Highlands is located about 20km east of Ipoh in Pahang. At 5,000ft (1,500m) it is the highest area on the mainland, and enjoys a cool climate, not higher than 25°C and rarely below 12°C year round. The Highlands were named after William Cameron, a British colonial government surveyor who discovered the plateau during a mapping expedition in 1885.

Checklist for Trekking Gunung Irau, Cameron Highlands

1. A 25 to 35litre backpack containing the following items:
  • Water bottle
  • Wallet/purse
  • Wind Breaker
  • Insect repellents
  • T-shirts (for changing)
  • Camera (fully charged)
  • Torchlight (compulsory)
  • Food: Chocolates, biscuits
  • Hand phone (fully charged)
  • Swiss knife, foldable scissors
  • Raincoat or plastic poncho (compulsory)
  • Plastic bags (to keep things dry; in case it rains)
  • Medical kit : Antibiotic cream / anti-diarrhea pills / panadol / plasters
2. Trekking shoe and socks.

3. Wear long trousers or knee-length tights/pants.

4. Keep in the car:

  • Sandals
  • Water to refresh/wash
  • Extra clothing to change

7 comments:

  1. Mr. Ching,

    Thank you for sharing your trekking up Gunung Irau.
    When I saw the first few pictures I said what a pity, I did not go. As I read on......I said thank god, luckily I did not join.
    The greens are beautiful. Nature is great. You fellows are fantastic especially you, Ching.
    Hahh ! I noticed something....all of you seemed to be wearing the same colour shoes.....chocolate

    Regards,
    beebee

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Ching,
    Your interesting coverage of your journey to many places can easily win the top prize in the world of trekking and traveling. You have done Malaysia proud by your flair in writing and I believe your blog will be a tremendous hit all over the world. Please send your traveling journals to all newspapers' editors in the world. You truly live your life to the fullest. You are truly incredible!

    Best wishes & Warmest regards,
    Jackson Au

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