What comes first to mind when you think of travelling to Malaysia (or for us Malaysians, travelling within the country)? Food, sightseeing and shopping surely tops your list, but did you know, we not only have gorgeous townships with cold weather, but we have some pretty awesome views out in the wild too?
We’ll show you where best to enjoy some of the most scenic hikes, some suitable even for beginners (we’ve rated the difficulty level of each hike)! And if you’re not already a hiker, there’s no better reason to start!
Difficulty levels (out of 5):
1 – Suitable for beginners/newbies. Mainly walking and requires no technical knowledge
2 – For beginners that come from an athletic background
3 – For those who regularly trek and have a fair bit of experience navigating dangerous trails
4 – For serious trekkers who can go the distance with rock climbing experience
5 – Only for experts, and should be undertaken with a tour guide unless you are an extremely experienced mountaineer.
1. See birds migrate down south on this 200-million-year-old quartz ridge along the coastal rainforest — Bukit Batu Putih @ Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan
This is a short trek which would be great for beginners if not for the rock climbing required at the last bit. There are two trails leading to the viewpoint – forest and beach.
The forest trail is simpler and the shorter of the two and shouldn’t take more than 40 minutes for you to reach the summit. The beach route is longer and more difficult, and might take you around an hour to get to the top, though the views are more stunning.
If you’re here for the birds, you can likely spot them in March, April and August.
Bukit Batu Putih
Getting there: Drive 40 minutes from Negeri Sembilan to Tanjung Tuan Recreational Forest (Coordinates here) Duration of hike (return trip): 1 hour (300 m) Difficulty level: 2/5 Entrance fee: RM1 per person (approximately SGD $0.33)
2. Panoramic stomach-dropping scenery not for the faint-hearted — Gunung Datuk @ Negeri Sembilan
Find out how it feels like to be Simba on Pride Rock at the peak of Gunung Datuk. Doesn’t it look like the iconic “everything the light touches” scene?
With campsites near the peak, you can spend the night here before conquering the summit for sunrise. However, there are multiple ladders you have to climb so if you’re afraid of heights, this may not be the best hike for you. The final climb is almost one storey high!
It’s good training for those who are planning to advance to more challenging hikes. 😉
P.S. One popular expedition people take along with this climb is the water-caving experience at Gua Batu Maloi.
Getting there: Drive 42 minutes from Negeri Sembilan to Gunung Datuk Recreational Forest (Coordinates here) Difficulty level: 3/5 Duration of hike (return trip): 4 – 6 hours (10 km) Entrance fee: RM5 (approximately SGD $1.64)
3. Panoramic ocean views and adventurous cliffs — Bukit Keluang @ Terengganu
At the edge of Terengganu near the border of Kelantan, there’s a little town called Kampung Raja, where you can find Bukit Keluang – a local favorite hangout spot. There are hawker stalls lining the beach where you will find stairs leading to the start of the hike.
During low tide, you will be able to explore the sea caves along the trail but come high tide, you will have to take the boardwalk instead. While the start of the hike requires the use of ropes as support to climb up a steep trail lined with tree roots and stones, it is overall beginner-friendly and suitable for kids (just make sure they wear proper hiking shoes with good grip!).
The peak offers some very scenic views – the cerulean blue of the ocean is so vivid, it’s like a painting come to life. Going down is easy and via another route, towards the other side away from the beach; it’s also an alternate trail if you prefer to go up via an easier path!
Getting there: Drive for 1.5 hours from Terengganu or Kota Bharu to the beach (Coordinates here) Level: 1/5 Duration of hike (return trip): 1.5 – 2 hours (1 km) Entrance fee: Free
4. A dose of vitamin sea by the beach — Gunung Arong @ Johor
There is nothing more breathtaking than a glorious sunset over a secluded beach. Except maybe a glorious sunrise over mountain tops… And you can have both right here!
An easy trail for beginners and even children, this is the perfect trail to take your family on and get the little ones introduced to the beauty of trekking.
When you’re done with the hike, you can relax by the beach but before you go on this mini-expedition, make sure you secure a permit from the Forestry Department!
Getting there: Drive 1 hour 40 minutes from Kluang to Gunung Arong Recreational Forest (Coordinates here) Difficulty level: 1/5 Duration of hike (return trip): 2 – 3 hours (3 km) Entrance fee: Free, but you need to pay RM10 (approximately SGD $3.29) per person for the permit. You can obtain it here or contact Encik Zaharudin from the Forestry Department at +6019 789 8298 or +6019 723 9504
5. Walk on the wild side and follow the rocky ridges — Gunung Baling @ Kedah
Something straight out of a travel and adventure page! Look at those cliffs – almost feels like you’re living on the edge. 😉
The trail is well marked with signages and while it’s pretty straightforward, it gets a bit rocky towards the end so you want to be careful. Most parts of the trail are muddy, especially the steep portions, so if it has rained the night before, it can be very slippery.
I wouldn’t recommend this hike for beginners, but it’s possible for newbies to complete the climb. There are challenging bits where you’ll have to get on all fours to climb on rocks and under them, but it’ll be worth it when you get to the top.
And if you reach the summit around sunrise (which means you need to start your hike much earlier), and are lucky enough, you might even see a sea of clouds!
Getting there: Drive 1.5 hours from Kedah to the trailhead (Coordinates here) Difficulty level: 2/5 Duration of hike (return trip): 3 – 4 hours (1.85 km) Entrance fee: Free
6. Johor’s secret blue oasis — Tasik Biru @ Kangkar Pulai, Johor
Aren’t so many of us fascinated with blue lakes? They are such a sight to behold. The best time to visit this lake is at 10am on a sunny day as the waters will be more stunning. An iron ore quarry beside it gives it the bright blue colour.
With three viewpoints, you should keep pushing on as each is even more magnificent than the one before. You’ll need to climb through the forest and hold on to a rope as you go up. The first viewpoint can be reached in 10 minutes.
The trailhead is not clearly marked and it is cordoned off with a “danger” sign but that hasn’t done anything to keep adventurous hikers out. However, this means that it’s probably not exactly legal so by going in there you’re doing so at your own risk.
Getting there: Drive 38 minutes from Johor to the trailhead (Coordinates here) Difficulty level: 2/5 Duration of hike (return trip): 1.5 hours (4 km) Entrance fee: Free
7. Witness sea of clouds on 5 peaks at Malaysian version of Switzerland’s Hardergrat — Bukit Berekeh @ Perak
Depending on the time of day you reach the peak of Bukit Berekeh, you might see blue mountains or a sea of red clouds. You’ll be walking on a total of five peaks and they are all connected by a clear path.
The first 1 km is easy, mainly walking on sand and rocks, and the slope is gentle. The trail gets steeper after, and the final 1 km to the summit is pretty steep, so you’ll need to use the ropes provided to help you up. Bring along a hiking stick especially if you’re a beginner – it gives you good support.
Be warned that there’s no shade along the trail, so it’s best to avoid trekking in the midday sun. Most people prefer to trek either in the early morning or evening, especially when you can see the golden glow of the sunrise or sunset right at the stunning peak!
Getting there: Drive 1 hour from Perak to the trailhead (Coordinates here) Level: 1/5 Duration of hike (return trip): 3-4 hours (2.8 km) Entrance fee: Free
8. Rainbow caught in a waterfall — Rainbow Waterfall Lembing @ Pahang
When the light hits the waterfall, you’ll be treated with a rare sight – a beautiful glimmering rainbow dancing in the spray of the waterfall. If luck is on your side, you might even witness twin rainbows!
It’s important to time your hike well because you can only see this phenomenon between 9-10 am when sunlight hits the waterfall, so you should reach the waterfall before 9am. Most visitors stay overnight in the nearby town to get an early start.
You have to take a one-hour 4WD ride (this can be booked with a guide or tour company beforehand) to get to the trailhead at a river bank, and you will need to cross the river at the start of the hike so make sure you have on some really grippy shoes or sandals. Watch out for leeches too!
TripCanvas’ Tip: Avoid coming here on weekends, public holidays or school holidays unless you don’t mind the crowd!
Rainbow Waterfall Lembing
Getting there: Drive 41 minutes from Kuantan to Sungai Lembing, then join a tour and use a 4×4 to get to the trailhead (Coordinates here). You can find a local guide easily when you are there. Level: 1/5 Duration of hike (return trip): 2 hours (1 km) Entrance fee: RM10 (approximately SGD $3.30). Tour with entrance fee costs RM50 (approximately SGD $16.40)
9. Witness a sea of clouds — Panorama Hill @ Kuantan
Some people travel out of the country to catch a glimpse of a sea of clouds, which you find in various gorgeous spots Indonesia and Thailand. You can actually find it in Malaysia too!
It’s an easy trek up and the sunrises are said to be spectacular. Do check for the sunrise timing before you go because you don’t want to miss it (just a simple Google search can help you out).
Trail is mostly stairs so it’s not too challenging. But if you are doing a morning trek, make sure you bring along some energy bars just in case you need a sugar boost along the way.
Getting there: Drive 40 minutes from Kuantan to the trailhead (Coordinates here) Difficulty level: 1/5 Duration of hike (return trip): 45 minutes – 1 hour (0.8 km) Entrance fee: Free
10. Get up in the clouds, a departure from evergreen trails — Bukit Senaling @ Negeri Sembilan
Here’s another popular spot to see a sea of clouds, but it’s not just another of the same.
Unlike Panorama Hill, it is a much more rugged trail with open skies and beautiful views. Without shade, it gets pretty hot under the sun so it’s best to do this hike either in the early morning or early evening.
With a barren landscape, which is a breath of fresh air from the jungle trails we usually find in Malaysia, this is good for beginners who have a bit of stamina.
Getting there: Drive 44 minutes from Negeri Sembilan to the trailhead (Coordinates here) Difficulty level: 1/5 Duration of hike (return trip): 2 – 3 hours (3 km) Entrance fee: RM15 with guide and forestry permit (approximately SGD $4.93) (Note: A permit is required from the Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia as you will need to travel through restricted private land during your hike.)
11. Conquer three peaks near the city — Broga Hill @ Semenyih, Selangor
With three peaks and two 360° views, coming here is definitely worth a trip. Plus, you can take the opportunity to explore this township.
The trail is a little confusing at the beginning because there is a new and old trail – they both connect eventually but the left trail is a bit shorter and steeper. When you get to the first peak, the second one is just 10 minutes away.
The third summit doesn’t have views as nice as the first two and it requires a bit more climbing.
It is not advisable to attempt this trail in rainy weather and if you plan to do a dawn hike, make sure you bring a torchlight along as it can get quite dark.
Getting there: Take a KTM train or bus from KL Sentral to Hulu Langat, then hop into a taxi to get to Broga Hill or drive 52 minutes from Negeri Sembilan or Kuala Lumpur to Broga Hill (Coordinates for trailhead here, peak #1 here, peak #2 here, peak #3 here) Duration of hike (return trip): 1.5 – 4 hours (10 km) Difficulty level: 1/5 for trail #1 and trail #2 (to reach peaks #1 and #2); 3/5 for trail #3 (to reach peak #3) Entrance fee: RM2 per person (approximately SGD $0.66)
12. Untouched nature with clear waters for animal lovers — Bako National Park @ Sarawak
Proboscis monkey, bearded wild boars, saltwater crocodiles and other flora and fauna thrive in Bako National Park, which has 16 color coded trails, one of which takes 8 hours to complete.
The most popular trail is the Telok Pandan Kecil and it overlooks a pretty bay that is often seen on social media.
When you reach the lookout point, there’s a 10-minute descent via a staircase on the side that leads straight to the beach, where you can be picked up by a boat and be dropped back at HQ.
Bako National Park
Getting there: Drive 35 minutes from Kuching to the jetty of Bako National Park and take a 20-minute boat ride to the island (Coordinates here) Duration of hike (return trip): 3 hours (1.5 km) for Telok Pandan Kecil trail. Difficulty level: 2/5 for Telok Pandan Kecil Entrance fee: RM10 (approximately SGD $3.29), RM40 (approximately SGD $13.14) for the boat fare
13. Visit an enchanted forest from Lord of the Rings — Mossy Forest @ Brinchang, Pahang
With the large trees and mossy overhangs paired with an ever-present fog, it’s no wonder the Mossy Forest has captured the imagination of many.
There are many trails and tours, so be careful not to fall into a tourist trap where you have to pay to hike. You can take Trail 10 which is free and provides the best view of Tanah Rata.
Hikers recommend that you pair Trail 10 with Trail 6. It might get a little confusing but the trick is to follow the power cables and cut through the tea plantation for shots like:
TripCanvas’ Tip: A few trails might be closed during the monsoon season so avoid going around November to February.
Getting there: Drive 2 hours from Perak to the Mossy Forest (Coordinates here) Difficulty level: 3/5 Duration of hike (Trail 10 + Trail 6 circuit): 4 hours Entrance fee: Free
14. Trek the longest and oldest quartz ridge in the world — Bukit Tabur @ Selangor
This is one of the most gorgeous yet dangerous hikes near KL. With five peaks, the most popular one starts from the west trailhead and brings you to this stunning lookout point.
The east trail is shorter but much more challenging and offers similar views since they are next to each other.
Many experienced hikers opt for this climb as a half-day hike leads you to these jaw-dropping views, but you have to navigate through very tough and dangerous terrains and rock climbing.
TripCanvas’ Tip: This should not be attempted by those who are unfit or inexperienced as there is a portion requiring serious rock climbing skills and strength. According to experienced hikers, you cannot afford to make a mistake during your climb, due to the rugged terrain and vertical drops. Many fatal accidents have occurred here, so do ensure that you are properly trained and equipped, and go with someone who is familiar with the trail. You will need to apply for a permit before your hike.
Getting there: Drive 25 minutes from Kuala Lumpur to the west trailhead (Coordinates here) or east trailhead (Coordinates here) Difficulty level: 4/5 Duration of hike (return trip): 4 – 6 hours (2 km) Entrance fee: RM5 (approximately SGD $1.64) for a permit from Selangor Forestry Department
Please note: The hikes below require a guide. Self-guided treks are not possible.
Special Mention 1: Dramatic backdrop of jagged sea of pointy rocks — Mulu Pinnacles @ Sarawak
Bet you had no idea something like this existed in the world, much less in Malaysia! This rare sight is awarded to those who take on this challenging and strenuous climb. The journey into Mulu National Park itself is an adventure, with steep jungle trails and rocks where you have to rely on ropes and ladders to get up the treacherous near-vertical ascends with limited visibility as it can be dark.
The Mulu Pinnacles themselves are limestone rock formations with sharp edges with 90-degree ascends that are not made for climbing. To hike into the national park to see this view, you will need to go with a tour. Peak seasons are June to September so it’s important to make reservations in advance.
Do not expect to find supermarkets or drugstores here, though there’s a canteen you can buy food from. Be prepared to disconnect – there’s no reception too. Also, you are expected to prepare your own toiletries and bedding. There are no hot showers unless you spend the night at Mulu Marriott Resort and Spa.
Getting there: Fly to Mulu from Miri (30 minutes), Kota Kinabalu (55 minutes), Kuching (1 hour and 20 minutes) (Coordinates here) Difficulty level: 5/5 Duration of hike (return trip): 2 – 3 days Entrance fee: RM15 for Malaysians, RM30 for foreigners (approximately SGD $9.85). RM433 for guide, boat and camp fees (3D2N) (approximately SGD $141.53).
Special Mention 2: Highest peak in Malaysia every hiker aims to conquer — Mount Kinabalu @ Sabah
The perfect spot to catch the sunrise or to get down on one knee…
There’s no denying that Mount Kinabalu should be on every climber’s list because it is such an iconic Malaysian landmark.
It is not a very technical climb, but you will need to get on a tour in order to scale the mountain. While many think it is extremely hard, all I can say is, as long as you are reasonably fit and have a lot of willpower, you will be able to complete it! It’s a lot more about determination and mental strength. 🙂
Getting there: Drive 2 hours from Kota Kinabalu to Kinabalu Park Office (Coordinates here) Difficulty level: 3/5 Duration of hike (return trip): 2 – 3 days Price: RM 2000 – RM 2500 (approximately SGD $656-821) per person for an all-inclusive 2D1N/3D2N tour including the climbing permit, climbing insurance, a mountain guide and the Kinabalu Park entrance fee
Special Mention 3: Catch a glimpse of elephants in the wild and majestic waterfalls — Gunung Stong @ Kelantan
Gunung Stong is home to the tallest waterfall in Southeast Asia (Jelawang Waterfall, which is 305 metres high), and you might also spot wild elephants, Malayan tigers, black panthers, rare birds and plants. However, most come for the views.
To see the upper levels of the multi-tiered waterfall, you will need to hike up the sides, which can be dangerous and slippery.
While you can attempt to reach the summit on the same day, many people camp at Baha Camp for the night before hiking to the top for the sunrise and the glorious sea of clouds.
Getting there: Drive 2.5 hours from Kelantan to Gunung Stong State Park (Coordinates here) Difficulty level: 4/5 Duration of hike (return trip): 8 hours (5 km) Price: RM350 (approximately SGD $115) per guide who can take 12 pax at once
Be careful when going on any hiking trips and always make sure someone knows where you will be going because it’s better to be safe than lost and sorry. Always err on the side of caution and don’t go anywhere unguided if you aren’t familiar with the trail!
As they say, take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints… However, if you can pick up litter left behind by other hikers, you da real MVP!
Tag a friend you think will be able to conquer all these trails and make sure to #TripcanvasMalaysia for a chance to be featured on our Instagram page. 😉
An aspiring storyteller through scribbles and snapshots. When she’s not losing herself in YA fiction, she’s out chasing daydreams. A few include #vanlife, a never-ending roadtrip and a laptop that doesn’t run out of juice or wifi! She’s known as @veyroniqa on the internet and if you’re ever on blogspot, Youtube or Instagram, feel free to hit her up.
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