Mount Santubong - Kuching Sarawak - Borneo Malaysia
To all hiking addicts out there, Mount Santubong is something that you SHOULD NOT missed out on. Regardless of the tips / tricks, reviews from various sources in the internet. You MUST go! Period.
Being an addict for the nature myself, I have to say that Mount Santubong deserves your visit for a day hike.
It is situated near to Sarawak Cultural Village, where the yearly Rainforest World Music Festival is being held. Which also means that you can put up a night or two if you plan to stay longer at one of the local traditional village houses : more info here .
Jyoti and I started at 6am ++ from the entrance of Green Paradise Seafood restaurant. It took us 5 to 10 minutes of walk from Sarawak Cultural Village, where we stayed during the Rainforest World Music Festival.
There was an entrance fee of RM 8 per pax. Registration before hiking is strictly required. In return, you will get a paper hand band and a map to guide you along the way. There is no guide / porter to hire.
We decided to start from Green Paradise Seafood Restaurant - Peak - Bukit Puteri. Looking at the map,you can see that a shape of a triangle is being formed. The entire trek was covered with trees. You can be sure that you will be under a good shade with fresh breeze of air throughout the entire hike. A good point to stay hydrated.
The trail heading up can be deceiving if you do not keep an eye on your surroundings. News that hikers got lost happen so often that we took extra caution during the hike. We went off trail the moment we started. Please look around for signs of trail and follow the ribbons that are being tied up to the trees.
|One of the many signs to show that you are safe.|
|One of the many signs to show where you heading|
Being an early bird brought us to an advantage to be mesmerized by nature without human traffic. With the fresh air and smell of trees breathing into our lungs, we could not help but to put a smile on our face.
The trail was easy to moderate during the start of hike as there were not much of climbing or crawling - if you must. There are some points where you need to hike up a flight of steep steps continuously. A long rope tied from tree to tree was being made ready to help hikers climb their way up the steps.
As we continue the hike, trail was rather easy where we hike through a beautiful waterfall for the morning. When you get to the intersection point, this is where you need to decide either to continue to the peak, or return via Green Paradise Seafood Restaurant - Checkpoint 1 / Bukit Puteri - Checkpoint 2. We decided to continue since we were there to conquer !
|The hike took us here|
Advise : To conquer the peak is not for the faint hearted. A strong mental and physical strength is advised.
Trail heading up to the peak is now being categorized as moderate to difficult. This is where our hands were being put to use to help ourselves up the mountain. Ropes were made available only for certain length of the trek. Steps were steep for most part of the trail up to the peak.
As if climbing up the steep steps were not enough, there comes a point where we need to climb up the man made ladder at 90 degrees gradient. Being said that, we were hanging on the ladder against gravity, leaning close to the rocks. Imagine 2 short girls with short legs and hands climbing up the wide ladder. At least we got to entertain ourselves by making fun of each other. We were all there to have a great time after all. Having experience in rock climbing is an added advantage for us to hike through this stage.
|Jyoti climbing up.|
Once we were at the peak, we decided to have some snacks and fruits to keep ourselves energized for the hike down. You can walk further until you see the flags with a great panoramic view from the peak. Pat yourself on the shoulder for making it this far. You should be proud by this time, or at least having a sense of 50% accomplishment ( since you now have to hike down before you make it a 100% )
|Jyoti at the peak with Sarawak ( left ) & Malaysia (right ) flags|
|Us at the peak around 10am + +|
|Stunning view at the top ( you have to imagine without me in the pic for that )|
While coming down via Bukit Puteri - Checkpoint 2, it was more than easy as the trail is flat with slight gradient downwards. You can find yourself running down easily, as if you are in a trail run or sort. Obviously with this, you can save a lot of time if you had enough of being in the wild.
Distance covered : 7km - Peak - 5.1km = Total distance is 12.1km. It took us about 4 hours to reach the peak and less than 2 hours to arrive Bukit Puteri. An extra 20 minutes by foot took us back to Green Paradise Seafood Restaurant, where we continued walking back to Sarawak Cultural Village to enjoy the rest of Rainforest World Music Festival.