Sunday, 8 March 2015

Trekking at Hutan Lipur Gunung Pulai Recreational Forest in Johor Malaysia

Today, I went to Gunung Pulai in Johor with trekking buddies. (I love trekking and was a regular at Bukit Timah before it was closed.)

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia
Source: Google map (screen grab)

Our simple plan was to have breakfast in Pulai, climb walk up Gunung Pulai and have lunch in Kulai before heading back to Johor Bahru/ Singapore.

We travelled by the North South Expressway (heading north from JB) which is the most direct and easy way, even for first timers.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

After exiting the North South Expressway at Exit 252, clear the Kulaijaya toll and look out for this signboard. Turn right (heading West) towards Gunung Pulai.

You will be driving on slightly winding Jalan Sawah and seeing mostly palm plantations on both sides.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

After about 10 km, you will see this welcome arch at the entrance to Kampung Sri Pulai where the foothill of Gunung Pulai is located.

Travelling time by car from the JB checkpoint to here via the North South Expressway was slightly more than 1 hour.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

Once past the welcome arch, the village mosque is on your right.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

Slightly further up from the mosque is Anggun Cafe. We stopped here for breakfast ;-D

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

Anggun Cafe is a homely, kampung style eatery. The menu is limited but the lady boss prepares the food lovingly. Simple and more than enough for our breakfast needs.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia
Credit: Simon Chan of Travelled Paths blog

My trekking buddies Simon, Alice and HP. Together, we had roti canai (prata), nasi lemak and teh (milk tea).

The food was nice and we especially liked the old school nasi lemak with aromatic coconut rice and sweet spicy sambal chili. Anggun Cafe also serves fried bee hoon and other simple dishes. Everyone here, from the cafe owners to fellow customers were all very warm and friendly.

Anggun Cafe is open for breakfast only and is closed on Sunday.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

We used the kampung style toilet at Anggun Cafe before proceeding for Gunung Pulai. The toilet was very clean.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

The foot of Gunung Pulai is a short drive (less than 1 km) from Anggun Cafe. Park users can either park at the road side for free or at the car parks of one of the kampung houses here. Fee for "private parking" is RM2.

Gunung Pulai is crowded on weekends as it is a very popular recreational spot with locals and also Singaporeans.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

The gate at the foot of Gunung Pulai. The gate is closed, so only authourised vehicles can pass this point. Hikers enter via the side, around the gate at the left. 

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

The walk up to the summit of Gunung Pulai is on this good condition tarmac road which is actually the service road for the Telekom Malaysia communication towers at the summit. The walk is 5 km up and 5 km down. At the summit, Gunung Pulai is 654 metres high, which is almost 4 times higher than Bukit Timah in Singapore at 164 metres high.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

The distance travelled are marked out on the road for hikers. Hikers can turn back at any point during the trek up.

No stress :-D

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

At this point, we can either take the left route which is more scenic and challenging as it included trail walking, or the easier right route. For our maiden visit, we took the easier walk along the paved road on the right.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

Certain parts of the climb along the paved road is pretty steep, up to around 40° gradient. The steep sections are mostly near the summit.

Fellow climbers were very friendly. It is common for climbers to greet and encourage one another when passing each other. Often, the locals will voluntarily point out to visitors the sights and interesting things along the climb. They are Gunung Pulai's best ambassadors ;-D

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

A large fallen tree trunk across the road.

No one is infallible.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

A large hornet's nest by the road, though I did not see any flying ones today ;-p (I am wary of hornets in the forest, after been stung once during my 1970s National Service days. It felt like someone was hitting my head hard with a hammer ..... )

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

On the way up, we passed this wall which looked like some sort of dam.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

There was a small pond behind the wall. We can see lotus plants and small colourful fishes inside the pond.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

There were a couple of these small bridges around the mid point up to Gunung Pulai.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

The final "rest stop" before arriving at the summit of Gunung Pulai.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

The view of the surrounding forests and distant hills as seen from near the summit.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

The red sign says "No photography in this area" in Malay. We took about 1.5 hours to reach here, stopping for photos along the way.

Please note that the summit is out of bounds as there is a communication tower on top.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

So, it was time to turn back and head back down the hill ;-D

Going down hill especially at the steeper slopes is jarring on the knees. A trekking stick like the one Alice was using is helpful in cushioning the pressure on the joints.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

On the way up and also down, we were looking out for the natural beauty around us. Strangely, I didn't spot any monkeys which should be ubiquitous here. We spotted many shy squirrels, though.

The monkeys were even more shy today.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

We were captivated by this large butterfly with black and white pokka dot wings fluttering high among the tree leaves. It's flight was ungainly and slow, and we were worried that it would be snapped up anytime by the many birds we saw in the park.

(I shot this photo with 55mm lens and cropped the photo in order to see the butterfly. Wished I had a 200mm lens with me then.)

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

Remember to also look skywards, and see the beautiful canopy. The trail can be quite hot when the sun is at full blast. So, most trekkers are here in the morning or evening, avoiding the midday and afternoon sun.

Open your ears too as you walk up the hill. You will hear the fascinating sounds of insects, birds and other creatures that live in the forest. The trees and canopies are the walls and ceilings of the most beautiful concert hall, amplifying the symphonies of the diverse forest inhabitants musicians.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

There are many places where clear water run down the rocks. I am not sure if the water is safe to drink. I carried a litre of bottled drinking water in my haversack.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

While smelling the flowers, listening to the birds, and watching the butterflies, stay alert to the vehicles on the road, especially those that roll down the slope at speed.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

The little waterfall and creek is a nice place to cool your heels from all the walking. It is no surprise that this is a popular picnic spot.

(There are at least 3 waterfalls at Gunung Pulai and this is the smallest. We shall try to go to the others at our next visit. The waterfalls are along the scenic trail route.)

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

(Unfortunately, there was a lot of every imaginable and some unmentionable rubbish strewn around the waterfall area left behind by inconsiderate park users. We were careful not to add any more rubbish to mar nature's beauty.)

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

Mission accomplished.

Back at the foot of Gunung Pulai. Tired, happy, very satisfied and ready to reward ourselves with a great lunch ;-D

Gunung Pulai is an easy "walk in the park" for avid and seasoned trekkers. For most people, it is slightly taxing as the 10 km round trip has some steep stretches. Gunung Pulai is suitable for families with children and seniors as we can turn back at anytime along the way.

I had no problems with mosquitoes or insects today - none looked for me. But, if you are the type that attracts mozzies, do bring along insect repellent.

I had a great workout but my muscles and joints ached for the next 3 days ;-D

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia

After Gunung Pulai, we headed to the nearby town of Kulai for lunch to spend the calories we burned earned ;-D

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia
Click on photo for list of food in Kulai

Kulai town has many eateries with nice rustic charm and delicious food. Click here for some of the possibilities.

Hutan-Lipur-Gunung-Pulai-Recreational-Forest-Johor-Malaysia
Photo credit: Simon Chan of Travelled Paths blog

Thank you Simon, Alice and HP for the great day. Simon (left in picture) is the author of Travelled Paths blog - winner of the Best New Blog Award in Singapore in 2014.

Date visited: 4 Mar 2015


Return to Johor Kaki homepage.

26 comments:

  1. Hi Tony,

    There's another trekking route nearby called Gunung Pulai 2. Just headed left from Kg Gunung Pulai junction to Pekan Nenas and watch for Gng Pulai 2 exit on left (or you can stop and ask the locals). The trek will be on dirt road (mountain bikers loves it) and takes you to a beautiful waterfall, not really big but you still can dip in to cool off. And of course there's a lot makan places around especially in Pekan Nenas. I sometime took my family there for weekend fun :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you nfendy, I will check it out ;-D

      Delete
  2. Thanks, enjoyed reading your account. Have not been there for a long time so checking up on conditions there. Looking forward to a visit soon!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great coverage buddy, informative and helpful for those who's planning a trip up there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi 19/12/2015 we followed exactly as you have written.... Really good info and tanks a lot and we enjoyed ....thanks

      Delete
    2. Glad you enjoyed it Venkat :-D

      Delete
  4. Hi,
    Is the place open for trekking now?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Planning to go there this long holidays....very informative and helpful for ist timers...thank you so much

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Tonette. Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did :-D

      Delete
  6. Counting down to the day of our next hike, buddy.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi tony, i enjoyed reading your blog. Planning to go there this coming april with my squad. Do we need the guide or just hike by ourself.tq

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Aizat. We only walked up the service road so there was no need for a guide.

      Delete
  8. Hi Tony, I really enjoy reading... beautiful. Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great blog! The guy in red looked like my army buddy HanPeng!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Tony...

    Do you by any chance have been to Hutan Lipur Panti at Kota Tinggi? went there last week, but so sad to see, the place is totally abandoned. There's nobody there. I just wanna know if you know where's the location of the waterfall or the place for picnic overthere?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have never been there before but know that it is a popular place for many decades. Sad to hear that it has fallen into a bad state.

      Delete
  11. Can we see JB skyline from the summit?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cannot. See only some forested hill tops which is also nice.

      Delete
  12. Hello! Thanks for this informative site! If I get a taxi/Uber there, what is the exact location I should drop off? The same route up is the same route return?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Like to know any good hotel nearby

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for the write up. My husband and I trekked it on Oct 30.

    We used GRAB app to get up there and arranged with the kind driver to have him return five hours later to pick us up. Seemed like there were few options for our safe return to Sukdai.

    I was greatly disappointed that one cannot actually reach the summit ... fenced off for the communications tower. Only one overlook further down the summit. And as you forewarned, the waterfall area was teeming with families.

    Other trekkers were SUPER friendly along the route!

    We saw monkeys on the trail and near the waterfall area. We even found Venus Fly Trap plants in the humid mountain side! Very cool indeed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Priscilla, glad you had a good experience. Yes, the summit is out of bounds as there is a communication tower on top.

      Delete
    2. I have added in a note to make this clearer. Thanks for pointing out. Appreciate much.

      Delete

I firmly believe that taste is subjective and so, warmly welcome differing viewpoints :-D But, I disapprove negative comments that are anonymous or hide behind fake identities. I feel that that is the same as speaking ill of others behind their backs. I look forward to all your comments :-D Thank you. (Date: 18 Dec 2015)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...