Roaring Forties

Do it while you can!

Bukit Kutu – First Hike

with 35 comments

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I have always wondered what Bukit Kutu was like after having read that it was an abandoned British hill station. Some call it Gunung Kutu which is disputed whether it is really a ‘gunung’ or mountain especially when Pine Tree Hill at the neighbouring Fraser’s Hill stands at 4,777 feet while Bukit Kutu was reported to be about 3,500 feet. As I read more, I found that it was formerly called Gunung Sekutu by the indigenous people, the Temuan who lived in the area. When the British took over, it was renamed Treacher’s Hill and a sanatorium was built there. Fraser’s Hill continued to thrive but somehow Treacher’s Hill faded into oblivion. This hill station was abandoned, the bungalows went into disrepair and finally the roads were overtaken by the jungle. Treacher’s Hill disappeared from the maps and was renamed Bukit Kutu.

Personal accounts from trekkers had given it a bad reputation for leeches and it was notorious as a trek where one would easily get lost. Trekking time was reported to be between three to four hours while the trek was supposed to be eight km long. I was intrigued with Bukit Kutu and jumped at the opportunity to climb Bukit Kutu when Liau invited us to join him for a trek there. Mei was very reluctant because of the notoriety of the leeches but somehow I managed to strong arm her to go.

June 6 – We woke up at 5.55 am for a 6.30 am rendezvous with Gary before proceeding to the group meeting point in Melawati at 7.00 am. Received a text message from Elise that she needed a lift. That’s blew my timing apart. Gary was early, so we picked him up at 6.25 am and proceeded to Elise’s place. We picked her up at 6.40 am and reckoned that 20 minutes was not enough to reach Melawati from Old Klang Road. Called Liau to inform him that we will proceed straight to Kuala Kubu Baru.

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The drive to KKB was beautiful and the sunrise which we witness along the way was truly magnificent. We arrived in KKB at 7.45 am and had a quick breakfast when we were surpised by Diane. She was on her way to a white water rafting trip when she saw us and stopped her car just to say hello. We joined Mr. Liau’ group at 8.05 am in a mamak shop where they were having their breakfast.

At 8.30 am, we proceeded towards Fraser’s Hill from KKB. Shortly after passing the water dam, about 7.7 km from KKB town, we took a right turn into Kg Pertak. A quaint little village with lovely single storey detached houses, Kg Pertak is a relocation site for the Temuan community. From Kg Pertak, we ventured straight into a dirt road and continued for about 1 km before the road proved to be inaccessible by normal vehicles.

We had to park our cars at the side of road. From where we parked, we could hear the sound of rushing river waters and this is the start of the Kutu trail (Elevation 827 feet / Coordinates N 03˚34.487’ E 101˚44.201).

It was time to warm up. Lum start with his pumping exercises, Commedian did his kung fu kicks while Joey did her extreme yoga stretches. I was going to conserve my energy for the trek. After 10 minutes or so, we headed out for the Kutu Summit at around 9.00 am.

start

There were 13 of us. Only 4 of us have reached the summit of Bukit Kutu previously while the rest of us were all first timers to the hill.

The first part of the trek was easy with two metals bridges to cross. The second bridge had partially collapsed and we had to balance on the edge of the bridge.

Janice at the Kutu Bridge

About 1.5 km from the starting point, we came across our first river crossing. The water is about 2 feet deep. This river crossing could be a hazard on the return trip if it rains as the water level would definitely have gone up.

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We did not let up. We continue trekking and encountered another 2 river crossings. These were minor streams and could easily be crossed without getting our feet wet. After crossing the 3rd river, we were in the thick of pacat (leech) country. The treks were a bit muddy but were very manageable given that we have been having dry spells during the past two months. We quickly passed the pacat gauntlet without suffering any leech assaults except for one or two minor bites.

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We then started climbing. It was up hill all the way. After more than 30 minutes of continuous up hill, I swore it was like Nuang. When the going seemed to be endless, we reached the Giant Boulder area. It was such a relief. We covered only another 3 km from the 1st river crossing but it felt endless.

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We rested a good 20 minutes here at the Giant Boulder. We passed time by taking lots of pictures.

Kutu Group

Finally, we were ready for the final assault. It is only less than 2 km more to the summit from the Giant Boulder. Knowing that we have covered more than half of the distance helped us pyschologically in our final push. It was a steady hike upwards towards our goal.

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The first to reach the summit clocked at about 11.45 am or a total of 2 hours 45 minutes. I only managed to reach at 12.15 pm clocking in at 3 hours 15 minutes. It was great feeling knowing that I managed to climb Buku Kutu on my first attempt where others have failed. The good weather and excellent ground conditions were instrumental in our above average times. Heard that the record for summitting Bukit Kutu was one hour forty minutes.

According to my GPS the summit of Bukit Kutu stands at 3,576 feet (Coordinates N 03˚34.487’ E 101˚44.201).

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Not bad for a day’s work. Trekking up 6.3 km with a total elevation of 2,749 feet in 3 hours 15 minutes. I stand at the summit pretty pleased with the trek.

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The going down was relatively swift. We started at 1.40 pm and we reached the river by 3.30 pm in under 2 hours.

It was time for a splash to cool down. The waters felt heavenly.

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We left the river at 4.30 pm for a great dinner at Ulu Yam Lama with great memories.

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35 Responses

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  1. I was indeed apprehensive abt the hike esp after hearing stories of a certain someone being “chased’ by a pacat..ahahahaha… But YAY! It was a great hike… much more interesting than Nuang what with the giant boulders & left over chimney from an abandoned building as points of interest in the hike. Not to mention the lovely view at the summit ~ windy too. Well… Thanks for strong arming me into the hike. Will do it again, any time, (provided it doesn’t rain of course)….

    shorthorse

    June 11, 2009 at 4:22 pm

  2. ..loved the warm up pics… so funny, esp d kung fu kick! Comedian never fails to provide laughs..!!

    shorthorse

    June 11, 2009 at 4:26 pm

  3. love all ur hiking trail notes…it makes me know more about malaysia…i didn’t even know malaysians like hiking…is it a recent fad or has it been popular for the past few yrs??

    hcpen

    June 18, 2009 at 10:48 pm

  4. love all ur hiking trail notes…it makes me know more about malaysia…i didn’t even know malaysians like hiking…is it a recent fad or has it been popular for the past few yrs already??

    hcpen

    June 18, 2009 at 10:49 pm

  5. Thank SH! It was indeed a very pleasant and memorable trip.

    Thanks hcpen for visiting the blog. There has always been a small hiking community in Malaysia but this community exploded with Facebook. There are many people interested in hiking but without the contacts or the friends with the same interest. Facebook brought all these people together. Blogs helped adverise the places and with that hiking activities increased ten folds over the past year.

    asme

    June 25, 2009 at 12:47 am

  6. Great shots, Tony!

    gina

    June 27, 2009 at 10:14 am

  7. congrate for the hike! ive been hiking there about 3 times, nice place for weekend trip.. i suggest u to hike gunung rajah, a mountain which u can see from kutu summit. superb 360 view up there.. try n see ;)

    Azman

    June 30, 2009 at 9:16 pm

  8. Thanks Gina. Hope to get you to join us on one of our treks.

    Thanks Azman! How difficult is Gunung Rajah? Is it a day trek? Thinking of doing Ulu Semangkok nearby Kutu.

    asme

    July 16, 2009 at 5:43 pm

  9. gunung rajah, difficulty is medium range, u have to get permit from jabatan hutan b4 u can hike there, from chamang waterfall to lata naning it takes 7 hours hike and 4-5 hours from lata naning to peak.. I suggest 2 days 1 night for a trip..

    Ulu semangkok, never been there b4 and plan to hike soon.. if u dun mine, invite me for that trip hehe..

    Azman

    July 17, 2009 at 12:14 am

    • Just sharing my experience on Semangkok.

      Gunung Semangkok is a different ball game compared to Rajah. It’s rated 5/5 difficulty by the OGKL. The tracks are almost invisible due to the limited number (per year) of CRAZY hikers like myself that actually went to summit.

      Equip yourself with GPS.. or get prepared to be lost. The trail (especially from Camp Helipad) can easily disappear due to fallen trees and swarming thorny plants.

      and.. apart from leeches, expect KUTU.. yup you heard it right.. Semangkok IS infested with fleece!

      Apart from that, enjoy your trip :)

      Ben

      November 11, 2013 at 10:14 am

  10. Gunung Rajah sounds challenging. 12 hours to peak is quite long. This means it will be two full days. Total trekking 23 hours (est 11 hours down). Return trip to Chamang will be dark. Will kiv until I do shorter ones first.

    Will let you know if a trip to Ulu Semangkok comes up.
    Sometimes have to check with organiser first becoz some may organised closed events.

    asme

    July 17, 2009 at 11:32 am

  11. yes! You made it. Nice place.

    penelope gan

    July 18, 2009 at 10:18 pm

  12. Yes! Made it. Nice trek. Not too demanding.

    asme

    July 20, 2009 at 10:52 pm

  13. hi! ur climb up kutu was an interesting read.
    have u been up rajah yet?

    darren

    September 17, 2009 at 8:32 pm

  14. Hi Asme, u don’t know me but as I was browsing through internet trying to find information on the trek to bkt kutu, I came across your blog.I been to bkt kutu twice with MNS and my last trip was actually late July. We are going again next week but this time without any guide from MNS. I need to lead the way up to the peak. I can’t recall after the first river crossing, we should take the left path or right path? Is there any marking u could recall? I don’t want to lead the wrong way. It’s would be helpful if u can remember. Oh by the way, I’m a friend of Comedian too, we hiked up to gunung nuang in may this year.

    Suanne Chuah

    September 18, 2009 at 12:56 am

    • hi suanne,

      what date exactly are u planning your hike up kutu?

      darren

      September 20, 2009 at 3:04 pm

      • Hi Darren, I just saw your note here today. Anyway, it was nice meeting you. Hope you can join us during our next trip.

        Suanne

        October 7, 2009 at 6:05 pm

  15. Sorry Suanne! Been neglecting my blog and only came across your query today. Hope you have managed to find the way up. I think the path is on your left.

    Anyway, we climb Buah Bunga 2 weeks ago. Lovely hike. Would recommend you do that if you have not already done so.

    asme

    September 29, 2009 at 2:26 pm

  16. [...] Bukit Kutu [...]

    • Hi Asme, yes, we managed to make it there and return in 1 piece. It was great. Buah Bunga? Where is it about? We plan to may be try gunung angsi next. Have you been there?

      Suanne

      October 7, 2009 at 6:09 pm

      • Hi Suanne. It is great news that you made Kutu. Buah Bunga is located in Gohtong Jaya, Genting Highlands.

        It is a beautiful climb. I rate it as interesting as Kutu and a climb which I would love to go a second time. Nice cool weather and a beautiful rock face at the false summit. You must check it out.

        Not been to Angsi, planning to. :)

        asme

        December 4, 2009 at 8:27 pm

  17. Hi, I love this activity and recently i went to bukit Broga and bukit Tabur. May be Bukit Kutu is my next project. Thank’s for this info. Good job guys.

    sangpena

    January 6, 2010 at 12:22 am

    • Bukit Kutu will be a different ball game compared with Broga. Tabur is a different kind of hike, more scrambling than hiking. Kutu would be a great starter for the tougher hikes. Enjoy!

      Thanks for the vist and th words of encouragement.

      asme

      January 8, 2010 at 11:16 pm

  18. hi there, this is very good info u have there….
    i’ve never been there and very interested in going..
    wonder if it is recommended that first timer going there without anyone guiding???

    James Lee

    March 14, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    • This place is definitely out for a first timer unless you have a GPS. Make sure you have spare batteries for the GPS, you will need it to find your way back.

      Best to join a group that has gone up before. Join Facebook and there are hiking groups like :- MOTHS and MOB. They will most welcome new friends like you.
      Good luck, James.

      asme

      March 16, 2010 at 11:37 pm

  19. is there any future mountain hiking? Please include me. My phone: 0162896708.

    Cheers,
    Ng Boon Chye

    ng boon chye

    September 25, 2010 at 3:49 am

    • Hi Boon Chye! Why don’t you join Facebook? There are plenty of trekking communites there which you could join. Like my earlier post. Search for MOTHS, MOB, Waterfall Survivors in FB. They have treks almost every week. :)

      asme

      October 21, 2010 at 9:24 am

  20. hi, I am thinking or organizing a group up to bukit kutu in jan or feb. i would like to ask if its possible to do it without guides? thanks.

    zephan

    November 11, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    • Hi Zephan. Sorry for not replying as I was inactive for some time. Hope you have managed your Bukit Kutu trip. It is not advisable without guides or someone who has been as the trails are quite wild. If you still want to attempt, make sure you have a GPS, to lead you back out in case you get lost. :) Have fun.

      asme

      October 1, 2012 at 9:31 am

  21. I wonder if it is easy to find the trail if i were to go there alone?

    casey

    July 26, 2012 at 11:10 am

    • Sorry Casey. Have been inactive for some time.

      Bukit Kutu should not be attempted without any GPS. It is easy to get lost as the trails are wild and obscure. For safe climbs, try Gunung Dato, Gunung Angsi or Pine Tree Hill. These are well trodden and much safer.

      asme

      October 1, 2012 at 9:20 am

  22. i don’t have a gps n i intend to climb for the 1st time , alone . Are phone signals ok ? Worst case scenario i hope to sms my friend who stays in kg pertak .

    Another question is ; do i need to bring enough food n water for 2 days in case of an emergency eg. heavy rain until the river is flooded ? Many thks fr martin

    martin lim

    June 13, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    • This mountain can be tricky as the trails are not well marked. Best not to go alone.

      If you insist, let someone know of your plan, time and date so that if you do get lost and there is no phone signal, that someone can alert the authorities if you don’t contact them after 24 hours. Phone signal can be sporadic due to jungle coverage and altitude. Don’t count on good signal.

      Secondly, do leave a paper trial for yourself. Just photostat some unique picture/words, cut into one inch x two inches size and leave a trial as you trek. This way, you can recover your way back. Don’t be shy about this. It is quite necessary in an unknown place without GPS or any guide.

      The river should be crossable after rains. Worst case is that you have to wait it out for hours. For trekking, always carry a water bottle (or two). Water is absolutely must.

      For emergencies, best to have some food (snack bars are good and light), head lamps (torchlight), a first aid kit (make sure you have anti histamines; insect bites are common and can be serious), a jacket for cold (a waterproof wind cheater would be light and provide some warmth), a disposable raincoat is certainly helpful and a whistle (sure beats calling out for help).

      Unless you are a hardened survivor trekker, I would still discourage you from venturing alone, esp. in Bukit Kutu. For trekking alone, I would recommend, Gunung Dato and Gunung Angsi if you have not done. Both treks are well marked and easy to get to the peak without getting lost.

      Good luck on your trek. Do share your adventure.

      asme

      June 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm


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