Hiking Up Gunung Brinchang
Gunung Brinchang is the highest peak in Malaysia which is connected by a paved road. At 2,031 meters, it is significantly higher than the second highest paved road connected peak, Genting Highlands at 1,860 meters. What’s remarkable is that Gunung Brinchang is one of 20 odd mountains which is more than 2,000 meters in Peninsular Malaysia and it is only 159 meters lower than the highest, Gunung Tahan. We have driven up Gunung Brinchang about half a dozen times, enjoying the journey every single time.
We have contemplated hiking up Gunung Brinchang in the past but we failed to get clear directions from the locals each time we asked about Gunung Brinchang. The most common response was that it would better for us to get a guide. It appears to be a local conspiracy to promote the local tourism. We couldn’t get any help from the blogs either as most concentrate on Gunung Irau, the most popular trekking destination at Cameron Highlands. Having done Irau, Perdah, Jassar and Berembun, we just had to complete Brinchang. So after lunch and checking in at our hotel, May and I set out on a recce at 3.00 pm to seek out the Brinchang trek.
The only clue we had gathered was that the trail starts at the water catchment area. We headed towards the area and came across a big “No Entry” sign. But there was a wide dirt road and there were no gates or fences. We decided to proceed and ask for directions if we get stopped. We reached a fenced up area which is the water catchment centre and luckily for us, we managed to find a sign board for the Gunung Brinchang at side of the fence. The starting point was only about 1 km from the main road and was relatively easy to find. Wonder why we have been given the runaround all this while.
As we entered the trail, we were immediately rewarded with beautiful mossy forests. We came across a sign which says that it was only 2.99 km to the Brinchang peak. We were at a dilemma as we had planned only for a recce trek so we wore only our casual shoes and had some mineral water. We left behind our packs, lights and GPS. It was 3.30 pm. We decided to proceed and targetted to reach the peak by 5.00 pm. That should give us the same amount of time for the return trek.
The trek was relatively easy and we managed to move with ease. The daylight was failing faster than we anticipated. Even at 4.30 pm, it looked like 6pm in the thick jungle foliage. We hurried and managed to reach the peak at 5 pm. The first thing we encountered at the peak was a fence spreading right across the trail.
We walked around the fence and came to the road leading to the peak. From here, it was a short walk to the peak. There used to be a look out tower at the peak but this is now in disrepair while the foliage has outgrown and covered any possible view. We are now stuck with a choice. Do we go back through the jungle which is 2.97 km or do we take the road which is a 11 km walk. We decided to be safe as we did not have any head lamps with us. With the dimishing light, any wrong turn would land us in the jungle in the dark.
It was then a long walk down Gunung Brinchang following the paved road.
We were lucky to reach the tea plantation while there is still light and had a good view of one of our favourite sights of Cameron Highlands.
When we reached the main trunk road, it was already dark and we had to walk with a heavy traffic of holiday vehicles passing us.
We finally reached Brinchang town where we parked our car at 8.15 pm, satisfied that we have finally managed our Gunung Brinchang hike.