Gunung Jasar and Gunung Perdah are two moderate hikes close to Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands. The starting point near the Oly Apartments is only 1km from the Tanah Rata bus station. The land mark to look out for is the tower and the “SELAMAT DATANG” greetings which welcomes you just before Tanah Rata town.
There is even a signboard showing the direction to the Jasar trek near the “SELAMAT DATANG” greetings. However, beyond the sign board, we could only see the Oly Apartments. We walked to the Oly Apartments and around the Oly Apartments but couldn’t find any starting any trail.
Beyond the Oly Apartments, lies a private garden and we were unsure whether to proceed. Luckily for us, one of the gardeners saw our hesitation at the gates and told us that we can go through the gardens and that the beginning of the Jasar trek lies beyond the private garden.
We proceed past the gates, through a nicely matured garden and up cemented steps.
Beyond the cemented steps, we found the beginning of the Jasar Trek.
From the starting point, it was jungle trekking throughout. The trek is moderate and can be easily completed by anyone who has some form of routine workouts.
It was an interesting walk, rich with all types of fauna like the vibrant red coloured ginger plants which covered the forest floor.
After an hour of hiking, we reached a clearing on the Eastern slope of Junung Jasar. We are not at the peak yet but we have a beautiful 180 degrees view of the mountain ranges in the distance, the town of Ringlet and the Bharat tea plantation.
Up ahead is the main electric grid which is built on the Eastern slope of Gunung Jasar.
This is where we saw John, a Canadian train driver, waving at us from a clearing behind the main electric grid. John was coming down from the peak and told us to proceed up where he came down from in order to get to the peak. We chatted a while and told John that we wanted to proceed to Gunung Perdah after reaching the peak of Jasar.
We followed John’s directions and in 5 minutes, I proudly laid my first step on the peak of Gunung Jasar at 5,565 feet, a top 100 mountain in Malaysia.
Standing solemnly and waiting patiently at the peak of Jasar was Mr. Wong, a butterfly catcher. We found out that Mr. Wong has been up on the peak of Jasar almost weekly for past ten years waiting and hoping to catch an elusive yellow coloured female butterfly. He has the entire collection of this particular species except for the female. It was mind boggling for me. Mr. Wong spends about 5 hours each time he goes butterfly catching. Imagine he does it about 40 times a year, 5 hours each time for 10 years? Mr. Wong would have spent 2,000 hours waiting for this Madame butterfly.
From the peak of Jasar, we could see Gunung Irau, the highest mountain within the Cameron Highlands region.
We truly enjoyed the clear blue skies at the Jasar Peak.
John reappeared and asked whether he could join us for the trek to Perdah. We were happy for the company. From Jasar peak, we proceed straight (12 o’clock) across the peak from where we came from to the trail head for Gunung Perdah. It was down hill most of the way and the trek got more dense. Eventually, the surrounding changed to the mossy forest type. It was cool and damp as the sun is blocked by the tall trees. From the mossy forest, we begin to climb again.
The mossy forest is similar but in a much smaller scale as compared with the mossy forest in the Irau trek.
As we pushed past the mossy forest, we reached the Perdah Peak (5,173 feet) which is a tiny bald open spot. It was refreshing to be in the open and to have the vast skies over us. We took about 40 minutes to trek from Jasar peak to reach Perdah peak.
It was time for our lunch and we cooked maggi mee with eggs. We also had hot coffee which was timely as the mist started to blow in and the temperature dropped sharply.
From the Perdah Peak, we could see Gunung Irau amidst the mist.
It started to drizzle and we decided to take a short cut to an Orang Asli village after consulting an Orang Asli uncle who was passing by. It was only 15 minutes to the Orang Asli Village from the Perdah Peak while it was 40 minutes to get back to Tanah Rata through the jungle. We reckoned that if it rained at least we will be walking on proper roads after reaching the village. Following the trail out of the Perdah Jungle, we were greeted with an Orang Asli house in the mist. The view was somewhat mystical and foreign. Something which we did not expect in Cameron Highlands.
Walking past the house on the hill slope, we could see a whole village in the mist. This is the Sg Ruil Orang Asli Village
It was truly a beautiful village in the hills. We were not prepared for this pleasant surprise. It was supposed to be just a moderate 4 hours trek but it turned out to be much more, great weather, beautiful terrain and to top it all, a cultural experience.
When we reached the village, we found the local indigenous people having a dance class in their Community stage. This was really the highlight of our trek. It was impromptu but it felt like it was made for us. Something out of a Lonely Planet travel book.
We stayed and watched. We were invited to join the dance which we shyly declined. But I took a lot of pictures and the people were very obliging and the children were posing for us. What a way to end a beautiful day!
It begin to pour but our spirits were up. From the village, we walked 35 minutes in the rain on a dirt road to get back to Tanah Rata.