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“A clearer picture from up top”

Cameron Highlands Jungle Trail No. 1
Reviewed 30 May 2015

If you've read all the reviews below and still can't make up your mind about this trail, feel free to read mine. Disclaimer: this will be a long but detailed review.

I think what is first important to note is the premise of how fit we are, so that you can have a better understanding of what "a little challenging" means with some relativity. My trekking partner and I are mid 20s, and are relatively fit: we jog (approx. 4km each time) / swim 3 times a week and could complete a 5km jog in about 30 - 40 mins.

FACTUAL INFORMATION ABOUT OUR EXPERIENCE AT TRAIL 1 (Gunung Brinchang)
- We took slightly over 3 hours to complete the trail (1 way)
- We hired a guide from Titiwangsa Tour (We paid about 130RM each, it was a private trek, just the both of us)
- We started the trail at 11AM (we reached the peak around 1PM)
- It was not a round trip, which means if you were to park your car at the start of the trail, you will take nearly double the time i.e. 5, 6hrs to reach your car after you have descended from the trail
- We were glad we made this trek
- We did not use any insect repellent and did NOT get any mozzie bites, but did get some (light) bruises on our legs
- Our gear was shorts, t-shirt, jogging shoes and a bag pack filled with 5 bottles of water (you really only need about 1.5 each for the trek)
- Best time to reach the summit: between 10AM - 1PM. Anytime before or after and it might be too cloudy.

From here, my review will take a more colourful turn.

Having read some reviews and thought the trail was going to be challenging for novice trekkers like us (we have only ever trekked Bukit Timah, before and after the steps were built), we decided to hire a guide quite last minute.

Luckily one of the few guides who were available for trekking (not the same as a tour. A tour that covers Gunung Brinchang will ferry you to the top and down with no effort on your part) was available. He told us that people usually book their treks 1 day in advance as the tour agency need to seek approval (and register the trek) with the forestry department. Clearance will be denied if weather forecasts heavy rain at the time of the trek. And It usually rains in the afternoon at Cameron Highlands.

"Anyway, the Forestry Department is planning to regulate trekking in Cameron Highlands so all future treks will need to be registered with them and a guide would be made compulsory, so it's safer for tourists" the guide shared.

At the start of the trail, the guide stopped us from putting on our insect repellant patch. "There are no mosquitos here. And the insects only bite those who put on the patch because of the citrus smell." Out our patches went.

We bumped into 3 goats grazing on the path. The guides gently urged the goats away from our path which was very narrow and only allows for 1 person/goat to cross.

Then, the steps began.

If you have ever trekked on Bukit Timah, on the most tedious path. The experience would be more or less the same except for the occasional flat paths in BT, the steps in GB only goes 1 way - up.

The first half of the climb was not very enjoyable unless you are the sort who enjoys pain when exercising, as my friend would say, "pain is weakness leaving the body".

We spotted no insects except for the small swarms of tiny flies that I imagine could possibly be breathed into your lungs if you breathed hard crossing the swarm. Which seems silly in hindsight - or is it?

Our shoes were not overly muddy, just a few stains here and there. The trek was relatively dry - it had drizzled the night before but the morning after was pretty sunny.

After around an hour, the fun began.

"The steps from here will get steeper," the guide said, much to my horror. "Prepare to do some climbing. This is where the dry ground ends and the mossy forest begins."

For the rest of the trek from there on, we were climbing with our hands as much as our feet almost 70% of the time. The branches were sleek with moisture, the ground was 2m thick with compost. This is the part where shoes were either lost in deep mud or ended up with clumps on them. Avoid stepping on any surface that looks like chocolate pudding. Thick branches are your best friend even if they feel slimy or sometimes sticky. Step on branches and "hold on strong to the branches" as my guide would say.

But do look out for branches with spikes, a moment of carelessness planning for your next step might cause you quite a bit of pain. Luckily we had a guide keep a lookout for us as our heads were constantly looking towards the ground instead of forwards.

He never offered us his hands, now come to think about it, but that was okay. I feel much more proud of myself when we got to the peak, I did it. On my own 2 hands and feet. They might be dirty but it was worth it.

When exhaustion and hunger kicked in, we were glad we had a guide who arranged for a transport to pick us up and we did not have to walk the steep slopes down because they did not look easy on our joints.

So don't be a hero. Hire a guide, he might even entertain you with stories about his worst clients during the trek and let you know which plants are good to chew for stamina.

Date of experience: May 2015
15  Thank Edwinaozy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"down the road"
in 9 reviews
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in 21 reviews
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Reviewed 6 May 2015

We walked up Brinchang mountain - its about 3km to the top. Quite muddy with light scrambling required near the top, with some use of hands. Good views if you are lucky enough to be cloud free - we weren't! Nice walk down the hill on the road - past tea plantations and strawberry farms. About 15km for the whole circuit. Worth it - but you need to be reasonably fit.

Date of experience: April 2015
2  Thank donaldf673
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 April 2015 via mobile

This trail was very fun. A little challenging at spots, but if you're decently fit, you'll be fine. Things to know:
- public bus leaves from terminal at 6:30, 8:30am, etc every 2hrs. 2ringgit
- taxi there is 10ringgit, don't pay more. Theyll try for 15.
- your shoes will get dirty/ muddy.
- the walk from the top to mossy forrest is short (it's a meh attraction, if youve done the hike you've seen it all and more).
- the walk to the boh tea plantation is far!
- Hitch-hike! We got to the plantation (beautiful place- go there!) and then after the plantation we hitch hiked back to tanah rata. It took 3 rides, but we met some friendly Malaysians and saved 20+ ringgit. Just smile and get that thumb out there!

Do this trail, I did three trails and it was my favourite (10 is nice as well). Everyone I talked to who did a group tour was unimpressed. DIY and save yourself some $.

7  Thank lachapellicopter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 March 2015 via mobile

Took this trail as opposed to the restrictive tours as we wanted to embrace our surroundings more. Can't recommend it enough. The forest is so dense and lush, and you feel rewarded after the 2 hrs trek when you get 360 views at the tower on the top. You do need to have a certain level of fitness to do this as the trail took us just under 2 hours with not too many breaks and it was all an upward climb. We didn't take much notice to the steep comments but believe me it was a steep climb. All navigable though. Clear trails and many roots to step on to help you climb. After the trail we followed the paved road down from the viewtower and walked past strawberry plantations and tea plantations and stopped by them. Whole day took us 5 hours. To get there, we were staying in Tanah Rata so caught a cab from the bus station to the start of the trail (10rm) and on our return flagged one down from where the paved road met the main road (15rm).

5  Thank L0veablePresh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 21 March 2015

Take lots of water. Is a little challenging towards the end and you need a decent level of fitness and good footwear.

Date of experience: March 2015
1  Thank CCTVLR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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