This article is written by Husna Hafit.
This article is her point of view and experience of hiking Gunung Baling. She loves hiking and exploring.
We have been eyeing Gunung Baling for quite some time, as some friends shared the breath taking view of Baling area from the top. We got jealous (of course) and so, we planned a leisure road trip to North Malaysia to conquer this 420m peak. Here goes our journey on January 31, 2016.
To get to the starting point, we passed by the Baling small town and kept driving until we reached tokong area. We didn’t know the exact place, so we randomly stopped at a small guard house. (Well, it turned out that we were almost entering a quarry site. I’ll share something interesting about this later). We followed the guard’s instruction to look for a yellow house and we found lots of other cars at the lawn. The exact coordinate for this is 5°41’13.6″N 100°54’52.9″E. The owners of the land are very thoughtful, they actually sell food and drink here, in case you are not prepared with those. Parking is free, so need not to worry about paying the fee; and it is safe to leave your car here too.
We started hiking quite late, around 10 am, as the other hikers were going downhill. That’s quite a turn off honestly, but we just continued climbing. The path started off easy for a good 10 minutes, and then it got a lot steeper. The rope and small trees helped us to climb up the path. There was no clear trail, but the markers were really helpful, so just be sure to follow them. Somehow, it was quite easy to get lost in this particular hike (and I wonder why).
About 30 minutes later, we reached the first check point, Gua Kambing. A good place to take five (or more) and catch your breath.
After this check point, we got separated and the ‘selfish’ me went first with another girl. The second part of the hike was more challenging as there were more rocks along the path, and we had to climb a little. Gloves would be helpful to have good grip on the rocks and to protect your hand from the bamboo’s sap. We took roughly around an hour to get this phase done .
Finally we reached this ‘gua’ (cave) looking structure. It’s actually a huge boulder on top of another, and they have this small opening that you can go through. The term ‘gua’ was used by some random strangers, so I guess that’s the proper word to use (?).
The path after the ‘gua’ was not too bad, lots of steep rocks that you need to climb on, but you can handle it, don’t worry. And at this point, we met an uncle and two young men, who were extremely helpful in guiding us through the hike. I was already very tired and these strangers were like a good boost to us, the uncle even sang ‘Kau Boleh’ to cheer us up! I always look forward to this kind of ‘surprise’ whenever I hike, haha. Anyway, we had to go through two ‘gua’ before reaching the top, but the good news is the distance is so close! We hiked for another 15 minutes after the second ‘gua’ and finally, we reached the top (but not the peak yet). The view was absolutely amazinggg!!
Apparently, the uncle that was helping us is an avid climber and he is very familiar with Gunung Baling. So, he took us to the peak and luck was on our side because he knows all the good spots to take pictures. There’s also an ‘I’ structure on the other side of the top. If I’m not mistaken, there was a plan to build similar structure like “HOLLYWOOD”, but I guess the other letters were too hard to handle; hence, the lonely ‘I’.
While at the top, siren went off and I was a bit confused because why on Earth would you need siren in a mountainous area? Then, I heard a sudden blast. I was quite nervous and expecting a gentle quake after the blast, but luckily, no such thing happened. The uncle told us that it came from the quarry, approximately less than 2 km from us. The siren serves as reminder to the surrounding prior to any blast. Second siren went off and this time, I got to see the quarry area much better with the smokes after blasting, which reminded me of my Mining Engineering 101 class from years ago.
After more than an hour at the top, we started to hike down. Honestly, I’m not good with going downhill, the gravity is too strong that I feel I might as well roll down the slope, haha. I feel this way every single time I hike down any mountain/hill, so I’ll just blame my weak knees. I don’t understand why people say it’s easier to go down as compared to going up. Well, thankfully, I reached the base approximately 2 hours later (after so much struggle); and the rest is history.
Some tips if you’re planning to climb Gunung Baling (actually, these may apply to any hiking trip in general)
- Come early. It will give you better motivation, trust me.
- Wear good hiking shoes with good grip. True story, I’ve seen a girl reached the base with her socks only. Plus, the path is quite slippery, so you might fall easily.
- Bring enough water and food. We’ve totally underestimated this mountain. My tummy was singing throughout the trip downhill and we ran out of water too.
- Relax and take your time hiking. When going down, do not jump off rocks just to save time. Must love your knees!
- If you heard the sirens, just keep calm and keep on climbing.
- Do not litter. Love and respect Mother Nature.
Above all, hiking is supposed to be something enjoyable. So, always think positive because everything starts from your mind. Don’t forget to praise Lord along the way for He has given us the strength and opportunity to witness His beautiful creations.
That’s all from me, mucho gracias