Aug 27, 2010

Gunung Tapis

Gunung Tapis & Pelangi Waterfall
1502 m / 4957 ft
August 5-9 2010

At our last climb to Gunung Benum Uncle Lim suggested Gunung Tapis and See Tho answered "I 'Tapid' first" (meaning I surrender). See Tho suffers from high attitude sickness during the Gunung Benum climb and promised himself that this will be his last mountain to climb.

Gunung Tapis peak is about 1502 meters or 4,957 feet above sea level. It is the 18th highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia. The start trail is situated on the 4wd trail to the Pelangi Waterfall or Rainbow Waterfall (photo courtesy from Taman Negara Web) from Sungai Lembing. Sungai Lembing is situated 42Km North West of Kuantan, Pahang The Journey from Kuantan to Sungai Lembing is about 1 hour.
The normal trek to Gunung Tapis is about 2 days 1 night and due to the long drive from Klang/Kajang we decided to arrived 1 day earlier and stayed at Wong's home stay (019-9878631 A-3294 Lrg Kubang Buaya 4, Kuantan) which offers affordable and comfortable stay of about RM$20 - RM$25 per head room sharing.

Arriving a day earlier is more relaxing and an opportunity to dine at Restaurant T & L nearby. And also to distribute the packages which include our stove, gas, food and flysheets. Morning call at 5.30am and Uncle Lim will meet us at the home stay by 6.00am and proceed to Sungai Lembing food court for our breakfast. Sungai Lembing is famous for their soft 'tau fu' so don't miss it when you come here. I park my car in front of the police station and hop onto Ah Onn's 4WD Hilux. Usually they charge about RM$35 per head for a 4WD to Pelangi Waterfall or a minimum charge of about RM$ 350 - RM$400 which can seat approximately about 12 persons. You can enquire when you arrive at Sungai Lembing Town.

Day 1Pelangi Waterfall or Rainbow Waterfall has become very popular with visitors where the best time to view is 10.00 am when the sunlight hits the correct angle to setup a beautiful rainbow scenery. The waterfall itself looks like a misty curtain of water droplets free fall from a height of about 2 to 3 hundred feet. The 4WD will stop before the river. Crossing the river on foot and about 30 minutes to the Pelangi Waterfall. Unfortunately the weather was cloudy and we did not get to see the rainbow. Later we stop at our start trail to Gunung Tapis at another river crossing. Sometimes during dry season and with proper tires you can drive your 4WD until Camp 1 which can save you about 90 minutes of walking.

We started trekking at about 10.45 am. following a old logging trail which followed the river until Camp 1 where we turn right towards Camp 2. You can find the Ikan Kelah or the Masheer fish (a gourmet delicacy) here and many locals will come here to fish. From Camp 1 to Camp 2 the trail is open flat terrain covering about 7km and just our luck the sun is shinning brightly and it gets real hot. After Camp 1 you will start to notice lots of elephant dung (fresh one) and freshly flattened trees and and bamboos which indicate that a herd of elephants are nearby and judging from the foot print they are of rather large size. Its midday and the hot afternoon sun is wearing us out. Finally after 3 hours from the start trail we reached Camp 2 around 1.45pm covering about 11km to stop for a snack lunch. There is a stream nearby and we sat in it to cool down and a school of fish (small) of the red kelah variety swam nearby. Our original plan was to camp at the Gunung Tapis Peak which requires another 5 hours covering 6.5km and ascending 4000 feet. After trekking for about 30 mins towards Camp 3 we decided that it was too ambitious to reach Gunung Tapis peak on day 1. We felt if we had avoided the morning trek to Pelangi Waterfall we would have save about 2 hours.
Its uphill trek to Camp 3 and its a hot afternoon and we reach our campsite by 4.30 pm. This campsite could fit about 30 campers fortunately only 7 of us here. The water stream nearby provides and excellent supply for our needs. There is a memorial plaque fix onto a small boulder found here. And uncle Lim would always place a small lighted candle at the memorial plaque. Upon enquiring the memorial plaque is dedicated to Mr. Joseph Cheong You Sang who promoted the Gunung Tapis trek had pass away on his last and final climb in 2004 at the age of 65. May he rest in peace.
KC prepared tea and biscuits for snacks while the others found their good spot to set up camp. Quickly took a bath before it gets too cold and KC prepared dinner to be served later. Dinner was a simple rice, eggs and vegetables. Later for supper hot ginger sweet potatoes were served. Tuck in our tents by 10.00pm.
Day 2.

Woke up early, had tea and noodles for breakfast. Did some packing and started trekking to Gunung Tapis Peak at 7.30am. Today's climb is ascending 2000 feet covering 3.5km that will require approximately 2 hours to Gunung Tapis Peak. Trekking at a steady pace we reach the peak at around 9.30am. It was a clear sky and Gunung Tahan can be seen towards North-West direction and Gunung Benum is noticeable towards West direction. We rested and enjoyed the mountainous view with tea and snacks. We started descending around 10.15am and reach Camp 3 around 12.30 noon. We pack up and continue towards Camp 2 about 2 hours later. By this time our body heat started heating up and when Ah Onn and Wong saw the river they quickly jump in like water buffaloes and soak in to cool themselves. From Camp 2 to our car park is another 11km of hot sun which will take about 3 hours trek. Its just walking and walking. Each time we cross a river we will find opportunity to soak in it. Along the trail we notice some fresh elephant foot prints. Ah Onn told us if we see our friends (at the front) running towards us we should quickly put our backpacks to the side and run for your lives. This is because they are being chased by elephants. This sounded serious and stressful but on the positive note KC told Ah Onn that hopefully it won't happen. By the time we reach Camp 1 our legs felt sore, tired and very hot. Finally the last river crossing to our car park at around 5.10pm. Took a bath and head out to Sungai Lembing town for dinner and boy! we really felt hungry. We have been trekking since morning. Gunung Tapis height may look short compare to other G7 mountains in Malaysia but it does have its own challenging long trail.

Thanks to

Click on play below to view a slide show of photographs


Anonymous said...

interesting trip you had. WIsh i was healthy enough to hike. i could do it when i was younger but now....NO. Alamak.

Anonymous said...

Hello, just hopped onto your blog about Gunung Tapis.

Would like to ask how do you get a guide and a 4WD? do you have any contact? Thanks!

YK Low aka Flipper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
YK Low aka Flipper said...

Jei-ku sorry we don't have the contact that you required but you can visit Sg. Lembing and make your enquiries from the 4WD services there. They might be able to help you. The other option is to contact the owner of the homestay in Kuantan Mr. Wong, he might be able to offer some solution.

awtkas983 said...

Hi Sir..this is a nice post, Im also planning to climb this mountain, can you share your itinerary, if its ok. Thank you.

Unknown said...

014-8282453 shah
Guide and 4wd service in sungai lembing