Day Trips From Singapore: 7 Mountains To Climb in Malaysia

Day Trips From Singapore: 7 Mountains To Climb in Malaysia

Take a day trip from Singapore to explore Malaysia’s underrated wilderness and reach greater heights by hiking any of these seven mountains in a day!

Craving for some adventure and exhilaration, but don’t have time for a proper vacation? Running out of things to do in Singapore? Look no further! Neighbouring Malaysia is home to a number of mountain ranges that offer excellent climbing experiences for both aspiring and experienced climbers! Though mountains here are not the tallest and do not boast picturesque snow-capped peaks, they are still stunning beauties with gorgeous landscapes.

These mountains are best accessed by cars and the furthest mountain in this list is at most a three and a half hour drive away from Woodlands Checkpoint. For those who don’t drive, there are also buses available from the JB Sentral Bus Station to towns like Kluang, Mersing and Seremban. There are also several independent hiking groups that charter private buses and organise hikes to selected mountains.

Without further ado, here are seven mountains (or Gunungs) that you can climb in just a day from Singapore – perfect for your planless Saturdays!

1. Gunung Ledang, Johor

Image credit: mynikfoto

Gunung Ledang, also known as Mount Ophir, is the highest mountain in the state of Johor and is located in its own national park. Merely a couple of hours drive from Singapore, it is one of the most trekked mountains in the Malaysian Peninsular.

Image credit: (left) Xinghuei, (right) acromatic

It sits on the border of Muar and Malacca and has popular camping trails with waterfalls for swimming opportunities.

For novice climbers, it will take approximately five hours to reach the summit. Be greeted by the breathtaking views of the scenery, which are sure to leave you amazed. It is advisable to take the main Sagil Trail, also known as the Lagenda Trail, due to its proximity to Sagil Village.

Fun Fact: Popular Malay folklore has it that the spirit of a celestial princess, who once lived on the mountain, still lingers till today! She was wooed to be the wife of the then Sultan of Malacca, Sultan Mahmud Shah. However to reject his proposal, she set seven impossible conditions for him. Some versions of the legend claim that he was not able to fulfil any of these conditions, while others noted that he fulfilled only the first six as the final request required him to kill his own son!

Altitude: 1276m
Difficulty Rating: Low to medium difficulty, not suitable for complete beginners due to certain areas which require you to climb boulders with ropes.

2. Gunung Lambak, Kluang, Johor

 

Image credit: Go Johor

Standing at only 510m, Gunung Lambak is one of the smaller mountains in Johor. Located in Kluang, its twin peaks can be easily seen from the town. This fairly underrated mountain is usually (read: sadly) given a miss for the more popular Mount Belumut nearby. However, it is an excellent introductory mountain trek for complete beginners!

Image credit: (left) Ravenblack7575, (right) Go Johor

It is common to see the locals and tourists hiking as a family during the weekends due to its low difficulty rating. The mountain can easily be scaled within a four to five-hour round trip. There are two separate paths to the two peaks and it is advisable to head to the cemented trail.

The mountain is also a favourite birdwatchers’ haunt, as you’ll be able to spot various species of birds, including the bee-eaters. The pool in the recreation area is also a popular spot for trekkers to cool off after their trek!

Fun Fact: Take a closer look at the contours of Gunung Lambak on your map, and you can notice the faint outline of the head and wing of a bat (with a sprinkle of imagination of course)!

Altitude: 510m
Difficulty rating: Low difficulty, short but steep dirt trail with thick protruding roots

3. Gunung Pulai, Johor

Image credit: Kai Gan

The nearest mountain to scale from Singapore, Gunung Pulai is located in Johor just 19km away from Johor Bahru City. As you reach the mountain, you will definitely see a teacup landmark bearing the name ‘Anggun Cafe” and the road leading to the starting point of the trail.

The flora and fauna found here attracts many hikers from the region to this part of the world. There are two viewpoint which provide stunning views of the rainforest that blankets the mountain and nearby hills.

Image credit: Ravenblack7575

There are two paths to reach the summit – the jungle path or the paved road. It is advisable to take the paved road, and you will reach the top in about one and a half hours. After the hike, have a splash at the waterfall of Mount Pulai.

Fun Fact: Many Singaporeans are fond of trekking at Gunung Pulai as they feel that there is a historic connection between Singapore and this mountain. The forest reserve is actually a catchment area that feeds into the Johor River, which in turn supplies water to Singapore!

Altitude: 654m
Difficulty: Low

4. Gunung Datuk, Negeri Sembilan

Image credit: Bernard Oh

Also known as Gunung Rembau, Gunung Datuk is located in the town of Rembau in Negeri Sembilan. It is only about an hour’s drive away from Malacca town. This mountain holds many treasures of the natural tropical rainforests.

Climbing this mountain is fairly easy, and it is a step down from the previous two mountains. It takes about two to three hours for a complete beginner to reach the summit, and a fairly fit and experienced hiker can complete the hike in an hour. Gunung Datuk also promises to reward you with spectacular views of The Strait of Malacca!

With plenty of time in the evening, stopover at Malacca on your way back to savour the famous Chicken Rice Balls and Nyonya Assam Laksa! Soak in the colonial atmosphere at Jonker Street and make up for all the calories lost with a delectable Gula Melaka Cendol dessert trust me you won’t regret it.

Fun Fact: The mountain has a strong historical significance. The “Datuks”, or the Chiefs, used to gather at the summit to announce the name and title of their next clan chief in the 14th century. The Datuks must have been real fit in those days!

Altitude: 885m
Difficulty rating: Low difficulty, but you may have to climb some steel ladders to enable you to get on the massive boulders that sit at the peak of the mountain.

5. Gunung Angsi, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan

Image credit: (left) Bernard Oh, (right) Ravenblack7575

Gunung Angsi is situated about 20km away from Seremban town, the capital of Negeri Sembilan. Located inside Ulu Bendul Recreational Park, this mountain is a favourite trekking spot for hikers and nature-lovers. Slightly further north, Gunung Angsi is about a three to four hour-drive away from Singapore.

You can choose to either take the easier route via Bukit Putus, or a more challenging water trail through Ulu Bendul. First time hikers should have no problem reaching the peak of Gunung Angsi as it is mostly upslope walking with only some steep inclinations. It takes an average of two to three hours to the summit.

Image credit: Ravenblack7575

Although known for its not-so-spectacular views, one can still manage some pleasant views of the scenery if you venture a little beyond the vegetation. There is a viewpoint before the summit, where you can see the town of Seremban, so keep your cameras ready!

Image credit: Bernard Oh

Fun Fact: Trekkers have commented that every Sunday, an elderly man who goes by the nickname “Panjang”, prepares dessert and offers it to hikers free of charge. Hikers in the Seremban area will supply him with beans, sweet potatoes, and cane sugar. See if you are lucky enough to meet him during your Sunday trekking activity!

Altitude: 824m
Difficulty rating: Low difficulty

6. Mount Belumut, Kluang, Johor, Malaysia

Image credit: Tourism Johor

Located near Kluang town in Johor, Mount Belumut is only a couple of hours away from Singapore and makes for an excellent day trip. It is the second tallest mountain in Johor, after Mount Ophir and is an ideal training place for those who wish to pick up mountain climbing.

Climbers who are just starting out can expect to reach the summit in five hours, and more experienced climbers can finish it in under four hours. The first half of the hike is pretty gentle and forgiving, but it gets much steeper as you approach the summit. The descent will take about three to four hours, and you can expect to be back before nightfall.

After roughing it out, take a cool dip in the pretty stream at the base of the mountain as you bask in your celebratory mood after completing your hike! Other than the hiking essential of insect repellent, do bring along a packet of salt and a small bottle of vinegar. Leeches can be a real problem when it rains!

Fun Fact: A boulder, named the Crown Rock, sits at the top of the summit. It got its name as it resembles a huge crown.

Altitude: 1010m
Difficulty Rating: Low to medium difficulty

7. Gunung Arong, Mersing, Johor

Image credit: Heritage Malaysia

Can’t decide if you want to spend that precious Saturday at a mountain or beach?

Mountain-trekkers and beach-lovers will love Gunung Arong Recreational Forest! This nature reserve gives you the best of both worlds – green foliage, blue sea and a white sandy beach.

Image credit: lamaK

Start your trip through a scenic road trip through tree plantations and rustic, traditional villages as you make your way to Mersing, located on the east coast of Johor. The hiking trail to Gunung Arong is only a two-hour drive from Singapore.

This mountain (or hill if you’d prefer) can be climbed by children, making it a perfect weekend family activity. After a simple two-hour hike, you’ll be rewarded with views overlooking the South China Sea and the neighbouring islands. Cool off and chill out at the beach after your climb and enjoy a revitalising dip at the shore. Sink your tired feet in the white sand and spot coral rocks and seashells!

Be sure to visit Mersing town and experience the charm and culture of the old town. Have a delicious barbeque seafood dinner at one of the eateries there before returning.

Image credit: RICO Lee

Fun Fact: Did you know that the sleepy town of Mersing is also a popular star-gazing spot? If you plan to stay till late, stake out a spot on the beach and await a spellbinding view. Happy gazing!

Altitude: 275m
Difficulty: Very low

Although it can be highly exhausting, mountain climbing is described as rewarding, exhilarating and satisfying by those who grow to love it. The more you climb, the more eager you are to conquer another summit.

People of all fitness levels and age can enjoy this activity, and you don’t even have to venture that far off. Bookmark this article and head across the Causeway for your next altitude-ascending expedition in Malaysia!

About Author

Abdul Asyraf
Abdul Asyraf

Asyraf's favourite word? Wanderlust. He believes in the element of spontaneous travel as he feels the most interesting experiences come with flexibility. He enjoys his late night suppers and you can find him devouring a mutton-cheese murtabak or salted-egg paus.

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