Hiking in Malaysia: 14 Trails With the Most Picturesque Views

Hiking in Malaysia: 14 Trails With the Most Picturesque Views

We promise the views at the top are truly unforgettable!

Malaysia is home to mesmerising natural landscapes, punctuated by lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and especially majestic mountain ranges. The hills and mountains in Malaysia have a reputation for housing some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the region. 

Today, let’s talk about some of the finest destinations for hiking in Malaysia, ranging from fairly easy hikes to strenuous mountain ascents. What is common among these trails is the magnificent views that the hikers will enjoy along the way. These trails are proof that hiking in Malaysia is an activity that is truly rewarding.

Also read: 15 Famous Buildings in Malaysia: Where to See Architectural Attractions

Best places to go hiking in Malaysia

1. Forest Research Institute Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur

Out of all the places for hiking in Malaysia, the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) is arguably one of the most frequented on the Peninsula. That’s because this forest reserve is located right on the outskirts of Kepong, just a short distance away from Kuala Lumpur city centre. This pristine natural haven is perfect for cycling, hiking, and simply escaping the hustle and bustle of city life.

The hiking trails here are relatively easy. There are no steep ascents or battling with rocky terrain here, only leisurely strolls under the welcome shade of the verdant forest trees. The Rover Track is one of the most popular trails and if it’s your first time, this is where you want to start. However, take note that FRIM is more suited for locals so there is little signage to help you navigate.

Also read: 10 Hidden Gems in Kuala Lumpur That Are Worth Exploring

2. Gunung Datuk –  Negeri Sembilan

hiking in malaysia

Image credit: Farhan Azam

Gunung Datuk is located in the foresty hills of Negeri Sembilan, about an hour and a half away from Kuala Lumpur. Compared to most other mountains in Malaysia on this list, Gunung Datuk is slightly more challenging. It is also more time-consuming with the average time needed to complete the hike being about seven hours (both ways).

The terrain features a mixture of inclines and rocky slopes along with verdant, forested ascents. The final ascent also required you to climb up a few ladders mounted on some massive rocks! While it is a challenging climb, reaching the top rewards you with a truly magnificent sight. A panoramic view of the ambient town of Rembau is on offer. If you time your visit right, you’ll even see plenty of rainbows, an effect of the morning dew in the area.

3. Gunung Kinabalu – Sabah

mountains in malaysia

Image credit: Stéphane Enten

Gunung Kinabalu (aka Mount Kinabalu) needs no introduction. It is the tallest mountain in Malaysia and the third-highest peak in Southeast Asia. When you talk about hiking in Malaysia, you simply can’t leave this majestic mammoth of a mountain out of the picture! Located in Kinabalu National Park (an awesome jungle trekking experience itself), Mount Kinabalu is easily the most challenging hiking trail in Malaysia.

Ascending this UNESCO World Heritage Site is no mean feat and often takes about two full days to complete a round trip. You will also need to book a climb through a local tour/hiking company as the ascent can be a little precarious, especially for beginners. Along the way, you’ll get to experience the full beauty of Malaysia’s flora and fauna, before being absolutely blown away by the unparalleled views at the very top. At that moment, you’ll realise that all that hard work was more than worth it. Although, at this point, you may also want an ice pack for your sore limbs!

Also read: 4D3N Semporna Itinerary: My Experience Exploring This Diving Paradise

4. Broga Hill – Selangor

Image credit (L-R): Nigel Seah; Nigel Seah

Broga Hill, located in the sleepy town of Semenyih, Selangor, is one of my personal favourite spots for hiking in Malaysia. This is a go-to hiking spot for those staying in Selangor. It isn’t the toughest hike you’ll ever experience but it is one of the best places to catch the sunrise in Malaysia. It takes about two hours to reach the summit and the best time to set out, from experience, is around 4.30am. This gives you ample time to catch the break of dawn.

You’ll want to bring torchlights and water for the trip. Though the hiking trail is relatively smooth (with some rocky paths along the way), you’ll still want to lace up comfortable shoes.

5. Gunung Tok Wan – Selangor

Image credit: Thant Zin Kyaw

Sticking to hiking trails in Semenyih, Gunung Tok Wan is a steep mountain that lies just beyond the trail of Broga Hill. Trust me, this is arguably one of the toughest mountains in Malaysia for hiking, mainly because it starts at the peak of Broga Hill! So, after enjoying your lovely sunrise, instead of heading back down for breakfast, you can simply continue your ascent to new heights!

Thankfully, the distance between the peak of Broga Hill to Gunung Tok Wan is only about 200 metres and you should be able to get there within an hour. At the top, you’ll be able to admire the sprawling expanse of Broga Hill and the town of Semenyih in a spectacular panorama.

6. Bukit Tabur – Selangor

Image credit: Chee.hong

Part of the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge (visible from Kuala Lumpur), Bukit Tabur is one of the most beautiful hiking trails in the Klang Valley. It is split into two distinct trails: Bukit Tabur East and Bukit Tabur West. Both trails offer breathtaking views along the way, although the west side is often slightly more popular, especially during the weekends.

While neither trail is particularly difficult, they are both laden with quarts and slippery, rocky slopes. Because of this, you should definitely come with the appropriate footwear. If you make it to the top, an incredible sight awaits you, one that perfectly captures the dualistic beauty of Kuala Lumpur. The east trail ends with a panoramic view of the verdant hills while the western summit shows you a stunning view of the cityscape!

Update as of Jul 2023: Bukit Tabur’s trails are now closed. However, visitors can still technically hike the mountain at their own risk.

7. Penang Hill – Penang

Image credit (L-R): Keith Chan; Abdelrahman Ismail

Here’s one of the places for hiking in Malaysia that is slightly underrated. Penang Hill is one of the most famous destinations in the country. However, most visitors will opt to ride the Penang Hill funicular to the top (which, I admit, is a fun experience). What most tourists don’t know is that you can also hike around the hill by trekking through the Penang Hill Loop trail.

The loop hike trail is about 11 kilometres long and takes about five hours to complete. The trail is often rather steep and not always well-marked, but there is a fine view from the summit. Be prepared to traverse through dense jungle trails though, which I suppose is one of the unique features of this particular hike.

Also read: 17 Airbnbs in Penang Where You Can Live Like a Local

8. Gunung Angsi – Negeri Sembilan

hiking places in malaysia

Image credit: Nalini Nisha

It’s said that Gunung Angsi is one of the easiest mountains in Malaysia for hiking. It is no taller than 825 meters and it doesn’t take longer than an hour and a half to get to the summit. There are two hiking trails at Gunung Angsi, accessible via the Ulu Bendul entrance and the Bukit Putus entrance. The Ulu Bendul trail is slightly tougher as it is longer and features some steep inclines.

Regardless of which trail you choose, they both converge at the same peak. The top is a lovely clearing where you can simply lay on the ground and let the sweet sounds of Mother Nature serenade you. While the view isn’t as breathtaking as those in other mountains in Malaysia, it still makes for a relaxing hike to put your mind at ease.

9. Bukit Chenuang – Selangor

hiking selangor

Image credit: Huiting Tan

Bukit Chenuang is located near Hulu Langat, Selangor, and is one of the many places for hiking in Malaysia that take you through forested paths filled with rivers and verdant greenery. There are several trails that lead to the summit, but one of the most interesting ones starts conveniently at Sungai Congkak Recreational Forest. It takes about four hours to get to the summit, and a little less to get back down.

10. Gunung Ledang – Johor

Image credit: Alson Lam

If you’re looking for hiking spots in Johor, head to the tallest mountain peak in the state, Gunung Ledang. Also known as Mount Ophir in English, it is one of the most popular mountains in Malaysia for outdoor adventures. It lies a few hours’ drive from Kuala Lumpur and features breathtaking natural scenery and excellent views, making it one of the prettiest hiking places in Malaysia. Fit hikers can make it to the summit in less than six hours.

Also read: 15 Best Airbnbs in Johor for Your Next Weekend Getaway

11. Bukit Kiara – Kuala Lumpur

Bukit Kiara is one of the locals’ favourite hiking destinations in Klang Valley. It is home to a wide variety of amusing flora and fauna, including rarely-seen species like powder cap mushrooms, bat lily, fireflies, and orb-weaver spiders. You’ll also find the picturesque Kiara Waterfall along the journey.

There are many hiking trails in Bukit Kiara, with the most popular one being the Changkat Abang Haji Openg route. It takes an average of approximately an hour and a half to complete the hike. Besides hiking, this is also a famous place for road biking. 

12. Bukit Gasing – Selangor

One of the best places to go hiking in Selangor and KL is Bukit Gasing. There are a lot of free hiking trails here, and all of them are rather easy to hike, especially for experienced hikers. The easiest and most famous hiking trail for beginners is the Bukit Gasing Suspension Bridge trail, where you will pass by a bridge and numerous staircases. It takes only about an average of 30 minutes to complete. 

This tropical forest was a rubber plantation and is now a favourite place to go for nature lovers. Aside from hiking, camping is also one of the common activities at this mountain in Malaysia that’s open all year round.

13. Gunung Irau (Mossy Forest) – Pahang

mountains in malaysia

Image credit: Klim Levene

If you’re looking for a hiking spot in Cameron Highlands, check out Gunung Irau. Also called  Mossy Forest, it is one of the most stunning mountains in Malaysia. This mountain stands at 2,110 meters above sea level, making it the highest one in the region. Gunung Irau is renowned for its whimsical yet breathtaking mossy forest that makes you feel as if you’ve stepped into a secret wonderland.

Hikers can visit Gunung Irau via two trails: the Mount Suku trail and the Corybas trail. However, a permit and the accompaniment of a guide are required for both trails. 

Also read: 11 Best Airbnbs in Cameron Highlands for a Cooling Vacation

14. Canada Hill – Sarawak

This hill in Miri, Sarawak called Canada Hill makes another one of the greatest hiking places in Malaysia. Canada Hill is actually a historic location that played a significant role in the birth of the petroleum industry in the country. This explains why tourists love coming here to take a glimpse of the Grand Old Lady, aka the first oil well in Malaysia located on the top of the hill. The hiking trail on Canada Hill is quite challenging, but the magnificent view of the sunrise and sunset from above will make it worthwhile! 

Also read: 21 Dos and Don’ts in Malaysia That Travellers Should Know About 

And there you have it: 14 of the most popular hiking trails and mountains in Malaysia, filled with the natural charms of the country’s natural landscape. Which one’s your favourite and which one are you most eager to try? Let us know!

About Authors

Darren Yeoh
Darren Yeoh

Darren enjoys the finer things in life and loves exploring unfamiliar places on foot, guided with nothing but instinct and a good-old fashioned map. He enjoys cultural experiences and exciting adventures and is not a stranger to travelling alone. When he's not putting his travel experiences into words, he's probably sitting behind his laptop, planning his upcoming adventure.


Cecelia Chang
Cecelia Chang

Born in a new village in Selangor, Malaysia, Cecelia loves three things in life: Good food, good views, and good deals. She also enjoys exploring new places and experiencing new things on her travels.


Bram Reusen

Bram is a freelance writer, translator and travel photographer. He was born and grew up in a small town in Belgium and currently lives in a small town in Vermont, USA. He likes to try different travel styles and he has backpacked across Australia, cycled from Belgium to the North Cape and back, spent three months immersing himself in the Irish culture, hiked across England, climbed numerous mountains in New England, and visited many a handful of European cities. Besides writing and traveling, Bram spends his days reading, working out and trying to live a healthy life.