Fun hiking at Pelepah Waterfalls Gunung Pelepah

Some call it Pelepah Waterfalls. Some call it Gunung Pelepah or even 水晶山瀑布. It is different from Kota Tinggi Waterfalls which is more for tourists 🙂

Pelepah Waterfalls was my first waterfall hiking too.  Unlike normal hiking, 30% to 40% of our journey is on water!

Best thing about Pelepah Waterfalls is there are so many ponds and waterfalls for you to jump into! Imagine trekking through the forest and seeing a waterfall in front of you!

 

As an estimate, it is about 2 hours up, and 2 hours down.

Me acting cool at the last Waterfall

I kept imaging how my kids would have enjoyed themselves at Pelepah Waterfalls, a pity they “were underage” (Hello organisers :p )

Checkout out our Waterfalls adventures at Chiang Mai (sticky waterfall) and Kota Tinggi (too touristy). I thought Pelepah Waterfalls was easier than Gunung Panti.

This trip was organised by Anchorvale Youth Club (Yes, I am not that old yet), and SGTrek (guides  Vijay and James). There were about 40 of us, including four local guides from Malaysia.

Pelepah Waterfalls trailhead (GPS 1.826111, 103.835556) is near the entrance of Kota Tinggi Waterfall entrance.

(Photo below) Gate is locked, hikers had to go under the bridge and wade one min behind the gate. This would be called trespassing in Singapore hee hee, but online references indicated this is ok 🙂

From the first min, our shoes and socks were never dry. Yeah!

Do wear socks, to minimise sand and pebbles bruising your toes. Seasoned hikers swear by Kampong Adidas.

 

Palm oil seed, shoes soaked

For first time hikers, permit and guides are strongly recommended. The tracks are well marked but you can still get lost or injured. I would recommend going with someone experienced.

Fyi, follow the red/white tape and keep to the track.  I noticed these white patches on the palm oil estate ground. Follow them on the way back (like Hansel and Gretel) and you will find civilisation again.


We can actually wade in the stream to our destination, but the meanderings will take up precious time. That is why we trekked through the estate.

If one is lost, just follow the stream.

This image is taken on the “return” trip

15 to 20 min easy trek through estate.

After 20 to 25min, you will see this bridge. From here onwards, we will be trekking in the forest.

Checkpoint 1 at 30 minutes mark.

At around 40min point, you will see the first pond.

Our guides told me this is Japanese Garden or Rock Garden, I forgot the sequence, but both landscapes are enchanting.

If you are going to Pelepah, help me confirm with the local guides ok.

Climb over the small boulder and another landscape awaits 🙂

水晶山

Pardon me if there are too many selfies, I love Nature and Pelepah Waterfalls trekking had been amazing thus far!

Our guide told us nicer waterfalls is just ahead WOW!

This steep 80 degree wall is our first obstacle.

The view behind is worth the climb 🙂

Our FIRST WATERFALL, although a small one, is enough to keep us happy. Take note the water can be 2 to 3m deep at the other end.

We were more reserved and shy at the first pond, but everyone could not wait to jump into this pond! We spent almost 20 minutes here.

The cool water washed away our fatigue. Invigorating!!

Found another waterfall model :p

Everyone was soaked inside out, the next segment was the most beautiful along the entire trek.

We waded through a “narrow corridor”. Water is waist deep (90 to 100cm), and we were flanked by two walls.

The rocks can be uneven and slippery, be careful when you are taking photos. I saw many folks stopped for wefies 🙂

This path is dangerous during rainy days as flash flood can sweep us away. Look out for incremental weather.


Everywhere we hike, we heard the sound of water streaming, more water FUN beckons.

Around another corner (15 minutes from first waterfall), we spotted our SECOND WATERFALL!

If the water is emerald, you might believe I am in the Philippines :p

Personally, this is the best Waterfall for me. We spent another 20 minutes here, showering and taking more photos and jumping jacks too.

 

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Modeling at #PelepahWaterfalls 😆 Invigorating and refreshing trek 😍👍 #kotaTinggi #pelepah #gunungPelepah #sengkangbabies #skbHiking

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#PelepahWaterfalls I must bring the kids along next round, so much 🚿 FUN 😊 #kotaTinggi #pelepah #sengkangbabies

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Chilling and powerful cascades of water soothed our shoulder and joints. Shiok lah!

Pelepah Waterfalls
Pelepah Waterfalls

Be careful of the hidden logs and stones underwater, I can understand why many would like to dash under the cooling waterfall haha 🙂

This is the same reason why “cliff or log” jumping might not be recommended.

Google indicates some folks do abseiling here too 🙂

Our guides had a hard time peeling us away from FUN haha. The last waterfall is 10 mins away.

Video (YouTube link):  Water Fun, I would do Pelepah again 🙂

The THIRD WATERFALL looks majestic but less fun then the second one, and it is very slippery too.

Waterfalls are super cold but our adrenaline and body heat (from hiking) meant we got to enjoy the cool dips!

The waterfalls tiers might offer a good spot for group photo but keep body low and on all fours (if necessary) to navigate the rock face.

I slipped and fell on my bums at least twice. If someone at the top slips, Domino Effect!

We had our packed lunch here.

Do take note that return trek is along the forest path and minimum water crossings. We will not u-turn along the same path, so NO more ponds and waterfalls 🙁

We did spot a few campers at Checkpoint 1.

Hiking and Swimming at Pelepah Waterfalls was a good workout for my body, my muscle still felt a bit numb on the second day 🙂

If you love adventures, do checkout all our Gunong hikings in Malaysia (Belumut, Panti and Taman Nagara )

Our Waterfalls adventures are here (not all are hiking). Three images below credit YEC and SGTrek 🙂

More photos can be found on Facebook Anchorvale YEC and SGTrek .

Additional tips :

-REMEMBER to waterproof your belongings, especially passport

-Malaysia Waterfalls listing – http://waterfallsofmalaysia.com/24pelapah.php

-Waterfalls can be dangerous, slippery rocks and careless photographers. Be vigilant and exercise caution. SAFETY First.

-Do take note of these emergency contacts:
a) 999 or  112-This will activate Police or Ambulance

b)994-Bomba (Emergency Rescue)

-Try not to ingest too much waterfall waters, especially if water is static. This helps city folks avoid stomach upset or even rat urine poisoning

-We did not encounter any leeches but I suspect I got some minor sandfly bites. For leeches, just spray saltwater to detach

Hiking Gunung Belumut, our first 1000m summit

Love the morning Sun rays! It was also how my heart was fluttering at the thought of another hike. We attempted to hike Gunung Belumut last Saturday, our first 1000m mountain 🙂
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Before this, our highest peak is Gunung Panti.

The numbers for Belumut.
4hours up, 3hours down.
15km to and fro, with the peak at 1100m.
To make it more challenging, rain fell 3 times!

We left home at 0445 and reach our breakfast venue at Kluang Rail coffee (GPS 2.033543, 103.317584). It is a real train station famous for coffee and toast (Opens at 0700).
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Nasi lemak (and Mee siam) only cost RM0.90 sen each! And there is only chili and white rice but the chili is solid! We suspect train passengers will buy these fantastic food for their meals.
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A half an hour drive away, we reach the base of Gunung Belumut (GPS 02.06715 103.52507).

From a distance, we can see Kluang is surrounded by mountains. Mist constantly floats down to cover the road, heightening our anticipation.
Gunung Belumut GPS

Make shift carpark among the palm oil plantation.
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Hiking can be a good analogy for Parenting, or rather what I wish my kids to learn through Life.

Hiking can be dangerous, a single trip, slip or twist could mean fractures, sprains or even death. Like any sports, we need to exercise caution, take care of each other, anticipate dangers and be alert.

We need courage to step out of our comfort zone, and that’s when we learn more about ourselves.

I always tell them. Death comes to everyone and there is nothing to fear (or feel morbid). If our time is up, even crossing the road can be dangerous.

Life is really short (how many 20 years do we have), and our human body is so fragile. I only hope we will have minimum regrets at the very end 🙂
Gunung Belumut hike

The “Before” photo, all eager to hike Gunung Belumut.
Starting bridge and pond, make us wish to dip inside the cooling water.
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From the beginning, a lot of fallen trucks lay in our path and we need to go under or over. Taller guys will need to constantly bend down under the trunks, I lost count of how many times my backpack stuck the ‘tree trunk belly’.
Gunung Belumut checkpoints

The map call Gunung Belumut a “recreational” forest, but we were sweating buckets and we had to climb on all fours at times.
It is always refreshing to reach the next “flat” ground.

Catch up with our breathe and water parade in preparation for the next slope.

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Besides the hike, we need to enjoy the surroundings too. Termites trail, and a huge leaf (to wrap Nasi Lemak haha)
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Pear-shape tree, ferns and mushrooms. The root on the right looks like a hammock.
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Checkpoint 1 (around 3.3km mark). It was uphill up 60 degree gradient for the next 600m!
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Kids helping each other over the obstacles, or finding an easier path to climb. Sometimes, I purposely keep quiet and let them figure out the next step or ‘rope’.

Kids are always tougher than we give them credit for 🙂
Gunung Belumut review

Sense of achievement? Perhaps, but they do treasure the companionship and jokes along the way.
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Checkpoint 2 (around 4.6km), some weird rock formation here. Looks like a walled fortress or a stage 🙂
(Checkpoint 1 to 2 is only 1.3km, but steep terrain means we need 50 minutes to reach CP2)
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Face towel was useful to stop the perspiration and block some rain too.
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Our guide say this was the 80 degrees wall, we had to climb up by navigating in a zigzag manner, left to right to left again. Make use of the roots.
Gunung Belumut with children

It lead us to a rock face, and we need to skirt behind and up.
Gunung Belumut experience

The rain started falling after checkpoint 2, and we were caught in 3 downpours! Besides the slippery and muddy slope, our pants and underwear were all soaked.

Checkpoint 3 is around 5.6km mark, I did not see the sign or landmark.

Hike higher, and you will see moss-covered branches and rocks. I was looking forward to some moss carpet, common in higher altitude.
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A fake summit (around 8km mark), the real summit is 20 minutes more to the left 🙂
Gunung Belumut fake summit

Finally the summit. But Gunung Belumut summit view is actually not spectacular and it was crowded.
Gunung Belumut height

We completed the hike in 4 hours plus. I was so excited that I forgot to sing Boon Kang a Birthday song haha. I had plan this hike as an advance Birthday gift for him 🙂 (We did sing a short rendition on the way down, see video below)
Gunung Belumut with family

We u-turn to have our mini lunch at the barren “fake” summit.
Our hiking brunch and lunch include :
– x4 1.5l water
– x3 100plus
– x6 banana
– x4 bread, baked beans and tuna (do not bring pork up hills and mountain in case we offend some spirits)
– x6 butter biscuits
– x4 sandwich

It was a heavy load to bear for up to 5 hours! We start our descend at around 2pm.
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There are a lot of “drains” to wade across. They become mini waterfalls when the rain fell. As we climb lower, it became darker and we were glad to exit at around 1730.

Although we were slightly behind time, it was crucial that we be extra vigilant and watch our steps. Kept reminding the kids that we might get careless when we are tired, and a slip would only make the situation worse.
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Hiking is a good way to bond and see the kids’ characters. We must help each other, motivate and encourage the weaker ones.
I would rotate the “leaders” so that everyone has a chance to lead and identify the markers ahead.

Kids would volunteer to share the load around so that no one is overly stretched. Hiking is a team effort and we need to reach the summit together.

Most importantly, always remember to have Fun!
We hope Mommy and princess can join us soon 🙂
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Video (link) : Photos cannot capture the kids’ persistence to conquer Hiking Gunung Belumut

Proceeded to checkin at our hotel for the night at Rail Hotel (GPS 2.023473, 103.311938 ). I was worried that legs will be too numbed to drive back to Singapore :p
Rail hotel Kluang

King sized bed for RM150, including breakfast voucher of RM24. Recharge before driving home the next day. I knock off at 10am while the kids were still playing games.

From the map below, Gunung Belumut is between UK Farm and Koref.
Kluang surroundings

Do your staircase training before attempting Gunung Belumut, my calves are still straining after two days.
If you are first time hiking, go for the 500m (or below) Johor mountains first (Panti, Arong, Pulai, Lambak). All are within 2 to 2.5 hours rive from Singapore, and a good start for children. In Singapore, Bukit Timah Hill (163m) and MacRitchie Tree Top walk would be a nice warm up. (Panti is 3 times harder than Bukit Timah, and I felt Belumut is easily 2 to 3 times harder than Panti)

Our hike was made possible with Facebook group “Freewill Hikers“. Guides and permit are needed for hiking Gunung Belumut (For our group of 45, we need to pay RM 40 per head).
We first hike up Gunung Panti (500m) with Free Hikers too, do join their group for future events.

More hiking photos uploaded on our Fanpage album.
Read all our hiking stories here.