Malaysians love holidays. A holiday which falls on a Friday is even more celebrated as a long weekend means a trip back home. Ever since joining Anak Perak Hikers early this year, a trip home is never just a trip home. It ‘s an opportunity to explore my beloved home state, Perak.
This year, Merdeka Day (Independence Day) fell on a Friday so we had quite an ambitious day planned ahead of us. Three hills in a day: Bukit Batu Suloh (BBS) and Bukit Kledang (Kledang Hill) in the morning and Bukit Batu Putih (BBP) by sunset. Truth be told, up until then I had never heard of any other hill save for the famous Kledang Hill.
Heavy rain greeted the dawn of Merdeka Day but stopped just in time as if giving us the blessings to go ahead and conquer the day.
Target No.1 : Bukit Batu Suloh (401m)
Our team of eight eager hikers gathered at the entrance of Markas Pasukan Gerakan Am (Headquarters of General Operations Force) which was our starting point. From here to the trail head was a 2 km paved road. One could either walk or take a four-wheel drive (4WD) up. If you had never been on a roller coaster ride then this 4WD ride would give you a taste of it. The best way to enjoy the ride is to stand in the stowage area (on the back of the truck), bracing yourself while feeling the wind in your face.
From the trail head it was a rather easy climb passing by acres of orchard belonging to the Orang Asli (indigenous tribe) of the nearby village. The air was fresh with a tinge of pleasant earthy scent as the soil was still damp from the morning shower. The rain also brought with it another trouble for hikers: leeches. These bloodsuckers were abundant especially after a downpour and we did come across hungry leeches crawling on the ground in search of their next victim. Thankfully, we were spared. The challenging stretch was an uphill climb using only tree roots and rocks along the trail. We proceeded cautiously ensuring a secure grip before taking the next step.
From here it was only fifteen minutes to the peak. There were big boulders to climb over before reaching the peak. These boulders gave the perfect opportunity for picture perfect shots. The peak was a narrow stretch from where the Sultan Azlan Shah Dam was clearly visible. Many fellow hikers carried the Jalur Gemilang (Malaysian flag) to show their patriotism and record the memories of the hike.
We spent quite some time capturing the morning view of the mountains until growling stomach signaled the need to move to the next activity. We found a nook to set up our cooking gear for a light breakfast of nuggets and coffee.
The sun’s intense heat was cue for us to descend to conquer the next hill.
The upside (and also downside) of trekking with a bunch of fun loving and let’s go with the flow hikers is that you tend to lose track of time. By the time we got back to our starting point it was noon and too hot to start our next hike. We decided to start our climb a little later in the afternoon. Slight delay in the plan but manageable nonetheless.
Target No.2 : Bukit Kledang (Kledang Hill)
After an afternoon siesta, we regrouped at Hala Rasi Jaya 1 Road, the starting point of our next climb. There are many trails to Kledang Hill namely “main road”, “4-2” (staircase trail), “4-8”, “4-9”, “5-4”, “5-8” and “RTM”. We took the “4-2” route which was an easy hike that took less than an hour.
Once reaching the spot called “exercise area”, we took in the unobstructed view of Ipoh city on a quiet afternoon while striking up conversation with the regulars.
Naturally, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to capture memories with the Jalur Gemilang against the backdrop of lush mountains atop Kledang Hill.
It was close to 4.30 pm when we began our descend which was quickened by the thought of enjoying Ipoh’s famous nasi ganja before the restaurant closed at 6pm.
You might wonder by now what happened to target hill number three that was supposed to take place by sunset. Satiated and unable to move after indulging in so much food, we decided that we were in no shape to conquer another hill.
After all BBP wasn’t going anywhere and it was a holiday to be enjoyed with friends and family!