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Bukit Kunong 931m, newly opened trail that shares same trailhead as Bukit Kutu

Updated: Jul 7, 2023



Bukit Kunong, a recently officially opened trail by Selangor Forestry is raw and wild with no view but it's a dynamite! Short, steep and slippery! If you are short of time, but want a challenge and excitement and don't mind the lack of jaw dropping scenery, this hike is for you! #bukitkunong


Bukit Kunong 931m, a narrow peak without panoramic views that you will get at Kutu!

The problem of erosion and landslides will always be a destructive force to any outdoor activities. Coming into this hike, I realised that I have not hike beyond 10km since 2023, and my physical fitness level is incorrigible. Perhaps the time has come to build it up!

Starting point: Bukit Kutu trailhead

Hike Duration: Allow around 5hours to and fro (3.85km one way)

End Hike: Backtrack

Fees : A token amount of RM1 is incurred per hiker, pay as you enter car park

Hike Difficulty: 4/5

Scenery Rewards: it's not the destination but the suffering journey towards it!


Note: A permit & a guide is needed to hike most hills above 500m in Selangor. A daily quota of only 100 hikers are allowed. This is to maintain, conserve and protect the trail!

The ratio is 1 guide to every 7 hikers.


What to bring

1. Basic first aid stuff such as disinfectant, ankle guard in case you sprain your ankle, band-aid.

2. Walking stick. The ascend here is extremely steep

3. Raincoat and Poncho

4. At least 2l of water, pack lunch, snack! A celebratory ISOTONIC drink, or champagne!

5. Change of clothes

6. Good pair of hiking shoes is absolutely necessary

7. Gloves

8. Leech Alert! So do bring a Dettol or Listerine spray

9. Check the weather forecast

10. Mosquito coil, if you are planning to have a picnic at the peak!


Note: The steep inclines from CP1-2 is arduous and can cause calf cramps, bring muscle cramp cream in case!


The mosquito coil is a life saver at the peak!

Trailhead to CP1


Cross the 1st bridge and trek 10 minutes till you reach the campsite. For those who have hiked Bukit Kutu, it is on the same trailhead, but at the crossroads of the second river either direction will lead you to different peaks. Instead of crossing the 2nd river, we paid 2rm to the campsite owners to trespass their land and keep our shoes on and feet dry. This payment also includes free use of the"au de naturel" toilet and bath. Later should you need to freshen up after the hike. (the charge for toilet at the carpark is 5rm)


Bukit Kunong shares same trailhead as Bukit Kutu, Gunung Rajah

The water level at the 2nd river crossing can be high and best way is to pay 2rm to keep your shoes on!

We passed the campsite and entered the jungle trail. The trail is obscure and overgrown. If not for the guide and the ribbons like beacons lighting the way, we could easily get lost. The trail at this section runs parallel to the river, the terrain is damp, muddy, and waterlogged at parts.


The overgrown and leech infested trail begins with a moderate incline that gradually increases after passing the abandoned rubber tree plantation.

From here, we ascended a few big slopes, with the help of newly installed ropes to the durian orchard area. For a brief section, the ground was strewn with durian flowers, we all wished we came a few months later so we could harvest them. But it is hard to imagine any of the ripe durians falling at terminal velocity toward the ground! You will probably need a helmet if you pass this area during the durian season!


The trail from the durian orchard started to get steeper, the overgrown vegetation and durian orchard gradually replaced by thick bamboo forest. It gets harder to navigate here as there are many fallen bamboo and steep gradient. The markers here are less conspicuous, blocked but the thick bamboo at different levels with many bends and turns. Don't let your guide go out of sight!

You will finally reach Check Point 1 when you approach at the first enormous "Keruing" tree.


Checkpoint 1, when you finally reach CP1 you heave a sigh of relief

Checkpoint 2-3 to Peak


From Checkpoint 1 to 2, you will pass more bamboo forest, the trail narrows and steepens at parts and the ascend is long without flat ground. This 1km is a serious workout out, over and under fallen logs and bamboo and slopes aided only with a thin string! (Let's hope the thin string will be replaced soon with thicker ropes)

I allowed my mind to drift away as I was struggling up the trail wondering how we will descend later as the dry foliage litter on the trail offers zero grip. But I quickly brush my thoughts aside and focus on the march upwards.


G-strings don't provide any aid when ascending these steep & slippery terrains

Thick bamboo forest from CP2-3

From CP2 to CP3, you will be able to catch glimpse of the Selangor dam. This is probably the best view you'll get during this hike, so try not to miss it. The ascends from CP2 to CP3 are shorter and less steep. Parts of the trail, you'll notice the gargantuan "Keruing trees" towering from the secondary jungle.

Finally from CP3 the gradient eases. You will notice a subtle change in vegetation and temperature. The jungles is cooler and brighter with more dwarf trees.


Final ascend before reaching the ridge

Along the final stretch up the ridge, the path continues to ascend gradually meandering through thickets of bush before finally reaching the trig-station. Our group were the first to summit Bukit Kunong. We had the trig-station all to ourselves, not long before the other group arrived, the area was quickly packed with hikers with little place to maneuver. We quickly refilled, had our caffeine fix, took our obligatory group shot and headed down!



 

PART 6 RETURN


We whizzed past CP3 effortlessly but from CP3-CP2 the trail was rather loose with dry foliage litter. Few of us tripped and bumped over stumps and roots we couldn't see. The help of the walking stick was a saver especially at slippery parts where it was better to just slide down.


The trail certainly looked different on the return leg. But just watch for the markers, it will lead you out! Or never lose sight of your guide!


Time reference Checkpoints


The total hike took around 7.8km from the carpark and back, and appx. 5 hours including rest time. As the trail in still new, the checkpoint may change. But it is good to have a rough mind map on your progress. This time reference is based on a small group of 7 and few of them were power hikers who probably ran up the hill. I, on the other hand was trying to catch my breath at every short stretch, especially on the ascend! PHEWWWWWW


0730 - Start Hike to Camping area

0745- Camp area to CP1 (big tree)

0815- CP1 to CP2 ( swing tree)

0900- CP2-CP3 (fallen log)

1000- Bukit Kunong peak 931m

1030- Picnic

1130- CP1

1200- Camp area, freshen up

1230- Leave carpark





Habitats


As we tracked downhill, nature's cicada orchestra was in full force. The lone call of the siamang monkey echos from a distance and lizards and snake slitter through the unearth mud by the wild boars. The jungle is full of fruit trees planted by the orang asli, especially on the lower land. It is not surprising that many wild boars hunt for fruits and roots around that area.


On another occasion another group discovered the feathers of the Great Argus bird or Kuang Raya in Bahasa Malaysia. The bird produces a sound that is unique to it's species, KOW-WOW.... I have heard it many time especially in the thick jungle, but never come across one face to face. Click below to her the calls of the Great Argus!


photos contributed by Jennifer! Thx for the amazing feather shots!



I have never tasted durian curry but perhaps if you can grab a fresh bunch, it is worth cooking it!


Durian flowers has strong durian scent!


 


Reflections


This hike up to Bukit Kunong although was tough but was short! The rugged trail is challenging and rewarding for those who enjoy a good workout. This trail is too short to inflict any muscle or gluteus maximum ache the following day, but do wear proper shoes and bring stick for support downhill!

The trails to Bukit Kunong is pristine and I am happy to say that I did not see one plastic wrapper along the way and hope that it will remind this way as more hikers traverse the trial. We engage Ms Jacquline as our guide for this excursion. One of the handful of lady guides in the country, she can lead you to any peaks you wish in Selangor! She was involved in clearing and opening up of the trail and is very well informed about the area. (drop me a DM if you need her contact)


The forestry department is stern about permits and guides for hikes and camping in forest reserve areas after many uneventful fatalities and lost hikers over the year post Covid when everyone is on revenge outdoor mode! Do make proper permit request and plan your hikes accordingly and always check the weather forecast especially when it involves river crossings!


Is Bukit Kunong better than Bukit Kutu? #bukitkutu

Both of these hills are different and require different endurance and challenges!


Were there many leeches?

Yes,be prepared!


Should I hike Bukit Kutu or Bukit Kunong

Both these hills are different, if you have not done Bukit Kutu, it is definitely the better choice as it has historic ruins and a breathtaking panoramic view!


Hiking with these guys is like hiking with the dream team! Fast, furious, steady and strong!

After every hike make sure you pile back on the calories. We head to Restaurant Seong Mun

for a hearty and delicious lunch! The "paku" fern vegetable dish is seasonal and a must try! The ones they serve here are the young shoots of the fern and they are extra tender! You'll thank me for it!



fern dish, paku dish
Delicious, tender and appetizing paku dish! YUMMY




Date visited: 11th March 2023











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