Updated: May 19
Bukit Batu Sawa, Jelebu, only 80km away but the scenic 1 hour trip from Kuala Lumpur would have you thinking if you have arrived in Minangkabau land in Sumatra. As the annual year-end rain sets in, some peaks are best explored in the wet weather! I joined the Trailblazers Hiking Group at 6am to catch the sea of clouds at mystical Jelebu land that is quite often shrouded in morning fog! #redforest
Part I (Bukit Batu Sawa)
Starting point: Trailhead Bukit Batu Sawa
Hike Duration: 45 minutes through village path, rubber plantation, uncovered grassland below pylon, moderate climb, steep climb.
End Hike: Backtrack
Hike Difficulty: EASY and suitable for children and newbies
Scenery Rewards: Panoramic sea of clouds if arriving in the morning, when the morning mist is thick, normally dissipates if you come in the afternoon.
PERMIT IS REQUIRED! Apply in advance through the Negeri 9 Forestry Department
It is a drag but due to recent relaxed interstate travels, the forestry department has been busy at work issuing fines!
Parking: 3RM, toilets available 0.50sens per use
Tips: If you are coming here to catch the fog, you have to make it early as the fog quickly dissipates after 10 am. Best chance if after a heavy downpour the day before!
And if you are coming here in the early hours, do bring a headlamp. The trail is dark and although in the secondary forest, it is riddled with roots and tree stubs. #bukitbatusawa #seaofclouds #gunungberembun #gunungtelapakburuk
The sea of clouds from the ridge of Bukit Batu Sawa at dawn will crush all your doubts about getting up at 3am and making that 11/2hour zombie car drive to Jelebu in Negeri 9.
invigorated to be in the forest when the moon is shining!
Part one: Through the rocky path of Kampung Perandong
After you have made left from Route 86, you will approach a Y junction. Take left and head up the slope. Park at the open area.
Turn left from the carpark to the dirt road and head towards the hill. After about 10 minutes you will reach the foothill on the right.
Note: The forestry department was busy at work at the entrance of the trail as we were on the way out. It's hard to avoid them on a weekend! So get your permits!
The main route up passes a rubber plantation, some wild ginger thicket and then, meets the woodland. This beginning of the trail is easygoing and rugged until you reach a little slope that ascends starts.
Part 2: Grassland and Climb
The ascend begins steadily till you reach the wild grassland flat area below the pylon electric line. The wild grass (lalang) ends are sharp and can cut if you're caught at an angle!
From the pylon area, you will enter the woodland again. Soon you will hit your first big tree, and second big tree, which is checkpoint 2. There are 3 checkpoints altogether. The hiking soon becomes a more intense workout after the first steep climb with rope assist anchored on a fallen tree.
You will know the peak is close when the trees around are red. You have entered the pokok kelat gelam forest! These trees are also found in Bukit Changkat Asa in Selangor.
As we ascent, we could glimpse the rising sun peeping on the right of the ridge. However, it is unfortunate that there is no lookout point to the east of this hill. Just before you reach the peak there is a flat area, perfect for a campsite!
Along the final stretch up the peak, the forest is dense with red flaky trunks, twisted branches and a thick carpet of dried leaves. You will see an opening, and the trail emerges from the forest to reach the peak of Bukit Batu Sawa with an incredible view!
Bukit Batu Sawa 333.3m
The of Bukit Batu Sawa resembles the rocks in Bukit Batu Kumbang in Selangor, Bukit Batu Putih in Port Dickson and Gopeng. It felt like deja vu! From naked-eye observation, they look like quartz rocks.
The other end of the ridge has marvellous vantage points toward Gunung Berembun and Gunung Telapak Buruk. I would imagine the sunset view from here to be brilliant as it faces west?
The hike is a backtrack and it will take a mere 35 minutes to hike back to the car park.
On the lower parts, most flora and fauna are cultivated by the villagers. At the beginning of the trail after the rubber plantation, you will pass by an area with lush wild ginger Etlingera megalocheilos Their flowers striking and bright are always a sight to behold.
There are clear signs of wild boars presence. There are tell-tale signs of uprooted and disturbed soil around the area. Although we did not spot any monkeys but we heard their calls.
PART II (Jeram Tiga Lapis & Jeram Enggang)
The hike to Batu Sawa is probably shorter than your car ride. Therefore try to add another hike or waterfall adventure around the vicinity.
Trailblazer hiking group paired this hike together with a waterfall hunt at Jeram Tiga Lapis and the Enggang Falls. These falls are pristine and unexplored. The are located deep inside Kampung Ulu Jelebu in Teriang Forest Reserve. A permit is definitely required and we were ferried at the back of a 4X4 through rough terrain, fruit orchards and rolling hills to get to our picnic spot! The whole bumpy ride felt more like a boat ride through choppy sea with occasional slashes of muddy water! Jeram Enggang contact.
From the clear area, where we were dropped off, it is a short downhill walk to Jeram Tiga Lapis. It is tree layers of cascades. The stream is narrow and they are tributaries of Sungai Teriang. The water is pristine and they flow directly from Gunung Telapak Buruk. Unfortunately it was raining in the morning and water was less clear on that day. With the approach of rainy season, beware of sudden water surge in the pools! Always be aware of your surroundings!
Walk upstream for about 1.5 kilometers, cross one stream, you will arrive at Jeram Enggang. More grandiose than the previous, this one has smaller rapids where you can enjoy some natural jet massage with a tropical verdant scenery in your surroundings.
For those who is hungry for more adventure, you could scramble up this fall from the jungle track. Note that from here, the trail becomes raw, ground is loose and full of leeches. If you don't mind seeing red and nursing itchy bites, than this would be for you! #leeches
The trail to the upper pools is broken and extremely muddy. But it's exhilarating and fun to be clinging and pulling on roots to break falls, if you are longing for some exhilaration. There were many thorns and thistle plants at the trail, so best to have your gloves with you!
We quickly made our way down after a refreshing dip in the upper pools and quickly made our way back to the open space car park as it started to drizzle. By the time we arrive at the car park, the drizzle has progressed into rain. We regrouped at a makeshift shelter at the clear area and waited for the rain to stop while yelling and pulling off fat and full bloody leeches from all parts of our bodies! It was a bloodbath!
For some visual stimulation, check out this site!
Getting out of bed at 3.30am is not an easy feat, compounded with a 1 plus hour of winding drive to the trailhead. But when you get up there, it all evaporates and it is worth every minute of it!
Negeri Sembilan is such an underrated state. The state has managed to keep its heritage and I hope can preserve them for generations to come, although encroachment is slowly but surely, judging from plantation clearings, highways, residential parks and heavy logging around the vicinity. Live it before it goes!
Date visited: 17th October 2021
Photo credits: Contributions from all the brilliant photographers of Trailblazers hiking group!