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Mighty Gunung Nuang! Enter the jungle via Pangsun

Updated: Apr 22



Gunung Nuang, straddled on the Selangor/Pahang boarder is the second highest peak in Selangor at 1493m, on the Titiwangsa range after Gunung Semangkuk 1830m.

You can get there from Selangor through Janda Baik (Pahang) or Pangsun (Selangor), the latter being the more challenging one.

Of late, organising a climb is riddled with Covid-19 positives, doubts of close contact, proof of negative virus test , land erosion, floods....... why can't we go back to the good times when all we had to worry was, about the number of leeches we gonna bring home!

Starting point: Gunung Nuang Recreational Forest

Hike Duration: Allow around 10-12hours from the entrance of the jungle,

End Hike: Backtrack

Hike Difficulty: 4.5/5

Break it into 5 parts,

  • Part 1- endless old loggging road (altitude gain 190m-511m)

  • Part 2- 5 River crossing at Lolo falls

  • Part 3- Camp Lolo to Camp Pacat 1095m

  • Part 4 - Camp Pacat to Puncak Pengashi (altitude gain 1095m-1475m)

  • Part 5- Gunung Nuang 1493m

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


Note: A permit is needed to hike Gunung Nuang, click here for link. Recently 17 hikers were caught climbing Nuang without a permit. Honestly climb Nuang with a peace of mind! There will be a lot going on your head when your climb Nuang and permit issues are the least you want to worry about!

In 2023, it is mandatory to have a certified guide to hike Gunung Nuang, be it from Pahang (Janda Baik) or Selangor (Pangsun). DM me for guide contact!

There are toilet facilities at the entrance of the park but in a sorry state with no water!



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 and 2 walking sticks for this hike is more of a hassle than aid.

3. Raincoat and Poncho

4. Head-Torch, if you start before 7am

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

6. Change of clothes

7. Good pair of hiking shoes is absolutely necessary

8. Gloves

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

10. Check the weather forecast

11. A prepared mindset to stay in the jungle 12 hours or more in case of eventualities

12. Optional, Thermal blanket


PART 1 & 2- The Endless Road ( from entrance 1 half hours), River crossing


Enter the gate and start on the paved road. This road was once a logging road, and now at certain sections, you can see durian orchards, bamboo groves flanking this 4.8km cement, gravel, rutted clay road. You will see about 5 pavilions before reaching the jungle entrance. There were jeep services to drop you off at the trailhead.


Keep left and stay left as you enter the jungle. You will be walking alongside an abandon pipe, that use to transfer water from the dam. This area is pleasant and shaded with relatively flat terrain. #nuangpangsun


We approached the winding road in the dark, full of excitement and anticipation, the 1 half hour walk was a breeze, but turned into an endless road on the way out!



The first 2 rivers when not raining, can be cleared with dry shoes by skipping on rocks and boulders. But 3rd and 4th river crossing is tricky as the abandon floodgate impedes water flow and this area quickly floods up. Some hikers removed their shoes at the 3rd river crossing, and some wore scandals up to the 5th river. We wore our shoes across the rivers and managed to escape with minimal damage.



Note: The rivers can swell into roaring monsters when it rains upstream. Thus, on return leg it is essential to avoid afternoon torrential downpour! Fastforward April 2024, there was a tragic accident when a hiker fell into the river. Always practice a cut-off point!

The falls are pristine and picturesque. Many locals do hike up till the falls for a getaway. The 4.8km hike deters throngs of crowd, maintaining tranquility and cleanliness at the falls.


Abandon dam with valve still intact at Camp lolo

PART 3: Camp Pacat, 1095m (from Camp Lolo 1 hour)


From the last river crossing to Camp Pacat, it is a moderate uphill climb over 3km with 600m elevation gain meandering on red clay soil that is slippery and sticky when wet. There were some residue pools of water on the trail from the previous day's rain. The terrain can change quickly into cascading falls when it pours. It is unimaginable to do this hike in the rain, although I know a few who has done it.



Gunung nuang via pangsun or janda baik
The legendary Rapunzel vine that has unfortunately died

Part 3: Camp Pacat to Puncak Pengasih 1475m, false peak ( 2 hours)


By the time we arrived at Camp Pacat, we would have hiked around 9km. The humidity was energy sapping, and dehydrating.

Slightly famished and exhausted, we quickly loaded up on carbs to take on our next challenge.There were no leeches here as the name suggests but many bees and 3 dogs.



If you have extra load, you can leave them here as you will backtrack on return. Just bring enough water and your lunch, and maybe your bottle of champagne!


This part of the trail covering 1.2 is most arduous, it is basically a climb. It starts with a steep winding trail with exposed roots, where ropes fasten on trees to aid climb. You can fold your stick and put on your gloves, as this will require work on all fours. The 3 dogs guided us from here all the way to the peak.


gunung nuang via pangsun or janda baik
Initial climb as you leave Camp Pacat

gunung nuang via pangsun or janda baik
The dog traverse the route and lead us to easy tracks that were not eroded

After the stretch of the expose roots, we had more surprises awaiting. The trail turns to a 70 degree rock face with more dangling ropes like tubes for life support. My buddy hiker Jasmine, stared at the endless rock face in doubt, while I was more like WTF!

Little we knew that the descend would be more demanding than the ascend!

For the next hour, we hoisted and grabbed every boulder, squeeze in between and over them, hulled the ropes to reach the ridge. I was doing downward dog and planking vertically at most parts.

Part 4: Puncak Pengasih 1475m (False Peak) 1 & quater hour


We arrived at Lover's peak, at 10.45am. The air temperature was noticeably cooler with mist surrounding us. The forest here is thick with moss, epiphytes and orchids.

The false peak sits where 3 borders, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor and Pahang meet.

Between the false peak to the Nuang, it is a gentle 800m W, through mossy boulders, flat plateau and 8 ladders. We took slightly over an over to cover this section.


gunung nuang via pangsun or janda baik
I was expecting to find the stone but only found this pathetic tri-border maker tied on a tree!

gunung nuang via pangsun or janda baik
1st ladder up the peak

gunung nuang via pangsun or janda baik
The 4th and 5th ladder

The ladder's integrity seem questionable, slightly shaky and unsteady at parts. Never fully trust a ladder that hangs over a sheer cliff drop. There is alternative trail on the left from the 6th ladder if you don't feel comfortable. I have to say it was daunting when it went off balance on the way up! Yikes!


PART 5: BAGGING GUNUNG NUANG PEAK 1491M


Nuang peak offered nothing much but an old tri-station, with no scenery or view but trees and bushes! We quickly took our jubilant lunch, and of course rewarded the dogs with our left-overs, pop the ISOTONIC drink, snapped some shots and by 1230 we were heading down. The dogs remained, preying on more left-overs from more hikers who arrived.




 

PART 6 RETURN


The return journey is best taken in parts.

We whizzed past to Puncak Pengasih with tired legs.

Rock face down to Camp Pacat was more difficult than the ascend with shaky rocks, slippery mud, sharp craggy boulders, big drops. I had to hang on from one rope to another like a child in a jungle gym, except if you fall, you may get a broken skull. As I was heading down, I wondered how I even managed to climb all this way.

We took a short break at Camp Pacat, collected our load and continue our downhill journey. After one and half hours you'll look forward to hear the river's murmur and cross the 5 rivers. Many hikers cool off at Camp Lolo before embarking on the final journey.

gunung nuang via pangsun or janda baik
Cool down at Camp Lolo

You will feel jubilant twice in this hike, once, when you arrive at Nuang peak, and the other, when you see the end of the "eternal road".


Time reference Checkpoints for Nuang Hike


This is a big mountain and some cut off time should be set if you want to summit and return by dark. A rough guide on our time plan. These are estimates and certain watches differ in readings.


0630 - Start Hike Endless Road, 4.8km

0730- Camp Lolo, 0.3km

0930- Camp Pacat, 4km

1145- Puncak Pengasih, 1.3km

1200- Nuang, 0.8km

1245- Puncak Pengasih, 1.3km

1400- Camp Pacat, 4km

1530- Camp Lolo (Freshen up) 300m

1715- Car Park, 4.8km





Flora and Fauna


Nature's orchestra greeted us in a burst all along the hike. Grunting wild boards, siamang (monkey) calling, crickets, birds and cicadas, and a dozen other mysterious calling in the deep jungle, of many things felt but unseen.

There was one cry that was wild and distinct that would make you wonder what animal or bird it is......and only after some research I realised that it was the call of the Great Argus Pheasant!





Wild orchids, wild ginger plant, rare white bat lily


Reflections


This hike up to Gunung Nuang is epic and exhausting. It is one of those hikes you need to be prepared and be comfortable hiking over 10-20km and being in the jungle for 12 hours.

On the return leg we were doing a death march, sighing and moaning and loathing every step down the mountain. But as we reached the end, the feeling of triumph overwhelmed us.


Thank you Alex for organising the hike and believing that we could all summit and return before dark. There was great camaraderie among the group, laughing and chatting at the earlier session and the long silence through the tough parts, the feeling of connection between us that made the gruelling hike a motivational and pleasant one. And a big shout out to all of you beautiful people for making this a memorable one!


Is Nuang tougher than 23km Gunung Berembun to Crash Site?

Yes, elevation gain is much more in Nuang.


Were there many leeches?

Yes, there were quite a number of them and few of us were casualties.


How to prepare to summit Nuang?

Attempt during dry season. Start doing 10km hikes and slowly building up to 15-20km.


I have done Bukit Kutu, will I be fit enough for Nuang?

It is like comparing a durian with an apple. If you have done a few 20km hikes, you will be able to prepare your mindset and take the challenge.


To whom do I show the hiking permits if I start before 7.00am?

At the pavilion at the entrance, there is a table, you can leave it there.

Will you do it again?

Hell YEAH!