Gunung Angsi (825m), is located in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. Many people compare it to the other hike in Negeri Sembilan, Gunung Datuk (885m), as it is similar in height and in the same area.
The good thing about Gunung Angsi is that it has 2 different trails to the summit. One can choose to ascend from either Ulu Bendul, or from Bukit Putus. This means that you can do a “trans hike”, or a loop, ascending from one trail and descending from the other. However, there is a 4 km distance between both trail-heads, so if you do a trans hike you would have to cross that distance!
The trail from Ulu Bendul is know to be the longer and more gradual trail (6 km), while the Bukit Putus route (4.2 km) is known to be shorter but steeper. The main highlight on the trail is the steep section called Bukit Botak, or “Botak Hill” where one requires to use ropes and hands, which can be found as part of the Ulu Bendul trail.
Additionally, they have proper toilet facilities and the Ulu Bendul route is part of the Ulu Bendol Recreational Forest, where there is a huge carpark, food stalls, waterpark and toilet facilities.
Registration is required to hike Gunung Angsi and there are recommended timings. I’ve read that hikers have gotten lost in Gunung Angsi before so you wouldn’t want to be one of them!
For many locals, Gunung Angsi is a beginner hike and is reasonably crowded and popular on weekends, though not as much as Gunung Datuk. Not everyone does the trans route, some simply go up and down Bukit Putus as it is the shortest route. A Gunung Angsi hike can be as part of a trip to Port Dickson, as it is around 1 hour away from there.
I headed to Gunung Angsi with Fred in March 2020 on a weekday to introduce him a hike in Malaysia. We decided to do the Ulu Bendu – Bukit Putus route, so that we descend faster which is always my preference. This also meant that we needed to walk around 4 km to the start point from Bukit Putus.
Just use GPS and drive there or take a taxi/hired vehicle from KL or Malacca. There isn’t any public transport you can take there.
It takes around 4 hours from Singapore.
- Bukit Putus – Bukit Putus
- Bukit Putus – Ulu Bendul
- Ulu Bendul – Ulu Bendul
- Ulu Bendul – Bukit Putul
There are basically 4 different combinations. You either choose the same way up and down, or a trans hike route. The information below is for routes with the same way up and down unless otherwise stated.
Ulu Bendul Trail
This route is quite long, but has some stream crossings and the exciting section with ropes called “Botak Hill”
- Altitude change: ~650 m (1-way)
- Total Distance: ~12 km
- Terrain: 2 small stream crossings, mainly forest trails
- Average Duration: ~6 h
This is for…
1. People who wish to torture themselves
2. People who wish to train
3. You have a strong compulsive desire to do the same thing twice
*Honestly, there is no strong reason to really do this route*
Bukit Putus Trail
This route is extremely straight forward, similar to a Gunung Lambak hike. The toilets is the building on the left, the registration office on the right, and the trail starts in the middle up the stairs!
- Altitude change: ~530m
- Total Distance: ~8.5 km
- Terrain: Forest trails and slopes
- Average Duration: ~2.5 -3 h
This is for…
2. Those who want the shortest and fastest route, aka a hiking quickie
3. Don’t mind going up and down the same way
Ulu Bendul – Bukit Putus Trans Hike
This is my recommended route. Of course, you can do Bukit Putus – Ulu Bendul. The hiking information is still the same, but I prefer to do Ulu Bendul – Bukit Putus Trans hike as I prefer to descend fast.
Just note that if you choose to take the trans route, you have to walk 4 km between the different trailheads. I prefer to walk the 4 km at the start, where I am full of energy and foolish pursuit. This allows me to end at the vehicle, rather than finish the hike and still have to walk even more.
Therefore, I would always suggest to park your vehicle at whichever ending point, and walk to the other trail head, so that you end at your vehicle.
- Summit: 825m
- Altitude change: ~1600 m
- Total Distance: ~13.5 km
- Average Duration: ~4h -6h (total)
This is for…
1. Those who wish to have the best of both worlds, going up and down a different route
2. Those who don’t mind walking an extra 4 km between the trailheads
3. Prefer descending quickly
Which Trail/Route to take?
I think this is the most important question for Gunung Angsi.
To decide, you just need to ask yourself these 2 questions:
1. Where do you wish to end?
2. Do you want to walk the 4km walk between the different trailheads
Ulu Bendul is more comfortable as it is part of the Ulu Bendul recreational park, with food stalls and better facilities for shower and others. Whereas, Bukit Putus is a small area with 3 cubicles and that’s it.
Of course you could try hitchiking, but I don’t know who would wish to pick up sweaty dirty hikers.
It is more likely to be able to hitch a ride at the end of the hike on a weekend. There are other hikers around and they might be nice enough to pity you to give you a lift to the other side. The Malaysians are usually very nice so it is a possibility.
Personally, I would almost always choose a trans hike because I always prefer going up and down a different route if possible, unless there is significant objective danger or the other route is really boring.
Also, once I’ve reached the summit, I usually mentally check-out, especially for Malaysia mountains because the trail terrains are usually very similar.
Given a choice, I always take the quicker route down. I can’t wait to change out to clean clothes, take off my shoes and have a nice meal. In this case, it means ending in Bukit Putus!
You can choose to end in Ulu Bendul if you wish to play in the water after the hike, or have a nice picnic at the recreational park.
Therefore, going up by Ulu Bendul and coming down by Bukit Putus is my preferred route!
Registration, Facilities & Fees
Entrance Fees: 5 RM (per person)
The toilets are quite clean and well maintained. Bukit Putus is a smaller area, so there are only 2 cubicles per gender on the Bukit Putus side.
The registration hut is at the start of both trailheads. They close after a certain time, so do take note! This also means, its possible they don’t open if nobody is there. We ran into some trouble at Ulu Bendul on a weekday at 10 am.
Bukit Puntus Registration Timings
Ulu Bendul Registration Timings
: Till 10am?*
I am not sure about this, when we reached at slightly past 10am, we were told it was past the registration time and we couldn’t hike, which was quite ridiculous. We managed to pleading for some time and listening to them talk about Singaporeans getting lost and showing us an article about it.
There are 2 types of markers which can guide you along the trail.
1. Arrow Markers
2. Number Markers
As seen from this picture, there are various colour-coded arrow markers to give some form of directions. The yellow colour applies to starting from the Ulu Bendul trailhead.
There are also number markers, which perhaps mark certain trees or points along the trail. I am not sure what they mean, but if you see them you are generally on the correct way. You can see them in my pictures below!
Can you DIY?
Yes! It is actually quite easy to do it yourself. Gunung Angsi is quite organized and well-maintained.
It isn’t mandatory to have a guide and the registration is quite easy, similar to Gunung Datuk. Just turn up, within the timings, register and pay up and you are good to go!
It is important to be prepared if you wish to DIY. This means familiarizing yourself with the route (or reading this blog and saving it), downloading the GPS and being observant on the trail. If not, do it on the weekends and follow the crowd!
My Hike: Ulu Bendul – Bukit Putus Trans Hike
Ulu Bendul Ascent
- Rest Hut 1
- Kem Tangga Batu
- River Crossing 1
- River Crossing 2
- Botak Hill
- Gunung Angsi summit
Bukit Putus Descent
- Panjang Rest Hut
- Steep Descent
- Bukit Putus stairs/exit!
We started from Singapore at around 5 am. Perhaps, due to the Covid-19 situation in March, the traffic across the border was quite smooth. We had a relaxing breakfast before parking at Bukit Putus, reaching around 9am.
We were looking to end in Bukit Putus, that meant that we had to walk almost 4km at the start to Ulu Bendul. This 4km walk wasn’t the most pleasant, as it was practically along the highway/main road, with vehicles zooming past us while we were hugging the road shoulder. It was in the morning so it wasn’t that hot or humid.
Ulu Bendul Registration
The first sight we saw was the massive carparks and the line of street stalls. We had reached the Ulu Bendul recreational park. I had no idea how to get to the registration hut and there were no signs to Gunung Angsi, so I decided to just follow the main road on google map.
Bad idea because it was a detour. We ended up following the main road into the recreational park, which was the same if we had just walked in from the stalls.
Also, it was slightly confusing because I started seeing buildings and places with CP 1-5. I thought it was the start of the Gunung Angsi trail already!
On hindsight, it wasn’t and is most likely just for people who wish to visit the recreational park! So don’t be confused by those signs.
There were no signs that pointed to any form of registration for Gunung Angsi around. We walked to somewhere in the middle, or in the map which said the Ulu Bendul trailhead and asked around. We were directed to a hut with no signs.
Apparently, that was the ranger’s office. I guess because it was a weekday and it was quite late in the morning already, around 10 am, they didn’t really expect people.
The officer there couldn’t really speak very good English. We managed to communicate with our broken Malay and English somehow. He kept telling us that we were too late and registration was closed. It was only 10 am then!
Shocked, I started to plead.
That I had read it was open until 11 am and we walked from Bukit Putus. Technically we had reached here before 10 am. Plus, we had to travel all the way from Singapore, plus the hike wasn’t that long a hike. I also showed that I was an experienced hiker and had the trail map etc.
He kept telling us that the timing was different for the different trail heads. He whipped out a dated article, showing us the irresponsible Singaporeans who got lost. Finally, he went out to ask a person who was watering the flowers (I guess the ranger? / guide?), and finally acceded to our request.
To be honest, the article did seed some doubts into me. What if I got lost? What happened if I was being irresponsible about it, coming here without a guide? However, I’ve read so much about Gunung Angsi and the trail wasn’t particularly difficult so it shouldn’t be an issue.
We had to fill in some details to register, paid 5 RM per person and was told to call back once we’ve finished. I was pleasantly surprised as I had expected that they might rip us off and make us pay more, like in Gunung Belumut.
Ulu Bendul – Summit Trail
There is a small bridge right after the registration and the various signage to highlight the Gunung Angsi trail and we just had to keep left. As long as you see the river, the path is to the left of it.
We went past another hut once we went to the left path along the river. This time, it looked like the “registration hut”, but nobody was in it. I guess it would only be open on weekends or early in the morning.
We saw a few people playing in the water. That seemed like something fun to do, why are we hiking?
The start of the Ulu Bendul trail is famous for walking alongside the pipeline upstream. Yellow markers with arrows are placed at eye level every few steps, giving us the assurance that we were on the right path.
The trail was quite wide and nothing spectacular. It was the normal Malaysian forest trail. We walked along the pipes, until we reached the first shelter after around 15 minutes.
I mistook a section of the pipe for a huge snake due to the lighting and got scared for a moment. It was a silly hilarious moment, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were actually snakes.
The trail started to get deeper inland and into the forest. There were a few split paths, but nothing to worry about because of the yellow tapes on the trees. We went up gradually, then down slightly, then up again. The forest trail started to get narrower. I was getting frustrated by the undulating terrain. It was making me tired for no reason. If only it was a straight ascent! The only consolation was that we were ascending more than descending.
We reached the next checkpoint, the campsite known as “Kem Tangga Batu” after an hour. “Kem Tangga Batu” basically means Stone Steps Camp. There were literally stone steps with the words there. We didn’t rest that much so I didn’t take a picture of it.
After that, there are 2 river crossings, or stream crossings if you ask me, around 15 minutes apart.
Once we went the campsite and past the 2 water crossings, we finally turned away from the river and it started to feel like a proper hike with the first forest ascent.
Oh how I missed walking on tree roots and just ascending upwards. The fresh forest air, the warm sunlight, the dry ground, everything felt better.
The uphills were unrelenting. I believe Fred got a shock as it was his first time on such a constant ascent , walking on uneven and natural ground in Malaysian humidity.
The ground was mainly soft sticky clay-like. Luckily for us the weather was good. I couldn’t imagine what happens if it rained. It would been so gross, slippery and definitely not fun to walk.
White signs with numbers appear along the trail. I use them as markers also but I really wonder what they are for. I suspect they were for plants or something.
This uphill section took us around 20 minutes, before finally reaching the famous”Botak Hill”.
We took a longer break here beneath the hill as we had been walking for almost 2.5 hours now.
The afternoon sun and humidity was starting to get to us. I needed some wind, but in this forest trail, the trees felt like a blockade against the wind.
Sitting there, we had “Botak Hill” all to ourselves. Botak Hill was at ~620m altitude.
One can clearly see why it has such a moniker “Botak Hill”. The eroded soil made it look like a bald hill. It looked like a mishappen sand hill, one that you see in construction sites or something. I find it to be really random how such a hill can exist in the middle of the forest.
The 6m hill looks dauting at the start. There are 2 paths to take, one on the left with smaller cut steps into the hill, one on the right with the ropes. The right side is apparently harder, so we took the right path!
It is honestly not that difficult with the rope, quite fun in fact. The rope can be disregarded at your own risk. I simply used my hands mainly to get up because I was lazy.
The scarier part for me was at the top of Botak Hill.
We had to walk carefully across as there were huge gaps in the ground. The sandy sloping ground and narrow paths wasn’t particularly assuring.
This is a danger zone to me, especially if it was crowded.
If this was a few thousands metres higher, it might have been a crevasse ha!
I thought we were close to the summit after completing Botak Hill, but like in Ophir/Gunung Ledang, the highlight isn’t the end! We still had strenuous uphill section.
This went on for another 20 minutes, but it felt way longer. I was starting to think, wow this is tougher than I thought, before seeing a small gap to the trees on the right. There was a view and more importantly some wind! I shouted to Fred “Hey! There is some wind here!”
Little did I know then it was just a few more steps from the summit! I felt really silly when we reached the summit a few seconds later.
Gunung Angsi Summit
Gunung Angsi’s summit is a flat wide open space. There are 2 big summit signs and a famous rest hut commonly known as the “bus shelter” because it has a bus stop sign there.
I am not sure whether the sign was supposed to be encouraging, or mocking to hikers. Pretty sure many hikers would wish there was a bus to take them down already.
The summit signs which double up as photo spots do show that the place is pretty well maintained by the park. In between the signs, there is clearing to see views of the Seremban town and further, but nothing to boast of.
The hut proved to be a respite from the noon sun. The flooring was cooling as it was elevated off the ground. I felt like lying down to sleep as it was so comfortable but we had a journey back to Singapore.
There was only one group of other hikers, who came from the Bukit Putus route. Well, it was a weekday.
I really enjoyed Gunung Angsi’s summit but I think it was because there was nobody around!
Bukit Putus Descent
The descent was really straight forward. I was slightly afraid I wouldn’t find the way down, but the trail was quite obvious from the summit. The trail was a constant descent, with a small switchback in between. The descent is generally a gradual descent, with the steep section only at the end. In fact, we were running down half the time. I would encourage most people to run or jog down, and let the momentum carry you.
The Bukit Putus route felt like there were a lot more benches and rest points. Perhaps it was because the Ulu Bendul route was more wet and dank, so it didn’t feel so pleasant at the rest points.
The rest points along Bukit Putus just felt more comfortable. Wider spaces, taller trees, I guess also that’s why it is the more popular route.
There is a small shelter area known as “Uncle Panjang’s Dessert Hut”, where a famous elderly guy known as “Pangjang” prepares sweet soup or tea and offers it to hikers free of charge! Only on Sundays though!
Of course, I didn’t get a chance to taste the local dessert. The idea of giving and helping others without anything in return is so admirable and heart-warming. that is an really important hiking value, and a culture I wish we can cultivate in all the hikes.
Imagine feeling really tired but being revitalized by a local dessert while on a hike! It is awesome how something like this can organically happen. Apparently other locals help to bring the ingredients to him to help make the dessert. This makes hiking a lot more fun, and helps bring more people together.
It took us around 40 minutes of descent to reach the hut. After that, was a steep descent section, similar to those in Lambak or Datuk.
The steep descent also meant that you are nearing the exit! There was a red sign at the end of it which says “Restricted Area”. Funny.
After the red sign, there was a metal staircase and we were back down to Bukit Putus trailhead! I realised in the picture there was a sign which says “Panjang’s Trail”, I guess Panjang is really famous!
The male and female toilets were side by side, and there was only 2 cubicles. There were no proper shower heads but I didn’t care as long as there was a hose or bucket, and really cold water! I had a “shiok” cold water shower before leaving for Singapore!
Luckily we didn’t need to walk another 4 km back to the car. It was a good idea to front load it to the start of the hike and park at your ending point.
Gunung Angsi serves its purpose as a good training hike, or an entry hike for beginners to get into hiking.
It is similar in a sense to other training hikes, like Datuk and Lambak. For me, Gunung Angsi is quite easy in terms of terrain difficulty. However, if one were to do the Ulu Bendul route, it is longer in distance and duration as compared to Datuk or Lambak.
I would go further to say that Gunung Angsi is more of a “workout” hike than anything extremely amazing. It is a half-day hike and the terrain isn’t particularly difficult or steep.
There are also different routes to accommodate for the various types of hikers. Facilities are also decent, similar to the ones in Lambak.
It isn’t very far coming from Singapore also, as it takes around 4 hours to get there. One can easily construct an overnight itinerary, or include one with Malacca/ Port Dickson or KL.
The main downside is the lack of views. Also, the 4 km walk between the trail heads can be a chore. As I only did it on a weekday without the crowds, perhaps doing it on a weekend might change my view of this hike!
All in all, Gunung Angsi is a good standard half-day hike to do in Malaysia. It is nothing too spectacular, but also not as short or casual as something like Broga Hill. If you are training for Ophir or Kinabalu, Gunung Angsi is a good training ground for you.
I am also running trips to Gunung Angsi and other Malaysia hikes via my meetup group: https://www.meetup.com/Little-Monsters-Travel/ so feel free to join if you are interested! If you wish for me to organize a private trip for you, please do contact me via email: [email protected] / Website/ Whatsapp +65 97511216