Gunung Belumut (1,010m), is located in Kluang, Johor, Malaysia, just beside the other more popular hike, Gunung Lambak.
The name “Belumut” is supposedly derived from the word ‘Berlumut’, which kinda means mossy. The trail itself isn’t really mossy, but I can tell you it is definitely forest-y.
The hike itself isn’t particularly difficult even though it might seem higher than Gunung Lambak or Gunung Datuk. In fact, at 1,010, the third tallest mountain in Johor, and slightly shorter than Gunung Ledang or Mount Ophir.
Therefore, many people use Gunung Belumut as a training hike, to prepare them for tougher hikes like Kinabalu or Mount Ophir/Gunung Ledang.
Gunung Belumut is frankly not the nicest hike. There are no views at the summit, it is a constant trudge through the forest and mud and is the same way up and down. Moreover, it is famous for leeches also.
In terms of logistics, guides and permits are also necessary for Gunung Belumut and they have to be prepared in advance. This makes it more of a hassle as compared to the other Malaysian hikes around.
However, as it is in Kluang which is just 2 hours away from Singapore, it serves as a tougher hike for those who wish to train but not go too far. Moreover, it serves as some people’s first 1,000m mountain, although to me there are other better choices. Other than being in Kluang, there really isn’t much of a reason to do Gunung Belumut.
I did Gunung Belumut in April 2019, as part of a 2 days 2 hikes trip to Malaysia with Gunung Lambak. This is going to be a short post, because I obviously didn’t enjoy Belumut that much ha!
Distance: 6.25km (1-way)
Altitude change: ~1100m (1-way)
Duration: ~3h (1-way)
Same way up and down
Highlights: Leeches, nothing else honestly. It is mainly a training hike.
Google Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/ApswEuCa4Xux94qH7
The best way is to drive there yourself, or take a taxi from Kluang. There is apparently a local bus from Kluang, but it seems too tedious so the best way is just to take a taxi if you are going there without a vehicle.
To get to Kluang, just follow the directions from my other blogpost.
Contact: +607-7725 944
Parking/Entrance Fees: 2 RM (5 RM for non-Malaysians)
Toilets: 2 RM / Free
Guides/Permits Cost: ~300 RM per group of 10
Operating Hours: Open everyday from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm
(Go around 7:00am onwards to settle the registration!)
*Read below on the guide cost!*
Guides and Permits
As mentioned, one is required to get a guide and permit to hike Gunung Belumut. However, there is not much proper information that can be found online, or a standard procedure for it.
Apparently one has to register 1 week in advance for the permits. However, we just turned up on the spot. I believe the “1 week in advance” rule is more for the guides’ scheduling as they could be guiding other hikes rather than Gunung Belumut.
The best way is to contact the Johor Forestry Department to get the guides andoffice contact or the call Gunung Belumut office directly.
Important: Do not pay the guides in advance! There have been some cases of guides getting paid/charging extra and not turning up!
They usually charge per group. One guide will take at least 8-10 pax.
The cost and prices differ. I have heard stories of 150 RM per group, or 300 RM per group. I believe it should be 300 RM per group.
On average, expect to pay RM 40 – 50 per person if you have a group.
For us, we turned up on the spot and had to negotiate / beg. In fact, they initially refused us. Luckily for us, there was another group of Singaporeans who were doing so they said we could join, but for 300 RM.
I didn’t want to spend too much time negotiating so we just agreed.
On hindsight, we got ripped off. They charged us 300 RM for the 3 of us, but we used the same guide as the other group of Singaporeans instead of having our own guide. That was 100 RM per pax, which was quite expensive!
The irony was that we walked by ourselves 80% of the way.
Gunung Belumut hike is part of the Belumut Recreational Forest. Similar to Lambak, there is a well-maintained park around the area for people to have recreational activities like picnics, camping, or just relaxing in the water. There are proper toilets and a huge car-park area.
The registration office is just at the entrance. As there usually are not a lot of people hiking or going there usually, it might seem inconspicuous. I have a feeling the guides don’t really enjoy hiking Gunung Belumut too ha!
There are signs on the trees which mark the way. It starts from CP 1 and ends at CP 5 (summit). CP 4 is the campsite. It is the same way up and down and the trail is quite obvious most of the time.
Ascent GPS: http://www.movescount.com/moves/move280907207
Descent GPS: http://www.movescount.com/moves/move280907200
Can you DIY?
It is mandatory to register as well as get a guide for the hike.
The only way to DIY is to sneak in before the opening timings or when the office people are not around, but of course I wouldn’t suggest it.
The trail is quite obvious, but it is possible to get lost in the jungle and you wouldn’t want it. So please always register at least, for the sake of everyone.
My Gunung Belumut Hike Experience
We reached Gunung Belumut around 7.30am, after staying overnight in Kluang. There were some other Singaporeans and Malaysians getting ready, but other than that it was pretty much deserted. The carpark was huge and there was a square with stalls not opened yet. I assumed that it would be opened later in the afternoon and this place looked built to house a lot more people.
Afterall, it is a recreational park and perhaps on weekends there are many families bringing their kids or groups gathering just to picnic or hangout here.
However, the ones here in the morning were obviously here for a hike.
We did not make a pre-booking as it was a last minute decision to do this. I wanted a getaway as well as explore Lambak again, so I asked Darren and Derek to join. Well since I was there I might as well explore a sister mountain and do 2 mountains in 1 trip.
The registration hut lay just in front of the entrance. We walked up and asked if we could get a guide. They asked if we had made a booking, and rejected us initially when we told them we didn’t. I guess on hindsight, they needed to arrange the guides to come as there were no guides really stationed there.
So we pleaded. I tried to asked if we could share the guide with the rest but they kinda refused. In the end, they finally offered us “300 RM” for a private guide for the 3 of us. Lazy to negotiate, we just took up the offer even though it was steep.
We just filled up our names in the registration book, paid the money and we were good to go!
I packed very light for this hike as I intended to do this casually. I knew it was around 3 hours up and 3 hours down, so my intention was to try to do it without really stopping just to get a sense of what it was like.
The start of the hike goes through Gunung Belumut Recreational Park. It was quite nice to walk around as the place was well-paved with a river just beside. It looked pretty awesome to soak after a hike, but I wonder if they were leeches. Afterall Gunung Belumut is famous for leeches.
We had to turn right, across the suspension bridge. After that, there is a flight of steps before entering the forest.
From here, the trail finally starts. It is a straightforward trail, of mostly uphills with a couple of minor descends or flat terrain.
The trail was pretty wide and gradual at the start. However, it was extremely humid and I wasn’t looking forward to perspiring like mad. As it was only the 3 of us, we moved at a pretty good pace.
The uphills arrived soon after. We caught up to the other Singaporean group. At first, we were slowly walking behind them.I started feeling really impatient and began to overtake them as it was a pretty big group.
The trailer is a constant uphill and pretty boring honestly. I just focused on getting up and walking consistently to get past the big group of Singaporeans. Our “guide” decided to stay with the other group and asked us to proceed. He was too lazy to move at our speed.
With that, we practically walked by ourselves after 30 minutes into the hike.
There was nothing really interesting along the hike except for this hill which you’ll see in most other blogs. It might seem steep but it was a “meh” moment as it wasn’t that difficult with just a bit of ropes to aid. Most of the other Malaysia hikes have tougher moments, or places with ropes to aid too!
Additionally, it was slightly wet, so we were afraid of leeches. We went at a constant pace to prevent leeches from sticking to us.
Honestly, most of the other hikes are harder than Belumut. Belumut is just long. After this small hill, you’ll reach the summit!
The summit is just a small flat area, with the sign that marks the summit surrounded by overgrown trees. That’s all!
No clearing, no view, no benches, nothing. Well, there was a big boulder that some people were resting on, but we didn’t bother. To be fair, it was most likely because I did not have very good weather on my hike. It was drizzling at some parts and the skies were extremely cloudy and gloomy, which most likely affected my mood and memory of it.
“Feeling good and ok? Ready to go?”
We descended right after a short break at the summit and after taking our summit photo of course!
There was no reason for us to loiter at the summit. We didn’t even rest for more than 5 minutes as there was not really a nice place for us to sit down.
The descent feels exactly the same. Here are some pictures for you to see some parts of the trail. We actually descended without really stopping, with the main purpose of getting out. My knees and toes felt wonky and started to hurt. Darren and Derek were way in front of me after awhile.
Just to take note, there are these famous spiky “trees” or plants. I don’t remember the name, but sometimes you forget and touch them on the descent as support and immediately regret it! So do watch out for them!
The storm came on the descent so I got caught in the rain slightly. This made the hike even more miserable for me.
My only consolation was that there was a usable functional toilet! The first thing I do at the end of every hike is to immediately take off my shoes. To my surprise, there were leeches stuck to my socks!
Not a big fan of creepy crawlies! I could see these little suckers trying to suck their way through the sock. I tried to peel them out but they were so insistent!
Luckily Derek drove, so we could drive back to Kluang to have good meals and relax for tomorrow’s easy hike in Gunung Lambak!
My Gunung Belumut hike was honestly very boring and unmemorable for me. Perhaps, memorable in a sense of how bad it was.
I had to overpay for a lousy hike, pay for a guide who disappeared, had no view at the summit, a boring trail with rain and gloomy weather!
There was another blog/hiker which had good weather and it looked a lot more pleasant as a hike. Having said that, it only makes it slightly more palatable.
Gunung Belumut’s trail isn’t very diverse, nor very challenging. I guess it can be challenging because it covers quite a distance and altitude. However, the ascent is straightforward and it isn’t challenging nor interesting in terms of terrain as compared to Datuk or even ones like Lambak or Angsi!
Of course, covering 1,000 m in altitude is challenging, especially doing it within 3 hours. It is an alternative to doing stairs training for 3 hours I guess!
Therefore, Gunung Belumut makes a good training hike if you simply wish to train, or torture yourself. It does help to prepare you for harder hikes like Gunung Ledang/Ophir or Kinabalu, or the ones in Indonesia where the ascent durations are similar per day.
However, I would much rather use other hikes to train, ones with a view at the top, or at least some interesting terrain. I would avoid it, and to me the only reason is to do it together with Gunung Lambak for training or because you happen to be in Kluang!
I am also running trips to 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