Wednesday, 18 January 2017

How I Tahan-ed (Endured) Mount Tahan for 4D3N (Merapoh-Merapoh trail)

Mount Tahan, literally translated as Mount of Endurance is technically the highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia and the 6th highest mountain in Malaysia after Kinabalu, Trusmadi, Tambuyukon, Murud and Mulu. It’s been on my bucket list for quite some time since it was known as one of the toughest mountain to hike in Malaysia, being harder than highest Kinabalu. The most commonly hiked trail is the one from Kuala Tahan to Merapoh (also known as Trans Tahan), taking at least 5 to 6 days to complete, but over the years, I’ve heard of another trail frequented by hikers who do not want to spend so many days (and possibly taking so many days off work) to climb this mountain. This trail is the Merapoh-Merapoh trail, where one ascend and descend from the same starting point (Merapoh), which will only take about 3 to 4 days to complete. But taking a short cut doesn’t come without a price, because you ultimately miss out on the very scenic view (from what I heard) if you were to do Trans Tahan), but life’s a give and take and if you can’t take that many days to spend in the mountain, you’d have to make that sacrifice. 

A total 23 hikers including me (supposed to be 24 including MJ)

So when MJ invited me to a hiking event organised by Night Ranger (one of the hiking group she once joined), I decided to tag along, immediately. No consideration, no question asked, it was a yes almost instantly. After all, we have been BFFs for years and never once had we climbed a mountain together (hill doesn’t count). It’s gonna be a 4D3N hike and I would only need to take 2 days of annual leave. Not too bad since I have 19 AL last year, and about more than half of it was still unutilised as at that point of time.

First time carrying my own load while hiking
Little did I know that climbing Mount Tahan isn’t an easy thing for lousy hiker like me. Throughout the many years (3 years only to be exact) of hiking, I have always had the luxury of having porter to carry my things. All I have ever carried on my shoulders were only my windbreaker, snacks, phone, camera and water. I tossed everything else to the porters. But to be fair, I’ve only climbed commercialised mountains and those hiking package were indeed luxuries. For Kinabalu, you get to stay in dormitory once you reach Laban Rata campsite, and all meals are cooked and provided, so there isn’t a need to bring any camping equipment. For Rinjani (read it here and here), the hiking package offered are always inclusive of porters to bring all the camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, food) needed and you only need to carry your clothes and personal belongings. And then, of course, my other hikes including Mount Merapi (during my Yogyakarta trip, will probably blog about this throwback trip soon) were all dayhikes.  So, there goes my problem --- Would I be able to scale the highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia carrying possibly 13-16kg on my back?

With the cost of the porter being RM1,000 per day, we would not be hiring any porter, and I would also like to test my own ability. How can I call myself a hiker if I can’t even carry my own bag up the mountain, right? There’s always a first time for everything, and once I get pass this, only then I can conquer other more taxing hike in the future. But first, I’ll need to train my endurance. I was lucky to be able to get some advice from Wills Wong, the organiser and upon his suggestion, I started climbing up and down the stairs (16 storeys) every alternate day with 5kg and then 10kg weight on my back. This training lasted for about a month, each time about 30-40minutes. I’d always wanted to do longer, but each time I was overcome by laziness. 

Apart from training my endurance, there are also several items I need to prepare for this hike. I’ve never go on any camping trip before and hence didn’t have any camping equipment. Luckily I’m not the only one not having a tent and Wills managed to get some tents to be shared among the girls who don’t have any. All I needed to buy will be the sleeping bag, and upon getting one from Decathlon, I’m all set as I’ve got all other necessary hiking gears.

The things I packed as a beginner, doing camping for the first time

For your reference, here’s what you need for the hike, although this list is non-exhaustive and varies according to individual:
- Tent
- Sleeping bag
- Ground sheet (if any)
- Hiking attire and undergarments (3 sets or depends on your preference)
- Hiking sticks (not compulsory)
- Windbreaker / Down jacket
- Mess tin 
- Food container (to pack lunch)
- Cutleries
- Mug / Cup
- Hiking shoes / kampong Adidas / Hiking sandals
- Head lights and extra batteries
- Towel (microfiber type encouraged)
- Cooking equipment is prepared by the organiser
- Food ration (prepared by organiser and re-distribute to each and every hiker)
- Drinking bottle / water bladder
- Raincoat
- Toiletries
- Water filter (if any)
- Camera (if needed) 
- Phone and power bank
- Zip-lock plastic bag for protection of important items

Bring Baymax to the mountain to feel like my bestie is with me. Haha
Fast forward to 3 months after signing up for the hike, it’s finally D-Day. I flew from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur right after work on 29th September (Thursday) and booked a budget hotel for a night’s stay since the team will be departing before dawn the next day. I do not know anyone of the 22 hikers joining this trip and hence, was shy to asked if I could crash in for one night. MJ who was initially going to hike with me had to bail out since she wasn’t able to get her leave approved. She has just changed her job and was still in probation. So it was just me and 22 other strangers. Wills is the only person I know (virtually) and although it was kinda awkward to be joining a big group of strangers (and for 4d3n), I decided to just screw it and go. I’ve already paid for it and it’s really something I wanted to do. What I didn’t really expect is that I would grew close this bunch of friendly hikers and we are still keeping in touch to these days. 

Strangers are after all, friends we have yet to meet

Day 1: (Sg Relau – Kuala Juram – Kuala Luis – Lata Luis – Kem Kor)
I woke up at 4am that day to wash up and repacked everything into my 40L backpack. After getting a 1.5L mineral water and some quick bites from a nearby convenience store, I checked out from the hotel and waited at the lobby for Wills to come pick me up. He’s scheduled to arrive around 5am to pick me up who will be carpooling with him and subsequently meeting up with the rest at Karak highway. We then drove to Bukit Tinggi to have our breakfast. Cue to awkward silence at the table I was seating at, simply because I knew none of them. There was some basic introduction like “What’s your name” and “Where do you come from?” but I was generally very quiet. After finishing our breakfast, we then drove to Merapoh, passing by Bentong and my hometown --- Raub.

Lunch with the other 22 hikers, who welcomed this newbie warmly. Thanks guys!
 We reach Merapoh around 10.30am and while waiting for the guide and also Calvin (one of the hiker who has overslept and was speeding his way to meet us straight at the registration office), we went to a Malay warong nearby to have early lunch. We had initially planned to pack our lunch to be eaten on our way, but we decided to have it right then since we had some time to spare. It was during this lunch session that we finally broke the ice and I was able to talk freely with the rests. 

Bag checking in front of the office

We drove into the registration office at 12pm and Calvin reached at approximately the same time. We then proceeded to unpack our bags and have it checked by the officer. Generally, they will be counting the quantity of each items you are bringing in, paying particular attention to plastic water bottle, gas, pastic bags, as well as batteries. Please bear in mind that they will verify the list with you (you will need to sign it) and upon your return, you were to show the same quantity. Fine will be imposed for any missing items.

Laying out our items for inspection

Please be considerate. Do not litter and do not leave your belongings behind. It’s everyone responsibility to preserve this National Park. If you are unfortunately careless, well, you’ll have to pay the price

After we were done with the bag checking, Wills weighed everyone’s bag and mine was 13.5kg (inclusive of a 1.5L water and 3kg tent). Everyone was supposed to carry approximately 2kg food ration and since I’m carrying the tent shared with two other girls, they will each carry 1kg of my food ration. The officer then briefed us on the hike, generally on safety guidelines and environmental awareness. We then took a group photo before being split into two 4WD which drove us to Kuala Juram (total distance of 13km), where disembarked from the 4WD, put on our bags and officially started our hike.

On a 4WD, heading to Kuala Juram 
Can't fit all 23 people in car so we have 2
The hike was relatively easy as the terrain wasn’t steep but rather flat in my opinion. It was a gradual ascend from 309m (Kuala Juram) to 750m (Kem Kor), with a total distance of 13.5m. Really a piece of cake to regular hikers and anyone with a fit body. You’ll first cross a hanging bridge at Kuala Juram, and from then onwards you will be crossing 4 rivers and a stream as you make your way towards Kem Kor. 

And the hike officially begins
River crossing
Always help each other cross the river

As the hike was easy, we stayed close to the pack and waited for each other since most of us are newbie hikers. Wills and other experienced hikers even helped the rest to cross the river at Lata Luis. After crossing the river, we took a short break before continuing to Kem Kor.  

A selfie of myself (still looking fresh) with Wills in the background helping the other members to cross

I reached Kem Kor at approximately 4pm, while the faster ones were ahead of me by approximately 10-15mins. Wills who led the way in front of us had secured a spacious spot at the campsite for us to set up our tent. As I was carrying the tent (shared with two other female hikers), I proceeded to setting up the tent without further delay. By the time I was setting up the tent, my tent mate (Win Nee and Bella) had finally arrived. We finished setting up the tent and headed over to the river for a quick bath. The river at Kem Kor is clean and it is safe to be drank without the need to actually filter it.  This is why bringing a 1.5L water bottle or bladder is more than enough as you can easily get your water supply once you reach the campsite and you wouldn’t want to burden yourself with too much weight. Even if 1.5L of water doesn’t last you all the way to Kem Kor, you would be passing at least 4 rivers and all of them are clean and safe for drinking. Bring along a water filter if you are worried about drinking it unfiltered.

Out of consideration for others, it is highly recommended that you move downstream for your bath and any other cleaning up, and leave the upstream for the rest to take their drinking water

By the time we finished our bath, the kitchen crews (consists of Bobby, KK, Callchun and Wills) have already starting cooking our dinner. The menu for the night was bak kut teh with rice. Feeling uneasy (and restless) as I was free at that particular moment, I went to the kitchen area and offered my help. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to do there since they had almost finished preparing everything.

Everyone getting busy at the "kitchen"

By 7pm, dinner was finally served, but it started to rain so we seek shelter at the kitchen area while wearing raincoats. It is important to keep ourselves dry so that we would not wet our tent later. We could have all just brought our food into the tent but instead, we wanted to stay and enjoy each other’s company. The rain stopped by the time we finished our meal and we all helped cleaning up, before heading to bed. I think it was around 10pm when we all went to bed that night.

Dinner for the night

Day 2: (Kem Kor – Kem Permatang – Kem Kubang – Kem Belumut – Anak Bonsai – Bonsai – Kem Botak)
The second day is generally the most tiring day (but not for me, but more about that later on), reason being we were to ascend from 750m (Kem Botak) to 1433m (Kem Botak), with a total distance of 16km. It’s quite steep and there were several vertical climb. It is therefore, recommended to start your hike early.

My tent mates and I woke up early at 6.30am that day, and after brushing our teeth and washing our face, we headed over to the kitchen to have our breakfast while the crews were already making our lunch. Breakfast was toasts with tuna spread or peanut butter spread and we helped ourselves to it. Lunch for the day was canned dace in black bean sauce with rice. It was ready by the time we finished our breakfast and we packed them into the food container. We then left our third day food portion in the storage bin at Kem Kor to lighten our weight, and packed our tent and hiking gears. As the food ration has dropped to less than 2kg now, I relocated some of my personal belongings to Win Nee and Bella to make up for the weight of tent I carried. We then started our hike for the day at 8am. 

Steep climb, but so "syok"

There's only one river to cross from Kem Kor, so everyone was wearing their Kampung Adidas (sans the socks) while I'm in my hiking sandals. After crossing the river, the rest put on their socks while I changed entirely into my Kampung Adidas. You can of course cross the river (the same with Day 1) with your hiking shoes and socks on, but then it probably wouldn't be comfortable hiking with wet socks and shoes since it's gonna weigh you down with the amount of water absorbed by your footwear. 

From left: me, Uncle Edward, Wills, Uncle Mak, Bobby and Callchun

This time around I was a little ahead of the rest of the pack but slightly behind the fast ones. For the first 2 hours of the hike (after overtaking the slow ones) I was basically hiking alone. The fast 5 (Wills, Bobby, Callchun, Uncle Mak and Uncle Edward) was ahead of me and I kept hearing the sound of them talking to each other but there were no sight of them at all. I finally caught up to them when I reached Kem Kubang for lunch. 

Lunch with the uncles - Mac, Uncle Mak Hon Leong and Uncle Mak Hon Kong

There’s a water point about 300m away from Kem Kubang and it is recommend that you fill up your water here before proceeding with your hike. I went to fill up my water with Eunice who had reached slightly after me, but we were shocked to find out that there was no water at all. Since it was our first time there, we weren't sure and upon informing the team, Wills went to check and confirmed that the water had indeed dried up. Well, that's just very unfortunate of us. The rest of the members had arrived by the time we finished our lunch break and we alarmed them of the situation. Those who had finished more than half of their water will need to fill up their water at the last water point between Kem Belumut and Anak Bonsai, while those who still have plenty left could risk it until they reach Kem Botak. 

Don’t be discouraged when you face a problem, for a problem is a chance to do your best

With that in mind, I left Kem Kubang with the fast 5, and with a strong determination to catch up to them this time around (competitiveness mode on, you know? Haha). We reached the last water point around 1pm and sadly the water was dripping slowly and we had to queue in line to get our water. Wills and Saro who didn't need any refill had surpassed us while the rests of us queued to refill our drinking water, before continuing our journey. The trail only got steeper from here onwards and there’re quite a lot of vertical climb along the way. With such a steep climb, I would recommend ditching your hiking sticks and use your hands to grab on the roots instead. It's easier and safer to do so. 

Don't be afraid to use your hands

However, the way to Kem Botak isn't all ascent and there were ups and downs. Just as you think that you have climbed over, you started descending only to have to ascend again, and this goes on and on and if that's not physically exhausting, it's killing you mentally if you are not prepared for such strenuous hike. Fortunately, my training paid off and albeit feeling tired, I managed to keep up to the fast 5. 

Remember to stop at Anak Bonsai and take a photo at this tree. The view is breathtaking

The way to Belumut and Anak Bonsai was the most taxing one in my opinion. This is when you will burn the most of your energy, so I strongly recommend that you keep a consistent tempo (like the Iron Lady Saro who climb with ease), and not to speed up from the very beginning. You will need that energy during this part of the hike. Trust me. 

Thanks Wills who waited for us at Anak Bonsai and reminded us to take photo here

I wasn't being consistent with my pace and by the time I reached Bonsai, I was drained. There, I met Eunice, Callchun, and Bobby who were taking their break and Uncle Mak who had been hiking with me and Uncle Edward had decided to join them. Uncle Edward and I on the other hand wanted to keep going, fearing that we wouldn't want to continue moving once we stopped for too long. Besides, I was feeling competitive and wanted to catch up to Wills and Saro, the "god legs". But halfway through I was feeling tired (not sure whether it was the strenuous hike or it was because it's my first day period), and I asked Uncle Edward to go ahead first while I took a break. Then, Callchun who had rested enough overtook me, followed by Uncle Mak. I then hiked slowly behind them until they were out of sight, and Bobby who was equally "punctured" trailed behind me. After some struggle, we finally reached Kem Botak at 4pm, about 15minutes behind Uncle Mak (who had overtook several people and was the third to reach the campsite, after Wills and Saro.

As soon as I reached the campsite (6th to reach), I quickly set up the tent since it seemed to start drizzling soon. By the time I was almost done, Win Nee arrived and helped me out with the rest of it. As we finished setting up our tent, Wills on the other hand, had gone down to sweep the rest and helped them out since it's going to start pouring. We seek shelter in the tent until the rain stopped. It was nightfall then and it was too dark and cold for us to bath, so we cleaned up using wet tissue instead. We then headed to the kitchen to help with dinner preparation. Dinner was ready around 8pm and we had cured chinese sausage with rice and ginger tea to keep our body warm. Many thanks to Saro for her ginger tea it kept my stomach warm that night (first day of period, remember?). I didn't stay up to chat that night but went to bed right after dinner. It's the same for the rests as everyone was exhausted after hours of hiking. I passed out quickly that night and entered dreamland, while Win Nee was fixing the flysheet since it was pouring outside. The weather was cold, it was pouring, and my stomach ached. 

Day 3: (Kem Botak – Summit – Kem Botak – Bonsai – Anak Bonsai – Kem Belumut – Kem Kubang – Kem Permatang – Kem Kor)

Ready to summit

Think that Day 2 was taxing, and Day 3 would be much better since it’s only 45minutes (2.5km one way from Kem Botak to the summit) to the summit and it would subsequently be descent all the way to Kem Kor? Well, that’s generally the case to the general public, but as I mentioned earlier, not me though. I dunno why I’m the way I am but I descend slower than I ascend, and that’s something I haven’t manage to figure out myself. Here’s hoping that my descend speed will improve in the future.

We woke up at 5am in the morning and had some milo and hot drinks to warm our stomach. With our headlights on, and a small daypack and hiking sticks, we hike in the dark towards to peak. It’s roughly 45 minutes from Kem Botak and even if you are slow, it shouldn’t take you more than an hour. Sunrise was scheduled to be around 6.30am, so plan your time wisely. 

Reaching the peak before the sun risen

Win Nee head lights wasn’t working that day and so I shone the way for her from behind and we hiked slowly in the dark. We reached the summit about 6.15am. Slowly, more and more hikers reached the summit (including a group of Malay hikers) and the area around the Tahan signboard was crowded. In order to stay away from the crowd and to enjoy sunrise in solitude, I shied away and hid myself at a corner behind the Tahan signboard where I can get a nice unobstructed view of sunrise. The fact that there are bushes around makes it a rather warm spot in the early morning weather.

Waiting for sunrise at the peak of Mount Tahan (2817m)
Sun has fully risen
Team Down Jacket

Coke and G7 Vietnamese Coffee

Hot tea to warm ourselves since it's still cold in the early morning
After enjoying sunrise, we had some Pu’Er, prepared by Uncle Mak. We hung around the summit taking countless of photos while enjoying the hot tea. Uncle Mak even brought a bottle of Coke to commemorate our hike to the summit and Win Nee too brought her favourite Vietnamese coffee. Finally, at 8am, we decided to return to Kem Botak to pack our gears and make our descent to Kem Kor, where we would be camping again for the night. Bobby and KK were the first to descend as they had to rush back to prepare our lunch (this time was rice with baked beans and luncheon meat). 

The view on the way descending down to Kem Botak
Pit stop on the way to take a photo - my signature back view pose

Drying our belonging under the morning sun

Once we arrived at Kem Botak, the rest of us took the opportunity of the waiting time to dry our wet belongings since the sun was up. By the time that both breakfast (mushroom soup) and lunch were ready, we had our breakfast and packed our lunch, tent and gears and ready to descent. I started descending at about 10am.

The last place where I saw Calvin, before he sped off to chase after Wills

Descending from Kem Botak to Bonsai proved to be the most exciting part of the descent to me. The terrain were rocky and I hop down quickly while I still had the stamina. I was on my second day of menses and I wasn’t sure how long I could hold. Finally, as I reached Anak Bonsai at around 11am, I had to stop. I took a short break at Anak Bonsai before proceeding to the last water point for lunch where I met Uncle Mak, Alex, Uncle Edward, Bobby, Max, Eunice and KK. The rest of my descent from there onwards was actually quite torturous, as I practically had to brainwash myself that:

Pain and exhaustion are temporary, but quitting lasts forever

And with that I continue to descend towards Kem Kubang, Kem Permatang, towards our final destination of the day --- Kem Kor. Along the way, fast hikers like Saro, Callchun and Bobby overtook me while Wills and Calvin who were ahead of me were no where to be seen. At some point, I hike alongside Max and Hui Li, then crossed path with Bobby and Eunice for a while, before hiking for couple of hours with Uncle Mak and KK, and finally Alex and Win Nee. It was great to have people keeping me company when I was struggling to keep myself going with the stomach cramps and jelly legs. I did feel guilty when they slowed down to walk with me, knowing too well that people like Uncle Mak is a fast and strong hiker. I did urged him to go ahead and not to keep me company, but the gentleman in him refused to leave me behind until Alex and Win Nee caught up to me after Kem Permatang.

Ants are everywhere, try not to step on them
At 5.30pm, I finally reached Kem Kor, where Wills had already secured the camping site for us. The kitchen was also set and Bobby, KK and Callchun were already preparing our dinner. Eunice and Hui Li on the other hand were washing up in the river. Win Nee and I set up our tent and once done, we head over to the river to wash up. Bella soon joined us at the river when she had finally reached. Dinner was ready by 7pm and we had chicken curry with rice and ABC soup. Since it’s our last night at Tahan, we even had dessert --- Luo Han Guo longan sweet soup. Everyone was in good mood that night, having successfully scale Mount Tahan, the highest mountain in Peninsular. We had a long chat that night and only went to bed around 10.30pm (or was it 11?)

Day 4: (Kem Kor – Lata Luis – Kuala Luis – Kuala Juram – Sg Relau)
Our last day descent was basically the exact opposite of our first day ascent, and since Wills had arranged for the 4WD to pick us up (at Kuala Juram) at 12.30pm, the latest we had to leave the campsite was 8 or 8.30am (for slower hikers). 

I woke up at 7am that morning when Wills had already finished preparing our breakfast. It was Vietnamese bee hoon this time around and honestly, that’s my favourite meal apart from the dinner the night before. What made me even happier was the chilli padi we plucked from the chili plant at the campsite which we added to our bee hoon. I had 4 of them (and they were very spicy) and I was delighted to get some kick out of it. 

Friendly reminder: be careful where you are grabbing. there are thorns everywhere

I was among the second batch who left the campsite that day (the first leaving around 8.15am) at 9am. With a 16kg bag (thanks to Wills who passed me a 2kg leftover rice and this time around I did not reallocate 1kg of weight to Bella and Win Nee), I descent slowly towards Kuala Juram, while Wills, Bobby, KK and Callchun were the last to leave after packing the fly sheet, ground sheet, cooking equipment and etc. I still hadn’t regain my stamina and I was walking at a moderate pace, with Uncle Mak and Max who were kind enough to keep this silly girl company. No matter what I said, they refused to abandon me. Argh, I owe these people for taking care of me.

Finally reached Kuala Juram

We finally reached Kuala Juram at 12.15pm, about 5mins behind Wills and the trio (yes, they were fast despite being an hour behind us). At 12.30, the 4WD arrived and we were transported back to the office for bag checking. We then headed towards the shower room to get a good shower which I think I spent about half an hour there. Haha. Once we were all cleaned up, we took some group photos while waiting for our certificate. Unfortunately there’s some problem with the printing machine and we ended up leaving without them. Fret not, ‘cos the officer had promised to pass the certs to Wills who would then distribute to us. 

One last photo before we left
We left the office at 2.30pm and drove the Kuala Lipis for our lunch, before heading back to Kuala Lumpur. Well, everyone but me, because I took an overnight bus from TBS to Singapore. Thanks to KK and Callchun who dropped me at the bus terminal. 


Was Tahan easy or was it difficult? I would say it was both. It’s difficult if you are not an experienced hiker and it’s easy if you are a regular one. Was it more difficult than Kinabalu and Rinjani? Well, I would certainly rate it above Kinabalu but below Rinjani in terms of difficulty. Did I have fun? I definitely did. I joined the trip not knowing whether I would get along with a group of strangers I have never met. Would I be able to click with them? Would it be a nightmare experience for 4 days? Would I annoy them for being too noisy or chatty or abnormally quiet (due to being shy)? Or would I scare them off with my weirdness and insanity?

Thankfully, we got along just fine right since Day 1. I guess I must have met a bunch of people as crazy as I am. Thanks guys for the wonderful 4 days in the mountain. It wouldn’t have been the same without you all.

Group photo
In the end, it’s not about the mountain we hike but the mountain we hike TOGETHER


Thank you for reading all the way till the end. Too much info and you only want a summarised itinerary but too lazy to scroll back up? Well, here’s a summary I’ve drafted up for you. Hope it helps you with your planning.


**Disclaimer: Below are my timing according to my speed. So please take it with a grain of salt, as everyone is different. Have fun climbing the highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia! *wink*

Day 1 (30/9/2016)
Distance : 13.5km (5 rivers crossing) – exclude 13km 4WD from Sg Relau to Kuala Juram
5.30am : assemble at Karak Highway, BHP petrol station
6.30am : breakfast at Bukit Tinggi
7.30am : depart to Merapoh
10.30am : reach Merapoh, early lunch
12.00am : registration at Sg Relau Office and bag checking
1.15am : briefing conducted by officer, group photo & 4WD to Kuala Juram
1.30pm : start hiking
2.30pm : reach Kuala Luis
3.00pm : reach Lata Luis, half an hour break while waiting for the rest
3.30pm: continue ascend to Kem Kor
4.00pm : reach Kem Kor, set up tent, bath
7.00pm : dinner 

Day 2 (1/10/2016)
Distance : 16km (1 river crossing)
6.30am : wake up, breakfast, prepare lunch & pack tent and gear
8.00am : start ascend (1 river crossing right after Kem Kor)
9.00am : reach Kem Permatang
10.00pm : reach Kem Kubang (lunch time) – water point is 300m away
11.00pm : continue ascend
12.00pm : reach Kem Belumut
1.00pm : reach last water point, refill water
1.30pm : reach Anak Bonsai
3.00pm : reach Kem Bonsai
4.00pm : reach Kem Botak, setup tent, bath
7.00pm : dinner

Day 3 (2/10/2016)
Distance: 2.5km to summit + 2.5km to Kem Botak + 16km to Kem Kor (1 river crossing)
5.00am : wake up, light breakfast, light breakfast
5.30am : ascend to summit
6.15am : reach summit, wait for sunrise
6.30am : sunrise
8.00am : descend back to Camp Botak
8.30am: pack tent and gear, prepare lunch
10.00am : descend from Kem Botak
12.00am : lunch at last water point
12.30pm : continue descend
2.00pm : reach Kem Belumut
3.00pm : reach Kem Kubang
4.30pm : reach Kem Permatang
5.30pm : reach Kem Kor, setup tent, bath
7.00pm : dinner

Day 4 (3/10/2016)
Distance : 13.5km (5 rivers crossing) – exclude 13km 4WD from Kuala Juram to Sg Relau
7.00am : wake up, breakfast & pack tent and gear
9.00am : descend from Kem Kor
12.00am : reach Kuala Juram
12.30am : 4WD pick up
1.00pm : reach Sg Relau office, bag checking
1.30pm : shower
2.30pm : group photo before leaving
3.30pm : lunch at Kuala Lipis
5.00pm : depart home



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  1. Read tis superb article 3 times, it's a great story with spectacular hiking experience

    Started hiking very late, at 58 n now wargamas liau so not sure if i would ever make it there even though Tahan is my dream trip

    1. Hi Mohd Abduh, thanks for always supporting my writing. It's never too late to start hiking. Just train more and be well prepared prior to your Tahan hike and I'm sure you can do it too. It's definitely not an easy hike but if one is well trained and well prepared, it will be less strenuous :)


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