Gunung Telapak Buruk & B24 Liberator aircraft crash site hike

It's been nearly a month after our last hike up Gunung Nuang and we've been itching to climb another mountain. Problem is, after the recent landslide that took several lives in Cameron Highland, the state government decided to close most major mountains in the state for all climbers until January next year. So there goes our long-planned Gunung Irau hiking plans.

So we had to re-arrange our plan to other mountains in another state instead. We had a few places in mind but ultimately settled for a trans Gunung Telapak Buruk - Gunung Berembun hike. There's actually 3 mountains with the same Gunung Berembun name, one in Terengganu, one in Pahang and the one that we're going is in Negeri Sembilan. Initially it was going to be just a few of us from the Kereks group however one of the group members were over-excited and invited 18 more of her friends to join. Final count we had 21 members with 10 cars going up Gunung Telapak Buruk .

We grouped at the Seremban R&R area and had breakfast there. Half an hour later we reached the trunk road leading up the mountain. Gunung Telapak Buruk is accessible by road and there's several communication towers at the top of the 1187 meters mountain. What we didn't know that it took us an hour to travel 11 kilometers up the mountain and the road condition were quite horrible. For several parts of the ascend, the road conditions were so horrible that our car got stuck a few times in the gravel and dirt. Looking back, if I had know the road was really that bad, I wouldn't even consider driving my own car up the mountain. It's a miracle that my humble Alza survived the treacherous return journey without hardly a scratch (or a breakdown).

We reached the summit of Gunung Telapak Buruk at about a quarter to 10. We were greeted by a fierce-looking soldier guarding the TM communication tower. He promptly asked where we're from and how many of us there. While we did our research before hand, the truth is none of us had ever been to any of the two mountains we're going today. So when the one of commanding officer of the army guarding the towers offered to guide us to the aircraft crash site, we accepted their offer without a second thought. Provided you registered beforehand at the Pantai police station down at the valley first.

So all 21 of us along with 3 member of the army made our way to the B24 Liberator World War II British aircraft crash site from the top of Gunung Telapak Buruk at around 11:00 AM. The hike took less than 2 hours thanks to our experienced guides. When we arrived, we only saw one part of the plane crash on our left. We had no idea there were more of the aircraft remains on the right sight of the trail. Although the trail to the crash site is clearly marked, to be honest, we doubt that we would ever find the actual crash site had we gone alone on our own. So you can imagine how grateful we were that those guys decided to tag along.

We're not really sure what actually happened and why the plane crashed. Maybe it was because of bad weather, maybe it got shot by the Japanese, we'll never know. The remains of the plane is scattered around a 500 meters radius and we found the wing, tail and the main fuselage within that area. The aircraft's engine had already been taken out and shipped to an army museum somewhere though.

My actual plan was to proceed to Gunung Berembun not so far away from the crash site. However it already started to rain by the time we left the crash site. Apart from that, we had several newcomers who had never hiked before and I thought it'll be too much to force them to make the return trip to Gunung Berembun with the rain and all. It'll be nightfall by the time we come out had we gone along with the original plan. Besides, we were not sure whether the soldiers would join us further to Gunung Berembun. In the end we decided to return back to Gunung Telapak Buruk and proceed no further from the crash site.

The soldiers that guided us looked very serious and official when we first met. A few hours later they were literally a different person - jovial, funny, talkative and really-really friendly. I guess they had to maintain some sort of appearance when encountering civilians. They even refused to accept our donation when we're about to leave, how honorable.

Apart from the horrible road condition, Gunung Telapak Buruk and the visit to the WWII aircraft crash site was really memorable. I made new friends especially with the soldiers based at the mountain-top camp. Next time you ever plan to go up Gunung Telapak Buruk to the B24 Liberator site I would strongly recommend you use or hire a 4WD vehicle instead of your regular car. And remember to register yourself at the Pantai police station beforehand for your own safety. Should you ever decide to ask for the soldiers to guide you, they will ask whether you have registered first at the police station and will refuse to help you if you didn't.

Although we made it to Gunung Telapak Buruk and also the crash site, we still haven't actually reached Gunung Berembun. That could only mean that we simply had to come again and attempt that mountain some time in the future :)