Gunung Angsi hike

Gunung Angsi situated in the district of Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan is only a short 1 and a half hour drive from Kuala Lumpur. You can use the regular PLUS highway heading south to get there or take the LEKAS highway from Kajang which is much faster. There are two established route to climb this hill, one through the Ulu Bendul recreation area and another from Bukit Putus on the opposite side of the hill. Our initial plan was to park the car at the Ulu Bendul stream area and climb from there but since we arrived rather late (9:30 am is late for a day hike) the park keeper advised us to try the Bukit Putus route instead which is shorter and much easier.

The Ulu Bendul route is much longer, about 3 hours to finish and more winding compared to Bukit Putus. So we heed his advice and drove to there instead. We paid RM5.00 entry fee each and started our climb by climbing this set of stairs.

The initial climb was quite steep and the first 800 meters was quite tiring even for fit mountain-climbers (like me ahem).

If you haven't climbed or exercised in a while you will sure need a break every now and then.

The first checkpoint is this little hut here where you can find some people cooking and eating. I don't know whether they opened a stall there or they're simply here for the day but the facilities looked really well-used and permanent.

From the huts, the climb should be pretty easy and straight-forward. In fact I must say Gunung Angsi through the Bukit Putus route is one of the easiest hill I've climbed so far apart from Broga.

The trail is wide and clearly marked in most places.

They even put benches in 4-5 locations of the hill for people to rest.

There's one part of the hike when you actually have to go down a bit before you go up again. The exact location is here where you can find a fallen tree trunk and this black and yellow caution tape. So if you suddenly find yourself going down, don't be alarmed just go with the trail.

You will find this place called Wild Boar Swamp at the end of the little descent. I can't find any wild boar in sight (maybe they're asleep) and the place isn't exactly a swamp. Maybe these people just have too much imagination.

There's ample signs for direction along the trail like this one which is also pretty accurate.

Gunung Angsi isn't as thick of a jungle like Ulu Semangkok or Bukit Kutu so you still get beautiful view like this one which is named waterfall view. Again I can't find any waterfall in sight.

This one is called Savannah Pass. Do they even know how a real Savannah looks like?

Gunung Angsi is so easy, it took us less than 2 hours to finish the climb. The peak is one of the cleanest and well-kept area I've seen so far. It looks more like somebody else front lawn than a typical mountain top. I suspect there's a dedicated community group or club that takes good care of the hill. Or maybe the Negeri Sembilan forestry department has actually done a good job of keeping the place clean and orderly.

The view from the top is quite spectacular if not amazing. You get to see the rolling hills of Negeri Sembilan on one side and the town of Senawang, Seremban and beyond on the other.

This is the path if you come from Ulu Bendul.

The climb down was just as easy as the ascend. Overall we finished the hike in less than 4 hours. This is the old ladder at the entrance before the new one is build.

At 825 meters, I'd rather call Angsi a hill than a mountain which is usually 1,000 meters and above. It is very easy to climb if you go up and down again using the Bukit Putus route. As always make sure you came well-prepared with water, some food, rain coat and a flash light just in case. You wouldn't want to be stranded for hours in the rain like these people here.

Like any mountain or hill, there's always the danger of getting lost especially for beginners. I'm no expert climber yet but I think I know enough to follow the route markers or take an experienced climber along if the place is not very familiar or popular with climbers or for very high mountains (1,500 and above). I know I said Gunung Angsi is easy but it's always good practice to go in groups or at least early on weekends where's there sure to be other climbers. Plus the Ulu Bendul route should be more difficult so take an experienced hiker if you want to take that path.

For Gunung Angsi, it's a duo hike with just me and my wife. We met about a dozen hikers along the way up and down even on a Sunday. This happens to be my 3rd climb in 3 weeks in a row after Ulu Semangkok and Bukit Kutu. So far my knees have not come out of their socket yet so I'm good for more climbs like this again next month.

Tune Talk turns 5

I've been a Tune Talk subscribers for 2 years now and I must say I've been a very satisfied customer. Sure I'm still waiting for them to offer unlimited mobile Internet like UMobile and I regularly nag their CEO and Twitter account for this but no luck so far. Coverage and data plan-wise, they've been above expectation. Many times when my Umobile line failed to get 3G connection outside the city, my other Tune Talk line come to the rescue. For a prepaid mobile telco, their coverage is the best aside from the big names like Celcom and Maxis of course.

This year Tune Talk turns 5 years old. I was lucky enough to be invited to one of their MMA (mixed martial art) event in Paradigm Mall recently. I'm not really into boxing or any kind of sport that involves people beating the heck out of each other but since it's free I thought why not. Besides, the marketing assistant manager said there were a surprise waiting for me if I come. That surprise better be good and make it worth my while.

So I brought Adam to Paradigm Mall in Kelana Jaya that hot afternoon. I met the PR people and were given VIP passes to sit next to the stage. The event was held in center court anyway so anybody can see but stage side seats are a bit more special since it's closer. The fight themselves were cool. I can see clearly every punch and kick flying in. Mid way through the event the boxing girl suddenly held up a placard showing my name. Next thing I know I were invited on stage and were given a brand new iPhone 5S by Tune Talk's CEO, Jason Lo. He quietly whispered "don't be so hard on us ah after this" while giving out the phone. After that they treated me with some free Fish & Co lunch and we left the mall shortly after.

I know beforehand they were giving out free iPhones to random customers a few days before but I never dreamed that I could be one of the lucky one. So thank you very much Tune Talk. You've just made me a life-long subscriber. Congrats on your fifth anniversary. Same gift next year? :-)

You can skip to 1:48 of the video.

Bukit Kutu climb

Climbing Bukit Kutu in Kuala Kubu Bahru has been on top of my hiking list since the beginning of the year. People say the place is beautiful and the view from the top is really breathtaking. My first planned trip was cancelled at the last minute because a few members bailed out leaving just 2 people in the original group. For my second trip I was determined to go no matter what, even if it means just the two of us (Syiaful and I) who hiked.

Getting to Kuala Kubu Bahru should be pretty straightforward. Unless if you use Waze. There's actually two place about 30 kilometers apart both named Kuala Kubu Bharu and Kuala Kubu Bahru on the map. The first one is a tiny remote village in the middle of nowhere and the latter is the actual small town north of Selangor that we wanted to go. Guess where Waze actually brought us? Yep, the remote village in the middle of nowhere. So remember next time, get your spelling right. I bet the person who named those places so similarly is laughing in his grave right now.

Anyway, in spite of the 40 minutes detour, we finally made to the right Kuala Kubu Bahru after like 2 and a half hours driving from KL. We had breakfast at the popular (and only) 24 hour mamak restaurant there called Fazlina Maju before starting our climb. Kuala Kubu Bahru is a nice quiet little town with hardly any traffic en route to Fraser's Hill. I don't mind living in such sleepy little town like this some day when I retire.

Getting to Kampung Pertak at the foot of Bukit Kutu can be a bit confusing if you've never been there before. Lucky for me we had Syiaful who'd been there a couple of times. Else you can rely on your favourite GPS app to guide you there and pray that it doesn't lead you anywhere else. Basically it's the same road you take to go to the Pertak dam and also Chilling waterfall. You can see the signboard to Kampung Pertak, an indigenous people's settlement clearly by the roadside.

Once you're in, drive your car further inside until you can't go on anymore and just park anywhere by the roadside. When we got there that morning, there's already about a dozen cars parked along the road so you can tell it's a pretty popular hiking spot.

It was already very cloudy and overcast when we got to Kuala Kubu Bahru town so it's hardly surprising when it pours while we're about to start our climb. Fortunately most of us had come prepared so we put on all our raincoats and rain poncho and proceed in the rain.

First you'll meet this stream and the little broken bridge which is still accessible if you wish.

There's a few junction and fork on the road leading up to Bukit Kutu so unless you brought someone experienced you might waste some time going the right way. There's this first junction about 500 meters from where we park with no signboard whatsoever and another one which has a tiny sign which points you to Bukit Kutu. For both junctions, take the right side.

This is the first junction, take right (or deal with the big scary dog on the left hor hor).

The second junction with tiny Bukit Kutu sign. Take right as well.

A few hundred meters after the second junction, you will meet the orang asli settlement and the road that leads to Bukit Kutu goes right through it. Needless to say, you need to show some courtesy and respect while passing through their homes. A simple nod or hi or smile will do. No need to give offerings or anything.

As you walk further you'll encounter two more streams along the way. While it is possible to hop across from one stone to another without getting your shoes wet, most people would prefer to take off their shoes and wade through the shallow water. But since it's raining so heavily that day and our shoes are going to get wet anyway, we just walked across with our shoes on.

In the beginning, the hike was pretty flat and accessible.

However about 1 kilometer in, the road started to ascend up and since it's raining, became super-slippery. There was a little detour made by some good Samaritans to avoid the wasp nest which stung half a dozen people the week before so the new route is still fresh and unstable. The first 500 meters up from the foot of the hill was quite a challenge for all of us.

Bukit Kutu can be described as moderately challenging. The climb was gradual until the top and definitely doable if you've been hiking before. It was unfortunate that it rained most of the way up the hill. If you've never experienced hiking in the rain before, it was even more challenging than regular hiking during dry weather. Your path will definitely be quite slippery especially during the descend down the hill.

About 2/3 up the hill you will encounter and marvel at several big rocks which could be a handy place to shelter from the rain or smoke weed on the rocks or whatever.

As we progress upwards, we met more and more obstacles coming our way like fallen logs and bending bamboo plants criss-crossing our path.

This is how my shoes looks like on the way back. There's hardly any grip left with so much mud on it.

Some of the interesting plants that we saw. Don't ask me what they were.

When you see this towering fireplace ruin, you know you've just about reached the top. This place also happens to be a popular campsite for hikers and campers.

At the peak of Bukit Tabur, you'll find a couple of huge rocks where you can climb them with the ladders provided. The view from the peak of Bukit Tabur is already breathtaking but even more so on top of those rocks.

However, there's very little space on top of the rocks and there's usually a steady queue of climbers waiting in line to go up. Plus you need to be extra careful up there because one little slip you could plunge to your death.

Clear blue cerulean sky and pretty clouds on top of the rocks.

Fogs enveloping the hills after the 3 hours rain.

The almost dried up Pertak dam from above.

The author at 1053 meters above sea level.

Yummy little bug.

A few hundred meters from the peak, you can find this old ruin of a bungalow which can be quite creepy but interesting nevertheless. I can't imagine how they carried all the raw materials all the way up there to build the bungalow. Even more fascinating, how they could live up there all by themselves many-many years ago.

Overall. the return trip took us around 6 hours including 40 minutes rest at the top. I wish I could spend more time or even have a dip in the refreshing stream at the foot of the hill but unfortunately we didn't have much time to spare. Next time I wouldn't miss it for sure.

Bukit Kutu should be on every hiker's to-do list especially if you're from around Klang Valley. The hike is not really difficult and the view from the top is simply spectacular. As always bring lots of water, some food and some kind of rain coat or rain poncho because it always rain up there.