Gunung Nuang climb Ever since I climbed halfway up Gunung Nuang back in June, I have made it a mission to actually climb all the way to the peak some day. My chance came when my hiking buddies group (now known as Kereks) made plans to climb up the mountain via the Janda Baik route in Bentong, Pahang. You see, there’s two routes to go up Gunung Nuang — one the regular (and hard) Pangsun in Hulu Langat route and the other is the less difficult Janda Baik route. While the Hulu Langat route is easier to find the starting point, the Janda Baik route is slightly more difficult to find especially if you've never been there before (duh).
All seven of us had never actually tried going through the Janda Baik route so we spent about half an hour looking for the starting point. We can’t find any videos about it on YouTube and all the blogs were mostly vague about the starting location. So we did the next best thing and actually stopped and asked for directions (shocking, I know). We asked a few locals at first but they were not really helpful with the direction until we stopped by a restaurant next to ILMU, an UMNO training center near Janda Baik. This guy finally guided us to the right true path as we found the parking lot with the green fence next to a chalet near the starting point. The parking fee at the time of writing is RM7 per entry and the landlord also provided restrooms for the visitors within his parking lot. If you find the 7 ringgit fee to excessive, you could always park elsewhere near the starting point — further up along the road maybe but there’s no guarantee for you car’s safety. Yes there’s no guarantee even if you park inside the parking lot but at least the landlord could keep an eye on it from time to time.
From the parking lot you need to cross the first stream across the road. It’s a small stream, just a few steps across and I would advice you to take off your shoes if you don’t want them wet (duh again). I know some seasoned hikers wouldn't bother and would just wade across the stream but I prefer my shoes dry for the entire 7–8 hours duration of the hike so it’s all up to you. Next you will walk across 2 or 3 kilometers of vegetables or something farm before you actually enter the jungle at the foot of the hill. At the end of the farm there’s a few indigenous people’s homes and naturally some dogs guarding the entrance. The dogs are mostly friendly and wouldn't harm you if you leave them alone. Even if they started to bark you should just ignore them if their owners didn't shoo them away already.
A few hundred meters into the jungle you will find the second stream. Again, shoes off if you don’t want them wet. After that the ascend up Gunung Nuang will truly began, some quite steep, others not so steep but they’re all tiring and challenging nevertheless.To be honest, after nearly 10 mountains and hills, I find Nuang via Janda Baik to be quite a walk in the park (#humblebrag). If yo’ve climbed any mountains above 1,300 meters before you should find this one to be not any different. It’s true what they say, Gunung Nuang via Janda Baik is half as difficult than the Hulu Langat route. So if you want a real challenge, take that one. I can testify to that.
Anyway we reached the summit after 4 hours without much difficulty. There we meet several people who climbed from the opposite site. Strangely enough we met only another group of people who went along the Janda Baik trail and nobody else. Maybe because they many also didn't know where the starting point is. The view from the top of the mountain is beautiful but nothing spectacular maybe because of the haze or fog. But of course it’s not so much about the view but the climbing experience and knowing you fucking did it, climb Gunung Nuang — one of the highest peak in the state.
After resting for about an hour including lunch, we started our descend. It was already dark and cloudy by then (2:30 pm) so it’s no surprise when it poured halfway down the mountain. We got our raincoats out and all but to our bewilderment the rain didn't last more than 20 minutes or so. Unfortunately it was enough to make our path all muddy and slippery and just like Bukit Kutu we had to thread carefully not to slip and land ourselves in a muddy mess. Of course a few people did slip and fell down, especially the newbies but we had to be really sporting and not laugh (much) and encourage them to get up and go again.
On the way back we stopped by the second stream that we passed earlier to have and dip and rest for a while. Nothing like soaking in the icy cold mountain water after a hot and tiring hike. I must do that more often in the future.
Hiking to Gunung Nuang via Janda on average should take no more than 7 to 8 hours for the return trip. But that’s if everybody’s fit and had hiked regularly before. For this trip we had one or two newbies who haven’t done much climbing before so we had to patiently wait for them to catch up with everybody else. I being the de facto sweeper in the group had to make sure that nobody is left behind or strayed away from the group. Yes they are times that I wish they would buckle up or go faster but I had to bear in mind that they've not done this sort of long and tiring hiking much before so I gave them nothing but my backing and encouragement. Everybody started as a hiking noob before so you just can’t look down on newbies because we we are once were.
However as a result, our supposed 7 to 8 hours hike ended being 11 hours long including another hour in the rain towards the end. It was already dark by the time we reached the vegetables farm and there was raining again and there were lightning and thunder in the sky and I was literally praying that we didn't get struck by lightning or anything. Scary stuff. Thanks for my headlamp, we made it safely across the farm. Normally I wouldn't recommend walking in the open space during a thunderstorm but honestly I just wanna get out of there as fast as I can. The alternative is to stop under a tree which is just as risky. It is important that you come prepared for such trips. Headlamp, extra food, power bank for your phone and other emergency items. No matter how experienced or seasoned you think you are if you go into the jungle ill-prepared, you’ll only courting trouble. And like they say if shit can happen they will happen so be like a scout and come prepared.
Overall I would give Nuang via Janda Baik climb a moderately difficult rating. It’s not difficult at all if you’ve regularly hiked before. It should be a wee bit challenging if you’ve never tracked for more than 5–6 hours but it’s definitely do-able even for the worst of you. And in case you have no idea where the starting point is, I’ve made a little video on YouTube and Vimeo about our hike up Gunung Nuang with emphasis on the road leading to the starting point. Basically you have to make your way to the Genting Sempah R&R, turn left heading to Janda Baik and find this ILMU training institute. From there on you just go straight until you find the green fence on your left next to the chalet. One more thing, remember to stretch and de-strech properly before and after your hike. You don’t want to have sore knees, thighs or legs the day after. Yes you’ll probably feel a bit sore but it’ll be much worse without proper streching. Most importantly, avoid going on a Sunday if possible. You would want to have that extra day of rest after such a long and tiring hike, trust me on this.
Now that I’ve made it to Gunung Nuang via Janda Baik it is only natural that my next mission is to complete the Hulu Langat route. Maybe some time in the next few months cause I am going to Gunung Tahan in March ☺