This is my 3rd activities with Budget Travelers, where I decided to join for hiking at Mount Datuk, on 30th October, 2010. Mount Datuk is located in Kampung Batang Nyamor, about 21km from Rembau Town and 15km from Tampin Town, in the state of Negeri Sembilan.
“The summit of the mountain consists of huge boulders. Gunung Datuk stands majestically at 880 metres (2,900 feet above sea level) offering trekkers a panoramic view of the surrounding towns atop the boulders, the Strait of Malacca may also be visible clear day. Visitors will be dauntingly challenged by the natural obstacles such as steep passageways, as they traverse the roots, trees, narrow paths and witness the structural changes in the forest along the trail.
Difficulty : 3/5
Duration to Peak : about 2 hours trek”
Okay, those description was enough to make me signed up for this event, which was the first one ever in my middle 30’s. The date was on 30th October, 2010, started with a good sunny weather back in KL, until we reached our first meetup point just after Pedas toll, where the weather turns a bit cloudy, which to me is just great as I don’t prefer hot weather for a hike. We later proceeded to the second meetup point near Rembau town – as usual, for breakfast, where I also met my ex-school buddy, who will joined us for the first time, with her husband.
Once we reached the base camp, we started to gather around to take photos and registering our names for the climb, which cost us RM1 per person. There are several other groups besides our big group of 37 climbers, so the trail would be quite packed, with slow (to my preference) hiking.
Around 8 am, after the first few meters of hiking, I began to realized that this is not an easy climb, as the trek is quite steep, interlaced with large roots and boulders. I began to get a cramped thigh as obvious result of underestimate the mountain trail and misjudging my own abilities to hike after leaving it for several long years. Lucky for me, my companion for the hike has the same problem so the two of us are really taking it easy, even attempted to go back down a few times, but doesn’t like to feel left out from the rest of the group.I feel a deep gratitude as this is the first time I’ve met her, but we stick together through our hard times and support each other all the way up.
What do I expect from a tropical mountain jungle? yeah, the stuffy air. I have to rest several times just to catch my breath and cool off my sweating skin. Only after we reached the middle of the mountain, the breeze starts to slowly sooth our skin and makes the climb bearable. But the trek is still as bad as it looks, more steep than ever. Around 10.45 am, we reached the first clearing, nearly 3 hours of laborious hike, and yet still managed to catch up with the rest of the group as they were waiting their turns to climb up the huge boulders that make up the peaks of Mount Datuk.
The feelings? Awesome at the beautiful view and cool breezes that grazes my tired skin, relief that I didn’t give up! As my only pouch bag contains 2 bottles of 500ml mineral waters and one bar of chocolate, I was feeling rather hungry. Lucky for me, there are others with good supplies of food for the rest of us needy. I also noticed that the steep climb did taken it’s toll for a few unlucky climbers in another group when they have to use their First Aid kit to mend some wounded legs and relief swollen feet. I’m glad our group members have been spared from the same fate.
It took me nearly around half an hour of waiting before I can climb the first boulder, using ropes and shaky metal ladders, with few helps from above. Then, another wait while watching the views, and the people at the peeks enjoying their glorious moments of conquering Mount Datuk’s peak. When it’s my time up there, I spent myself more than half an hour just taking photos and lying under the cloudy skies, enjoying God’s beautiful creation. Too bad I can’t see the Malacca Straits as the dark clouds was slowly rolling in our way.
We slowly proceeded back down, where I went pretty much on my own, as I somehow missing my own group. It was drizzling just after I went back down, but slowly began to rain heavily at three-quarter of the mountain. The trek began to get muddy, with rain waters pooling around the tree roots, making the trek quite slippery. I was stalled by a group of secondary school kids who was having a hard time climbing down when one of the girl slipped and twisted her ankle. The best thing is, Mount Datuk has a very good mobile reception so we were able to contact other people to help the poor girl. So few of my guys group members turned back around and they started to taking turns piggy-back that young girl on the way down. Frankly, their school teachers are useless as they only called up their base camp (the school group was camping there the other night), and none of them ever help carried that girl. They even left us with that poor girl and just went down on their own. There’s nothing else I could do except to warn my friends on the obstacles up in front before they reach the place.
After a total of 6 strong guys who alternately piggy-back that girl on the way down, we finally reached the base camp, where the JPAM (formerly JPA3 or Malaysian Civil Defence Force) truck was already waiting. The girl was brought to the nearby clinic, while the JPAM guys went up the mountain, reportedly for another 3 teachers with twisted ankles. Talk about karma huh…and it’s getting dark, and the JPA3 guys also pretty soon realized that they can’t bring up or carry down any stretchers up there. But we didn’t hang out to find out more. After quenching our thirst with some cool drinks from a stall at the base camp, we changed our clothes and headed out of the area. Most of us who have reached the base earlier has left already. By 6.30 pm, the remaining ones who left decides to go for an early dinner at nearby areas.
We reached KL around 10.30 pm, where all of us are fast asleep in the car, except for the driver :P. Yeah, we carpool that day, as usual 😀
My verdict? I love Mount Datuk, mostly the windy and scenic peak boulders, but I wouldn’t be climbing it any time soon, at least until I’m fit to hike again! 😛
Here is some photos that I took with my faithful HTC Artemis phone, and from others member album 🙂
Direction and other details of Mount Datuk (from Malaysia-Travelers.com);
If you are coming from Kuala Lumpur, exit the North-South Expressway at Exit 223.
At the T-junction after the toll, turn left.
You will reach a round-about where you should turn right (3 o’clock exit) sign posted towards Rembau. From Rembau town you will see signposts directing you to Hutan Lipur Gunung Datuk (or Dato’) which will take you along route N111. After 15km or so you will see a turning to the left pointing to Gunung Datuk. After a short drive through a rubber estate you will arrive at the Gunung Datuk base camp where you can park your car.
You need to register at the office and pay fees.
Facilities and Fees
Fees were increased in June 2011 and are as follows:
Climbing Fee RM5 per person
Camping Fee RM 3 per tent
Tent Hire (holds 4 people) RM5 per tent
The flat space just below the summit looked quite good for camping although there are no facilities apart from a very rustic toilet. I noticed that someone had sprinkled yellow rat poison around the circumference of the camp site so perhaps there is a rodent problem at night. If campers would take their rubbish back down with them rather than trying to burn it the problem might be improved. (see also their Mountain Climbing Tips)
-less than 20 people RM60
-25-50 people RM120
-more than 50 people RM180
It is not necessary to employ a guide and we were not offered one.
Chalet Rental RM50 per night or RM30 for a half day.
Rubber Tapping RM2 per person.
If you want to call the office (Koperasi Gunung Datuk Rembau Berhad) their number is 06-4381046 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org