Mountains of Malaysia

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Climbing the Malaysian Mountains

Have you tried climbing the mountains of Malaysia?

Or tried RUNNING up them?

Well, the highest mountain in Malaysia, Gunung Kinabalu, is not only climbable but those who "have the legs for it" or are physically strong with super stamina can even run up its well-marked trails.


Well, every year there is a competition, the Annual Mount Kinabalu Climbathon, that attracts active participation from not only the locals but also foreign athletes.

And, with handsome prizes for the winners, they usually take less than 3 hours to run up and come down again, but at the specified route up the mountain.

Malaysian Mountains

Malaysia has at least 30 mountains with more than 1,000 meters in elevation.

picture of view from a mountain-side
The highest mountain in the country is Gunung Kinabalu in Sabah, at 4087 meters high.

Situated in Kinabalu Park, a World Heritage Site, Mount ("Gunung" is "mount" or "mountain" in Malay) Kinabalu also has some of the rare orchids and montane vegetation not usually found in other parts of the country.

In Peninsular Malaysia, Gunung Tahan in Pahang is the highest mountain and the fifth highest in Malaysia.

It is a favorite destination for adventure seekers at the national park of Taman Negara as it takes about 5-9 arduous days to trek and return depending on the choice of trail taken.

For more on the list and height of the mountains of Malaysia, see this main mountains of Malaysia webpage.

Mountain Activities

Mountain climbing

Mountains are of course made to be climbed!

considering options before a climb
And there are many ways or options to do this, depending on individual preferences and physical abilities and constraints.

For leisure mountain climbers, there are less arduous climbs with well-marked trails at some popular sites in the country, where trips may take several hours to a day to complete.

These are easily accessible to the public and guides are usually not compulsory.

Some of these mountains include Gunung Ledang, Gunung Angsi, Gunung Berembun, Gunung Jerai, and Gunung Brinchang.

trekking up the mountain picture
But for those imbued with the spirit of adventure and who wants more than a leisurely outing can choose a summit that requires a journey through the wilderness first.

But these excursions may require permits and registrations with the authorities.

For instance, Gunung Gagau (1376m) at Taman Negara is a popular spot for such outing. It is situated right on the boundary of 3 states, that is Pahang, Kelantan and Perak.

And to reach its base, we will need to traverse thick jungle, lake and river and if desired, can even explore a cave or two along the way before reaching the peak. And at the summit of Gunung Gagau we will be rewarded with a great panoramic view of the three states of Malaysia!


For those who are into trekking and discovering diverse and unique natural landscapes, the mountainous areas of Malaysia are really wonderful places to experience.

You will be fascinated to find lush, green tropical rainforest in the lowlands slowly changing to shorter mountain vegetation and shrubs in the higher elevations.

You'll also most probably find cool streams and waterfalls near the bases of the mountains for rest and relaxation when required.

limestone outcrop ideal for rock-climbing

Rock Climbing

Mountains that have limestone, sandstones crags and granite outcrops and walls are also favorite locations for rock-climbing enthusiasts.

It is a new and a somewhat "rugged and sexy" sport now slowly catching the interests of young athletic Malaysians.

Although lower mountains and hillcrops make for nice rock-climbing sites, Mount Kinabalu and Gunung Mulu also have aspects and sides that are popular for rock-climbing.

Nature appreciation

Many varieties and species of vegetations grow only on the high montane areas where the climate is cooler. We will also find that there are very distinct plant and insect communities depending on the topography and terrain of the land.

Nature and plant lovers will perhaps find various species of orchids, ferns, and palms growing high up the bases of the mountains of Malaysia, and at further higher levels, lichens, mosses and liverworts are perhaps more common.

trekking downhill a mountain is easier
Exotic flora and fauna found only on mountains, such as certain orchids or insects, will certainly delight nature-lovers when on the climb.

Landscape Photography and Birding

Painters and artists as well as landscape photographers will love the scenic landscape and panoramic views at the peaks.

Serenity of nature, sunrises and sunsets always make for memorable captivating images.

For ardent bird-watchers and bird-photographers, observing and capturing in camera or video the many different species of montane birds are almost always worth the climbing efforts.

Well, if you are a nature lover, adventurer, keen jungle and forest trekker, rock climber or mountaineer, or maybe a landscape painter, don't forget to go up the mountains of Malaysia.

And enjoy.

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