The vast Malaysian jungles and national parks offer a wealth of hiking opportunities and the chance to spot wildlife. There are a variety of landscapes, each with its own wildlife and ecosystem to explore, including rainforests, mangrove swamps and rocky mountains. When hiking, it is best to avoid the wet season. Peninsula Malaysia’s monsoon season lasts from September to December in the west, and from December to February in the east; in Borneo, the first quarter of the year is the wet season. The Malaysian Meteorological Department has detailed information.
Borneo is popular with hikers with Gunung Kinabalu (or Mount Kinabalu in Sabah), being a prized objective. It is the highest mountain in the Malay Archipelago at 4093m. Kinabalu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. This beautiful area is rich in wildlife with many bird, mammal and plant species. The park has numerous good trails for walking. Gunung Kinabalu’s summit is accessible to all walkers, as the paths are clear and there are ropes in steeper sections.
Fit hikers can climb many of the region’s mountains in a couple of days. For a longer challenge, try Gunung Trusmadi, which involves a long trail through forests, rivers and steep hills which takes a week. The summit has scenic views of Gunung Kinabalu.
Popular walks in Sarawak include Gunung Santubong and the four-day trek through jungle and swamps to Gunung Mulu, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
Peninsula Malaysia has many popular trails. Gunung Ledang in Johor and Gunung Jerai in Kedah have well marked trails and are easy to reach. In the Cameron Highlands, Gunung Berembun and Gunung Brinchang are good choices for hikers wanting a less strenuous hike, and they have good views of the surrounding vegetable and tea plantations. Gunung Gagau and Gunung Tahan are popular with hikers who want more of a challenge. Gunung Tahan is the highest point in the Peninsula and the return journey takes about eight days through unspoilt rainforest.