Feb 15, 2015

Travelog: Hutan Lipur Gunung Pulai 2

Hey there,

Yesterday my friends and I went to Hutan Lipur Gunung Pulai 2 near Pekan Nenas in Johor. The reason we decided to go hiking there is as a preparation for Mt Kinabalu come this June. We are all beginners and very new to all this outdoor, adventure hiking stuff. Come on, man, we are medical students for God's sake. We are supposed to be nerdy and dusty-smelling with books propped up in front of our face 24/7.

Not me, though. God, no.

Although I'm not really a stellar representation of a fit and healthy human being myself I really want to go out and do this sportsy outdoorsy stuff, you know. Something to brag about in front of my bespectacled-ridden friends remember during my time as a student here in Johor. So what better way for my friends and I to start preparing by hiking the gentlest mountain in Johor, Gunung Pulai 2?

If you google the Internet you will find that people don't think Gunung Pulai is really a mountain. It's so tiny and hilarious other mountains would simply laugh at it for being born tiny and weak. But it's a good choice for beginners like us so there, there, Pulai.

We took off from Amir's house after Subuh and arrived at the Hutan Lipur Gunung Pulai 2 some half an hour or so after that. We have heard that people come here in families and go climbing up the hill (OKAY let's call it a hill) like a stroll in the park. The path is big and even tarred. That should be easy, no? So we thought, "hmm, okay. Cool. We can chill out while we "climb" this gunung".

"Weyh, aku taktau la pulak Gunung Pulai ada 2. Ada 2 gunung ke apa?"
"Ala kau ni. Dia macam Seremban la. Satu nama dia Seremban, satu lagi Seremban 2."
"Oo gitu.."

Turned out we were not climbing the fancy Gunung Pulai. That one is way overcrowded with people it is more like a park. So instead we went here. This place is 15 minutes away from the first one (give or take).

When we arrived there there was a big group of people lining up in groups. There was a jati diri program held by Jabatan Perdana Menteri or something (or is it Jabatan di Jabatan Perdana Menteri? How many jabatan under jabatan do you really neeeeed??). They even mistook us as participants, mind you.

"HEEEYY korang berempat kat belakang tu buat apa?! Cepat masuk line!
 Mana budak-budak perempuan group kau??" 

"Maaf encik kami orang luar ni. Bukan peserta. Ampunn.."

Because we thought that we will climb the gentle hill we did not think of bringing our bags. Too chill, right? We were so chill we did not even bother to remember to bring any water bottle. So we each bought ourselves a small bottle of drinking water from the warung nearby. Chill, man. What could go wrong?

Muka 'condifent' masuk hutan tak bawak beg tak bawak banyak air.

So we started our hiking along the path. There are two paths, left and right. A trainer in front of us said that the right one leads to a waterfall while the left one is the hiking trail. We said that we wanted to go to the peak and he just kept silent. Little did we know what's in store for us later that day.

Left, right, left, right, left, right, left...

Tak sampai 10 minit berjalan dah sibuk snap gambar sana-sini. Mengalahkan perempuan.

"Apsal kau punya posing semua satu pesen je hah?
Macam orang kena renjatan elektrik je aku tengok."

"Diam la, kau mana tau artistic value posing aku ni. Ini 'art', okay?"

"Kau nampak tak anak panah ni? Ni maksudnya qiblat arah sini."
"Kau jangan nak merapu dalam hutan ni boleh tak?"

We have learned a few things from the facilitators of the group we met at the entrance camp. They shared a few pointers on what to bring when camping, other hiking sites we should go, and so on. This here is a plant we all know by name: tongkat ali. This one is known by another name which is Tunjang Bumi. Some people don't regard this plant as the true tongkat ali. The real tongkat ali is called Tongkat Ali Hitam. How to know whether the plant is tongkat ali or not? First you recognize the shape of the leaves (if you already have seen one, obviously). Secondly, you can pick the leaves and try to rub, pinch or roll it between your thumb and forefinger. They will not tear down. That's how you know they are tongkat ali plants.

Do you know that it is prohibited to take tongkat ali from the jungle? In fact, we are not allowed to take out/away anything from the jungle. IT IS PROHIBITED. Except orang asli, of course. Do you know they are allowed to do it? They can even hunt in the jungle. If you are caught buying tongkat ali plant by the Perhilitan or Renjer hutan or I don't know, the people who are in charge of the rules of the jungle you are charged with the crime of possessing the plant. This law applies to unprocessed goods from the jungle. The tongkat ali tonic drink you guys being chugging every now and then are okay and not illegal because it's already being processed, although some people won't call it the real tongkat ali drink because the tongkat ali they used is tunjang bumi, not tongkat ali hitam. 

After a while of hiking, we've come to the tallest altitude of the area. There was no more arrow sign for us to follow. The path also looked dead. We met another group of students from NMIT (hey, neighbor! What are the odds, eh?) who had stopped and were taking a break because they also did not know where else to go from here. The path seemed to lead down to a veeeeeeery steep cliff that was so dangerous to even look at, let alone to walk through it. They wanted to find the waterfall so badly they decided to go to a different path down the other slope while we took their place and hang around.

We could hear their voices, though, as they were searching for their fountain of youth or their Niagara falls or whatever it is.

"Wooooiiiii kau kat manaaaaa...."
"Aku kat sini laaaaa.."
"Kau jumpa tak?"
 "WoooOooh. WoooOooh."

(They were making bird calls I don't even want to know why. For mating I guess.)

Heart-broken and dismayed, they came back and told us there is nothing that resembles a waterfall. Not even a puddle of water or a whisper of a gushing flow of water. After we told them that a trainer told us the right path at the start will lead to a waterfall, they went back the way they came before.

After a while, we also came to a conclusion that there is no more path to go. The peak (IF. if we could call it a peak.) is so bare and the view is horrible. You can't even look at the surroundings as the trees are so thick. The nice thing, though, was that the lines are clear. You can get 3G there.

Anyway, those pesky jati diri participants started to catch up on us. We were resigned and ready to go back. Then we noticed there was one trainer holding a reel of black rope and I was thinking, "damnit, so that's why there is no way down. We have to use ROPES!" 

But we were already moving down the hill, as resigned and dejected as kids dressing for Halloween during Easter can be.

On our way back, we kinda lost.

It's not so bad, though. We followed back the path that we took, looking for that stupid arrow signs stapled onto the trees until we accidentally follow a path with three red stripes on the trees. We no longer could find the arrows, but instead, there was a new path for us. I call it the three red-stripe path.

The path is bigger than the one we took, so we took it as a sign that it is a valid path. The path is waaaaay more adventurous and more difficult to trek through. I sweat more trekking down this path than the path I trekked earlier. And it was a long path. The path is not exactly ascending up the hill. If I'm to guess, it's more like a cliff path.

Eventually we arrived back at the place we thought there was no way further. The guy we saw earlier had tied the rope and he saw us. He was stressful as he claimed some people had taken down the arrow signs. We back-up his claim as we saw one of the arrow sign on the ground ourselves. Well, genius, if you simply stapled them to the trees it's no wonder people who 'gatal tangan' will just tear them off. Geez.

Anyway, thanks to Amir for his hardheaded stubbornness to carry on trekking along the three red-stripe road, we got the opportunity to continue trekking. We have abandoned our initial mission to climb and find the peak. We became more interested to continue ahead down the cliff. That's the spirit.

"Jap jap jap! Stop! Aku nak ambik gambar jap. Pandang bawah pandang bawah. Cheeese!"
"Okay, kau pulak, pura-pura kau tengah mendaki turun dengan penuh kesungguhan."
"Macam ni ke?"
"Haiih boleh la.."

(that's the three red stripes on trees I am talking about)

And as we climbed down that treacherous, slippery son of a gun path, we saw the thing that we did not expect to find that day: river.

WOOHOO. Mother-freakin'-nature-of wataarr!

 It only took me a few minutes before I lost my mind. I was like, "hey, screw it. I just want to step into the river with my shoes on. I can't help it."

So there at the river we found a few arrow signs and we decided to follow the signs. It went all the way down the river and until we came into the fabled waterfall.

I know, I know, it's not Niagara falls. You can't even swim or drown in it. But it was like a wonderful reward after the trek. It was like the gift at the end of the road. And the water was so refreshingly cold and juicy and yummy and no no no I'm just messing with you we did not drink it. Medical students, remember? Sikit-sikit leptospirosis, sikit-sikit kencing tikus. Shouldn't you be worried about the monkey piss and the human dump from the way way way up top? HAHAHA

Cute tak saya? Boleh buat gambar salam perantauan kan?
"Boleh blah."

At first none of us wanted to get wet (except me, Amir, and Anding. Actually, only Asif didn't want to get wet) because all of us did not bring any extra clothing. Genius, right? What could go wrong? But then Amir decided to break the moment and get all wet so we all followed suit. It was him who drove us here with his car so it's only appropriate if he was the one who initiated all this.

 There was this group or family of Chinese people at the waterfall. They were really nice and friendly. They came from Gunung Pulai 1 after a 20-30 minute hiking. We took 2 hours. LOSER.

Gong Xi Fa Cai, aunties!

Anyway, the real mishaps happened afterwards.

The path further is the way out of this jungle. But the thing is, we ended up in a palm oil plantation near a village. We walked and walked until we find a road. Do you know where were we? We were at the village besides the Gunung Pulai 1. Remember that it took 15 minutes or so driving from Gunung Pulai 1 to Gunung Pulai 2?

Obviously we plan to hitchhike. Or kidnap people and perform a grand theft auto. Or simple a theft auto, considering villagers and rural folks don't own a Mercedes or a superbike. What we got is a boy riding a motor kapcai but he refused to hitchhike us. (btw, do you what is motor kapcai in English? It is called a moped. NOW YOU KNOW EH)

Slightly desperate and stressed, we waited beside the road for another vehicle.
"Guys, this does not look like we are desperate and stressed. Act naturally!"
"Ahh, janji puas hati. Eh, ada motor aiskrim!"
"Ane! Aiskrim, aiskrim! Berhenti!"

 We stopped a really nice old guy who was coming back from shopping at Econsave Pekan Nenas (that detailed, huh? I saw the plastic bags. Sue me) and he agreed to take us back to the entrance camp of the Gunung Pulai 2 in his trusty little Kancil.

Terima kasih banyak-banyak, pakcik!!

So that's it. That's the whole story of our first hiking trip to Gunung Pulai. It was a really wonderful experience. We learned a lot of things and it was really nice to see a lot of people go hiking as a way to keep healthy. Plus, hiking is fun! Now that we know more or less what to do next time we went hiking, it makes the trip to Kinabalu a lot more exciting to look forward to!


  1. Situasi yang sama berlaku kepada saya dan keluarga. Kami berpatah balik dari right path kerana tak nampak trekking path lagi selepas bertembung dengan batu yang besar. Kemudian mencuba left path. Selepas hampir 20 minit trekking, kami end up dengan sebiji sign "Dilarang menceroboh", dan dengan hampa kami berpatah balik sahaja. Saya pernah berkunjung ke Gunung Pulai 1 beberapa kali. Tetapi naik hanya sehingga kilometer 3 sahaja. Mungkin selepas ni, saya akan ke GP 1 sehingga ke puncak untuk ke air terjun berkenaan seperti yang saudara maklumkan berkenaan kumpulan chinese yang datang dari GP1. =)

  2. maksih buat infonya gan,,
    mantapdan sangat menarik,,