Gunung Reng: Mountain or symbol of divine punishment?

It’s hard to miss Gunung Reng when driving on the East-West Highway in the Jeli district of western Kelantan. It is a spectacular limestone outcrop located close to the highway between the towns of Jeli and Belimbang.

Just before Masjid An Nur, there will be a rough road leading to the recreational park at the foot of the mountain.

There are no steps or path going up the side of the mountain, so it is not possible to climb to the top without being a skilled mountaineer with the right equipment.

The recreational park contains a run down children’s playground, a shop and food stall, a surau, and toilets. The highlight is the mountain’s cave which is easily accessed, located next to the playground.

Even from outside, the screeching of bats is quite a racket. The interior is unexpectedly large. The stench of bat droppings is quite overpowering and the floor of the cave is slippery with green and black guano.

The screeching noise comes mainly from a kind of chimney which disappears up into the dark inner recesses of the mountain.

The cave probably leads deeper into the mountain and there are other caves to be explored but since there is no guide available, visitors should not go off exploring on their own.

Outside the cave, a badly-weathered Tourism Malaysia information plaque provides some information on the legend which surrounds this mountain.

According to folklore, there used to be a village on this spot called Kampung Tok Tala. Around 1,400 years ago, there was some serious partying going on lasting seven days and nights which culminated in a contest where a dog was pit against a cat at a time when the villagers should have been praying.

In divine retribution against this scandalous behaviour and animal cruelty, this mountain was swept up in a storm from its original location several miles away and dropped on top of the village, the remains of which are, to this day, supposedly lying buried under the mountain.

Far-fetched indeed but one never knows.

There is no entry charge and no gate to the cave entrance, so it can be accessed at any time.

At dusk, the sight of thousands of bats emerging from the cave to look for their supper is a scene straight out of a Batman movie.

This article first appeared in malaysia-traveller.com