Bukit Larut (formerly called Maxwell Hill) on foot is not the easiest way to go up this 1,035 metre high hill overlooking Taiping. It is pretty exhausting but worth it for the nature, clean air and scenery.
Taking the government Land Rover service is the most sensible way to go, especially if you want to reach all the way to the summit.
If you’re game enough to try hiking it, stick to the tarred road all the way. It is possible to take a short-cut through the jungle for the first part of the hike which brings you out at pondok tiga (third hut) where you rejoin the road for the rest of the walk.
The road is traffic free, only being used by the occasional telecom vehicle wanting to reach the telecom tower at the peak or some other service vehicle.
It is also used by the government Land Rover service who only make four round trips a day.
Hiking in the clean unpolluted air here makes you immediately notice how noxious the fumes are from the Land Rovers, and you realise the filth you fill your lungs with every day when walking around our cities!
Since the road is built for vehicles, the gradient is not too extreme and quite good for hiking though that walk is a relentless uphill climb.
You will bump into a surprising number of walkers on the road but by 9.30am they will mostly disappear, having gone for breakfast or to work.
After 90 minutes of exhausting walking you will reach the Tea Garden. Don’t be demoralised to see a map showing that you have only covered less than six kilometres from the start and are less than half way to the top.
The Tea Garden building, at 656 metres above sea level, has unfortunately been semi-abandoned for many years.
You can always decide to walk on a bit further as far as the waterfall, seven kilometres from the start and then turn around.
The waterfall is not as impressive as it shown on the brochures but the air at this altitude is refreshingly cool by Malaysian standards.
You will enjoy exploring Bukit Larut on foot. Your total walking time up and down to the waterfall is about three and a half hours. It is quite strenuous but makes for a lovely start to your day providing there is none of Bukit Larut’s notoriously rainy weather.
How to get to Bukit Larut on foot
You start climbing from the Bukit Larut Land Rover station.
GPS Coordinates: 4.860487, 100.760296
You’ll need to find a roadside parking space near the entrance to the hill.
This article first appeared in malaysia-traveller.com