I've been an avid hiker since I started working out back in 2015. I was never a fan of treadmill cardio, so hiking was the best alternative for me.
My favorite treks are usually Bukit Saga and Apek Hill because its quite a friendly trail with lots of regular hikers that comes and goes. Plus, both trails also have an outdoor gym and hammocks which is pretty nice when you reach the top. Occasionally, we'd discover other trails like Broga Hill, FRIM or other trails in KL and Puchong, but Apek hill and Bukit Saga is my no.1 place solely because of the Chilli Pan Mee nearby which I always go after a hike.
Anyway. One fine day, my best friend Melissa was like, "Guys, I'm so tired of our usual trail. Let's try out Bukit Tabur for a change! Its a bit more challenging and you may require some rock climbing skills."
Boy, did I regret not doing my homework about that place before climbing up there. I'm just glad we all managed to come back in one piece, because unlike the other trails I've ever been to, I was legit SCARED climbing up there. I was not prepared for what was up ahead.
Upon arrival, we didn't know exactly where to find the trail. There were some signs that were clearly telling us to fuck off, but we spotted some hikers who disregarded the signs and went up ahead along these giant pipes. We went ahead and followed them too.
Eventually, we came to a tiny opening between the forest and a water tower. You wouldn't have noticed the 'trail' (if you can call it that) at first glance, but if you squeezed your way up, you would have found it.
The trail was really narrow and super steep. You really need to make sure you got a pair of proper hiking boots with good grip. Trust me, this is coming from a cheapo like myself. Your safety is more worth it than saving a few bucks.
Occasionally, you will come across steep boulders like these with poorly maintained ropes. Some of them look like they could snap at any minute so make sure you bring a pair of gloves to get a better grip at the ropes. Also, some of them are pretty slimy, if that wasn't enough motivation enough for you to get a pair.
Picture me holding up Simba over this cliff going "BAAAAAAAZOWHENYAAAAAAAGONNABUYMEPIZZABRAAAAH!"
Most of the time, you will get some fantastic views here and there; great for insta-worthy pics, but not for the faint hearted.
If you're wondering why Melissa isn't in much pics, she's camera shy.
The view is fantastic up there, but the climb. If only I was able to take more pics, but the climb was super scary and dangerous. I cannot emphasize how dangerous it was for us to get up there.
First off the rocks are SHARP. Like, the boulders have little rocks sticking out of them and they tend to cut, even if you slowly ease your buns on them. It can be quite painful. Now imagine climbing them at an almost vertical angle with only a skinny string to hold you up. Yeah, it was that scary. I dared not look down.
Luckily for us, we're relatively quite fit so we are able to pull ourselves up. A bit of upper body strength would be very useful in this trip. One wrong move, and you can easily take a misstep and fall into the sharp rocks below or worse. It definitely wasn't exactly a family friendly trail to go up to.
Now if there's one advise I always tell any noobs about hiking, that's never to go alone. Always bring an experienced hiker with you who has already explored the trails and is familiar with the trails. If no one in your group has ever been there, always make sure you find someone who has.
Of course, cocky as we were, we thought we could always follow the trail or follow someone there. Unfortunately for us that day, the hikers ahead of us went far far away and we didn't have anyone to follow. Instead, we followed what looked like a trail since it was heading downwards, and that's about the general direction we were supposed to go anyway.
Boy, were we wrong.
After about an hour of walking downwards, going past thick foliage and steep, muddy parts, we realize that there were no other hikers in sight since and we were getting worried. At times, the trail just disappeared, but we pushed forward nonetheless because we didn't know where else to go.
Just as we were starting to panic, we saw red tape strung all across the trees everywhere, saying "DILARANG MASUK" (No Entry). But the sign was facing outside, so clearly we were somewhere we're not supposed to be.
Gingerly, we kept walking and found a hut in the middle of the forest with a few guys in there. Oh well, we thought. If we're gonna die in the forest, at least we're gonna die finding out if we went the wrong direction. So we approached one of them asking how do we get out of the forest.
The biggest guy came to us and said that we were trespassing in private property. His boss is not a patient man and if he found us, we'd be in big trouble.
Oh fuck, we thought. Confirm we're gonna die lah!
However, he said. I can tell you how to get out on one condition. You gotta give us some donation in return.
"What if we don't have any money?" I asked.
"Then," he said, "You guy gotta go all the way back up to the hill and follow the proper trail. It should take you about 3 hours to get down."
Fuck no, we thought. We forked out RM20 and he pointed us to a concrete road downhill nearby. How did we not see that earlier?
After 10 minutes of walking down the road, HALLELUJAH! We've found our car. We immediately got in and drove off to the comforts of our homes.
Some key takeaway from climbing up Bukit Tabur since I'm sure there are a lot of idiots like you out there who would climb the mountain anyway despite my warnings.
1. Wear long pants and gloves - you need to protect yourself from the sharp rocks and get a good grip on the ropes.
2. Wear hiking boots
3. Bring a guide with you
Now, it was only later on when I read about Bukit Tabur that I found there were a lot of cases of fatalities that happened up there. The number of cases were so high, Bukit Tabur actually became restricted and it was technically illegal to climb there.
Do note that a lot of people have either died horribly or injured themselves seriously, so keep that in mind when you're climbing up. Do not get distracted by taking some risky selfie up there and always be alert.
Do not go there! But if you do, good luck.
Anne is the author and founder of this blog. She likes to write about current issues, travels, food and the general struggles of a millennial.