Words and photos by Roziah Adnan, a contributor for Virtual Malaysia
The 'seemingly-scary' path up Gunung Irau
For this somewhat non-facile, first time writer, the marvel of Gunung Irau is, indescribable.
I will then try to describe the so-called ‘Irau Effect’ through the pictures that we took, as “a picture is worth a thousand words,” so they say. I will also try my utmost best to help those who are taken in by the irresistible Gunung Irau to get there and see it for themselves.
Here are some pointers before hiking:
Getting to Cameron Highlands is not a problem as public and private transportations will get you there fine. My husband and I (with 4 of our friends) decided to begin our adventure early, so we made sure to arrive at the Brinchang town by 7.30 a.m.
Climbers need to report to the Brinchang police station and leave a list of names (with IC numbers, mobile phone numbers and next of kin emergency contact numbers) of those in the group, and to be sure to report back after safely descended from Gunung Irau.
a) Trek up to Mount Brinchang lookout tower from Sg Palas Tea plantation junction, or from Brinchang town itself,
b) Drive up to Gunung Brinchang.
Familiar with the term ‘Adidas Kampung’? It’s a cheap rubber slip-ons most likely found on the feet of rubber-tappers and solely distributed by any old hardware stores. There’s no need to wear that spanking new hiking boots or expensive brand name footwares to hike up Gunung Irau, believe me.
The old-school ‘Adidas Kampung’ will do just fine, and most importantly, no leeches (thank God!) so normal socks are good to go with your rubber shoes.
Oh, and a small-sized daypack with water and some snacks (sandwiches, a bar of chocolate and sweets) to keep you energised and hydrated.
Long way up
Happiness in the jungle
We have arrived...
...to see this!
The Time and The Slumber
If you are moderately fit, it may take you 3 hours to get to the peak of Gunung Irau - if you didn’t take that many stops for a photo-op that is. The hike up was around 3 hours to Anak Irau (false peak) and another 45 minutes to Gunung Irau’s peak.
A word of advice though - invest in a good waterproof, shockproof and preferably image stabilisation function-equipped camera. Gunung Irau is wet, misty and you’ll be tired to hold your camera completely still and steady.
There are a few options for the sleeping arrangements:
1. Camp out at Sg Pauh base camp in Tanah Rata (near Cameron Highlands Golf course) and start your hike from an entrance there. There are electricity, water supply and toilets. You need to pay RM3 per person to camp there, and an additional RM10 for continuous electrical supply overnight.
2. Camp out at Gunung Brinchang’s peak. The spot is quite small and as there were 6 of us, we set up 3 tents on the other side of the parking lot. The parking lots are a no-no for setting up camps (unless you want to be woken up bright and early next morning by the sound of revving cars and the smell of malodorous monoxides).
3. Bring all your gear up with you on your hike up Gunung Irau and camp out on either Anak Irau (false peak) or Gunung Irau’s peak itself.
4. Just have a day trek up Gunung Irau and check into a hotel after you descended.
Take note, however, that if you decided to camp out on either Gunung Brinchang, Anak Irau or Gunung Irau’s peak, please bring adequate warm clothings. The temperature plummets to near single digits once nightfall arrives, and the sun takes its time, if ever, to casually hold out its warm hands come morning.
Shiny, happy hikers
A Local "Fangorn Forest"
As I nurse my sore legs, I am left wondering - can there really be a “Fangorn Forest” (from Lord Of The Rings movie) in our own backyard?
Yes. And I think I found it in Gunung Irau.
Pahang - Perak state border marker
Roziah Adnan, a college lecturer and mother of two, often shares her love for hiking and sports with hubby.