An effort to create an active lifestyle means scaling long distances either on a treadmill or on walking trails and hiking small and then big mountains. As you would know from my blog last week on Bukit Timah trail, that we were getting that inclination.All about Bukit Timah Trail for hiking in Singapore. So when an opportunity arose to for Gunung Panti Hike with a bunch of office colleagues (Singapore Trekking Club), the best we could do was say yes. There were 90 of us and all the videos and blogs on the internet showed that the trek was easily doable by a beginner like me. Full of determination I agreed to try Gunung Panti hike. ( I have done hikes before to Sandakphu , highest point in west bengal, but it was 3 years back and maybe around 10kgs back).
A little about Gunung Panti Hike
Gunung panti is situation few kms north of Kota Tinggi in Johor, Malaysia and stands at 531Mt. It is a perfect trek for a day trip from Singapore. The driving distance from Singapore is around 1.30 hours, however if you consider the checkpoints and immigration it would be around 3 hours to reach there. The hike one way is around 5-10 Kms. The hike is strenuous though short. Gunung panti is across the secondary rainforest and the path is muddy and full of trees and its roots.
The forest is hot and sweaty and since they are secondary rainforests, it rains quite a bit. When it rains, the level of difficulty of the Gunung Panti trek changes from simple to moderate to difficult. The trail becomes very muddy, slippery and sticky. A lot of leeches come out and are in a major lookout for human blood ;-). There are millipedes, small snakes, especially the Malayan coral blue/green snake and a lot of critters and insects. If it was for me I would have named it a dirt mud trek.
Singapore to Gunung Panti Hiking point.
We left around 4.00 AM in a bus from Changi Business Park which was our meeting point. The checkpoints both at Singapore and Malaysia was very quick as there was no crowd at this hour. After crossing the check point the bus made its way to the hiking point of Gunung Panti which is close to the Kota Tinggi waterfall. We were at the hiking point around 7 , where we had a good breakfast. The arrangement by the trekking club was superb and we were served Mcd Burgers, banana, nuts and two kinds of juices.
The start of the Gunung Panti Hike.
Call it luck, or call it nature’s way to test me, as soon as we got down to start the trek, it started to rain. Quite a strong pour and hola, I had not got any poncho or umbrella. Thankfully we had one which I gave it to Vish. I was ok to get wet. It got a little chilly but it was still ok . The first part of the trek actually is just a small village road to lead to the forest beginning. It was easy and the rain was bearable.
The hike to the top of Gunung Panti.
The hike to the top of the 531mt of Gunung Panti is amidst a forest. It’s a relief to walk among so many trees and feel yourself among nature. Fresh air and a life away from the bustling and stressful life of office. This is what most of the people were thinking while they were taking stead, fit and long strides for the trek. I was just concentrating on walking and reaching the next checkpoint.
In the initial path there is a small creek which needs to be crossed, thankfully there are ropes to help you , however if you notice(which we didn’t) towards you right there is a tree trunk bridge which can also be taken and might have been easier. That was the first obstacle but it quite easy to cross. The path was quite steady steep and a mud trail with lots of trees and lots of tree roots on the path. However everything was going great so far and I think any beginner who has experience walking up the slopes would be able to cover this part.
The last stretch of the Gunung Panti hike from where there is a 100 mt rock climbing to the summit was quite steep but still doable with a little motivational talk to yourself and small halts. There were a lot of people who did not want to do the rock climbing bit. To be very honest it looked quite difficult. You had to pull your weight using ropes and the leg footing had to be quite strong. I was not sure if I had it in me to do this. But you know what I always wanted to try rock climbing and felt if I did it a little slowly I would be able to do it.
The best part of the Gunung Panti Hike.
The best part of the hike , I later realized was the rock climbing. Yay! Yes I really enjoyed that bit, where you need to pull yourself using ropes and strategically place your foot. Slow and steady with all the people supporting you. Especially a shout out for husband who patiently walked slower with me and supported me for the entire trek. The rock climbing was fun and the summit was beautiful.We took some pictures of the beautiful view below and the summit itself.
The getting down of the rock climbing portion should have been the difficult bit but no actually if you do it slowly, placing each of your foot strongly in the right rock and holding on to the rope, it was one of the most interesting part to do. You face the rock, hold the rope and place your foot on a flat portion and get down. Superb and completed with the most east. Felt super proud and happy.
The most difficult part of the Gunung Panti hike.
The getting down after this point all was a very difficult journey for me, and for most of us. It took us longer to get down than it had taken to go up. The rain and made the trail super muddy and sticky and slippery. Every step was difficult to keep and there was no holding. My shoes were covered in mud, and since they were not proper hiking shoes, they were slipping. It took all the determination and energy of my body to keep going. It was very challenging for a beginner , whose walk in last 2 years was on concrete roads and trails. I could not balance my foot and was slipping so many times that it made me slower on the path. The journey back was long and super slippery and challenging.
With bruises on all of my legs and palms ( as I was holding on to all the trees for avoiding slipping ) and maybe 3 hours of trying to balance and go on, we reached the river creek which we had crossed in the beginning. That felt successfull. A lot of people helped on the way and I felt super happy to have completed this trek with the realization, that we still need to be more fitter and own a better pair of shoes for such activities. A lot of people had come way earlier to us, but thankfully I was not the last one to come.
Buy your pair of shoes here
The end the Gunung Panti hike.
Overall, a week and two massages later I feel that the hike was completely worth it. IT gave a sense of achievement and pride in oneself and one’s capabilites. It definetly was a new beginning and a new experience. Now in my list of things to do, we need to include more of hiking trails, and hiking mountains and look back at laugh how difficult this one felt.
After a wonderful and well deserved dinner and firefly cruise, organized by the club we came back to Singapore at around midnight. What a day it was and what an experience. A must do and a must challenge for people like me. Until next hike.