Sweat it out with a challenging mountain hike up Bung Muan

Writer and her friends at the peak of Bung Muan.

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By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Aug 22: Looking for a stunning panoramic view of rocky landscapes and strong cold breeze almost as if being in Cameron Highlands?

Then take a challenging hike to reach the mountain peak of Bung Muan, with its summit standing at 1,646 feet above sea level.

A mountain of granite stone with mostly secondary jungle, this place is also known as Gunung Serumbu or Rajah Brooke Heritage Site in Bau.

Here, I am talking about a good workout to get the muscles moving and break a good sweat.

The journey

The trails are quite challenging with technical routes, starting with slippery rocks, then very steep hill and giant boulders.

Some interesting sites along the way include the Rajah Brooke cottage (1848-1850) and a huge boulder looking like a cave with shelter built underneath for a short rest.

A challenging trail to reach Bung Muan’s peak at 1,646 feet above sea level.

The trail can be steep and rocky, covered with moss, so if it rains, it will be a slippery hike all the way, so be very careful.

There are rope rails along some tricky stretches.

Once we reached the second viewpoint before the summit itself, we were greeted with an aerial view of beautiful nature and landscape along a steep incline and views of the flatland below.

It took us about three hours to finally reach the summit, including several short pit stops for breather before the final obstacle in the form of huge boulders that we must climb to get to the top.

Standing at the peak of Bung Muan, a huge boulder which requires hikers to climb.

The feeling on top the summit?

Imagine it was back in time, with Sir James Brooke with us!

Apparently, this historic place was also where the first Rajah, James Brooke used to frequent.

It is also known as the Wallace Trail because a renowned scientist Alfred Russel Wallace reportedly conducted his study on biodiversity and spent quite some time here.

As we rested, the strong wind and mist over our body felt like being at Cameron Highlands.

We wished we could stay on top a little bit longer.

After about an hour at the summit, gloomy clouds began to appear so we quickly packed up, with a heavy heart to leave this serene beauty and descended down as the weather was turning grey.

Map of Bung Muan trails.

The journey down to the foothill was much more adventurous as we had to hike under the heavy rain.

Half way down, we decided to take shelter at the same huge boulder for about 15 minutes while waiting for the rain to cease.

One great thing about hiking at Bung Muan is the relatively quiet environment.

When we went for our hike, there were no other groups or people, considering we went on a weekend, so we had the whole place to ourselves for almost two hours at the summit.

Perhaps, not many people come here to hike, either due to the entrance being obscured or it is just not so well known to the public.

Although the natural jungle trail is slippery and rocky, I will always prefer this than a wooden plank walk or tar trail.

Be prepared with proper shoes, enough water and some snacks, basic first aid and be in tip-top condition.

Writer with her friends who hiked Bung Muan located at Kampung Pininjau Lama, Bau

Located at Kampung Peninjau Lama in Siniawan, some 25km from Kuching city along the old Kuching-Bau road, Bung Muan is one of the most accessible but less well known hiking trails that will catch anyone’s eyes as well as breath on their way up to it.

Bung Muan also houses some 17 Bidayuh villages with about a population of 10,000, scattered at the foot of the mountain with an area of about 2,500 hectares.

The entry is from the entrance of Kampung Peninjau Lama. There is a signboard at the foothill as the entrance point to climb up the mountain.

Visitors will have to pay an entrance fee of RM5 per person and they can park their vehicles outside the community hall.

Visitors can register themselves at the village’s foothill and scan the MySejahtera app.

There is also a small office building right in front of the entrance where local villagers will greet and brief visitors before starting any hike.— DayakDaily