· #ophir · #travel · #trek
The Mrs and I spent the last week nursing our aching legs back to normalcy.
Wait, that’s not how it starts. Rewind a bit more.
The Mrs and I went mountain climbing last weekend. The target was Mount Ophir in Malaysia. Gunung Ledang, as it is known locally, is 1276 metres high and is generally regarded as a good climb for beginning climbers.
We set off from Singapore on Friday evening in a mini-bus. Ours was a group of eight, including the trek organizer. After clearing immigration at Woodlands and JB, it was a straight drive till Tangkak, which is a small town near the Gunung Ledang Recreational Forest. We stopped in Tangkak for some light supper and bought some last minutes supplies at a gas station. Then we headed to the Gunung Ledang Resort and checked in for the night. It was past midnight by the time we hit the sack.
The alarm went off at 5:30AM the next day. After a quick shower, I packed the bags while she prepared some sandwiches for lunch. For the hike, we were going to carry only a day pack with packed lunch and other essential items. The rest of our stuff would be brought up to the campsite in a 4x4. We had breakfast at the resort and checked out at around 7:30AM. Next stop, the trail!
View Ophir Trek in a larger map
The trail starts a good half an hour drive away from the resort. Part of the drive took us through some private palm plantations till we reached what I think was the National Park office. Here, we stretched our limbs while waiting for the guide to show up. At around 8:45AM, with the guide in lead, we set off!
The entire trail is marked by check points at regular intervals. We took short breaks at each check point and sometimes, in between checkpoints! After three check points (we skipped check point #4), we arrived at check point #5 around noon and stopped for lunch. There was a small creek flowing here which made for a great location to sit down and recharge our batteries.
After lunch, we set out for the hardest part of the climb, the KFC. Short for Killer For Campers, this stretch involves steep climbs, ropes and (thankfully placed) ladders to get through especially difficult terrain. Although the distance covered wasn’t that much, we gained elevation quite quickly during this stretch.
And then, we reached the Summit! The view from the top was fantastic and made the tiresome climb completely worth it. On the sides that weren’t covered by clouds, you could see all the way to the plains far below - the regularly spaced palm plantations looking like cross stitch patterns on fabric.
With the inevitable photo session at the summit completed, we started the descent to the campsite. It took us almost an hour to reach there and by then our camping gear had already been brought up by 4x4. Since it was already around 5:30PM by then and it would be getting dark soon, we immediately started setting up camp. Dinner was Maggi Masala noodles after which we sat around a modern campfire - battery powered LED lights :-)
Next morning, thankfully, we didn’t have to trek down the mountain. There were two four wheel drives waiting to take us back to the resort! Once back in the resort, we quickly freshened up before transferring to the mini-bus for our return journey to Singapore.
But not before a detour to the historical city of Malacca! We spent some time in the city having lunch and taking a stroll along Jonker’s Walk admiring all the old Peranakan style houses converted into chic boutiques. After that, it was time to head back home.
And after our return on Sunday evening, the Mrs and I spent the last week nursing our aching legs back to normalcy!