Friday, October 30, 2009

Trekking to the roof of Sarawak, Gunung Murud

It was past midnight when I woke up suddenly in a wooden hut at the elevation around 2,000 metres above sea level. As I opened the door to have a peep outside, the strong and cold wind was blowing right into me and I was chilled to the bone. I noticed the steam coming out from my nose while exhaling. Though I was wearing a thick windproof jacket, I still could not stand the cold and windy environment as the temperature was approximately 10 degree Celsius! I was standing on the roof of Sarawak, awaiting the sun to rise in order to climb to the highest peak of Gunung Murud.

Gunung Murud is the highest mountain in Sarawak. The summit of this sandstone mountain is 2,423 metres (7,946 feet) above sea level. It is located inside the largest protected national park of Sarawak called Pulong Tau National Park, on the boundary of Limbang and Miri division of north-eastern Sarawak. I was joining an international team consisting of 14 members from Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Taiwan to trek to the summit of Gunung Murud on the actual birthday of Malaysia, 16 of September. This trip was organised by Borneo Touch Ecotour Sdn Bhd and our expedition team was leaded by Mr Chua Eng Hin from Limbang. It was my honour to be one of the two members being sponsored by Sarawak Tourism Board to participate in this unforgettable trip to one of the most beautiful places in this land of hornbill.

On 14 of September, our members in two groups arrived at Limbang and Lawas town respectively and spent a night there. On the following day, all the fourteen members together with our drivers gathered in front of a coffee shop at Lawas in the early morning. After taking our breakfast and uploading our backpacks to our four-wheel-drive vehicles, we headed to the bus station of Lawas around 8am. We were greeted by Datuk Henry Sum Agong, MP for Bukit Sari at the bus terminal. After taking the group photo and the flag off ceremony, we waved goodbye to him and left the town for the Ba’Kelalan highlands.

Several minutes after leaving Lawas town, our convoy turned into a logging track from the main road of Lawas. Thanks to the fine weather, we arrived at Raven scout camp about 3 hours later. It is a small logging camp located about 109km from Lawas town. We took our lunch in a canteen there and rested for one and half hour; then we continued our journey to Lepo Bunga. Around 2.15pm, we reached Lepo Bunga, which was the trailhead of our trek to Gunung Murud.

At Lepo Bunga, four porters from the nearby Ba’kelalan village approached and helped us to unload our bags, foods and drinks from the vehicles. Each porter carried more than 20kg of our belonging, including foods and drinks up to the church camp from the trailhead.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Trekking to the roof of Sarawak, Gunung Murud

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