Friday 14 October 2011, by Wolf
This rather challenging route leads up to the highest summit of the Cameron Highlands, the Gunung (Mount) Brinchang. While this highlight is usually covered by tourist buses bringing you up there for the photo shooting amongst the crowd, this trail will allow you to climb up the mount by yourself through the rain forest. Once at the top, enjoy the view over the lands from the watch tower, then run all the way back down through the famous tea plantations.
The trail is basically covering the same content as one of the most popular tourist excursions : the mountain top, the tea plantations. What you won’t get is the explanations of the guides and the visit of the tea factory. But what you will get is an enchanting climb through the silence of a rain forest, a scenic run through kilometers of bright green tea plantations in the middle of the nature and all this just for yourself!
And a pair of dirty shoes, probably. The Lonely Planet mentions the trail, but does not recommended it as the climb to the mountain is: "steep, muddy and slippery." Pretty accurate description. Go for it!
How to get there:
The best is to start at the Brinchang market place. From there, take the main road leading up and out of town : you may see the signboards for "Kea" or "Gunung Brinchang" by the road. About 500m out of Brinchang, there is a trail leaving on the left side : from there signs will tell you the way to Gunung Brinchang.
The map below should facilitate the searching...
Many tourists stay not in Brinchang, but at Tanah Rata. No need to take transport between the two towns for a morning run : it is just an additional 3-4km, depending if you dare to cut across a golf course or not.
The track does a full loop, starting and ending in Brinchang. The full distance from Brinchang market back to there is about 15km. The track can be roughly subdivided into three parts. The first one is the climb to the mount : starting as a pleasant path through the forest, it quickly turns into a muddy and slippery climb up through the misty and mossy forest. There is no way to "run" this part : it’s just to steep. Signboards along the way will tell you the distance left to the summit. That’s about it for the first three kilometers. When you reach the top, there is a watch tower to climb to enjoy the view over the Cameron Highlands all around. Then comes the second part: about 6km slightly downhill on a deserted and not well maintained road. This is the most enjoyable part of the run. The forest will recede shortly and give way to a magnificent panorama on tea plantations until the horizon, and soon you will be running in the middle of them. With some luck, you can observe the workers collecting the tea. This goes until you hit the main road, and the third part. It consists of going back to Brinchang on the road : it is wide enough and leaves plenty of space to run on the side. Depending on the hour there may be significant traffic here though. You will pass some other tourist attractions such as the butterfly museum, and plenty of shops selling strawberries and flowers along the road. That goes until you reach back to Brinchang, your departing point.
Water point: There is no water point. On the summit of the mount there is literally nothing. You may sure find some shop selling water on the last stretch of the run along the roadside.
Here is the KML file to see in Google Earth:
Avoid to run in the late morning, as the mount and the tea plantations will be swarming with tourists and tourist guides. Also, though in higher altitude, it can get quite hot. Best is early morning or late afternoon, you will be just by yourself.