Hiking in my beautiful city
What is the best park of a hike? To me, it’s the unpredictability. I love the uncertainty associated with every hiking trail. You never know what’s in store for you. The kind of scenery, beautiful scapes, changing valour of the breeze and rhythmically drifting aromas of nature, the splash of the ocean… all work in perfect harmony with each other.
I have been gathering stories and experiences at the city I am currently living in – Kota Bharu, Malaysia. Not many of you have heard about it, and some find it very reserved and laid back. However, if you live here, you know it is a food haven and offers lots of outdoorsy activities. With the promise of writing more on this wonderful city and surrounding areas, I begin my first travel piece of the city with a hiking adventure I had over the weekend with my friend.
About Bukit Keluang
This one’s from the weekend. My friend had been asking me to accompany her for a while, and we finally made it. The hill, Bukit Keluang is also called Bat Hill as it was earlier inhabited by bats. Though you don’t really find them anymore, the climb is worth every aching muscle.
- The hill is in Terengganu, but closer to Kota Bharu, further up the Kuala Besut jetty and fishing village.
- You can watch the sun rise or set from the top of the hill. They offer equally gorgeous views.
- It takes approximately 60-80 minutes to complete the hike, if you stop at intervals or take a break for rest or water.
- There are a lot of street food hawkers. Enjoy some road-side snacks or picnic by the beach.
- There is nothing to eat or drink up there. Carry your own bottles of water and snacks.
- A number of resorts and chalets can be found nearby.
Locals love chilling here on their days off. The beach keeps them engaged as does the food scene. Indulge in street-side takoyaki, sea food delights and fritters, as you sip on some chilled tender coconut water or iced cold syrupy beverages.
The hiking trails
Before I begin, I would like to add a disclaimer – I am not into very difficult hiking. With moderate fitness levels, I hike as much as I can in every trail possible. What I term as tough might be moderate/ moderate to tough for regular hikers and trekkers.
There are two trails leading to the hill top, one of which is moderate and the other moderate to tough.
- A flight of steep steps leads to the hiking trail. This is bang opposite the public toilet at the main beach area, right next to the street hawkers. The hike starts on a rather steep note, with immense roots and stones to hop and jump over. There are strong ropes tied to the trees. You can hold on to them for support. Watch out for the rumbling stones. The best way is to put your body weight on the ropes to pull yourself/step up.
- After about 10 minutes, the path loosens out to a relatively moderate climb. You don’t need ropes anymore (and there aren’t any either ;)). You will experience a whiff of cool breeze from the sea side. Stop by for a quick peep at the ocean below and check out the motor boats and ferries heading to Perhentian Islands.
- The path now becomes easy to hike and is set along a loosely-paved trail.
- Reach the tip to unleash the best view ever! It’s like a trip to paradise in the blink of an eye. You will forget your aches and pains at that very instance. To me, the surrounding islands of Terengganu (Perhentian islands and the other smaller ones along South China Sea) are the best islands in the world. The changing hues of the ocean are quite a sight, and the crystal clear waters allow you to see the rocks submerged in them. The rippling effect of the emerald green and turquoise tints serves as a tonic to the eyes.
This view made me fall in LOVE all over again – an experience that is etched in my memory…
- You can relax at the hut uphill, made for hikers taking a break. Follow the route on the right hand side, with a signage and pointer to different locations, to continue your downward journey. The downward hike is not difficult. It heads down to the other side, away from the beach and the hustle bustle of food hawkers.
- Walk towards the right for about half a kilometre, till you join the beach area again.
- This downward route, could be used as an alternate trail to climb uphill. If you want a fairly easy hike, use this route to go up and down Bukit Keluang.
What was your best hiking experience like? Where did you hike? Tell us all about it. We’d love to hear!