The International Steam Pages
Climb Every Mountain
We had promised old friend John Baker from Bangkok a heritage trip to the Kinta Valley and it has become traditional for us to do a hike together when we meet on the road. A quick check on the web, revealed not much choice in terms of accessibility from Ipoh, but Bukit Kledang (ca 800 metres asl) near Menglembu south-west of Ipoh seemed fit for purpose. We followed the sealed road all the way to its end at the top transmission mast. There are obvious paths which cut corners and provide an alternative route but there seemed little point to use them as they were clearly steep and our knees don't take kindly to such things, especially coming down.
Access is via Jalan Kledang from the middle of Menglembu (now bypassed by the main road and hence easily missed). Alternatively coming south from Ipoh take Jalang Kledang Utara and turn left into the main road where it finishes. The turning off this road is not properly signposted and would be easily missed. Anyway, there is a large car parking area and even at a weekend there was plenty of space. Many locals were actually using an alternative parking spot just to the north behind a housing estate, this leads into a path which joins the hill road some way up.
We were obviously starting late (10.00) as people were arriving back at the car park as we went up. In Penang, hill walkers are predominantly Chinese, but here it was much more multiracial. However, the first shrine was Chinese and as we entered the Forest Reserve area, the pagodas for weary travellers were all Chinese in design.
One pair of shrines were multicultural with Indian and Chinese elements.
There was an attractive Chinese garden with small ponds with carp and terrapins which hikers would feed as they went past.
The route from the second car park came in at this seismology station run by the meteorological department. Opposite was one of the steep paths.
Parts of this area have the Penang disease, developers have cleared large terraces presumably for housing. Above us we could see the masts which we would visit later.
A curiosity were English language signs which presumably are not at all recent. The red plastic pipe carries an 11kV electrical cable to power the masts. There is just one road junction on the climb, we went left as the painted signs indicated and to the right are the lower masts in the picture above.
It was hazy, not at all a day for views, but this gives an idea of the small range of hills of which Kledang is part.
Perak's civil servants have been busy churning out worthy signs, we saw a couple of these covering small areas of the forest reserve. Very soon we were at the top, we had taken our time, but it had taken barely three hours.
Yuehong posed for a traditional 'Is that all?' 2017 picture. There were two obvious paths down at the summit, starting from beside the smaller mast. We took the descent back down the road as gently as the ascent, noting this orchid among the ferns and one of my favourite tree ferns. While most of the Chinese shrines were to the Goddess of Mercy, Guan Yin, a favourite of the Chinese in Malaysia, one was dedicated to the god of the hills.
We were down in around two hours, near the bottom we found another sign, quite appropriate given the monkeys that hang around the car park dissecting the rubbish for anything that can be eaten.
It's not a 'must do' walk but it was perfect for our purpose. We returned to Ipoh where John and I adjourned for a Tiger. Unfortunately, the heavens opened and we were trapped in the coffee shop for a couple of hours...
Rob and Yuehong Dickinson