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Gunung Bintang (1862m)

    Gunung Bintang, situated in Sedim, Kulim Kedah , is one of the nearest peaks to Penang. The trek to this mountain was found again recently by the villagers of Kg. Sedim. There is another way up this mountain, which is from Mahang, how many days, it'll take, I'm not sure. The peak has the surveyor's metal tripod, therefore it is confirmed as the real Gunung Bintang. You can check by looking at a topographic map. There are only two metal tripod's  on the Bintang range, one is at Gunung Inas, and the other one is at the peak of Gunung Bintang. I have heard of another Gunung Bintang which takes about 5 days of hard trekking to reach. Perhaps it is another Bintang, Bintang Utara perhaps. Gunung Bintang takes either two or three days for a return trip . 
   
The trek starts at sungai Sedim, about half an hour from Kulim HiTec park. The trail starts at the mountain bike downhill trek, up some unused  logging roads . It is advisable to get a guide because there are quite a number of junctions and old unused logging roads are confusing themselves. Please bear in mind that this are is full of elephants and tigers. You'll be seeing elephants footprints and marks all over the place. Further up the mountain you'll still see them together with cat-like footprints, presumably from leopards or tigers. If you want a guide, ask around the village for Pak Chok. He knows the way well, and I recommend him.

Day one

   Beginning from the downhill mtb trek, it is old unused logging trek all the way to the waterfall. The logging road is hot and dry, especially around mid day. The first part, to camp one, should take about one and a half hour to two hours. The gradient is not very steep , but the track has got lots of ferns and is quite rutted. At camp one there is a river, with some fallen logs (old bridge) and you'll have to cross the river and climb up the other edge to reach the campsite. The campsite is quite open and can fit quite a number of people. From the first campsite, it will take about half an hour to the next river, which is  smaller,  which also has some fallen logs . The trail from the first campsite to the second river will take about half an hour to 45 minutes, and the gradient is similar to the trek to the first campsite.  From the second river, it will take you about one and a half hours to two hours to reach the second campsite, which is the waterfall. Beware, because this part of the trek is quite steep and there are some sections where you'll be trekking in the blazing hot sun. The vegetation will change slightly, from ferns to bamboo clumps to bushes. About 20 minutes from the waterfall, or the second campsite, there is an open space which is quite hot. don't bother to wait there, just proceed straight to the waterfall.
    At the waterfall, there is quite a big clearing for tents, though the ground is sloping towards the river. Be careful not to pitch your tent in front of the waterfall, because If it rains, the amount of water gushing down the fall might wash your tent away. The cold damp wind  generated by the falling water can also be a bother and unpleasant at night.

Day two

    On the second day, From the waterfall campsite, you'll have to cross the waterfall by walking across the fallen logs. Be extremely careful, as there are lots of crevices for your feet to get twisted in , plus the logs are VERY slippery, esp. if wet. On the other side, it is slight uphill through some long grass. The trail meanders through the old logging road again, for about 1.5 hours. after that, it'll be through the forest. The forest trail will be much pleasant, not so hot and much more interesting. After about another 1.5 hours, you'll reach Puncak Bunian, a small peak where people usually stop for lunch. The peak is quite flat, with many small plants and mosses. Stop here for lunch, and to proceed, continue behind the slanting tree. The trek will be uphill again, for about 45 minutes where you'll arrive at the last water point, which is a small pool of stagnant brown water. Fill up your water bottles and continue up. The trek now will be among the mountain forest, with chopstick bamboos, moss covered tree trunks and some brown squishy mud. 
    From the water point, it should take you another hour to reach Anak Bintang, a small soggy peak with grass growing around it. From there, you can see the Peak of Gunung Bintang, if the clouds clear. It is about 45 minutes away . Once at Gunung Bintang, you'll see the metal contraption as well as the plastic signboard with the height of the mountain written on it. The campsite is a few meters away, towards the other side. It is quite small, but can fit perhaps 20 people.  

Day three

    The trek down will take about 5-8 hours, depending on your speed. Be careful not to go to fast along the logging road, because if the ground is wet, it is also very slippery. Plus there are quit a few hairy eroded parts which you should thread lightly on. The trek down will cover the same way up. Beware at Anak Bintang, because there is another trek there which goes to Mahang. The trek to Mahang is right in the middle, while the trek to Sedim is slightly on the right. It would be better if you marked the trail on your way up, to avoid people from getting lost. 

Doing it in 2 days

    If you're traveling in a small group, it is possible to go up in one day, but you'll have to be fast . I went again the following week with 2 of my friends and this is the time we clocked:

Mtb track to first campsite                            -1hr
First campsite to second campsite (waterfall)            -1hr 
Second campsite - Puncak Bunian                     -2.5hrs
Puncak Bunian - Bintang Peak                        -2.5hrs
From Bintang Peak down to MTB track                 -5 hrs

 

 

 

 

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