2 June 2012 – I was eyeing G. Ledang for a very long time after it was made known to me that it’s Johor's highest peak. I've searched and inquired from different adventure companies about packages going there and most of their replies were – cost would be $200++ and to top it all, it could only push through if I could bring in minimum of 10pax. Impossible isn't it? Thus, as soon as I saw SANL's email that they're organizing a hike going to G.Ledang. I counted myself in immediately! Cost was $125. It's quite cheap as compared to all the other packages I've researched.
Meet up time was 4am at McDonald's Causeway Point. I once again shared cab with Miles and unfortunately, we weren't able to have dine-in breakfast because we came a little late (during the belumut trip, we were extremely early that we had to wait for almost 45mins to depart with the group). Thus, we brought and ate our breakfast on the bus.
On the bus, I comfortably occupied 2 seats by myself. haha i know its selfish and loner-ish but what can I say, I am naturally a loner.=b
We arrived at the base at around 8am-something. We had to declare everything we're bringing up there, from plastics to our clothing. After filling up the forms, we had a short briefing session with Uncle Lim. He discussed our climbing route, (Check Point) CP1-3,KFC,CP5-8 (We wouldn’t be passing CP4, it was said to be where the waterfall’s located) and a little bit of do's and don’ts while climbing.
And then we started the hike. HAH. I'll try my best to recall exactly what happened during the climb because honestly, it was kind of traumatic for me thus, fear actually overtook and I guess erased most of the memories. haha I can remember the feeling more than the exact experience. I did my assignment of reading before I actually went for the climb but nothing, not even Wiki, prepared me for the experience I had going up to G. Ledang's peak. It was truly a challenge, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Ok. It started with an endless and boring 700+ stair climb. I thought 'they should've just installed escalator there'. It felt like forever. It was supposed to be a 20mins stair-climb, but I think the guide said, we were able to complete it within 15mins only. He said it was a good sign!
I was so glad to see soil and trail. whoa!!! Excitement started to arise! CP1-CP3 were tolerable; trails were just the normal up and downhill combination with views of boulders and huge rocks. Then came KFC, not Kentucky Fried Chicken, though I wished it was. KFC stands for KILLER FITNESS CENTER (or course or climb?). Hah. As the name implied, Killer it was! From there, the scary and forgettable parts of the climb began.
I know it’s a little ironic that I’m climbing mountains when the reality is, heights could sometimes make me acquire unnecessary bumps….goosebumps! I have to admit, I am scared of heights especially when the view from below is huge open spaces, or on that day's case, cliffs, terrain and massif in the opposite side.
KFC marked the beginning my emotional torture. From there started the part with more challenging climbing conditions. We had to use ladders, for 90degrees climbs and ropes for almost 70degrees inclination climbs. These, I didn't expect. These combinations were endless. Some went without fuzz and some, just like me, needed to pray for longer life before climbing every rope and ladders.
We passed by dark cavernous passages as well; I hoped that snakes wouldn't be hiding in these cold, dark rocky passages. We then passed by Taman Bonsai, Bukit Botak. Each checkpoints and stops have different highlights and more ladders and ropes to climb. These variations kept me scared, or to put it more positively, excited?!?! lol
As I was trying my best to stay away from all my fears and negative energy, I overheard from a group of uncles that there were 5 more ladders to climb to the summit! I grinned and said to myself…ok, let’s get this over with!!!! True enough there were 5 long and shaky (wasn't sure if it was really the ladders that were shaky or the ladders were shaking because my entire body was shaky) ladders to climb to the most awaited peak. SUMMIT SUMMIT SUMMIT…I could see it! AHHHHH and it was indeed an achievement for a beginner like me! I shall go back next time, with no fuzz and fear (I’ll try)!
Descending, the sweeper, uncle Lim, told us that Ledang's home for more than 50 different species of Pitcher plants. They were so pretty. When I was younger, its beauty , it, being carnivorous and its prey-trapping ability amused me so much!
Ledang's also famous for the 'Ledang Princess' I think, because as soon as I mentioned Ledang to my colleagues they all automatically associated it to the princess, They said I could make a wish?!?! True or make believe, I still did make a wish. We'll never know! haha… ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legend_of_Puteri_Gunung_Ledang )
After the climb, a very filling dinner was again organized and then we all headed home to Singapore!
See you again Gunung Ledang! It was a great experience climbing You!=)
The legendary beauty of Mount Ophir (Gunung Ledang) standing at 1,250m has made it one of Johor's most popular attractions for hikers and birdwatchers.
Gunung Ledang is believed to have the richest flora species in the world.
It has a 50 metres high waterfall with a wide drop of 50 metres.
It has icy cool waters charge down upon large boulders, then break into rushing rapids before plugging into the large sandy pool below.This waterfall, discovered some 50 years ago, is name the "Puteri Waterfalls"
The place is easily accessible and suitable for hikers who wants to feel what mountains in Malaysia are really like. Some groups are using this mountain as a training ground for other challenging venues.
Mount Ophir, or more commonly known by its Malay name, Gunung Ledang, is a mountain situated in the Gunung Ledang National Park located in Ledang District (northwestern Johor), Malaysia. The summit is located between the border of Muar and Malacca. Standing at 1,276 m (4,186 ft), with a clear trail leading to the peak, the mountain is a popular destination among amateur climbers. Mount Ophir is also the 64th highest mountain in Malaysia and arguably the most climbed mountain in the country, despite it having one of the higher climbing fatalities in the region of South-East Asia. Camping on the mountain has been forbidden after the death of campers who were crushed by falling trees in separate incidents.
A resort at the foot of the mountain was opened in the recent years. Called Gunung Ledang Resort, it offers decent accommodation and adventure programmes. However, the access to the top of the mountain can only be made through the National Park office, which is a few kilometres away from the resort. The trail from the resort has been closed due the death of campers.
Origins of its name
There are a few popular opinions regarding the origin of the mountain's name. According to one opinion, ancient history points to the mountain being the site of rich gold deposits, luring traders from as far as Greece and China.
In the 14th Century, the Chinese seafarers plying the Straits of Malacca called it Kim Sua meaning the 'golden mountain', possibly from the Hokkien or Taiwanese words: kim, or in characters 金 meaning gold and sua, or 山 meaning mountain . Another source said that the Javanese during the period of the Majapahit empire named the mountain Gunong Ledang, which means 'mount from afar' or 'the farthest mountain'.
The name Ophir itself is thought to have originated from any of these languages:
• Hebrew, from אוֹפִיר transliterated to 'Owphiyr, or pronounced as ō•fēr, a Hebrew personal name
• Greek, from όφις transliterated to 'Ofis, which means snake, possibly in reference to a local taboo warning against walking into or setting up camps in certain protected areas as it is said to be guarded by an army of snakes and creeping vines that move
• Latin, from auferre, which means 'to be snatched away', probably related to the taboo as well.
Legend of Gunung Ledang
Main article: Legend of Gunung Ledang
There is a popular Malaysian folklore which told of a princess with magical powers who resided on the mountain. She was wooed to be the wife of the then Sultan of Malacca, Sultan Mahmud Shah. However, she set seven impossible conditions for him as a means to reject his proposal.
The conditions were:
• A bridge of gold for her to walk to Malacca from the mountain,
• A bridge of silver for her to return from Malacca to the mountain,
• Seven large clay jars of virgin's tears,
• Seven large clay jars of betel nut juice,
• Seven trays filled with hearts of fleas,
• Seven trays filled with hearts of mosquitoes, and
• A bowl of the blood of the Sultan's young son.
Some versions of the legend say that the Sultan was not able to fulfill any of these requests, while others say that he was able to fulfill the first six requests (thus causing the ruin of the Malacca Sultanate) but could not fulfill the final request which would have required him to kill his son.
Yet another version says that the Sultan approached his sons sleeping body and as he drew close with a dagger in hand the image of the Princess appeared before the Sultan and said to him that she could not possibly marry a man willing to wound his own son before vanishing, never to be seen again.
The point of the story is that the Sultan was either too proud or too blind to realise that the conditions were the Puteri's way of turning his proposal down.
Folklore has it that the gold and silver supposedly found on the mountain are attributed to; and a testament to this story. Hang Tuah and his companions were also learning their silat martial arts here on the top of this very mountain with a silat guru, Adiputera.