Bears. They’re so cute and fluffy. Until you see their claws. You could say the same about the aptly named Bukit Beruang in Melaka. Directly translated from Malay to English as Bear Hill, at a mere 116.3 meters tall, it may sound tame but, depending on your route to its peak and back, it’s ferocity can vary.
Like Goldilocks you’re presented with three choices: take the 2.5 km tarmaced Jalan TM Bukit Beruang to the telecommunications tower; hike the trail from Taman Bunga Raya; or like the KL Hiking crew, begin your journey from Taman Muzaffar Height on the other side of the hill.
You can also mix it up, as each of these trails criss crosses each other – dirt tracks intersecting with the tarmac road and mountain bike tracks splitting off and converging with hiking trails.
Both the beginning and end of our route, outside of Surau Al-Wahdah on Jalan MH10, is shared with mountain bikers. In the early morning and evening, this means having to listen out for the sound of tyres on dirt as bikers come careening round the corner or leaping over you as they gain air on one of several ramps they’ve constructed. Fortunately we started late and avoided potential collisions.
Our adventure began at the top right hand corner of the map on the 1-One Trail, wound its way to CP2 and CP3, and then along the OMG trail to CP4. I don’t know the distance traversed, but this stretch takes up more than half of the journey time and is the toughest part of the route with multiple obstacles, frequent switch backs, steep ascents (some of which require rope work) and often counterintuitive descents that had us wondering if we had missed a turn.
The remainder of the route was easier. After CP4, which skirts past the telecommunications tower, we briefly stopped to take in the near 180 degree view at the Eye On Melaka lookout point – some rock climbing provides an even better vantage spot. After this we headed down to Wonderful Garden where the Wonderful Trail and Wild Boar Trail intersects with the Telekom Trail. This was my favourite section of the lot and the freshly dug earth alongside it – the work of wild boar – is a reminder of how it got its name.
At CP0 we reconnected with the 1-One Trail in a section heavily plied by mountain bikers. It was literally all downhill from here.
Before too long we found ourselves retracing our footsteps just minutes before we arrived at our starting point, 2 hours and 10 minutes after we set out.
11.05am Start hike on the 1-One Trail
11.10am At fork, take a right
11.15am Take storm drain on the left towards the top of the hill. Continuation of 1-One Trail and CP2 are on the left
11.50am Sign indicating direction to CP1 and Telekom Tower
11.58am Sign indicating direction to CP4 and Telekom Tower
12.18pm Pass CP4 exit to Jalan TM Bukit Beruang and Telekom Tower
12.22pm Eye on Melaka
12.30pm Leave Eye On Melaka
12.36pm Wonderful Garden
12.40pm Cross Jalan TM Bukit Beruang, exiting Wonderful Trail and entering Wild Boar trail at CP0
12.55pm Cross wooden foot bridge. At the T-junction, go right
1.15pm Back at starting point
Altitude 116.3 meters.
Time Between 2 to 3 hours on this series of trails.
Rating KL Hiking rates Bukit Beruang as Moderate, which is fair, because it sure wasn’t easy.
Tip Despite being well marked, hikers have got lost on this hill. Switch on your map or snap a picture of the trail map along the route, and take down these emergency numbers: Jabatan Pertahanan Awam Malaysia (JPAM): +60 6 232 4028 / Ayer Keroh Fire and Rescue Station: +60 6 231 9134
Facilities None. The closest petrol station is a BHP at the intersection of Jalan Musaffar Shah and Lebuh Ayer Keroh.
Getting there A boom gate is located at the end of Jalan MH10 in Taman Muzaffar Height just after Surau Al-Wahdah. This marks the entrance to both mountain bike and hiking trails at the entrance to the 1-One Trail.
GPS coordinates 2.248787, 102.286576