Heaven is several levels of thunderous waterfalls, cool clear water after a long hike and near trash free riverside campsites.
We had unwittingly saved the best for last when Eric and I finally got around to hiking Lata Medang. Shorter than the hike to nearby Lata Makau by half an hour to an hour, its 7.3 kilometre trail rewards hikers with a worthy payoff: 2 breathtaking waterfalls.
The trail to get there is the same as the trail to get to Lata Makau, up to a point. Park up after Kampung Pertak, cross the 2 iron bridges (one runs alongside Sungai Pertak, the other crosses Sungai Luit), then keep left passing cordoned off camp sites and riverside rest areas around Lata Jebus.
The trail splits at the 2.6 kilometre mark just under an hour after setting off. From here its right to Medang, left to Makau. If immediately after this split you descend then come to a clearing farmed by local orang asli, then you’re on the wrong route and are headed to Lata Makau.
The Lata Medang trail ascends immediately though nothing more than 45 degrees until you arrive at the falls. Along the route there are several stream crossings and gullies to navigate, as well as a small waterfall.
There are 2 falls at our destination, each more impressive than the last. Lubuk Mecu is the first. Shrouded by greenery, water cascades across its rocky surface into deep and wide, cool green pool.
The impressive Lata Medang follows. We visited in December which is typically rainy season. It was dry and sunny on the day of our hike, nevertheless the torrents of crystal clear water that thundered down its smooth boulderous surface sent clouds of water vapour into the air.
Not yet done wowing us, the upper tier of Lata Ledang is even more gobsmackingly beautiful, and photos don’t come close to doing its massice scale justice.
Plummetting down from a height of 40 to 50 metres, its endless wall of water creates its own waves in the shallow pebble-filled pool that surrounds it, and generates enough wind force to shower you in spray and knock you off your feet. For that reason it pays to exercise caution when you’re crossing in front of it so get to its other side. You don’t want to lose your footing and get swept over the ledge.
If you can tear yourself away from Lata Medang’s mesmerising upper tier, the top of the falls can be also accessed. Its ledge makes a photogenic spot from which to take a selfie but only when the water level is low.
After the top of the falls, the trail continues for 25 minutes (1.2 kilometres) up a steep 70 degree gradient before levelling off. It leads to a burbling stream up river. Going any further than this requires bashing through thick brush and clearing a path with a parang. My recommendation is to skip this and enjoy more time at the falls.
9.30am Begin hike from carpark
9.40am 1st iron bridge
9.50am 2nd iron bridge
9.55am 1st junction (right to Bukit Kutu, left to Lata Medang and Lata Makau)
10.20am 2nd junction (right to Lata Medang, left to Lata Makau)
10.45am Stream crossing
11.15am Small waterfall
11.20am Stream crossing
11.40am Lata Medang
Altitude 671 metres.
Distance and time 7.3 kilometres one-way. Roughly 2 hours there and 1 1/2 hours back.
Rating Moderate. Trail is long but mostly flat. The few slopes that you do have to overcome arrive after the Makau-Medang fork and have an incline of no more than 45 degrees.
Facilities No toilets. 2 makeshift changing cubicles beside the carpark.
Entry fee Boom gates have been erected on either side of Kampung Pertak. At the second gate, RM1/person is charged by the local orang asli for entry and parking.
Tip Can’t get enough of Lata Medang? Stay the night. Several ample-sized clearings between Lubuk Mecu and the top of Lata Medang make excellent sites for pitching up a tent, and as far as we could ascertain are rubbish-free.
For the map and details go to my AllTrails map for Lubuk Mecu + Lata Makau here. Do note that the altitude readings go loopy between the 4.4km and 6.1km mark – just ignore it.
Carpark 3.57484, 101.73678
Lata Mecu 3.54247, 101.75238
Lata Medang 3.54096, 101.75331