Mount Santubong

Mount Santubong, Kuching: Address, Mount Santubong Reviews: 4.5/5

Mount Santubong
4.5
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ashaec
Bangkok, Thailand17 contributions
Mar 2020 • Couples
The jungle loop trail is the easier of the two trails. The trek took us only about one and half hours to complete.
It’s a short trail and well marked but there are some confusing sections. It would be a good idea to get a contact number before staring out from the park office just in case.
I had read that there are multiple exits but these exits were not marked well.
Physical fitness is required as this is not a flat and easy esp for people who don’t trek frequently. There were some climbs and descents where we had to hold on to ropes or tree roots.
There is plenty of shade but the path would definitely be very slippery and dangerous during the rainy season.
Would recommend good waterproof shoes as the trail has a lot of rocks and tree roots and some small streams and brooks to cross and also carry plenty of water.
The waterfall is right below the suspension bridge and would require climbing down some slippery rocks

To get there:
We had to drive around a bit after Culvert to find the park entrance. Look out for cars parked near “Santubong puteri trail start” ( google maps)

Written March 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Nico B
1 contribution
May 2022 • Solo
Summit trail (now yellow markings): 4hrs up 3.5hrs down, bring enough water especially if you're not used to the heat. The last 2.5hrs are climbed on all fours. The trail is very well maintained and safe even for beginners, however very challenging. I'm not in bad shape but my legs barely made it.
Written May 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

oscarette
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia48 contributions
Jan 2020
There were 2 trails available, red, leading to the summit and blue, a loop leading back to the registration hut. At the time we were there, the red trail was closed due to the wet weather.
The blue trail was very interesting as we overcame different obstacles. We came upon a waterfall, suspension bridge, crossed rivers, jumped onto a vine and swung around like Tarzan, climbed down a steep slope, saw an insect giving birth, saw Venus fly traps, etc. In other words, it was heaps of fun.
Written January 31, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Cay
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia218 contributions
Dec 2021 • Couples
Hi just wanted to put a message out there that during rainy season this park is close due to safety issue. We tried. But you can still do hiking to the blue pool and waterfall using the Permai resort. just pay an entrance fee of RM10 per person .
Written December 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Vesa A
Yekaterinburg, Russia34 contributions
Feb 2020
Trail to summit from camp was longer than closed trail which starts outside of the park. I reached summit in 2hours 45mins and got back in 2 hours. There were several hard climbs and upper you get there were many ropes missing. Rope ladders have been replaced with aluminium ones. Those parts are easy. Coming down on trails that have all roots revealed is the hardest in my oppinion. That's what legs say.
Definitely worth of climbing but not easy.
Written February 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

ncw2
Singapore, Singapore384 contributions
Dec 2019 • Solo
Took less than 5 hours climbing up and down the summit. View at summit was shrouded by mountain mist. Its a tough climb for novice hiker. Upper core and strong arm strength is required. Good training for me. Likely a one time visit.
Written January 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

akfa
130 contributions
Dec 2018 • Solo
Ok I just went climbing Santubong so here are some updates as of December 15th, 2018. It seems information is a bit difficult to get so I’ll try to explain a bit from what I experienced.

How do we get there? According to the hotel people (and my grab taxi driver) where I stayed, there are no buses going to Santubong from Kuching town. However upon asking local people near the park, they said that you can still take the “van sapu” from infront of “Electra House” shopping mall in town. Van sapu = private vans used as unregistered public transport. However you may need to wait as the vans usually will wait for minimum number of passengers before they depart. As time is short it’s better to just get a taxi/grab. The one way fare from town should be around RM40 (USD10) per car, and the journey is approximately 1 hour. Grab taxis are abundant in Kuching town and usually the waiting time is less than 5 minutes! It is said that all the town buses closed down because they couldn’t compete with the grab taxis.

The Santubong trail starts at the park entrance – google for “Santubong National Park”. Once you reach there register with the park rangers. Do not forget to get the map from the rangers as it contains all emergency contact numbers. Also, inform the rangers that you wish for them to arrange your ride back to town. The park is about 40km from Kuching town and it takes 1 hour for grab taxis to come over. That is IF they want to come over. So it’s best to have the ride back to town booked early.

There are proper toilets at the park office so do use them if you need to. There will not be any toilets along the trek for the next 6 hours or so.

At the moment the climbing fee is free. The rangers will brief you on the route options (refer picture) – a short loop trail which is 2.5km, marked in blue, takes around 1.5hours to complete. The summit trail, marked as red, is broken into 2 parts – Part 1 is F1 – F7 (view point), which is 2.63km (1.5hours) and Part 2 which is from F7 – F15, 1.31km (2.5hours). A total of 4 hours is the estimated time needed. From the office you will see both blue and red marks on the trees to denote the trails.

A few minutes after leaving the park office, you will reach a small river. You will see the blue marks on a tree across the river, but the red marks are not very visible. Cross the river and you will see the red marks again. Continue walking and you will eventually meet the Y junction with signboards showing left for blue trail (loop trail) and right for red trail (summit trail). The trek is easy all the way up to here.

You do not need a proper trail hiking shoes for this mountain – I used my normal running shoes. But be aware that the stones around this particular river are a little bit slippery so do be careful.

From here onwards you will only see the red mark, indicating the trek to summit. A few minutes from here you will see the first rope and immediately after that is the first signboard for checkpoint “F1”. There is a total of 15 checkpoints (F1-F15) altogether. The difficulty level estimated by the park management is 3-4 from checkpoint F1-F7. There are 2 waterfalls – 1 in the loop trail (which I did not see because I took the summit trail), and the another small one at checkpoint F5. There will not be any more streams or water source from here onwards so if you need to refill your water supply this is your last chance.

Checkpoint F7 is the junction where the park trail meets the unofficial trail named “Bukit Putri”. Turn left to continue to the summit (follow the red mark). Turn right for the Bukit Putri trail, which is a short cut. Some readers complained about why the park rangers did not inform them about this trail’s existence. The answer is – it is not part of the national park, and therefore out of the park management’s authority. As a matter of fact, the trek itself is located in a personal property, and hence we are trespassing should we use it. For the benefit of everyone, I took this route on my way down.

From checkpoint F7 you can see some nice view of the Kuching town. And from here the difficulty level is rated by the park management as 7-9 (difficult). There will be a lot of ropes you need to use and numerous aluminum ladders to climb, some even almost 90degrees! A nice experience. Let me take this opportunity to thank all the individuals involved in setting up all these ladders. They are very sturdy and well built. I cannot imagine the hard work of having to carry the ladders all the way up for the benefit of other climbers. They are properly secured to the rocks using steel wall plugs and not just by using ropes. For those who hate climbing ladders, just don’t look down too much. You should be okay. It took me 1.5hours, as per estimation, to reach from the park office to checkpoint F7. But it only took me 2 hours to reach from F7 to F15 (summit), against the 2.5hours estimated time. At the summit there is a small gazebo/hut. If you are lucky enough and there is less cloud, you can have the spectacular view.

I am not sure if camping is allowed in the park. The rangers kept on emphasizing the cut-off time is at 3pm – this means you should start to head down at 3pm to ensure you have ample time to reach down before dark. However, they did not mention that night climbing is prohibited either, nor was there anyone to enforce such “requirements” (if it is indeed it is prohibited). In anyways I strongly advice to seek the rangers advice if you do decide to come down late.

I started my hike down at 2pm, and reached the Y junction at F7 around 3:30pm, which is about 1.5hrs. This time I took the “private” Bukit Putri trail instead of the official trail. I would say the Bukit Putri trail is much, much “kinder”. It is a single-trek, and you can see white-colored with red border, diamond-shaped small reflective signboards (refer picture) from here onwards all the way down. I reached down a few minutes to 4pm, which means it only took about 30minutes to hike down using this trail. Super fast compared to the official trail. On the way down at F7, I met a couple for fit runners who claimed it only took them 30minutes from the Bukit Putril starting point to F7 (versus 1.5hours using the official trail). The Bukit Putri trail ends/starts at the public road at coordinates (1.729150, 110.314738), exactly in front of a signboard which reads “Santubong National Park – 1.5km”. If you had made arrangement for the ride home, you can call the park office to inform them that you have exit and the taxi will be on its way to pick you up here.

In short I would say that for a casual hiker like me, give yourself probably 6 hours to hike up and down, which means you need to start hiking latest probably by 11am to ensure you reach down before dark, so you need to leave town latest by 9:45am. Do take note of the local sunset time, and consider the fact that it is gets dark pretty fast under heavy forest canopies in tropical rainforests. Be safe than sorry – bring a headlamp and some waterproof softshell, no matter wherever, whichever mountain you climb/hike.

I brought 2 bottles of 400ml (which I got from the hotel) mineral water and for someone who drinks a lot like me, it was just enough. You may want to bring at least 1L. Don’t forget to bring down your trash. The summit trail (F1-F15) is said to be 3.94km while the Loop Trail is about 2.5km.

Also despite reading this review, please be prepared and do not underestimate Mount Santubong (or any mountains for that matter). Do some exercise if you can. Be prepared than sorry. But having said that I wouldn’t say Santubong is super hard to climb, and it is doable even for first timers, it’s just might take a bit longer. So go early and give yourself enough time to hike.

Sorry the review got long but I think it is necessary so that you know what to expect, especially when trekking in a country you are not familiar with. My personal opinion is that Mount Santubong is a beautiful, and kind mountain, and if you have enough time to spare it would be a shame not to visit.

Have fun guys!
Written December 17, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Haus_Reverie
Hamburg, Germany38 contributions
Oct 2017 • Family
We had planned to climb Mount Santubong on our last trip to Sarawak in 2015, but for a number of reasons that didn’t eventuate so when I heard we’d be staying at the Permai Rainforest Resort again this year, climbing Santubong became a priority.
After grabbing breakfast at the Feeding Tree we (Wife, Mr 15, Mr 13 and I) strolled down the hill past the Sarawak Cultural Village and around the corner to the rangers hut on Jalan Sultan Tengah. We signed in at 0850h and I realised at the outset that we were already an hour behind my planned schedule.
The ranger handed us an A4 rudimentary map and explained that the blue marked trail was the Jungle Trek and the red trail, the Summit Trek. We’d already chatted about whether or not Wife and Mr 13 would attempt the summit because they were both already feeling the heat (we pasty white Westerners from a cool temperate climate really do find Sarawak’s 30C and >80% humidity a bit of a challenge). After looking at the map we decided we’d at least try for the waterfall marked at F5 and then reassess.
The stroll along the combined red and blue trail is rated as a 3-4 on the park walk rating…not too challenging and very similar to the jungle trail around the Permai resort or the walks through Bako…undulating trail, some ups and downs, a couple of river crossings and twisted roots waiting to trip the unwary walker. So far, so good, although our travel rate remained slower than hoped.
At marker point F2, where the Summit Trail diverges from the Jungle Trek, the walk increases its difficulty to grade 5-7. It is significantly steeper in places, although not for sustained distances, and there are a lot more fallen trees, rocks etc. to negotiate although in a number of places there are fixed ropes to assist (it is already apparent that this walk could use some maintenance…broken bridges, steps and ropes are encountered throughout, along with a fair amount of rubbish strewn along the trail). This is where Wife and Mr 13 started to struggle in the heat and our rate decreased even further due to more frequent rest stops.
After negotiating the near vertical descent immediately before the stream via fixed ropes, we eventually arrive at F5 and the waterfall just on 1100h. The falls are lovely, the jungle pool delightful…the bags of rubbish, the collapsing pergola, and the broken picnic benches not so much. A drink, a chat and it was decided that Wife and Mr 13 would spend some time at the falls and then enjoy a leisurely stroll back whilst Mr 15 and myself would push on for the summit. Onward and upward…the trail remaining at grade 5-7 between F5 and F7.
We finally arrive at F7 @ 1130h. I’m already a little concerned that we may struggle time-wise with 1500h the park’s mandated turnaround time, and me having set a 1400h turnaround time for ourselves due to being in unfamiliar terrain. Now the trail becomes a serious challenge rated at 7-9 with the incline rarely falling below 60 degrees and often up to 90 degrees with rope and ladder assist (although the ladders do look somewhat dubious under my 110kg frame). We take a few snaps (although the view is quite overgrown) and head on up.
F8 @ 1210h, F9 @ 1220h (and the first of the questionable ladders), F10 @ 1220h, F11 @ 1250h (and some very long sketchy ladders). This is climbing as much as hiking and you really are a true quadruped for much of the way relying upon your hands as much as feet. Now the skies are darkening, I’m pretty toasted and Mr 15 is also toasted but gamely says he’ll continue up if I do.
Hmmm…there’s probably another good hour of climbing ahead of us, plus the additional half hour that will add to the return leg. I’m concerned that we may get caught in the dark on a trail that with the looming sky threatens to be at best slippery, at worst a raging torrent and I want to make sure we both have enough left in the tank to get down safely.
Prudence wins out over valour and we begrudgingly turn our backs on the summit and commence the long journey back down. It is still quite a gruelling climb/walk descent although it is drier and quicker than I had feared…45 min from F11 back to F7. We then head down to F5 and the waterfall where a well-deserved drenching in the cool water is absolutely required.
By now the air is completely still and oppressive under the looming thunderstorm and I struggle to shed heat...oh for a breath of breeze! A couple of rest breaks and finally the relief of the river crossing where the Jungle and Summit trails diverge provides an opportunity for a large mammal to drench his glowing head and cool down a little.
A few more minutes rest and we walk the final stretch to the ranger’s hut arriving at 1500h (I was most relieved to see that Wife and Mr 13 had signed out an hour earlier). The walk back to Permai was broken with a cold drink and Slurpee break (couldn’t really deny Mr 15 after his excellent efforts on the hill) at Damai Central.
All in all a great day’s walking that I’d recommend to anyone that enjoys a little exertion…and if we’re back in these parts again we will definitely have another attempt at conquering Mount Santubong.
My recommendations to those considering the Mount Santubong Summit Trek:
• Leave the rangers station no later than 0800h
• Wear proper hiking boots (Mr 15 suggests gloves for the ropes if you’re that way inclined)
• Take more water than you normally would – I’m a large guy and went through about 5 litres, Mr 15 is very slight and still went through 3 litres.
• Don’t try and treat this as just another stroll in the park, it is not. It is steep, it is sustained, and if you’re not careful, it’s quite possibly dangerous.
Written October 10, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

csChai
Malaysia1,312 contributions
Jul 2019 • Friends
My better half and I together with our hiking friends had the opportunity to hike this majestic mountain last week. Hiking Gunung Santubong is a must-do activity for avid hikers and outdoor enthusiasts visiting Kuching. Its summit is 810 meters above sea level. The 3.94 km trail is well-maintained and well-marked, thanks a lot to the staff of the Santubong National Park. It is of above average difficulty and doable on a one-day hike. It takes about 3 to 4 hours to reach the summit on a leisure pace.
We rented a van to take us from our hotel in the city to the Santubong National Park Headquarters about 35 km away and just about half a kilometer before reaching the well-known Sarawak Cultural Village. The park is open from 8.00 am every day and no visitors are allowed in after 4.00pm.
Upon arriving at the park headquarters, we registered ourselves by recording our names and contact numbers in the logbook provided. No entrance fees or climbing fees were collected from us. We were given a brochure and a map showing the trail and the levels of difficulty for each stage. It included a reminder of the 'turn-back' or 'cut-off' time of 3.00 pm. This is to ensure that the hikers are able to return to the park headquarters before it gets too dark.
The Summit Trail is marked with red markers while the shorter Loop Trail (2.5 km) with blue markers. These 2 trails split after about 750 meters from the park headquarters. The Loop Trail as the name suggests is for visitors to trek from the park headquarters to a waterfall and a suspension bridge and back to the headquarters. Please refer to the photograph of the map attached.
At the start of the trail, the terrain is rather flat but full of rocks of various sizes. There are two river crossings with thick ropes to assist us. We did not have any difficulty crossing them because the water level was very low, almost dry. After about 30 minutes of hiking, we arrived at the point where the Summit and Loop trails split. Please refer to the photograph attached.
We took the trail on the right and from this point to the summit, there were a total of 15 checkpoints (F1 - F15). The level of difficulty increased and after a few ascents and descents, we came to a small waterfall and an old rest hut at F5. It took us 45 minutes to get here from the point where the trails split earlier.
After another 30 minutes of hiking, we arrived at F7, which is an important checkpoint. First, there is another trail on the right (as we come from F6), the Bukit Puteri Trail (more on this trail later in this review). Second, from this checkpoint onward, the trail became more challenging with steep slopes, slippery tree roots, big boulders and many ladders to climb.
We considered the many ladders to climb as the main challenge especially for those who have a fear of heights (acrophobia). We counted a total of 18 ladders of various heights. Again, we must say 'Thank you' to the staff of the Santubong National Park for installing these sturdy aluminium ladders replacing the slippery and unstable rope and wood ladders used previously. The ladders were securely bolted to the rocks. The tallest ladder was at F11, it had a total of 33 steps, more than two-storey high. There was another rest hut at F12 for us to take a rest. It took us 75 minutes to get here from F7.
Finally we managed to reach the summit (F15) after another 30 minutes of hiking from F12. We took a total of three and a half hours (210 minutes) to hike from the park headquarters to summit. This time is inclusive of our many stops for rest and photography.
There is a wide flat area with a rest hut and a signboard at the summit. Some irresponsible hikers have removed the signboard from its original position and it is now left uprooted. The view from the summit is truly magnificent. We could see the Sarawak River meandering towards the coastline. The blue sea looks so calm and beautiful in the horizon. All the hard climbing was worth it!
After a good rest and many more photographs, we started our descent. We hiked down the same route from F15 to F7. Extra caution was needed when descending the ladders. From F7, we descended via the earlier-mentioned Bukit Puteri Trail. Officially, this trail is closed, as stated in the map provided by the park headquarters. However, it is still accessible. From what I understand, this trail passes through private properties.
This Bukit Puteri Trail is much shorter and much kinder to our knees. It is a laterite trail and flat on most parts. The thick canopy provided us with good shade from the afternoon sun. It took us only 35 minutes to reach the exit point from F7. The exit point is beside the main road and exactly 1.5 km from the Santubong National Park headquarters, our starting point. Please refer to the photograph attached. We telephoned the park headquarters to inform them that all of us had descended safely via this alternative trail.
It was truly a rewarding and memorable hike. We would highly recommend this hike to fellow hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Last but not least, we would like to put on record our appreciation to Mr Riset Gufew (Park Warden) and his fellow staff in the Santubong National Park for the well-maintained and well-marked trail, the helpful ropes along the slopes, the sturdy and safe aluminium ladders and the friendly response to our telephone queries. Terima kasih!
Written August 4, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

R_Ayun
Bristol, UK26 contributions
Jul 2014 • Friends
I walked this trail many times growing up and it's fantastic. However, there is a current problem with the woman from Green Paradise Seafood trying to siphon money from tourists coming through the official National Park entrance (RM20 entrance fee).

This woman is acting illegally, her contract with SEDC has expired and she has absolutely no right to charge another dodgy RM8 per person. She's taped off the trails a short way up the main path and will demand entry fee. She's an absolutely horrific witch and people should definitely avoid giving her any money whatsoever. There's also no point trying to get the onsite park ranger to help you, he's incapable of doing anything. Just log a police complaint and warn everyone you can.

It's just so unfortunate, as the trail is a great walk - but not worth the con from Green Paradise Seafood. We ended up driving down to Permai and paying RM5 for their fab Waterfall walk. They too were very much aware of the Green Paradise Seafood woman and advised us to make a police complaint.
Written August 10, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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