Sunday, 17 March 2019

Gunung Arong, Mersing, Johor

If you ask me about my favourite hike in Johor, it'd definitely be Gunung Arong!

(Well but actually, I've only been to Gunung Ledang, Gunung Pulai and Gunung Arong in Johor, so the candidate pool isn't big. I am not including Blue Lagoon of Kangkar Pulai in this pool here because it was pretty short hike)

Standing at 240m, Gunung Arong is the third lowest peak in the state of Johor. The hike is not too long nor tough, and you get a stunning view at the peak.

I planned a day trip from Johor Bahru to Mersing last year to hike Gunung Arong and Pulau Mawar. However, we spent half a day at Pulau Mawar, and a looooong time trying to locate the entrance to Gunung Arong (if you try to search it on Google Map, it will lead you to a road that is heading towards Rompin, Pahang) so by the time we reached the entrance, it was already 4pm and the locals advised us against hiking up Gunung Arong at that time.

The rebellious side of Jia was rather unsatisfied at that time, but after hiking it the other day with my friends, I am grateful that the rebellious side of Jia got overpowered by the rational side of Jia, which I will explain why in this blog post, and also why this blog post exist because I can't find much detailed info regarding the entrances of Gunung Arong.

Things You Need To Know Before Hiking Gunung Arong.

1. Permit

Please do get yourself a permit before hiking Gunung Arong. We were warned by the locals to get a permit before we hike, as the forest rangers might give us a hefty fine if we were caught without one.

He told us that we could get a permit at Endau Forest office, which is 30 minutes drive away. This blog provides detailed instruction on how to obtain a permit. So please, do apply for a permit prior to your hike.

2. What to wear

Dri-fit clothes, especially if you are taking the beach entrance (Read below for reasons why!). You will get wet.

2. Entrance

There are two entrances for Gunung Arong, one is the beach entrance, and the other entrance, well, let's call it the "actual entrance". You may choose to go up using one entrance and exit from the other, or make a U-turn after reaching the peak, hence using the same entrance and exit. The approximate GPS location of the entrances are as below:

"Actual Entrance" approximate GPS location:
2.573806, 103.803861

Beach entrance approximate GPS location:
2.563920, 103.817835

This blog provides a detailed guide to get to the "actual entrance". So please have a read if you plan to use this entrance!

I entered via the "actual entrance" and exited via the beach entrance, near to Teluk Gorek campsite. If you do the same, after you finally reached Teluk Gorek campsite, you have to walk another 1.6km to reach your parking spot at the "actual entrance".

The long 1.6km walk from Teluk Gorek campsite to our car at the "actual" entrance

The trail from the beach side entrance is slightly longer, because you have to travel some distance from the car park before reaching the trail head. For first timer, the beach entrance will be really tricky. You'd have to cross a few bays, climb giant rocks, cross a mangrove etc. to get to the entrance. I doubted myself so many times so here's a rough guide so you won't feel as lost as I did :P

To get to the beach entrance, park your car at Teluk Gorek camp site. Then you'd have to cross about 2km of beach/mangrove/rocks terrain to the trail head
I wouldn't recommend swimming all the way to get to the trail head. I have no idea how deep the water are and how strong the currents are.

The walk along the beach felt rather long, because there wasn't much shelter against the sun, and we had to climb up rocks at some parts. The best way to cross the bays is to stick close to the sea, so you won't get lost!

We get to go up close with submerged mangrove trees. We reached a river mouth where it seems like the only way across is to waddle through the water.

The water seems shallow at first, then it gets deeper progressively. However, fret not, as the deepest the water got was just slightly below our waist. I've read at this blog that during high tide the water might reach up to one's shoulder.

See the double red stripes? That's the entrance!
view from the trail. We were so excited when we finally reached the exit!

Most hikers would camp overnight at the beach and hike up before the crack of dawn to catch the sunrise. It'd be hard to cross the beaches when it is dark, hence I was glad I did not proceed with the hike during my first visit.

4. The hike

The hike was relatively straightforward and well-marked! Follow the red/yellow marker on the tree, and avoid the path labelled with the red & white tape.

Most part of the hike is covered too!

5. The Peak

There is a viewing tower at the peak of Gunung Arong where you can get a better view of the bay. Take note that a maximum of 3 people are allowed at the viewing tower.

The usual photospot at Gunung Arong is about 10 minutes hike away from the viewpoint. If you hiked up from the beach, you'd reach this spot before the viewing tower.

Would I go again? Definitely :D I'd want to catch the sunrise there, one day.

Gunung Arong
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Duration of Hike: 1.5~3 hours, depending on speed and frequency of stopping

Other places to visit near Mersing:
1. Pulau Mawar
2. One Day Island Hopping

Other places to visit in Johor:
1. Blue Lagoon of Kangkar Pulai
2. Rainforest Treehouse, Pulai
3. Aw Pottery, Ayer Hitam

Photo credits to my beautiful friends, Fatimah & Emily!


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