Treading on the ruins of a British Hill Station

Mountain: Bukit Kutu
Height: 1100m/3600ft
Location: Kuala Kubu Bharu, Selangor.

Bukit Kutu is moderately challenging and it can take between 3 and 4 hours to trek to the peak.

     It's moderately challenging for two reasons. One, the trek takes one along a trail that is not well trodden. Because the trail branches off numerous times, it can be misleading at times. Unless you are familiar with the trail, you might find yourself tracing your way back or the fork you last left pretty often. Two, except for a few sections, the trail is not very steep. Even so, the steep sections do not pose as daunting a task as the Gunung Nuang's slopes.

Early in the trek, one has to walk across two streams. It may seem somewhat troublesome if you're wearing hiking boots, but the cool water in these streams is a pleasant remedy for sore feet on the way down.

After the second river crossing, take the path that leads to the left. It's very much a heavily used 4x4 trail now. As you follow this trail, there's a path to the right that one needs to use to get to the peak of Bukit Kutu. This path is not very distinguishable as this Bukit Kutu trail doesn't seem used. You might miss it easily.

The obscure path to the right leads to the peak

After that, the trail takes one to three more streams. These streams are small, and they won't get you feet wet — you can hop across one, and you'll be walking on tree branches and bamboo trunks on the other two. {In 2005, I explored a different junction in the trek and bypassed all these rivers}

     After that, the trail gets steeper and it leads one through a thick jungle where durians grow. While some may not fancy it, the strong aroma of durians in the jungle can be pleasant and even therapeutic. About midway into the trek one can see one of the most expansive rock face. I was really awestruck by the sheer size of it the first time I saw it. I'm still amazed at this wonder each time I've been up there.

     Apart from that the trail is very much like many other tropical trails. Yet, this trail seems to boast a lot more bamboo plants than other trails. There are two sections along the trail that will require one to exercise some form of physical manuevers. One was climbing over the bamboo plants, the other one has to crawl under a ceiling of babmboon plants (probably fallen over because of the plants weight).

     At the top of Bukit Kutu, one will find that what used to be a British Hill station is now in ruins. Because Bukit Kutu doesn't seem like a popular spot for trekkers, the cleared landing that can be a good campsite is now enveloped by thick undergrowth. It is here that one can collect clear drinking water from one of the wells dug up since the colonial days. There isn't a good view here because of the undergrowth. But the rock summit nearby offers a full 360-degree unobstructed view of the surrounding Kuala Kubu Bharu area, and the Straits of Malacca Straits (and even Sumatra) on a clear day.

View from the peak

     Overall, the trek makes a pretty good day hike. For an overnight trip, camping by the river at the foot of the hill for the night and doing a day-trek up-and-down the hill the next day is an option.

To Get There:
The drive from Kuala Lumpur to Fraser’s Hill takes about two hours. Using the North-South Expressway, take the Rawang exit. Head north for Kuala Kubu Bahru. Along the way, you will pass through several small towns — Serendah, Batang Kali and Rasa. Keep an eye on the many signboards and use them to guide your way.

     From Kuala Kubu Bahru, take the road that leads to Kuala Lipis/Raub. Along the way, take a right turn into Kampung Peretak. Drive pass the houses until you come close to a river. You begin walking from then on. But if you have a 4x4, you may want to drive further in to the first river crossing to save some walking time.


Bukit Kutu Location Map

The ruins
at the top of Bukit Kutu used to be a British Hill Station that was destroyed during WWII.

Not much is left of the hill station after all these years.
There's an old fireplace still standing. And one may walk up the staircase that once led people into a building.

There's also an underground well that's still working. When you get to the top, remember to treat yourself to some cool drinking water.