Rock climbing enthusiasts will enjoy conquering Malaysia’s rock faces and cliffs, of which there are many to choose from around the varied landscape.
Limestone outcrops dot many areas of Peninsular Malaysia with limestone crags and sandstone mountains in Sarawak and some big alpine granite walls in Sabah. Other mountainous areas have various rock faces waiting to be discovered. Rock climbing as a publicly accessible sport is relatively new in Malaysia, although there has been a small local community of aficionados. Thus many potential climbing venues are still to be explored. The same goes for rock climbing’s sister sport activity abseiling or rappelling.
ROCK CLIMBING SITES IN MALAYSIA
Malaysia has it all: from smaller limestone hills and crags to mountains with sandstone or granite walls, and with all levels of difficulty. While an increasing number of sites are being discovered and enjoyed, potentially hundreds more are waiting to be found. Much of Malaysia is still covered in dense jungle, hiding many good rock climbing sites. The most popular climbing sites are still near around Kuala Lumpur and Selangor state, namely the famous Batu Caves and Bukit Takun to the city’s north. Huge potential lies further north and east, in the states of Perak (around the scenic limestone of Ipoh and beyond), Perlis, Kelantan and Pahang where hundreds of limestone crags await exploration. With a few well known exceptions such as Gunung Kinabalu in Sabah and Gunung Mulu in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo offers enormous untapped opportunities for rock climbing. Most of the known climbing routes in Malaysia are bolted sport climbs on limestone crags, with some tread exceptions on granite walls. Mostly the French grading system is used here. Indoor climbing gyms are increasingly popular, either at government youth and sports complex facilities or private operators.
WEATHER & EQUIPMENT
The tropical weather is hot and humid all year long, making climbing possible anytime of year. While the normal monsoon season especially on the Peninsula’s East Coast is from December to February, rain elsewhere are less predictable and in any case usually fall later in the day. Rock faces, especially limestone, dry fairly quickly even after torrential storms. Do beware of the high heat and humidity, especially for climbers used to moderate climates. In Malaysia, standard ascents use ropes, harnesses, belay device (ATC) and karabiners for protection. For abseiling from the top of the face, individuals control their own rate of descent using the figure of eight and suspended by a controlled safety line. Other necessary items are sun block, insect repellent and plenty of water. As many sites involved some trekking beforehand, wear light attire and good hiking shoes. Bring a change clothes in case it rains. There are also local tour operators for rock climbing expeditions.
LIST OF POPULAR ROCK SITES AND INDOOR CLIMBING GYMS
- Air Papan Beach, Mersing.
- Pulau Pemanggil, off Mersing coast.
- Danga Bay Recreation Park, Johor Bahru.
- Johor Sports Complex, Larkin, Johor Bahru.
- Gunung Kerbau, Alor Setar.
- Gunung Keriang, Alor Setar.
- Jabatan Belia Dan Sukan (JBS Sports Complex), Alor Setar.
- Cattle Ranch, Gua Musang.
- Ethnobotanic Garden (Taman Etnobotani), Gua Musang.
Kuala Lumpur & Selangor
- Batu caves, Selangor.
- Bukit Takun, Templer Park, Selangor.
- Delta Rover, Kepong.
- International Youth Centre, Cheras.
- Kramat Valley, Kuala Lumpur.
- Pusat Belia Dan Sukan Kampung Pandan.
- Boulderwall SS3, Kuala Lumpur.
- Taman Melati Fire Station, Taman Melati.
- Summit Climbing Gym, Subang Jaya.
- Gemas Rock Face, Gemas.
- Kampung Keru, Tampin.
- Taman Conlee, Tampin.
- Tebong Palm Oil Estate, Tampin.
- Kuala Pilah Sport Center, Kuala Pilah.
- Teluk Cempedak Beach, Kuantan.
- Floor 2B, First World Hotel, Genting Highlands Resort.
- Petronas Highway Stop, Bentong.
- Dragon, Kampung Mukut, Pulau Tioman.
- Kampung Juara, Pulau Tioman.
- Nazri’s Place Beach, Pulau Tioman.
- In front of Beach Cafe, Batu Ferringhi.
- Jesselton Heights, Penang.
- Penang Hill, Air Hitam.
- JBS Penang (JBS Sports Complex).
- Jerejak Spa Resort, Jerejak Island, Penang.
- Gua Cheroh, Ipoh.
- Various other limestone hill and cave sites around Ipoh.
- Gua Ketam, Padang Besar.
- Gunung Kinabalu.
- Batman Wall, Kuching-Bau.
- Gunung Mulu / Mulu Caves, Miri.