I had wanted to climb Gunung Jerai (also known as Kedah Peak) ever since I saw its brooding silhouette in the distance from the top of Penang Hill.
It is a good size, 1217m (3992 ft) and is the second highest peak in Kedah state. Because it rises steeply from the surrounding pancake-flat paddy fields it seems even higher.
According to my list of the Highest Mountains in Malaysia it is ranked 148th highest.
Then I discovered that it is possible to drive up the mountain so I cheated. Nowadays I have a habit that if there is a road, I use it and save my energy for those mountains (the vast majority) where walking is the only choice.
I read that it is possible to catch a van up the 13km road to the top but I decided to drive my own car. It is quite an easy two-lane road for most of the way and not much traffic.
The 8560 hectares of jungle enveloping Kedah Peak is a protected forest reserve and I passed by the Sungai Teroi Recreational Forest on the way where there are jungle trails to explore.
Here too is the Forestry Museum.
The museum is in an attractive wooden building but to be honest the contents are not hugely exciting unless you want to know that you are passing through Hill Dipterocarp Forest and Upper Hill Dipterocarp Forest.
The museum manager was friendly and unlocked the museum's modern annex for me which contained geological exhibits. He also pointed out a poisonous green snake lurking on a tree near the entrance which I never would have spotted.
Entrance to the museum is free.
Almost at the top of the mountain is the Regency Jerai Hill Resort, a smart looking 4 star hotel which was opened in 2010. It has 75 rooms and chalets, a swimming pool and a nice restaurant. Probably not cheap - they charged me RM9 for two small bottles of water.
I noticed the hotel had a good collection of orchids and there was an indoor recreation centre, no doubt useful for the frequent times when the weather is poor.
While I was there, it was sunny on the mountain top but cloudy down below so unfortunately there were no fine views to be had.
I had a wander around some of the trekking paths near the top of Gunung Jerai (there is the Alur Naga Waterfall to visit and a shitake mushroom farm).
There seemed to be a lot of large spiders' webs trailing above the paths which I always try to avoid as it not be good to be bitten by one of these giants.
The mountain is marked on the map on my Top Kedah Attractions page.
The turn off is just past the town of Gurun and is clearly signposted. Take care on the winding 13km approach road if you are driving yourself.
To see other top attractions in Kedah, click here.
Now you can plan your trip and travel in Kedah with your Garmin navigation device without worrying about out-of-date guide books and maps.
Malaysia Traveller has collaborated with Garmin, the leading satellite navigation products company, to create travel itineraries for Malaysia for use on your Garmin portable street navigation device.
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