Sungai Buloh Trail

This moderately difficult trail is one of the longer treks from MWC, and the final section is steep and requires some scrambling. The trail branches off the Pitcher Plant Trail, through patches of secondary forest with rustling stands of large bamboo (buluh means “bamboo” in Malay and Iban). Trekking to the Sungai Buluh Waterfall also takes you through riverine forest and splendid tall dipterocarp forest. Part of the walk is beside a clear stream set amidst rugged boulders, and it ends at two secluded waterfalls dropping into shallow pools in a rainforest gully.

At a Glance

Difficulty
6/10
Distance
5.3 km from HQ one way
Scenic value
6/10
Walking Time
3 – 4 hours one way (Full day if planning return trip)
Flora & Fauna
6/10
Trail Markings
Pitcher Plant Trail – White
Sungai Buluh Trail – White/Red/White

Trail Description

This walk commences as a branch off to the right of the Pitcher Plant Trail at MWC, approximately 25-30 minutes after starting the walk from the campsite. This turn-off is well signed, next to a tree with a very wide buttress root.

Initially, the trail is wide and quite open, flanked by secondary forest with intermittent tree replantings. From here the trail undulates in and out of small creek gullies. Many small fish as well as frogs and water dragons inhabit these tributaries of the Sungai Buluh. In the wetter creek environs, stilt root trees occur, as well as large fan palms. On the ridges the vegetation is transitional kerangas / dipterocarp forest, and there are a number of selunsor trees.

Approximately 25 minutes from the junction (and more creek crossings), the trail flattens out and vegetation becomes markedly more open and interspersed with clusters of bamboo.

From this valley the trail goes uphill through disturbed kerangas forest with many Licuala orbicularis fan palms before descending again into transitional forest to a beautiful, shallow creek. This creek requires some rock-hopping to cross. Following this, the trail passes through more secondary / alluvial forest with tall, thorny nibong palms, pandans and the occasional dipterocarp tree.

You’ll shortly come to another creek (more rock-hopping) which has been colonised by wild banana plants. In the steep walk out of this valley gingers, ferns, aroids and lemba line the sides of the trail which quite eroded by water. Lemba (Curculigo sp) is a plant used by Iban in religious ceremonies and in by-gone days, the leaves were processed into fibre which was used to tie-dye cotton yarn during the making of Pua Kumbu (Iban ceremonial blankets).

The trek continues through more secondary forest and transitional vegetation before crossing the shallow but rocky Sungai Buluh. A collapsed logging bridge (consisting of massive tree trunks) is off to the left. It takes about 30 minutes to get to this point from the patches of bamboo forest. Rock-hop across this creek with care, as the rocks are inevitably slippery; and the opposite bank is loose and much eroded. Black-spotted rock frogs are often seen in the creek bed.

From the Sungai Buluh, continue along the old logging road through alluvial riverine forest. Some of the trees adapted to the poor soil drainage have bizarre-looking aerial roots – much like some mangrove species. The trail curves around to the left and starts to climb. In this bend , behind the scrub, looms a very large fig tree with numerous hanging roots. Tree ferns also feature in this moist environment.

As the soil type becomes more suitable, the trail emerges into more open forest with many substantial dipterocarp trees and nibong palms. The river lies to the left of the trail, and the walk continues upwards beside the riverbank, clinging steeply to the slope as the river curves. At times the trail follows the rocky overflow creek bed. Lush jungle clings to steep rock walls at points along the opposite bank.

sungei buloh trail

A few minutes on from here (about ½ hr from the defunct logging bridge), the trail steeply turns and ascends up the valley wall to the right. Off the trail, directly ahead, 3 – 4 tall, low volume waterfalls funnel into the creek, forming a small pool, unfortunately clogged by a lot of dead wood from landslides / tree falls.

The trail ascends above these small falls, taking another 15-20 mins to get to the top. Much of this is steep walking, aided by stair and ropes. At the time of writing, a landslip into a small creek bed required some careful scrambling down and up. After this, the trail crosses a small waterfall and skirts steeply around a promontory with a sheer drop on the left hand side.

The trail then descends steeply down to the creek and base of the falls. There are dense clumps of ginger along this part of the trail. Take care crossing the creek (very slippery boulders) onto a small ‘island’ in the stream; there’s a bit more scrambling up over boulders to get to a small pool at the base of the main fall on the right. A very shallow pool off to the left has a pour-over onto a rock; perfect for showering under. Various types of frogs can be seen in this area, and their spectacular leaps may catch your eye. There are also lots of hovering tiny yellow or black insects – stingless native bees which are attracted to sweaty trekkers. The shade and constant humidity from the waterfall is a great environment for various types of colourful bracket fungi.

The return walk is along the same trail, but if you have the time and energy, completing the circuit of the Pitcher Plant trail, and having a soak in the Sungai Rayu is a rewarding way to finish the day.

 

Special Considerations

The final section of this walk to the waterfall involves some scrambling and is steep in sections. Proceed only if you feel comfortable. Boulders in creeks in the upper reaches of the waterfall trail are incredibly slippery. Leeches are very common in the moister parts of the trail.

Please notify park officials before going on this trek, as it is quite remote and not often used.