Gunung Gading is about 3166 Feet high. Located at the small town in Lundu, 70 KM from Kuching city. Driving takes almost 2 hour and there’s two route as far as I know. The first is through the town of Bau, whilst the second one via “Sampadi” where you’d have to wait for a ferry at rambungan river. I prefer the ferry route as the road is more scenic with much less traffic.
The park requires an entrance and registration fee RM10 with the rangers. As for being a national park, the surrounding is well maintained.
Rafflessia, waterfalls, picnic.
Visitors normally come for the waterfalls or rafflesia, which blooms at certain times of the year and if the main purpose of your visit is to see the rafflesia, be really positive that there are available from the local forestry department and at what stage to avoid disappointment.
According to one story, the Gunung Gading derived its name from one of three mythical princesses who liked to bathe in the seventh waterfall. These were Puteri (Princess) Gading, Puteri Sri Guar, and Puteri Sri Geneng, each of whom was a guardian for one of the three main peaks. According to other local tales, if you are very lucky, you might see a fairy or a mermaid bathing in the seventh waterfall in the very early morning (this could be the same Puteri Gading)
While it may sound like a disney’s fairy tale, you really do not want to see a mermaid in the middle of the jungle especially if you are trekking alone.
The trail up to the waterfall 7, which is the best and most scenic out of the 3 takes about 1 hour walk up the slopes. There’s waterfall 3 and 7 only, and I have yet seen the other 5. From waterfall 7 to the summit is another 1.5 hours walk. Quite challenging and from the looks of the trail, not many visitors walks it, which makes it an interesting walk. After the tiring and constant climb, I finally reached the summit. From there the trail continues another 4 hours to the former communist base camp. That trail probably will be on the next visit as I am deprived of energy and in dire need of carbs.
Konfrontasi largely ended in 1965 after Sukarno was deposed (although some fighting continued into the 1970s, and the last guerillas in Sarawak - near Bau - did not in fact turn themselves in until the 1990s!). Nonetheless, Park staff have expressed some concern that there may still be unexploded ordinance (UXOs) in the Park, left behind from this time. The trails themselves are in fact probably quite safe, but anyone undertaking any of the longer treks in the Park should be very careful to stick to the trails, and not to go digging or poking at anything that looks suspicious.
Although just 3166 feet high and few hours climb, I made a mistake of not being well prepared and underestimated the walk. Didn’t ate enough that morning, hydrated myself and the biggest foul-up, no rations!. Reaching the summit was already an agonizing feat as my body screamed for food and water. Gravity was the only ally on my way down, but still having to navigate the uneven surface and slopes. At one point my legs was shaking because too tired.
Next visit, I’ll probably go for the full stretch until the former communist base camp and might consider camping(if approved by the rangers) for one night so not to rush things.