Climbing

5 Scenic Rock Climbs In Malaysia You Cannot Miss

Discover some of the best climbing spots within Malaysia.
Written by Michelle Lim
4 min readPublished on
Shawn Liam in the midst of a precarious climb

Shawn Liam in the midst of a precarious climb

© [unknown]

Outdoor rock climbing can seem very daunting to many who have not tried it. For Shawn Liam, it is only a matter of taking the right precautions and enjoying the climb. “Most people are afraid of rock climbing outdoors because of their fears for safety – but trust me, it’s all in your head. Being exposed to the elements sounds much scarier than it really is,” he says.
It all started 8 years ago when Shawn was searching for a cheaper way to travel around Australia (where he was studying) and chanced upon his university’s rock climbing club. He has since climbed in various locations Down Under, and he hopes to cover more areas in his homeland, Malaysia.
As fun as it sounds, Shawn sometimes finds himself in a precarious position. “There was once when we were climbing along the sea cliff, I held on to a horn (rock protrusion) which broke off, and I found myself dangling upside-down above the sea tides,” he recalls. “There were other times when I encountered snakes along the way up and I nearly pulled on them because I thought they were ropes!”
A treacherous cliff-side climb

A treacherous cliff-side climb

© [unknown]

5 Scenic Climbs In Malaysia As Recommended By Shawn1) Dragon’s Horn, Pulau Tioman

Coordinates: 2.720869, 104.179827 Height: 700m Grade: 6a - 7c+
The island local’s legend of a princess and a dragon are based off the two magnificent spires that protrude over the southern tip of the island. The climb to the peak can take between 2 to 3 days, and to do so, one would have to be prepared to sleep on the wall. The nights will be cold, and heavy rains can be dangerous. However, the arduous climb will definitely be worth it because you would be able to see the entire island, surrounded by the blue Andaman sea from the peak.
Dragon's Horn from a distance

Dragon's Horn from a distance

© David Kaszlikowski

Shawn’s tip: Be prepared with food, a sleeping bag and warm clothing.

2) Bukit Keteri, Perlis

Coordinates: 6.519720, 100.263292 Height: 30m Grade: 4a - 8c+
An outcrop of limestone that sits tall amongst the paddy fields and flat lands of Perlis can be quite a sight to behold. A short 20-minute trek through the fields to get to the foot of the hill is enough to give you a sense of zen-like elation. The climb should probably take you a mere few hours to complete, and the limestone facets of the climb is quite straightforward. From the peak, you can see all of the surrounding flat lands – sunset is the best time for an unparalleled view.
Bukit Keteri & paddy fields

Bukit Keteri & paddy fields

© Exploring Malaysia

Shawn’s tip: There aren’t any shelters to hide from the rain in the vicinity, so check the weather beforehand.

3) Jesselton Park, Penang

Coordinates: 5.422729, 100.294826 Height: 18m Grade: 5c - 8a
It sounds misleading but this location isn’t exactly in a park. It is a hidden climbing spot located right behind some upscale bungalows in an area called Jesselton Avenue. This natural granite wall that is so inconspicuously located behind a residential area has two main surfaces, totaling up to 11 routes altogether. You can get a pretty good view of the very suburban sunset at dusk.
Jesselton Park’s granite wall

Jesselton Park’s granite wall

© Shaliza Mokhtar

Shawn’s tip: You have to get through a guardhouse to get in, so please carpool if possible and keep the noise level to a minimum.

4) Mountain Torq, Kota Kinabalu

Coordinates: 6.076952, 116.558360 Height: 200m Grade: 1 - 8b+
Probably one of the most commercialized climbs out of the lot, it gives you the unrivaled view of the highest peak in Malaysia. Most folks only make the 2-day trek up Mount Kinabalu, but its peak is where true adventure begins. Mountain Torq is the world’s highest ‘via ferrata’ (a protected mountain pathway) located at Mount Kinabalu’s Panalaban rock face. It starts at 3,400m and ends at 3,800m. The climbs have varying paths that range from 2 to 5 hours, and an amazing view is definitely granted.
The glorious peak

The glorious peak

© Amazing Borneo

Shawn’s tip: Climbing Mountain Torq can cost you a bomb for fees and a guide, so be sure to prepare a budget.

5) Bukit Takun, Rawang

Coordinates: 3.304401, 101.633476 Height: 300m Grade: 5c - 8b+
Closer to the heart of Kuala Lumpur lies this innocuous limestone hill that has a golf course at its base. Not too far away, a national army training area is located, giving climbers an occasional glimpse of soldiers in training. Bukit Takun is one of the largest climbing areas in the Klang Valley, with over 120 pitches and over 80 routes to be explored – definitely one for the adventurous explorer.
Bukit Takun’s limestone ridges

Bukit Takun’s limestone ridges

© Mike Tee

Shawn’s tip: You will need to register your name with the guard, and be wary of wild dogs in the area.
Shawn tells us some of his safety tips for outdoor rock climbing:
  • Never, ever climb alone
  • Be sure to go with someone who has more experience
  • If you’re unsure about something, don’t try to wing it
  • Always bring your first aid kit wherever you go
  • Check your gear at least once a year
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