The hills are alive…


Bukit Botak or Bukit Gundul (Bald Hill as it’s known) in Sepanggar has been a place I’ve been dying to explore since I saw it on a list of hiking trails in Sabah to try and had my instagram flooded by multiple photos of other people conquering it.

However, I’d asked around and was advised by some to make sure I go in a group etc. Now, in my line of work getting a group of people to spend their one day off a week hiking is not the easiest thing to do especially when sleep is such a priority. Alas, I finally found my unsuspecting victim (my mum!) and I was on my way.

Almost at the peak! What a view though!

First off there are three different trails to get to the hill, one goes through UiTM campus, another through a constuction site which is pretty steep and less scenic. We took the last route which starts near the Kota Kinabalu Indonesian School. I know this is not a very specific landmark and there are no signs but trust me this is as good as it’s going to get in terms of specifics.

After driving about a half hour from KK city we found ourselves at our destination. Thankfully there were some other people who had decided they too were going hiking,so they helped us identify the trail. This route was definitely very scenic, and there were times when the grass was so high it was up to my elbows.

Your view of the Indonesian school as you stand at the beginning of the trail – if you don’t see this, you’re not there!
The clearly marked and easily identifiable trail

After walking for a bit in the shade of the tree, the foliage starts to thin a little and the area clears. As you continue, you will see a Christian Cemetery which means your well on your way and you’ll soon be heading down again before heading back up another hill.

The Cemetery
View on the way up.

We continued trudging along enjoying the cool breeze and the scenery along the way, till I was pretty sure I led us astray. There will be a point where you will literally need to bend and pull out some crouching-tiger-hidden-dragon type moves to manoeuvre your way through.

Some of the pretty flowers along the way
The crouching-tiger-hidden-dragon moves busting area. Don’t panic when you get here, you are on the right track!

After this it clears up a little and you will literally come to face to face with another trail which looks a lot clearer and somewhat easier to navigate through. This is however not going to take you anywhere close to where you came from, so make sure you keep a look out on your way down cause it’s a steep climb back up should you miss it.

After about an hour or so, we reached the peak. It wasn’t necessarily an easy trek but the view at the top was well worth the visit. Slow and steady with a couple of breaks whenever you hit some shade will go a long way.

View at the peak
Impatient children making this look like a stroll with their dad huffing and puffing away behind them.
View on the way down.

I definitely would advise coming when it’s light out as this particular trail may be a little difficult to navigate in the dark. However, I’m pretty sure the sunset would be quite spectacular.

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