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Glorious weather at Mt Tapis & Rainbow Falls

Sunrise at Mt Tapis summit, 715am

Height: 1512m
Location: Sg Lembing, Pahang
Level of difficulty: Level 4 out of 5 if ascend, level 2 out of 5 if descend
Terrain description:
Very steep trail, 14km (log:19km) trek, expect nice sunset and/or sunrise. Expect leeches, bees and sandflies but at summit, only have windy stings.

Campsite at summit is windy and small, advised to sleep under flysheet instead of tent. Summit Campsite fits 16 pax if all bring flysheet, otherwise Bonsai campsite at 500m away from summit fits 6 pax tent. 

Costs:  4 hours travelling to Sg Lembing from KL (or 5 hours from JB) consumes petrol + toll at RM216 per car. Add together with 1 hour travel from Sg Lembing town to Rainbow Falls trailhead, it made up to RM250 per car.
2 nights stay at Sg Lembing Hotel on pre and post hike= RM50 per pax

Guide = RM30 per pax
Return 4WD Sg Lembing- Tapis trailhead (1 hour) = RM70 per head

Intinery for 2d/1n at Mt Tapis:
16 Sept Fri
05.30am Wake up call
06.15am breakfast at Sg Lembing (the market only opens at 6am) but long queue! Found one stall with less customer at far end of foodcourt.
07.30am 4WD pick up from Police Station after toilet break, park car and police report.
08.30am 4WD drop off at fallen tree

09.00am 2nd 4wd pick up at river
09.30am 2nd pick up arrived. Walked to trailhead 30 mins. 
10.00am Started trek hillside (open air), came upon a junction and took left turn.
01.00pm Arrived at CP2 first river, lunch break

01.30pm Started steep hike for 1 hour 45 mins, 15 mins down to CP3. With warm air, hike was tiring.
03.30pm Arrived at CP3 with plague and river. Refill 3-4L water for drink & cook up to summit, 
05.30pm Arrived at CP8, past CP6 campsite (standard 7 hours to reach CP6).  Short break.

               CP3 to CP9 is gradual upwards.
05.45pm Arrived at CP9 with LWP, weather is getting cooler.
               Started ascend on rocky trail.
06.40pm Arrived at CP10 Bonsai Campsite fits 2 tents, and it was windy. 
               Most hikers stopped to rest here and there are 2 trails from here.
               Started hike to summit, but it was sleepy hike as the air was moist and cooling. 
               I dozed off 2-3 times.
07.10pm Last person arrived at summit, set up camp with joint flysheet & groundsheet that fits  

               12 pax, facing the sunrise view and the summit was small so the sleeping ground wasn't flat.
               The whole night was very windy till our flysheet almost blown off. There were rain on & 

               off, so we had emergency water.

17 Sept Sat
6.30am Sunrise view at summit
7.30am Breakfast, pack
9.40am Last person to descend (fastest 6hours run down) 

             1 hour rest with swim at waterfall 5 mins before CP3 as descend from CP9 was humid.
4.30pm Arrived at 4wd pick up at trailhead, clean up at river. Rained.
5.30pm Started to walk to original 4WD drop off as there was no sign of 4WD. 2 hikers walked there an hour ago. 
6.00pm 4WD pick up

7.30pm Shower at hotel and Dinner at Sg Lembing town. 
             Overnight at Sg Lembing hotel

16-18 Sept 11: Mt Tapis is my first attempt and since it is at Sg Lembing with nice 360 degree view and sunrise, I braved the humid, steep hike challenge. I gave up at 4th - 5th hour thinking that I had delayed the team and I could not manage the 14kg weight at steep height, but the guide won't allow me. After CP3, only I realised the steep trail wasn't as bad as before (thx to info given by Miko), then only I knew I had mistaken CP2 as CP3 as the destination after 3 hours. That made me think I had to suffer trek another 6 hours to get last water source at CP9 as planned.   

I continued and stopped quite a lot to rest the weight load, thanks to Tan KH for accompanying me during the hike as encouragement. Ah Fatt the guide was pretty in difficult position to answer (haha) when I kept asking him, "How long more to summit? How long?". I arrived at summit as last person at 7.05pm about 9 hours from start point. It was arduous hike for 9 hours and required a lot of mental strength due to humid weather.

Descending the next day was "light" and easy as the trail is clean except for the heat at between CP6 & CP2. Total 9 hours hike up 11km, and 6 hours descend + 40 mins at waterfall. Rained heavy at 930-1130pm on Day 1, and 430- 600pm on Day 2. 

To hire guide to Mt Tapis, you need an external guide as most young people in this village has moved out to the city.

Huge tall trees
A white blue mossy plant along the trek

On post hike (Day 3), I joined my carpool mates for Rainbow Falls that became my 2nd visit. Some went back to KL in the morning while the rest strolled around the small town. I was aiming Panorama Hills but no buddy with me as I need to be there at 5am due to crowds. I heard it was a nice jungle view for great photography, and is reachable in 45 minutes climb on man-made steps. Nevertheless, I was glad that I came to Rainbow Falls for 2nd visit after 3 years. Beautiful sight to behold when the rainbow glowed very bright! Then I knew why the locals were generous to let us visit it at no extra charges simply cos it was magical moment that we would remember and come back again to the historical village not known to many young Malaysians as it had not been mentioned in school text books. We were told that there were about 400 people visiting the Falls that day but we saw only about 200. To get to Rainbow Falls, 4WD ride took over 1 hour and the trek (now trail clear and easy via jungle and one river crossing) only 1 hour. To get there, depart by 4WD from Sg Lembing town as early as 6.30am to 7am so you could be there by 9am. The rainbow phenomena is best viewed at 10am when the the weather is at the hottest and windy. The pool at the Rainbow falls is not suitable to swim except dipping as there are many rocks underneath the river, but anyone can come near the falls to play around with camera as the water current is not strong. The best time to view the Rainbow falls is September and October, when there are heavy rain and hot sun. 

The 4WD trail to Rainbow Falls can be accessed by own 4WD for free, otherwise hire 4WD at RM45per head including insurance and meal. The trail is easy to drive through, unlike the 4WD trail to Mt Tapis that includes crossing a big, deep river full of rocks.

Besides Panorama Hill, muzium and tomoto noodles of Sg Lembing, worth to visit is the tin mine. To hire 4WD to Mt Tapis, Rainbow Falls and a tour to tin mine, contact Mr Lee Khem Fai at 016-9238639 (Mandarin and Malay speaking).

In aspect of accomodation, the hotels were mostly guesthouse and need to be booked in advance as early as 2 weeks to 1 month for stay on weekends and public holidays. Most rooms are air-conditioned as the weather is very hot throughout the year.  The rooms ranged from double room to dormitory that fits 10 pax. 
Among the hotels are as following:-
1) Sg Lembing Hotel & Cafe 5 mins before the town, at 09-5411924 or Ah Soon at 019-9981126.
2) Country View Inn right in the town,
3) 意明园 019-9551405, a one stop service ^^.
4) Sungai Lembing Village at deep inside, Vincent 019-9011267 / 09-5411831 ..

To get to Sg Lembing from Kuala Lumpur, go to Gombak toll at MRR2 and turn into Karak highway towards the direction to Gambang. Exit at Kuantan toll. Turn left and follow the trunk road along the villages for 20km until you see a town. That is Sg Lembing.

For more pictures, see my post "5 wonders of Sg. Lembing".

p/s: A day before we arrived at Sg Lembing at night on 15 September, the owner of Sg Lembing's only petrol station has passed away. Thus the one petrol kiosk in the centre of the town was closed that week. However, there are petrol stations after Kuantan toll before reaching Sg Lembing town.

Lower falls at Rainbow Falls
Rainbow falls from afar in the jungle trek

Rainbow Falls in 5 mins distance
The morning rays at 11am+ on way back


  1. Long time no see..Your pictures are as beautiful as usual..
    By the way, you got any idea on what happen to my blog site. Most of the pictures are gone and instead show minus(-)sign.

    1. Hi, PhotoVigor. Sorry to hear that. I am absolutely have no idea cos I am not smart in webdevelopment. If I were u, report to Google or google about it. Perhaps overspace?