Over 100-year-old railway track between Penang and Ipoh is now a trekker’s haven


Light at the other end of the tunnel.

Prior to 2013, a stretch of the railroad between Penang and Ipoh offered either an intriguing or monotonous journey, depending on one’s perspective.

The 10km stretch meandered so much that trains crept along at less than 40kph, allowing passengers to observe ferns growing near the tracks.

However, the new Bukit Berapit Rail Tunnel now allows the Electric Train Service to zoom along at 175kph.

The old track is still there but it has been transformed into a trekker’s haven.

Sunlight does not enter deep in the tunnels, requiring trekkers to use torchlights to navigate the pitch black.Sunlight does not enter deep in the tunnels, requiring trekkers to use torchlights to navigate the pitch black.

“We call it trekking instead of hiking because it’s more akin to a leisurely stroll. Even teenagers can do it, provided they have the enthusiasm to explore,” explained trekking guide Suhairy Ismail, who has been leading excursions along the old Berapit tunnels since 2016.

During this 10km expedition, participants encounter a waterfall, traverse two steel rail bridges and pass through four tunnels.

The engineering feats of yesteryear, still standing resilient, evoke awe among those inclined towards such marvels.

“Construction commenced in the late 1890s, with the railroad serving Malaysians until 2013,” said Suhairy. “Even the red brick tunnel entrances have weathered the elements remarkably well.”

Expect panoramic scenery while crossing the steel railroad bridges – the steel rails have been salvaged, but the steel bridge still stands strong.Expect panoramic scenery while crossing the steel railroad bridges – the steel rails have been salvaged, but the steel bridge still stands strong.

The journey begins with a 280m-long tunnel, relatively straightforward with its straight path and visible light at the end.

The subsequent 337m-long tunnel, however, poses a greater challenge with its curved path, plunging trekkers into pitch darkness midway, with knee-deep muddy waters to navigate.

To ensure safety, Suhairy recommends equipping oneself with a bright headlamp, sturdy hiking boots and a trekking pole for stability. Insect repellent and a hat enhance comfort during the journey.

The third and fourth tunnels, spanning 133m and 91m respectively, offer relatively easier passages.

Trekkers crossing the steel railway bridge of the old Bukit Berapit railroad track.Trekkers crossing the steel railway bridge of the old Bukit Berapit railroad track.

Crossing the steel rail bridges affords trekkers panoramic views.

Guided treks, priced at RM75 per person, commence with a 7.30am departure from Rengas, culminating at the old Bukit Berapit train stop by 2pm.

The station’s wooden building and platform, remnants of a bygone era, serve as poignant reminders of the railway’s history.With a guide-to-trekker ratio of 1:10, groups of up to 40 participants led by four guides are accommodated.

Meals are included, though participants are encouraged to bring snacks and at least 1.5 litres of water each.

For further details, direct your inquiries to outdoorteam1malaysia@gmail.com.

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!

StarExtra , outdoors , hiking

   

Next In Travel

Celebrating the wild onion dinners tradition in Native America
Efforts in preserving Hong Kong's heritage grains
From Austria to Norway and Estonia, travellers are in for a cultural treat
Sabahan seamstresses add modern touches to ethnic costumes of Sabah
Stressed about flying? Pat a dog before you fly at Istanbul Airport
Eat and drink your way through Argentina's spectacular wine region
Malaysian family eats their way through Tokyo (and parts of Hakone)
Unique venues heat up sauna scene in Sweden and Finland
Malaysian tourist fulfills wish of visiting Ho Chi Minh again after 20 years
A taste of Nanyang coffee at Sepang's Chop Guan Kee

Others Also Read