Standing close to 900 meter above sea level, Gunung Raya is the highest point on Langkawi or Mount Raya translated in English. I have seen a topography map which stated the peak of this hill is at 881 meter. At this level of height, Raya would normally be considered as a hill or "Bukit" in Malay language.
What most visitors, locals or foreigners alike, are aware about the nicely laid tarred road that takes one right up to the peak.
|Tarred road to the summit of Gunung Raya|
|Info board with some graffiti|
For countless number of times that I have been on these steps and yet I always lost count on the number of steps as I was reaching the top. You just have to trust the info board then.
|Flight of 4287 steps in Langkawi's rainforest, Gunung Raya|
|Dense rainforest of Langkawi. There are calls of birds and insects and yet it is not easy to spot.|
|A cropped image of a Chestnut-breasted Malkoha perched high up on the canopy|
After not having physically trained for a long time, I thought I would be panting like mad when I reached 3000. Surprisingly, I wasn't. The next desire came in. Though my heels were starting to ache, I decided to push on till the top. The last flight of one thousand steps is the top killer.
|At 4020. You will find yourself looking down quite often to check which number of step you are on.|
I was told that these steps were build in the early 2000 and they are still in good condition up till now. Every now and then, there will be fallen trees that will block the pathway. You can still walk around the fallen tree to continue your journey. There were damaged sections and railings caused by fallen trees that have been repaired. The repair work comes in only when it is necessary.
|An epiphytic fern sitting on a host tree|
|A strangler clutching on a huge timber tree|
|An unidentified remain of a white moth|
|On my way down, I spotted this little quiet fella. Asian Brown Flycatcher, a winter visitor perched next to the steps|
One of my most memorable wildlife encounters on these steps is the crossing of four wild dogs to the left and then not long after, four wild pigs crossed to the right. I find this hilarious. As if the dogs have turned into the wild pigs! Just a wild thought.
When you see the bright lights beyond the canopy, you know you are close to reaching the end of 4,287 steps.
|At this stage, this is where you start running till you finish your last step.|
Phew...it was indeed very hot on that day.
|I don't normally do selfies...but for this case, why not? A sense of achievement on this day. Really?|
|Views from the top of the steps|
|You know when you have arrived|
My bum found her way back to her favourite rock in a shaded spot and she was glued on the rock for half an hour.
|Rest and cooling off in the shade|
|Continue walking on this road until you find a concrete viewing tower and a hotel on the summit. It will take about 10-15 minutes of walk.|
Time to descend. I was dreading the descend on these steps because my heels were in pain. Every step I took was like ..Ouch..Ouch..Ouch.. the feeling of needles piercing under my feet.
When I arrived at my favourite spot which I call it as Hard Rock cafe, I realised it was time for lunch. Hard Rock cafe is the midway and my spot to take a break.
|Long walk down|
My all time favourite snack on the go.
|Vanilla Twiggies from Gardenia. My favourite snack for hiking since more than a decade ago. I am so glad to see this snack made it into Langkawi's mini market :)|
It is recommended that you carry along some snacks and enough drinking water. Ideally, about 1.5-2L of water. The humidity is high in this forest. And of course, there are no rubbish bins in the forest and so, please carry your trash out.
|Some fools left this behind! One of the causes of forest fires during extreme dry season in Langkawi is by a discarded cigarette butt if not extinguished properly.|
|If only trash worth as much as gold then there will be no littering everywhere. Here is my way of paying rent to the forest.|
|I took this picture of the stream in Lubok Semilang park while enjoying the cool water.|
If you are looking for a nature activity and a non-touristy thing to do on Langkawi, this is one of them! My big hope is in the relevant authorities to remain this place as it is, forever. No further development is needed for Gunung Raya rainforest as it is at its best now. I am truly thankful for these steps!
Here is a short video clip on the sound of cicadas in the forest of Gunung Raya:
Note: This post is based on my personal experience and only offers general information on Gunung Raya steps. It is not to be taken as a complete guide. Remember, you are at your own risk with any DIY rainforest walks in Langkawi.