On our last visit to Legoland in Johor Bahru, we took a morning off to do something different and visited the nearby Gunung Pulai Recreational Forest. It is a very popular picnic spot and jungle trekking destination among the locals and Singaporeans.
We drove about 40 minutes to the entrance of the park, where we had to pay RM3 as an entrance and parking fee. As it was a Saturday morning, the parking was almost full, but we were lucky to find a spot to park our car in front of one of the local bars close to the entrance.
To our surprise, the paved road that runs through the parking area leads not only all the way to the entrance of the recreational forest but also continues for a few kilometres inside the forest (only authorised vehicles are allowed, and during our visit we just saw one).
Although it was a sunny morning, there was a breeze and we had a very easy and cool walk under the tall, shady trees and other beautiful native plants. Apparently Gunung Pulai is home to unlogged dipterocarp rainforest – that explains the huge trees, a rare sight. If you are into plants and history of the rainforest, this post has some great info.
This would be a great place to go for a walk with babies and toddlers, too, as the paved road is perfect for strollers (we actually saw many families with babies and small kids there).
We decided to explore further and go down to the river that flows through Gunung Pulai forest. The kids immediately looked for walking sticks to help them down to the river among the tree branches and plants. There we sat on the cool rocks, relaxing and enjoying the flowing river and the sounds of nature. We didn’t bring swimsuits, but many people go there to swim, as the river forms several small pools that are not too deep.
After our short rest, we came back to the main road to continue to the waterfall and picnic area. A few hundreds of meters ahead we saw that the road split in two, and a sign indicating to take the left down to the waterfall and the right one up to the peak.
We easily climbed the sandy steps along the way to reach the waterfall. Although the waterfall is not that big and impressive, the view from there was beautiful nevertheless.
We only visited the waterfall as it was almost noon and the kids didn’t want to go all the way to the summit. But we were told that the view from there is worth the sweat – you can see some great pictures from the top here. We definitely have a reason to come back.
There were also many signs all over the park, not only showing directions but also explaining what one CAN and CAN’T do during the visit. Despite the signs telling us to be aware of the monkeys, we didn’t have any problems with them – we didn’t bring any food with us – but they seemed to follow the families with picnic baskets.
If you are looking for something a bit different to do near Johor, and have kids that are into hiking, Gunung Pulai might be worth a trip!