At 881 m (2624 ft) Gunung Raya is the highest mountain on Langkawi island. With an observation tower on top of the mountain it’s a place with one of the best views of Langkawi and all the islands surrounding it. One more place providing views similar to those from Gunung Raya – a place that we can recommend – is Langkawi Cable Car top station, reachable only by cable car.
There are two ways, how you can get to the top of Gunung Raya. You can use a tarmac road, about 13 kilometers long, if measured from the foothills to summit. And you can also use the stairs, walking all the time through lush rain forest and getting to the summit using only your leg power.
Distance, that you will cover, when taking stars, is about 3 kilometers. But don’t let yourself be fooled by it, as it’s not an easy walk. Though, it may sound like one. Because taking stairs you will be going only up for more than 95% of the time. And there are almost 4000 steps. Quite a lot, huh? And only in few places you will be walking on a flat surface.
We have been to the top of Gunung Raya more than 10 times. Most of the times during the day, few times for a sunset. And only three times we have had a really clear sky. Most of the time sky there is a little bit hazy there, at least between April and July. At some times peak of Gunung Raya also is all in the clouds.
Our favorite spot on Gunung Raya are the rocks just by the parking, some 200 away from the observation tower. Sunset views from there are spectacular. And it gets even better after the sun has set. Sky is black, and far down the mountain you can see the city with all of its lights. Another good spot is about a kilometer before this parking, down the road.
Getting to the top of Gunung Raya by road
On the map above (see on Google Maps) I have marked a place, where you will need to turn. There should also be a road sign showing you the same turn. Starting from this point there is only one road going up to the top of Gunung Raya. And total distance from this place to the summit of Gunung Raya is about 13 kilometers.
This road isn’t used too much. And thus it isn’t really well maintained. Most probably you will see some cars and scooters going up or down every now and then. In our experience, for most of the time of driving there we have been all alone.
Roadway lighting on Gunung Raya is only at few places, more at the beginning of the road. If you are going there to watch a sunset and to stay for some time afterwards, be ready, that for most of the time you will need to go down in complete darkness. Drive very slow, and you will be OK. Be careful because there could be other scooters or cars without lights turned on or some animals, like cows, on the road.
Getting to the top of Gunung Raya by stairs
Again, once you start climbing the stairs, all you need to do is to continue going up. As stairs are used even less than the road and they are going through the rain forest you may get a feeling of being at some abandoned place. Especially when you see some fallen tree on your path.
Don’t worry! You are at the right place. And there are only one stairs going up. In 2016 this place looks the same as it looked in 2014.
On the map above (see on Google Maps) I have marked a place, where you will need to turn to get to these stairs. In some 500 meters from this turn there is a parking. Leave your scooter or car there and continue going straight in the same direction as you came to the parking. Stairs are after some 500 meters.
As you will be going through rain forest, where encounter with snakes or some other inhabitants of the forest is possible I recommend you to do this walk in shoes. It will make this walk more comfortable as well.
Estimated time necessary to climb all these 4287 steps is 2 hours 15 minutes, as written on the poster at the beginning of the stairs. I have walked it twice. Once going up non-stop I made it to the top in about 45 minutes. Now going up during the midday heat and with quite a lot of short stops and taking a lot of photos I spent almost 90 minutes.
Be ready, it’s quite a walk. Especially if you are out of shape. None of us usually climbs that much steps during our normal day. I recommend you to take about 2 liters of water for one person. Because there aren’t any shops or any other facilities along the way. And you will need to go down as well.
Last time we with Una split – I took the stairs and she drove up with a scooter. And we went down together on a scooter. What a good decision it was! Because walking down isn’t much easier than walking up. At the end of this article you will also find some pictures, that I took during the ascent, and few – from our way going down the mountain on the scooter.
Hotel on Gunung Raya – D’Coconut Hill Resort
Looking for a hotel in Langkawi with one of the best views on the island? Don’t forget to check out D’Coconut Hill Resort, which is located right on Gunung Raya. And they have an outdoor pool as well, in case you are like me and in this climate you want to swim every day. Nearest beach from here is Tanjung Rhu, one of our favorites in Langkawi. It’s reachable by car and scooter in under 30 minutes.
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Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they are traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On WeAreFromLatvia.com they share their experience and things learned along the way.