East of Ipoh in Tanah Rata, the Gunung Jasar mountain area is one of the more popular places to hike in the Cameron Highlands. It is a good hike for beginners to explore.
To reach the Cameron Highlands from the south via Tapah, Cameron Highlands is about 300kms from Kuala Lumpur and it takes less than 3.5 hours to get here via the North-South Expressway (NSE). If you are driving from Kuala Lumpur, get find your way to the NSE by following the sign to Ipoh. Once youre on the expressway, keep on driving north until you reach Tapah which will take about 1.5 hours. Watch out for the sign that indicates the Tapah and Cameron Highlands exit (Exit 132). Once you have passed the toll booth, turn left at the traffic lights. From here onwards you will be on the long winding road to Cameron Highlands which is about 60 kms away. If you re driving from the north just take Exit 132 at Tapah and follow the same direction. It takes an average of 1.5 hours to reach Tanah Rata from Tapah. The road from Tapah to Cameron Highlands is narrow and has a lot of sharp bends. If you have passengers who get motion sickness, its time to get those plastic bags out (just in case). The roads have been upgraded recently so the drive up can be quite pleasant. There will be lots of heavy vehicles going up and down this road so be careful especially when you are overtaking. Most local heavy vehicles will give you the signal to overtake when its save so be patient. Its also common courtesy to let the vehicle behind you overtake you if youre driving slower that vehicle.
There is no train service to Cameron Highlands. The nearest stop is the Tapah Road station in Tapah. You can take a bus or taxi to Cameron Highlands from here.
Buses to Cameron Highlands operate daily from Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang. Buses from Kuala Lumpur depart from the Pudu Raya Station and KL Central. Buses from Penang depart from Prangin Mall / Komtar. Express bus service from Singapore is now available. Unititi Express leaves Beach Road Singapore at 10.00pm daily and arrives in Cameron at 7am the following morning.
It will be very convenient for you to get around Cameron Highlands if you have your own transportation. There are no car rental services in Cameron Highlands.
You can still get around with the local bus and taxi, but you will not have the flexibility you get from driving in your own car. Alternately you can also get on one of the many tours organized by the local tour companies in Cameron Highlands. Some guest houses do provide motorbike rental services which you can use to get around. Bicycles are not here popular because of the terrain and the high traffic.
The Gunung Jasar is located in Tanah Rata. The trail which starts next to the road to the weather station will take you 11/2 hours to reach the peak. Another trail which leads to the peak is located near the Oly Apartments in Tanah Rata.
Generally most jungle treks in Cameron Highlands are pretty safe. Although most are not clearly marked, the trails are wide and clear enough for you to get through easily. During the rainy season, the trails can get very muddy and slippery. Get a map from your hotel or from the shops in town if you are planning to trek on your own. When choosing a trail, be sure that you have enough time to complete the entire route before darkness falls. Check with your hotel on the estimated time and difficulty level. Always inform your hotel on your destination and plans especially your estimated return time. Do not eat fruits you find in the jungle or drink water from the streams unless you are with a guide who says its ok. A good pair of shoes is mandatory as the treks can get muddy and slippery. Shorts are ok but long pants are recommended to provide protection from thorny plants.
The only way to get to Cameron Highlands is by road. Until a few years back, you could only get to Cameron Highlands from the south via Tapah but since the opening of the new Simpang Pulai road, traveling to the highlands has become much more easier from the north. You can also get here from the east coast via Gua Musang in Kelantan but take note that this road has yet to be gazetted by the authorities.
Overall, Gunung Jasar is the 3rd most popular hiking trail of all 5 hikes in Malaysia.