Bukit Relau a.k.a Botak Hill: Destruction

Bukit Relau was the talk of the town in mid 2013. Its bald spot is visible all the way from the Penang Bridge and during a clear day,from the Mainland.So just what happened at the top?
Hopefully, my hike up to the peak today sheds some light.All pictures were taken using Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Camera

Image
Back in 2012

Image
As it is now

Image
Summit covered in fog

Image

Image         “Botak”ness

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
There is still hope.Shoots have started sprouting from the soil 🙂

Hike:Bukit Relau a.k.a Botak Hill

Bukit Relau a.k.a Botak Hill is one of the lesser peaks in Penang which made a surprise appearance on the front pages of local dailies when its top and eastern slopes were indiscriminately cleared in 2013. While its peak stands at around 413 meters,5 meters shorter than its nearest neighbor Bukit Kukus,it is still a challenge climbing this hill as its slopes are steep and at places around 40-60 degrees!

Bkt relau trail
Bukit Relau Trail Map. This map does not show the current scenario where the top is bald though.
4.00KM up to summit,1.5 Hours.

Any of you who might be interested in trying this hill out,please make sure you are “well versed” in following Hash trails which might have abrupt ups and downs and not forgetting points where you gotta do trail blazing too!

Image
Bukit Relau covered in fog

The trail starts in the relatively new township of Bukit Gambir.Most people know it as the place where there is a small shrine/ “Tokong” on the hill.

Image
Bukit Gambir township

If you are coming from Bukit Jambul you’ll be able to see Ashley Green bungalows on  your left.Take the left turning after Ashley Green and continue your way up till you come to a small mosque.Before the mosque there should be a road leading up the hill.This is the starting point.Park your car here.

Walk up this road for around 10 minutes before you come to a junction.To the left an unpaved road goes into the bush while to the right the cement road leads up to the temple. Take the left turning and continue for another 5 minutes before you hit yet another junction. At this point there should be a marked signboard with the words “TUA PEK KONG”.

Image
Follow this signboard.

Follow this turning up and within 13-15 minutes you should be standing in front of a Horse Farm which apparently has more dogs than horses 😛

The real jungle trail up the Bukit Relau slope should start 1-2 minutes from this point. Continue straight ahead after the horse farm along the paved path keeping an eye to the left for any Hash markers. At around KM 2.50 from the start there should be a Hash trail going off to the left. There will also be many bamboo trees at this place.

Image
The jungle trail head.While markers are not visible in the picture,it should be visible when you walk by.

Take this turn,cross the stream and continue along this trail. The first five minutes after taking this trail you’ll pass through a small patch of bamboo forest which I would like to call the “The Relau Bambooseum”. Do tread carefully along this patch as it is well known that Bamboo groves are home to our not so approachable slithery friends!

Image
“The Relau Bambooseum”

After passing through the “Relau Bambooseum” you’ll have to take a right turn which leads you to a small steep slope.Climb over it and continue along the marked trail for another 30-40 minutes before you reach the Relau summit range.
.
Image
Looks like a salt lick,any idea?

Take note that at certain points along this trail,the path thins out and you’ll be required to do some trail blazing too. When you finally arrive at the Relau Summit range take the left turning and within 5-10 minutes you’ll be at the edge of the “Botak Hill” clearing.

Image
At the summit range.Take a left to get to the Botak Hill patch

From here it takes you a 10 minute uphill walk to reach the Bukit Relau Summit.Follow my next post to see the real scale of deforestation in Bukit Relau. Anyways Happy Hiking!

Image
Botak hill Patch.Continue walking along the trail to reach the summit

Image
Views from the deforested Relau Peak.

Image
360 shot from the deforested summit range.
.