Hiking Bukit Batu Putih, Tanjung Tuan
Not to be confused with another hill with the same name in Gopeng Perak, this Bukit Batu Putih is located in Tanjung Tuan. It is technically in the state of Malacca, but due to its proximity to Port Dickson (a popular beach destination in a neighboring state), many people also like to refer to it as Bukit Batu Putih Port Dickson.
One of the best things about this hill is its accessibility. Only 20 kilometres from Port Dickson, it also has an easy trail that is perfect for beginners.
But for many people, its main draw is the spectacular view you’ll get from the top. This 200-million-year-old quartz ridge rises above the country’s last remaining coastal rainforests and is flanked by the blue waters of the Straits of Malacca.
I have hiked Bukit Batu Putih three times. The photos in this article are taken from all three trips.
Originally named Cape Rachado (meaning Broken Cape) by the Portuguese during their occupation in the 16th century, Tanjung Tuan is an exclave surrounded by Malacca and Negeri Sembilan.
Its coastal area is famous for being the naval battle site between the Dutch VOC and Portuguese fleets in 1606. The battle was the first of a series of conflicts that ultimately led to the surrender of the Portuguese to the Dutch in 1641.
Tanjung Tuan is also home to the Cape Rachado Lighthouse, which was built in the same era and is said to be the oldest lighthouse in the country. The lighthouse has been reconstructed twice and now houses an active MEASAT radar.
On top of that, the cape is also a popular spot for bird-watching. Every year, it hosts a Raptor Watch event for nature enthusiasts to gather and see migratory birds that come from as far as Northern China and Russia on their way to Australia.
How to Go to Bukit Batu Putih, Tanjung Tuan
The trail to Bukit Batu Putih can be accessed from the Tanjung Tuan Recreational Forest entrance gate, which is very easy to find on Google Maps or Waze. The park entrance is just across the road from PNB Ilham Resort. Parking is available at the designated car park and along the street.
Unfortunately, going by car is the only option — there’s no public transport that goes to this area. If you don’t have your own transport, you can try hiring a taxi from Port Dickson (20 kilometres away). Make sure you agree on the fare beforehand. Your hotel might also be able to arrange something for you.
Best Time to Hike Bukit Batu Putih, Tanjung Tuan
The Tanjung Tuan Recreational Forest opens from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. every day.
Unfortunately, this means that you can’t climb for sunrise, which is usually hikers’ favorite time to climb any hill or mountain. It’s also not possible to stay at the peak for sunset if you want to make it back before the gate closes.
Most visitors go in the morning to avoid the midday heat. The trail is mostly covered by trees but it can still get hot and humid especially at the peak. If you choose to go around this time, make sure you stock up on enough water and sunscreen.
Weekends and public holidays can get very busy with locals and visitors from other states, so plan accordingly if you don’t like big crowds.
What to Expect When Hiking Bukit Batu Putih
Just past the gate, there is a small building where visitors have to pay an entrance fee of RM1 per person. A nearby stall sells drinks and snacks, although it might not be open very early in the morning. This is also your last chance to use the toilet, as there aren’t any other on the trail.
From the entrance, you will have to walk uphill on a winding tarmac road that leads all the way up to the Cape Rachado Lighthouse. There are sheds with benches along the way if you need to take a break.
Although the road is sheltered by the trees, it is quite steep and is probably the most taxing part of the hike.
To get to the peak of Bukit Batu Putih, you have two choices of routes: the beach or forest trail. If you choose the beach trail, you will exit the tarmac road earlier on. This route is longer (taking about an hour or so) and harder.
It first takes you through the forest down towards the Monkey Bay (yes, there might be monkeys). After that, you’ll have to make your way up to the peak via a steep jungle trail that is only passable during low tide. At high tide, the current can be strong and dangerous, so make sure you check before going.
The forest route, on the other hand, is shorter and easier. For all the three times I hiked Bukit Batu Putih, I chose the forest route because my main goal when hiking is to reach the summit, and I’d rather get there sooner than later.
The start of the forest trail is further up the tarmac road (about 20 minutes from the gate), just before the lighthouse. It’s signposted, so you can’t miss it.
Here, it’s a bit steep and may require you to scramble on all fours if you’re not much of an athlete. But don’t let that intimidate you — the trail is not going to be like that all the way. Soon after, it levels out into a wide and well-trodden path.
As you walk on, you will hear and catch glimpses of the sea, which tells you that you’re near.
Just before you reach the final stretch, the path will slope downwards, and in less than 15 minutes from the trailhead, you should reach the foot of a white rocky outcrop that will take you to the summit. This is what gives Bukit Batu Putih (White Rock Hill) its name.
Some rock climbing skills would be beneficial here, but it’s not particularly hard for someone of average fitness level. Although there’s a rope tethered to the top to help you climb up and down, I’m not sure how long it has been there or how often it’s replaced, so use it at your own risk.
Once you reach the peak at 285 metres above sea level, you’ll be glad you woke up early for this. The view overlooking the Straits of Malacca is possibly one of the most impressive summit views in Malaysia.
If you go on a weekend, this area can be pretty crowded as hikers stay on to take in the views and pose for pictures — you might have to wait for your turn to get on the best spots. Keep in mind that there is no shade on the peak, so it can get very hot at midday.
Once you’re done taking pictures, you will go down the same way you came. You can either head straight down to the entrance or explore the area around the lighthouse (the lighthouse itself isn’t open to the public).
As we were taking a break under some trees near the lighthouse, I suddenly felt raindrops on my head, which I found a bit peculiar since the day was hot and there was no sign of rain.
Upon looking up, we saw a troop of monkeys on the tree branches. It seemed like the monkeys of Cape Rachado had decided to shower us with ‘blessings’ as a send-off. I hope it was saliva.
How Difficult is Hiking Bukit Batu Putih?
The Bukit Batu Putih trail is a considerably easy one, except for the very last part, which requires you to clamber up some rocks.
If all you’re after is a good hike without much concern about making it all the way to the peak, you can skip this part, but I’d highly recommend climbing it, as it is the best place to get a 360-degree panoramic view of Cape Rachado and the Straits of Malacca.
The rest of the trail is easy — nothing too steep or treacherous — making it suitable even for beginners or casual hikers. It should take you around 30 – 40 minutes to get from the forest gate to the peak.
Is It Possible to Hike Bukit Batu Putih Without A Guide?
Most of the hikers at Bukit Batu Putih are locals who go independently, with a group of friends or family members. All of these people go without official guides.
The trail is fairly easy and well-marked, it’s impossible to get lost if you stick to the path.
If you’re nervous about hiking alone, go on a weekend or public holiday, where you will see many other hikers. Sometimes, you might also encounter groups of school students on a field trip or office workers having a team-building activity in the area.
What to Bring on a Bukit Batu Putih Hike
- As always, the most important thing to bring on a hike is enough drinking water. This is especially true in Malaysia’s hot and humid climate, where you will be sweating buckets. There is a stall selling drinks and snacks near the forest gate, but don’t count on it being open very early in the morning.
- I would also recommend bringing some high-energy snacks to refuel yourself, especially if you start hiking in the morning, before breakfast.
- Wear comfortable quick-dry sportswear if you tend to sweat a lot.
- Proper hiking shoes would be helpful, but normal sport shoes would also be fine. Make sure they have good traction.
- Sunscreen is a must in Southeast Asia. Although most of the trail is covered by trees, the peak is exposed to the sun and can be quite hot at midday.
- Sunglasses or hat to block out the harsh sunlight at the peak.
- A pair of binoculars if you’re visiting during the raptor migration.
- A camera to capture the beautiful panorama at the top.
- A basic first-aid kit. Although the trail at Bukit Batu Putih is short and easy, it’s always good to be prepared.
Final Thoughts on Hiking Bukit Batu Putih
My favorite kind of hikes are easy ones with great views at the peak. And Bukit Batu Putih ticks the box on both counts. For only a 40-minute workout, the reward is more than worth it. Plus, you don’t have to start at ungodly hours as most hikes usually need you to.
Bukit Batu Putih is easily my favorite hill to climb in Malaysia. I’ve climbed it three times and I don’t even like hiking.