Barring the way between Bario to the south and Ba’ Kelalan to the northeast, Gunung Murud is the highest peak in Sarawak at 2423m, and is part of the Pulong Tau National Park. It presents a challenging but rewarding trek, with spectacular views across the Highlands to Batu Lawi and even Mulu. From Ba’ Kelalan, it takes six days there and back; from Bario, allow one day extra.
Leaving Ba’ Kelalan, trekkers generally head to Lepo Bunga (8hr) on the first night, traversing some steep hills. In the past, people saved a day by using a 4WD on this leg, but the logging road has fallen into disrepair; check whether it’s once again usable. On day 2 the target is Church Camp (4–5hr) – a wooden shelter built by local Lun Bawang evangelical groups for a three-day Christian meeting held once a year, and otherwise deserted. The next morning sees the haul up to the summit (3hr) via the Rock Garden, an exposed area of stunted trees and sharpish boulders. After another night back at Church Camp, you retrace your steps back to Ba’ Kelalan.
If you’re starting from Bario, the first day is spent reaching Pa’ Lungan, where you stay the night. The next day brings a trek to a simple wooden shelter at Long Rapung (7hr), with about half an hour’s worth of climbing en route. On day 3 some guides head to Church Camp (7hr), others to the slightly nearer Camp 2 at Long Belaban, with hammocks to sleep in (5–6hr), though you have to ford a few streams en route and climb for a couple of hours at the end of the day. If you start from Camp 2, day 4 is gruelling, the climb up to the summit beginning at dawn (6hr); the descent usually means heading to the Rock Garden and Church Camp (4hr). On day 5 you head back to Camp 2 for the night; it’s then possible, with some effort, to get all the way back to Pa’ Lungan on day 6.