Trekking to Western Julan waterfall, the highest in Sarawak

The effort to get to Western Julan waterfall does require a fairly high level of fitness but the moment you stand before the spectacular 300m (about 1,000ft) drop waterfall, the sight should etch in your memory for a life time. We have to add that leeches will occupy their fair share as well. Indeed, what pristine nature throws at you, she is generous with!

The programme includes adventurous 4×4 drive along well-maintained logging roads, panaromic landscapes and the ultimate trekking and hiking experience you may ever experience. A 7-8 hour trek and two hours of climbing takes you to the top of the Usun Apaun plateau, a vertical gain of vertical gain of 680m (2,231ft). A 300m descent on the following day takes you to the base of Western Julan waterfall to feel the might of the waterfall spray. Needless to say this program is only for experienced trekkers who can rough it out. Accommodation is very basic.

Usun Apau top of Western Julan waterfall Happy Trails (1)

The start of the Western Julan Waterfall drop

Your 5D/4N itnerary may look like this:

Day 01: Miri – Farmhouse (6-hour overland journey)
You will be met by your guide at your hotel lobby in the morning. A 4×4 pick-up will be your mode of transport. You will be making stops along the way to buy local vegetables and camping items to be used in the jungle. After a quick stop in the small town of Lapok to stretch your legs, your 4×4 will enter one of the many logging roads that connects the rural communities to the main roads of Sarawak. You will get to have stunning views of the numerous valleys and mountains along the way. An hour later, you stop at the Sky View Café, affectionately called for its stunning vista, for a simple lunch. The logging road winds its way through thick jungle, over and along mountain ridges to the day’s final destination, a farmhouse. This mini-longhouse is home to a handful of families who live off the jungle gathering forest produce and farming. Unwind at the common verandah and enjoy some tea or coffee. Dinner is served here as well. A minute’s walk from the farmhouse is a small river ideal for a refreshing dip.

Accommodation Farmhouse (Dormitory)
Meals included: Lunch & Dinner

Usun Apau Western Julan Waterfall Happy Trails Logging road

The small making way for the big

Day 02: Farmhouse – Usun Apau Plateau – Basecamp (7-8 hours of trekking)
It will be an early morning wake-up call today, before sunrise. Tuck into your breakfast at the farmhouse’s verandah for the long trek ahead. Ensure that you are adequately geared up for the coming three days in the jungle. After a safety briefing, hop onto a 4×4 for a short ride to the trail head. Start trekking on an abandoned logging trail which is approximately 6km long. The jungle is thick and leeches aplenty. You will then arrive at a river crossing. Once crossed, take an early lunch at the foothills of the Usun Apau Plateau. The arduous climb up the plateau begins. It will be steep and requires ample hand and feet coordination. Two hours later you will have reached the plateau of Usun Apau, 1100m asl. Follow a creek to the basecamp. This should be around mid-afternoon. A camp will be set up, hammocks hung and gear organised. Not far from the campsite runs a river where you can take a little swim before dinner is served.The night can be quite cool as you slipped into your hammock for the night.

Accommodation Usun Apau Basecamp (Hammock)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Jungle trekking Western Julan waterfall Usun Apau

Day 03: Basecamp – Base of Western Julan Waterfall – Basecamp (4 hours of trekking)
The morning cold and jungle calls rouse you up from your sleep, your first night spent in the wild. A simple breakfast and hot tea/coffee are simply divine in this setting. Today, there will be a descent to the base of the Western Julan waterfall, 300m down. The trail that runs along a ridge is steep. But there will be views at different stages of the waterfall to marvel at. The descent will take about two hours. You will then experience the full force of the spray of the waterfall. Be prepared for a wet day so remember to waterproof your photographic equipment. You will spend some time taking photos of the surroundings and the majestic Western Julan waterfall. The roar of torrents of water from a 300m drop fills the air unceasingly as you explore the area. After some time at the base of the waterfall, retrace your steps back to the basecamp. Yes, what comes down must go up when your basecamp is located higher. You will find find the large pool at the top of the ascent refreshing after the hike. There are a few smaller waterfalls in the vicinity for you to explore. After lunch, your afternoon is free and easy, to catch up on some sleep or explore the surrounding jungle to spot wildlife. Dinner and overnight at the basecamp.

Day 04: Basecamp – Farmhouse (7-8 hours trekking time)

Your second night in the wild spent. After breakfast at the camp, its time to pack up and retrace your steps to the foot of the Usun Apau Plateau. The good news is descending is much easier but no less cautious. Upon arrival at the same river crossing from two days ago, enjoy a packed lunch. Arriving at the same trail head, your transport will take you back to the farmhouse. The rest of the day is free and easy, to nurse your tired muscles and/or soak in the idyllic quiet of the village with the might of the Western Julan waterfall playing over and over in your mind. Overnight at the farmhouse.

Accommodation Farmhouse (Dormitory)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

river crossing western julan waterfall usun apau

Day 05: Farmhouse – Miri (6 hours overland)
You will begin your journey back to Miri after breakfast. A few stops will be made along the way for lunch and some coffee/tea breaks. Enjoy the scenery of typical Borneo jungle with the occasional villagers waving at you as you pass them by. You should arrive in Miri by mid-afternoon.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

This tour is operated by Happy Trails Malaysia Borneo



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Usun Apau Plateau - location of the Western Julan Waterfall