|The Ratings Explained
Difficulty - Scenic Value - Flora&Fauna - Length
This is intended (not surprisingly) to indicate the difficulty of the trail. It is difficult to calibrate difficulty ratings, as it is a subjective and relative assessment (for example, even the most difficult trail in Sarawak is probably "easy" by comparison with a no-oxygen ascent of Everest!). Difficulty also depends on changing factors such as the weather, light, and your timeframes (slower is generally easier than faster).
Bear in mind also that you will probably sweat profusely, even on very easy trails here, because of the tropical humidity. This makes it very important not to push yourself too hard, and to drink plenty of water.
To give some idea, here are some explanations of how we have ranked the scale:
0/10 - This is not a trek - you're watching a video of trekking in your living room, sprawled on the sofa and eating donuts.
1/10 - Very easy, requiring only low fitness levels and basic mobility, with no prior outdoors experience. This is also likely to be a short walk, requiring little stamina. Example - a stroll along the beach at Bako National Park at low tide.
3/10 - An easy walk, requiring basic fitness, although little or no outdoor experience is necessary. Likely to be around an hour or less, probably on boardwalks, and involve some climbing, although this will probably be on well made stairs. Example - Rafflesia Boardwalk at Gunung Gading.
5/10 - A slightly harder walk, likely to involve some climbing, possibly without well made stairs (although likely to be some form of steps), and up to 1/2 day long for the return trip. Little or no outdoor experience necessary, but a reasonable level of fitness and stamina is required. Being a longer walk, adequate water is essential. Example - The Waterfalls Trail at Gunung Gading, the Pitcher Plant Trail at Kubah
7/10 - A trek of moderate difficulty requiring a good degree of fitness, and may include some tricky scrambling over rocks. Will probably be at least 1/2 day in length, probably a full day. It may be shorter and more technical, or just long and of moderate difficulty, requiring good stamina. Will not require any climbing equipment, although ropes and/or ladders may be fixed on various parts of the trail. Best if you have some experience, although it may not be necessary if you are reasonably fit. Example - The Sungai Buloh Trail at Kubah National Park.
10/10 - A very difficult trek, requiring a high degree of fitness, experience, technical skills and confidence. Climbing up steep and potentially dangerous slopes using handholds and tree-roots is likely. It may require some ropework, either on existing fixed ropes, or you may have to attach your own. This is also likely to be a multi-day trek with requiring you to carry a full pack of food and camping equipment, and 8-10 hours of trekking each day. This makes stamina very important, as well as the technical skills. This kind of trek has the potential to be dangerous, and should not be attempted unless properly experienced and well prepared. Even if experienced, you should consider hiring a guide to assist on this trail. Example - None of the trails covered on this site are 10/10 for difficulty. The Mulu Summit Trail is almost there, and probably would be if the days were longer. (Doing Mulu in 2-3 days might push it up to a 10, but it would not be much fun and you wouldn't see a lot.)
0/10 - You're in an industrial wasteland (fortunately there's none of these on any of the treks in this website!).
5/10 - A very attractive area, offering a range of things which you couldn't see at home, and some interesting sights, but no really spectacular views. Worth visiting if you happen to be in the area with some spare time.
7/10 - There are a number of interesting sights, and possibly some pretty creeks or waterfalls, and maybe some good views of the surrounding countryside. Well worth a visit, even if it is a bit out of your way.
10/10 - A place of perfect natural beauty. You will never want to leave this terrestrial paradise. Well worth crossing the planet for. However, it is so beautiful that you don't want it spoiled by other people, so you keep it to yourself (and we have!).
Flora & Fauna
0/10 - You're in the same industrial wasteland, and someone killed all the rats and cockroaches.
5/10 - A range of interesting plants can be seen, although the trees are not particularly huge, and there are few interesting animals, but possibly a few unusual birds and insects.
7/10 - There are some beautiful big trees, very unusual or spectacular plants, or interesting animals here, but probably not all three, although you might get lucky.
10/10 - You're in a natural zoo and botanical gardens combined, surrounded by interesting, rare and beautiful plants, animals, birds and insects. Gorgeous! (Steve Irwin, eat your heart out.)
Distance - We have provided approximate distances for all treks. These are usually one-way distances, unless otherwise specified (because a number of the trails link-up with other trails). Note however that distances alone can be misleading, because they do not take into consideration the difficulty of the terrain, or the sorts of loads you may be carrying. It is relatively easy to walk 5-6 km in an hour along a flat road without a pack. However, in rough and steep terrain with a full pack, and a torrential tropical downpour, it can easily take well over an hour to cover just 1 km. So please also consider the difficulty rating and time estimate.
Time - Approximate one-way trek times are provided unless otherwise specified (if returning on the same trail, return trips are usually a bit shorter, particularly if they are downhill). These times are only indicative, and are based on the time it would take a relatively fit person to walk the trail with a few short stops. If you are stopping regularly to catch your breath or just to enjoy the surroundings, it may take a bit longer. (Needless to say long lunches or breaks at swimming holes will also affect timing.) However, a very fit person with only a light pack, going at a fast pace and not stopping may be able to complete the trails in much less time.