It is the main entry point for visitors who want to go up Gunung Jerai Peak. For visitors who wish to go to the top, they can either drive for about 30 minutes up the 12 km winding road or take the transport provided by The Regency Jerai Resort at RM10.00 per pax or RM60 per van.
The Regency Jerai resort has its office at the foothill.
This visit is my first since late 1960s. Those day I usually follow my scout members hiking up the hill on a number of times. Then there is no accommodation except the rest house that now is part of the Regency resort. We use to camp and sleep at an old abandoned building further up towards the communication station at the actual peak of Gunung Jerai. Photo below is one of the memories of my outing with friends on top of one abandoned building in Gunung Jerai.
Even though the foothill is at the same location, the landscaping has changed a bit. There now a Kampong Kepala Bukit Surau, Food stalls and food court. A children’s playground is also duilt besides a Futsal court a few metres up.
This spot is 7 metre above sea level.
There is also a memorial stone (below) beside the canal, to take visitors back into the history of Kedah, when Wan Mohd Saman dug a canal 1800s for communication purpose from Sungai Kedah in Alor Setar to this place. Wan Mohd Saman was the Prime Minister of Kedah then.
If you are aware, the highway Route 1 from Alor Setar to the foot of Gunung Jerai runs parallel to the canal. At most part of the canal and road, it is straight and as history mentioned Wan Mohd Saman ordered the canal to be dug at night and he aligned lantern as a guide so that the canal will be dug straight.
Below are photos taken during my visit at the foot of Gunung Jerai.
How To Go
If you travel on PLUS highway, the nearest exit is Gurun. After the toll plaza, turn toward Gurun town and when you reach the junction of highway route 1, turn right towards Alor Setar. The Hutan Lipur foothills will be across the Wan Mohd Saman canal on your left. You have to drive past Gurun town and then you will see roadside stalls selling mostly maize and some other kampong produce. The entrance to Hutan Lipur Gunung Jerai is just after the rows of roadside stalls.
If you plan to spend overnight at the Regency Jerai Resort, you can make your bookings and reservations online. However you can walk-in and book at their office located at the foothill here. The resort website HERE
However with the short distance and time besides not much nightlife attraction, visitors can go up for a brief visit and enjoy the view of the Kedah plain. If you visit during the padi planting season chances are you might see the greenery landscape of padi field or the orangey colour when the padi is ripening. From the top visitors can also view the islands off the coast of Kedah on the Straits of Malacca. The road up the peak is open 24 hours but when I write this post part of the road is closed since 24th May 2012 due to landslide. The closure is to check that the condition doesn't get worse due to traffic. Check JKR for any updates about ground condition.
The foothill is about 30 km from Alor Setar city and 80 km from Butterworth.