Top 5 campsites recommended for stargazing (and Milky Way!)
“Look up the stars, how they shine for you?” With light and air pollution plaguing urban areas, we don’t often see stars like we did in our childhood, even the stars of childhood are still there shining for you. The first step in finding a great stargazing spot is to get a little further away from the cityscapes, but where should we go? Here we curated 5 favorite camping locations to go stargazing in Peninsular Malaysia. Get your tent and gears prepared. You can spend the whole night looking up at the sky’s universal beauty and wish upon the star. If you are lucky, you might spot shooting stars!
Gunung Datuk located at Rembau, Negeri Sembilan has an altitude of 885 meters. It has relatively steep steps but it is one of the popular mountain climbing destinations for people who want to build up stamina for hiking more advanced trails. It normally takes not more than 2 hours for a moderately fit climber to reach the summit. The top of the mountain is extremely windy but the spectacular view is definitely worth it. Other than stargazing, you will be able to catch a perfect sunset at the peak. Campsites are available at the entrance of the mountain with a rental of RM5/person/day. If you are well trained, you may consider spending a night of camping at the peak to enjoy the breathtaking starry night sky. The only problem is there is no toilet and source of water along the hiking trail and the peak. Before hiking, make sure you have prepared enough water with you. When nature calls, think about a “right way” to answer the call. (Never leave your waste untreated!)
Not an avid hiker? Don’t worry. You don’t necessarily get closer to the stars in order to have the best stargazing experience. Beach is an option you should definitely look into, where you can simply get a good spot that doesn’t obstruct your view by just rolling out from your car. Pantai Sepat is set amidst Malay fishing village located 10km away from the city Kuantan. The side, long white sandy beach and brisk winds make it a wonderful place to fly kites and fishing. It is a popular spot among campers but you have to prepare your own equipment as there are no proper campsites or facilities. Public toilets are available. One of the great joys of wild camping is the chance to sleep under the stars.
Considering camp safety and security, we understand wild camping can be daunting for the first timer. It is important to feel safe so you can have the best camping and stargazing experience. Payung getaway is probably one of the best well-organized private campsites where you can enjoy camping as well as stargazing. You will need to inform the owner about your group size and length of stay while making the reservation. There is a lot more you can do over here including kayaking and surfing (particularly in monsoon season). A long stretch of white sandy beach is where you can have wonderful stellar night shots.
Waterfall is always a splendid place for stargazing due to its remoteness and serenity. Hutan Lipur Berkelah is well known for its 7 tiers waterfalls, with the last tier highest at 50 meters height. The view at each tier is awesomely breathtaking. The unobstructed view of the main waterfall makes it a great place for camping and stargazing. The first pitstop is just 20 minutes hike away from the park entrance, where you can find twin waterfalls and campsites. More pitstops can be discovered at higher tiers which allow you to set a tent and embrace the starry night even closer, however the trail can be quite challenging and dangerous due to its slippery stony path.
If you are looking for an island which is affordable, pristine and less touristy, Pulau Kapas is definitely one of your bucket list destinations. Pulau Kapas is known as Cotton island, refers to its fluffy white sand beaches. Besides the crystal-clear blue water, it is a stargazing paradise that you will fall in love with. There are a few organized campsites on Pulau Kapas which you can stay on for as little as RM13/night if you bring your own tent. It is a basic and minimalist lodging, so it provides only simple facilities (not a place if you are expecting five-star service). The beach in front of the campsite is where you can relax and enjoy the sparkling night sky. Unfortunately, mosquito repellent is a must!
BONUS TIP: 1 Quick and easy way to locate the Milky Way!
Don’t miss out your chance to spot the Milky Way when you have a clear night sky! Nowadays with the help of technology (your smartphone!), it is really easy to locate the Milky Way, or even predict when and where it will appear. There are numerous apps that would be able to do the job, we prefer Stellarium due to its ease of use and their custom time feature.