This mountain (Mount Datuk) goes by many names and spellings. On road signs it is sometimes spelt Gunung Dato’ or Datok. Some maps show it as Gunung Rembau or Gunung Datuk Rembau.
The information board at the start of the trail explains the background to the name Datuk. It seems the mountain was named after Dato’ Perpatih Nan Sebatang who in 1372 organized a gathering of leaders here to elect the future Dato’ Lembaga (clan chief).
Gunung Datuk is 884m high (2900ft), making it slightly higher than nearby Gunung Angsi which is around 22km away.
On my list of Malaysia’s Highest 300 MountainsDatuk comes in at number 220 meaning that it is a relatively minor peak but the highest one in Negeri Sembilan state on my list.
The starting point of the climb is probably less than 80m above sea level meaning that the actual height climbed is a solid 800m or so.
It normally takes about 2 hours to reach the top and somewhat less coming down. The path is pretty well defined all the way except at the beginning.
The trail starts to climb immediately and the first hour or so is a fairly brutal ascent over twisted tree roots, rocks and dirt. After a while the path becomes slightly less steep and you might feel a refreshing breeze which is a welcome relief from the draining humidity. (Bring plenty of water/drinks with you. We had 1.5 liters each and it was only just enough.)
Eventually (it seems longer than 2 hours) you arrive at an open area beneath the summit which is presumably used as a campsite. From here a number of steel ladders enable you to climb up the massive boulders which dominate the peak of the mountain. The ladders look a bit unsafe but they were not as scary as I feared.
On the summit you can rest on the flat boulders, enjoy the magnificent views and feel the cooling breeze. You are supposed to be able to see the Straits of Malacca on a clear day but it was partly hazy on our visit.