EARLY this year, two friends and I made a pact to go hiking every Saturday. Beginning with the easy-peasy Taman Tugu, we took on the hiking trails in and around Kuala Lumpur until the Movement Control Order was imposed on March 18.
Here are the trails we went on.
BUKIT GASING (160m)
WE can see two reasons why Bukit Gasing in Petaling Jaya wins the hearts of Klang Valley’s hikers — its location and the friendly trails.
For us, the attraction is the network of trails — both the main and the hidden ones — and the steep terrain.
LEVEL Beginner with quite good exercise value. With quite a number of paths within the 100-hectare area, the walk can go from two to four hours. Since there are more than one entry and exit points and trails, the forest park can be quite a challenge for first-timers to the park, especially when their energy starts to ebb.
HIGH POINT Two bridges — an old suspension bridge deep inside the forest reserve and a modern steel bridge located at the Taman Rimba Bukit Kerinchi entrance.
JUNGLE FEEL The former rubber estate feels more like a nature reserve than a forest but it is enough to satisfy jungle lovers.
HUMAN COMFORT The first thing one notices is the lack of proper parking spots, especially at the PJ entrance. There are wakaf (rest-stops) and benches too but they are mostly located near the entry points.
BUKIT WAWASAN (233m)
HUTAN Simpan Ayer Hitam, or better known as Bukit Wawasan Puchong, is relatively easy if you stick to the straightforward entrance-peak-entrance trail. But the forest reserve is a huge 1200-hectare area with a number of trails, so getting lost is a possibility.
LEVEL Beginner if one takes the normal peak loop. This takes less than two hours to complete. But it’s a different level altogether if you’re feeling adventurous and venture off well-worn trails to the point of getting lost. My friends and I end up covering a distance of 9.5km!
HIGH POINT A huge waterfall and a pond.
JUNGLE FEEL Even though the hiking trails are part of the forest reserve, they do not have a jungle feel. This is probably because of the number of trekkers and its not-so-lush secondary forest.
HUMAN COMFORT Since it’s not really a recreational area, there are no proper facilities. Cars are mostly parked along the road leading to the starting point. There are two stalls selling drinks and snacks.
DENAI TIGA PUTERI (330m)
THIS Kota Damansara Community Forest is popularly known as Denai Tiga Puteri Trek. It’s probably the most friendly for first-time hikers. All its six trails are well marked with signages and route maps. The terrain is quite friendly even for young children.
LEVEL Easy if you take the “straight” trail to the peak. We choose the outer loop which is a combination of a few routes. Note that doing this may result in you clocking a distance of 9km. Still, the terrain is not really challenging, except for one short stretch nearing the peak.
HIGH POINT From the Denai Tiga Puteri Lookout, you will be able to see the north and southbound traffic at the North Klang Valley Expressway as well as the Kota Damansara township in the distance.
JUNGLE FEEL Lowland forest with monkeys and birds, and a small creek.
HUMAN COMFORT The trails are well marked with a route map at every junction. There are benches at strategic locations.
BUKIT KIARA TRAILS (250m)
DURING our second hiking outing here, a one-metre-long baby python crosses our path.
The surprise wildlife encounter ignites our adventurous spirit and it makes us take a different and unfamiliar route. We end up in a residential area of Mont Kiara and have to call a Grab ride to get back to Taman Tun Dr Ismail.
LEVEL Beginner to intermediate with trails going from an easy one-hour trek to a three-hour clamber. Since there are two entry points and a network of trails, the chances of you coming out at the other point is quite high.
HIGH POINT There’s no peak and therefore no view. I love the bamboo tracks though.
JUNGLE FEEL It is dense and humid. There is a variety of vegetation too, from the aforementioned bamboo tracks to routes lined with coffee plants and rubber trees.
HUMAN COMFORT Parking is quite easy at the Taman Tun Dr Ismail entrance. There are also stalls selling cold drinks and fruits. If you’re coming from the Mont Kiara side, parking is at a small area near a construction site.
SAGA/AH PEK HILL (410m)
THIS is not my usual hiking haunt. We have been here only a few times, each time beginning from a different point even though our main goal is the same — the waterfalls! If a cool, refreshing dip is what you’re looking for, the tough trails may stop you from returning.
LEVEL Intermediate to hard. Not a walk in a park, the trails are quite tough with quite a number of steep climbs. At some stretches, ropes are provided to help with balance. Trails can go from two to six hours, covering 4-10km. There are a few entry points and a lot of trails. So it’s good not to wander off to avoid getting lost.
HIGH POINT The waterfalls! But to get there, you have to embark on a 5km hike.
JUNGLE FEEL Yes, it’s quite a jungle all right.
HUMAN COMFORT Except for a couple of stalls, benches and an outdoor gym, there’s nothing much in terms of facilities. Parking is anywhere along the street.
BUKIT SRI BINTANG (197m)
THIS is quite an easy hike. It takes us less than 30 minutes to reach the peak that is famed for its city skyline view. Not wanting to go back yet, we decide to follow a narrow trail hidden by thick bushes from the second peak. The trail goes down to the other side of the hill and up to the first hill. The terrain here is tougher and more natural than the one we were on earlier. The total distance is 2.8km, which we complete in two hours and 40 minutes.
LEVEL Easy. You have been warned, hardcore trekkers.
HIGH POINT The pylon view at its twin peaks. One peak holds the view of the North-South Highway while the other has the residential areas with the KL city skyline at the far horizon.
JUNGLE FEEL Nothing much unless you venture beyond the main trail. The hidden trail is a longer route back to the first peak. Taking this will give you quite a workout and enough jungle feel.
HUMAN COMFORT None. There’s no proper parking and no stalls selling drinks. But there are benches at Peak No.1 for those who want to take in the city view for a while longer.
BUKIT KEMBARA (247m)
A picture of a white gazebo at the end of a rickety jetty prompted me to check out Bukit Kembara, which is also known as Bukit Indah in Ampang. If it’s not for the off-limit restriction by Air Selangor, we actually will not mind going back. Without the loop walk around the dam, the trail doesn’t quite make up for the meandering drive in the Ampang residential area.
LEVEL Easy. It is quite a straightforward climb to the peak, taking only slightly more than 30 minutes. Regulars usually continue to trek down to the reservoir, make a full loop around it before climbing back to the peak to go down where they started. This 5.5km loop takes about two hours 30 minutes to complete.
HIGH POINT No, it’s not the peak but the Ampang Impounding Reservoir. However, the track that loops around the 128-year old dam is off-limits to the public. When we are there, officials from Air Selangor stop us, take down our details and warn us of a hefty fine if we trespass again in the future. This is understandable as reservoirs and dams are highly-sensitive areas.
JUNGLE FEEL The vegetation is not dense but it is enough to provide shade from the sun. At certain parts, we walk through a cluster of bertam trees.
HUMAN COMFORT None, except for the ropes along some steep stretches and the two wakaf on the peak. Parking is by the roadside opposite the condo blocks.
SETIA ALAM COMMUNITY FOREST (250m)
DRAWN by a picture of a placid lake with dried tree trunks jutting out of its surface, we brave the long drive out of Kuala Lumpur. This is the furthest we have driven for our Saturday hiking rendezvous. Be prepared with enough water and energy if you wish to cover both the Peak Garden and Bukit Sapu Tangan via the Mirror Lake Trail. The loop may take more than 12km. It is only on our second visit that we manage to get to the beautiful Mirror Lake. It’s not an easy feat and we still haven’t reached the peak of Bukit Sapu Tangan.
LEVEL Easy. A complete loop to the Peak Garden via a (small) lake view trail stretches less than 5km. It takes only two hours to complete. But the difficulty goes up a few levels at the Bukit Sapu Tangan Trail.
HIGH POINT The Peak Garden is the highest peak of Bukit Cherakah Forest. Bukit Sapu Tangan comes in a close second. Of course, there is the Mirror Lake.
JUNGLE FEEL The trails at Peak Garden and Bukit Sapu Tangan have their own characters. While the Peak Garden trail is not so dense and quite a pleasant airy hike, Sapu Tangan is thick and rugged.
HUMAN COMFORT Parking is on the street and there are two stalls selling cold drinks at the starting point of Setia Alam Community Forest Trailhead
By : Zalina Mohd Som – NST