Whether you’re looking to revel in extraordinary peak views or bask in the country’s rich tapestry of flora and fauna, Malaysia’s verdant — and if you’re lucky, exotic — greenery are mostly accessible through beautiful hikes and treks. They’re so accessible that most are only less than an hour’s drive away. Here are tempting terrains across the Klang Valley fit for all – from the novice hikers who love a challenge to experienced trekkers wanting once-in-a-lifetime outdoor experiences.
Bukit Broga, Semenyih
Bukit Broga’s widespread popularity as an introductory hike, mesmerising sunrise views, and its short distance from the University of Nottingham Malaysia make it one of the best-known hike trails in the Klang Valley. However, its appeal stretches beyond its selling points.
For peak sunrise views — and prime pictures of the sunrise’s beautiful colour gradient — hikers are recommended to hit the trails before the crack of dawn, beginning with a trek through the forest that inches into steepening slopes, with ropes lined along the way for support. Top tip: headlamps go a long way to help navigate through the dark in the beginning. Time taken to hit the top? Most do it in less than an hour but prepare to also witness trail runners and veteran Broga hikers taking on the trails in half the time.
Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve, Puchong
Pristine blue waters seemingly untouched by human contamination, set amid the Puchong township, may sound like a dream. But such is the case for the forbidden Blue Lagoon in the Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve — all it takes is a hike into the forest. And while respectful exploration of the forest is welcomed officially, the beautiful pool of water that most would venture out to, past cordoned-off segments, is not. Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) holds the lease for the forest reserve for research purposes and considers itself a watchdog of sorts over the forest species.
The hike through the forest isn’t as challenging, but the risk of getting caught by park rangers — as many have reported experiencing — is present. However, if being one with nature is easily a priority for you, this easy-to-moderate hike is still an enjoyable one, with or without a visit to the Blue Lagoon.
Bukit Tabur, Taman Melawati
If the idea of crawling over uneven terrains and rock climbing excite you, then Bukit Tabur could just be your cup of tea to jump-start the morning. The West, East, and the Far East trails make up the three main trails at Bukit Tabur, increasing in difficulty from the former to the latter. The West trail itself can already be a scary meander for the first-time Tabur-goer, and is highly recommended to start with if you’ve never been to Bukit Tabur. Breathtaking views of the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge set the scene every step of the way, through the trees in the forest in the beginning, and later, in the background, as you traverse over bare rocks or ascend and descend steep formations with the help of ropes, cables, and rungs.
Safety measures are minimal here, and words of warning signal the mishaps that have happened here at Bukit Tabur. Have at least someone in the group that is well-versed with a Bukit Tabur trail; though the adrenaline rush you feel throughout the approximately 3.5-hour hike will be well worth it. And if you’re lucky, friendly dogs on the mountain will keep you company. To fully equip yourself, bring adequate water (1 litre at least), mosquito repellant (you are trekking through a forest after all), and a DIY first aid kit of Band-Aids, bandage wraps, and a skin disinfectant.
Bukit Gasing, Petaling Jaya
There’s no place like home, and for many, Bukit Gasing is such a place — a hiking destination perfect for solo trekkers and families alike. It can also act as an outdoor activity spot or a training ground for more demanding trails. Its prime location with two extremely accessible entrances — one in KL, one in PJ — make for a diverse hike fit for all.
While there are no sweeping views of the city skyline, nor is there a vast body of water to overlook as you reach the top of the hike, Bukit Gasing’s recreational hike gives you the perfect opportunity to take in the former rubber plantation at a slower pace, or run the trail to your heart’s content.
Bukit Saga, Ampang
Featuring several entrances with trails that lead to either a waterfall or a summit, Bukit Saga is Ampang’s best family-friendly nature go-to. Volunteers from the Bukit Ampang Hikers Association (BAHA) take pride in their involvement at Bukit Saga, which includes maintaining the clear paths by picking up stray plastic bottles along the way and carrying out maintenance work along the trail.
Trailheads are currently blocked by hoardings as the hill is now the construction site for the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Elevated Expressway (SUKE), so hikers are advised to stay away for now. However, once the project completes on its scheduled date of January 2020, authorities will start determining the appropriate routes and visitors can once again hike through this neighbourhood gem.
Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), Kepong
Come for the canopy walk, stay for the rich diversity of forest species. With views of the forest from 300 metres off the ground and the canopy walk (open to only 250 people per day and is the main draw of FRIM), the forest reserve offers a lot more than just an easy hike for a beautiful view. Tickets for the canopy walk sell out early in the morning, and if that happens, FRIM still guarantees a good time for all.
About 182 species of birds call FRIM home, so birdwatching is a must, especially if you’re a twitcher. If not, cycling activities, picnics with the family, or treks with experienced nature guides will make the day as fun as it can be. A half-day at FRIM may be a breeze to most, but it’s a great primer and introduction to cultivating someone’s love for the great outdoors.