Thursday, May 08, 2008

Urban Jungle Trekking

You never thought you'd find a jungle within the concrete jungle of Kuala Lumpur, did you?

Well, there is one. Flanked by three thoroughfares - Jalan Sultan Ismail (aka. the Golden Mile), Jalan Ampang, and Jalan Weld - is a clump of greenery measuring some 16ha known as the Bukit Nanas Recreational Forest.

The forest reserve represents one of the oldest in the country and is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Territory Forestry Department. It serves as a reminder of what Kuala Lumpur used to be before development crept in.

The local authorities, working hand in hand with the private sector, have turned this green-lung into a tourist attraction as well as a recreational spot for urbanites living in Kuala Lumpur.

There are several entrances to this splendid rainforest, leading to three wonderful trails namely - Denai Merbau, Denai Kapur and Denai Jelutong - each measuring between 300m to 400m long.

For the first timer, make the approach via Jalan Weld (Raja Chulan) where information can be obtained from the Forestry Information Centre in the form of booklets and multimedia info kiosks.

You may also ask the forest rangers stationed here for further information.

Trees along the trails are labelled for you to get to know the many indigenous species there. Along the trail is also an open air mini-gymnasium and even a jogging track made of concrete.

According to the rangers manning the reserve, there are 204 species of plants - 100 species of medicinal plants, six of bamboo and seven of palm trees.

Birders reveal that there are at least 19 species of birds that make this place their home in the city. There are also several species of monkeys and squirrels, not to mention various types of insects.

According to regulars, the Merbau Trail is popular among birdwatchers and if you are one, it helps to equip yourself with a good binoculars.

Good and reasonably priced ones can be purchased at Petaling Street open air bazaar. These Russian made binos are priced between RM50 to RM100 each or about USD15 to USD30.

The start of all trails are made with concrete steps. If you are healthy and have no major health problem, you will enjoy a good workout jungle trekking in this urban forest. However, when approaching these trails in the morning, be extra careful of your steps and overnight dew can make the footing a little slippery.

The Bukit Nanas forest reserve is open 7 days a week, from 8am to 6pm, and entrance is free.

Advice for safe jungle trekking:

  • Dress lightly and comfortably.

  • Bring plenty of water as in the afternoons, the weather can get quite humid.

  • Wear trekking shoes or boots.

  • When climbing the stairs, be extremely careful. Use the ballusters and guard rails provided. the steps can be mossy and wet in the mornings due to dew and you may slip if you are not careful.

  • Keep to the trails and obey all instructions along the routes. Also, do not throw your rubbish everywhere. Bins are provided, use them.

  • Bring some mosquito/insect repellents and use them.

  • Do not pluck the vegetation here; some may be poisonous.

  • Do not disturb the wild animals here, especially the monkeys and tree shrews. Do not feed them.

  • The best time to explore the forest in from 10am when the environment is lightly warmer.

Note: The Kuala Lumpur Tower organises the Forest in the City Package, including guided trekking and night walks. Prior arrangement can be made by calling 03-2020-5444.

Jungle Trekking Equipment and Supplies

In Kuala Lumpur, there is no shortage of outdoor equipment shops that offer you a wide range of jungle trekking accessories.

You may check them out at the Mid-Valley Megamall, Pertama Complex, Sogo, Sungai Wang Plaza and the Campbell Shopping Complex. Be it boots, haversack, waterbottles or jackets - chances are that you will find them there.

1 comment:

Rick said...

Bukit Nanas is one of the oldest forest reserves in Malaysia. A fantastic forest next to the Hard Rock Cafe ... only in KL! For more info check out Nature Escapes KL