Happy Bukit Kiara Trails By Pola Singh - The Star

By pola singh - The Star

Walkers, joggers and cyclists all love the trails on Bukit Kiara, an oasis in the middle of Kuala Lumpur.

If God had granted me one wish in my life, that wish would be to live next to a spacious green lung with challenging jungle trails.

And yes, my dream has sort of come true. I live near Bukit Kiara Park, located strategically in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.

What is so unique about this place that attracts thousands of walkers, joggers, hikers and cyclists every day? Why do people from as far as Subang, Cheras and Ampang make special trips here?

Is it simply to get a good workout? Ah, it’s much more than that.

Like many other residents in my “Taman Tun” (as I call it), I walk up the hill every other day to enjoy the cool fresh air and have a good workout.

Besides walking on the paved road, I also venture into the many interesting jungle trails, the result of the good work of the Trails Association of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, which builds and maintains mountain bike trails all around Bukit Kiara.

Jungle In The City

The public can now go on a number of exciting jungle trails while enjoying the beauty of nature without having to travel far out of KL. For me, Bukit Kiara is too good to be true.

The Bukit Kiara Park and its surrounding hills not only provide a great place to exercise, it’s also a place for children to play, families to gather and neighbours to meet. Stressed-out city folk and nature lovers can enjoy a peaceful retreat.

Aside from enjoying a good workout at this green lung, its tranquil and pleasant setting is home to many wild plants, birds, monkeys and other animals.

Whether one is a walker, jogger, cyclist or hiker, one is assured of a challenging workout amidst a clean and safe environment. The 5km Bukit Kiara jogging trail is quite demanding, if not overly tough. The hill trail requires some effort and determination to reach the top (250m above sea level). On the way up, don’t forget to enjoy the greenery.

First timers and the not-so-fit have described the initial, winding 1.5km climb as a “killer stretch”, as it is uphill all the way. Once they reach the mid-section (where there is a crossroads), there is a 2km (anti-clockwise) picturesque circuit with several mini waterfalls surrounded by thick vegetation on both sides of the road – making it an almost perfect setting for a nature walk or jog.

In the mornings, one can hear lots of birds chirping away. This loop will take walkers about 20 minutes to complete and bring them back to the midsection. Then it is the same way back home except that it is downhill all the way.

All in, it takes an about an hour to 90 minutes to complete the tarmac trail. As for the jungle trails, it will depend on how many mini hills one wants to hike up.

At the end of it all, many will admit that they feel refreshed after the fantastic workout – it’s an indescribable sensation that money can’t buy! And this is the single most important reason they keep coming back again and again.

Although I am a 65-year-old retiree, I’ve never felt so good in my life because of my daily jogs on this trail. When I mention that I walk and jog about 1,800km a year, people express disbelief. I jog about 6km six times a week and that works out to 36km per week. Multiply that by 50 weeks and you get 1,800km or six trips from KL to Penang on foot!

Place To Socialise

Besides breathing in fresh air, toning up sagging muscles and developing one’s stamina, many also build up a circle of friends over time. Indeed, there are many groups, including senior citizens, who hook up by WhatsApp (or other forms of social media) and meet regularly to hike up the hill.

The socialising side of this recreational activity is catching on as many prefer to have jogging “kaki” (enthusiasts) to exchange views and notes while exercising.

One meets different types walkers and joggers. There are those who are dead serious on getting the maximum workout by maintaining the fastest possible pace without looking left and right. The majority walk at a steady pace while there are those who amble at a relaxing pace while enjoying the beauty of nature or chit-chatting with their colleagues.

Dating couples also use the jogging trail as an excuse to pak toh (dating in Cantonese). They clamber up at such a leisurely pace that they hardly work up a sweat. It is the company that counts, not the trail!

Then there are those who cannot leave home without their cell phones. The phone is virtually attached to their ears all the time – it’s probably a good time to catch up with stockbrokers, remisiers, office colleagues and friends while on the trail. This is nature walk KL style for busy executives! Although once is in the middle of the jungle, civilisation is just a phone call away…

Who exactly are these walkers and joggers? It’s a motley crowd – there are retirees, housewives, journalists, teachers, senior government servants, students, undergraduates, academicians and even taxi drivers.

But beware, there are impediments to watch out for. Don’t be surprised to see a snake slithering across the trail to get to the other side. Keep your eyes wide open.

Then there are monkeys to contend with. They want to be fed as they now depend on food brought in by good Samaritans. As soon as they see someone with a plastic bag, they will not hesitate to grab the bag, especially if it is red.

The middle section of the paved road is designated for cyclists who can speed downhill; so please keep to the right or left sections of the road (they are marked) when walking. There have been near misses.

For those venturing onto the jungle trails, have ready mosquito repellent. As long as one is mobile, the mosquitoes will not harm you; it is only when you start to stand and stare that they will attack. Those with hairy hands and legs, like me, need to worry less! Many say that I am thick-skinned as I have got used to the mosquito bites.

As for the cyclists, they are indeed a very enterprising lot. They have constructed various barriers on the trail to make the ride more fun, challenging and exciting. Thanks to them, new trails are being developed all the time for people to enjoy.

For the regulars, walking, jogging or cycling has become addictive here and I’m not afraid to admit that I am one of them. My other half calls me a health nut – because my day will not be complete without a decent workout at Bukit Kiara.

She can be sure that I will never ever retire from jogging. There’s so much going on in Bukit Kiara that I don’t want to miss any of it.

The Truth About Trails - Smarten Up, Don’t Dumb Down

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by Ed Haythornthwaite

Words by Seb Kemp
Illustration by Jon Gregory

I’m confused, I’m in two minds about singletrack. I have a dirty little secret that I need to confess: I like flow trails. I like buff, groomed, sculpted, pumpy, flowy and, errr… easy ones. But I don’t like it that I like these trails.

The perfectly sculpted lines that have been popping up over the last decade or so have given us so much, but still they attract detractors. The hardcore among our fraternity yell that the experience of mountain biking is being dumbed down by these Fisher–Price simulations of mountain biking. They claim the challenge has been cut out and crushed gravel laid over the top, but I can’t see the problem as clearly as ‘they’ do.

It’s a trail that has been purposely carved into the earth for our delight – what’s wrong with that? Do you remember when mountain bikers were public enemy number one? A plague on the countryside, and a cancerous scourge of skidding idiots who were kept at bay by the stick–wielding geriatrics who rambled about the fields and forests like doddering sentries? I don’t care if mountain biking becomes a mainstream activity but it’s really quite pleasing to see that it has gained enough respect, toleration and acceptance that now we are spoilt for options as to where we can bike. Trail access has opened up where once it was forbidden, new mountain bike specific destinations have had public (and private) finance funnelled into them so we have somewhere to ride our bikes and, best of all, a lot of this development has been managed and governed by mountain bikers so we aren’t just getting palmed off with appropriated approximations of what others think mountain biking is.

Sure, these newer developments are aimed at the lowest common denominator so are often a little less aggressive than some high flying dudes want, but what can we expect, government funded double black diamond killers that only a tiny minority of riders can ride, let alone enjoy? Of course, if someone is going to pump money into something they at least expect that the investment will last past the first rainy season. These new trails are being built using ancient trail building wisdom: smart use of gradient, grade reversals, trails that shed water, good drainage, suitable construction methods, and clever use of materials. Now we have trails that might last one hundred years and remain in that condition for the whole time.

When similar techniques are applied to existing trails that are falling off the hillside riders are similarly angry. Complainers rarely understand why fixes are committed. Often the argument is that fixes are made to make things easier, when really it’s simply to stop the trail dying. More mountain bikers could learn a thing or two by going out and seeing how a trail actually works, how water runs, how riders react to trail situations and how that impacts the trail (elemental rule: keep the water ‘off’ and the riders ‘on’ the trail). Trails change, especially if they are ‘built’ with a rake and a bit of back brake.
I like these manicured, man-made lines because I get to go fast through the forest and I feel superhuman. I’m lucky to live in BC where we have three lifetimes’ worth of heinously challenging trails, so I am thankful for buff, flowing, low grade trails once in a while. It’s great to really pick up the speed and glide through the trail having a blast without so much risk of puncturing or pummelling into the ground. But what if that was it, that every time I rode my bike it was exactly the same? What if all trails were flow country trails? I’d hate it.

The beauty of mountain biking is the variety. Every trail is different – dirt is transformed by weather, season and location, the chaotic patterns of roots can not be replicated, rock and stone varies from place to place, there’s dust and there’s bulldust, trail builders have different visions, some trails were meant for biking, others were meant for donkeys, some trails are steep, some are mellow, but all have their own challenge. I love all trails but if they were all the same then I’m not sure I’d be quite so enamoured with mountain biking. It would be similar to table tennis or data inputting.

But I don’t think we are in danger of that happening. Sure, trail centres and flow trails are popping up everywhere, but these are gateways, drugs and quick fixes that are fun to dabble in once in a while. They aren’t going to be the Final Solution for mountain biking, just an added experience. Just so long as there are enough people willing to cut a line where there previously wasn’t one, open up a trail or resurrect a dying track, then things will be all right. A little civil disobedience goes a long way to keeping it that way. So the next time you hear someone bitterly complaining about trails being dumbed down ask them what they have done to smarten things up.

TRAKS Trail Day - Sunday 20 April @ Bukit Kiara, 08:00

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  • Date: Sunday, 20 April
  • Time: 08am
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Meeting location: 4-Ways @ Bukit Kiara, (3°09’07.9”N 101°38’14.6”E if you’ve been living under a stone lately)

Now that the rains have started again, we need to do a major effort on a number of fronts. First and foremost, we need to rake all the trails. That’s right. All of them! It will be impossible to do it all in one shot, but we can start on the 20th and work towards having the leaves off them over the coming weeks after that.

The second focus is to open up the water bars on every major downhill section. The one with the biggest need is Twin Peaks since we’ve already seen some erosion starting again, so let’s clear the water bars of all debris and make them deeper. No new water bars needs to be created here having already been done before. On other trails there may need to be new water bars depending on the last time that work was conducted on them.

The third and final focus is to pick up the trash that has amazingly accumulated by ignorant fools who are using the trails. Please make sure that you harp on everyone to pack-it-in/ pack-it-out so that we can start to reduce such ignorant behavior. In the future, if you ever see someone doing this, hammer them, humiliate them and publish their name on our TRAKS Facebook page.

Please bring your own tools (rake and changkul). We have a few, but not enough to provide to everyone.

For those of you who are responsible for trails under the Kiara Adopt A Trail list, please make sure you join us. The intent is that you will be handling your trails and snagging teams of people to assist. If you don’t remember what trail you are responsible for, shame on you ! We have the list and will post it.

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TRAKS Trail Day, Sunday 06 April @ Kota Damansara

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We have made amazing progress on this trail so far thanks to our dedicated and driven volunteers! Come join us as we press on on T4, the first of the two Rimba Riang trails. This next trail day is this coming Sunday.

As with all trail days, come with appropriate footwear, long sleeves, mosquito repellent, parang, gloves. We will supply cangkuls, rakes. For those that have never been on a trail day, come by 8.15 am for a special briefing. Meet at Intersection between Jalan Rimba Riang 9/1 and 9/9.

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What, never heard of  Kota Damansara Comunity Forest, serious?

Then check their website  to know more about the sweet MTB trail network!

Here’s a preview, just for you:

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Later on this month we” be doing TRAKS Trail Day - Sunday 20 April @ Bukit Kiara, 08:00. See you there!

In the meantime, check out this sweet video by Fakawitribe

FakawiTribe.com | KDCF Jungle Biking from Fakawi on Vimeo.

Mountain Biking In Kuala Lumpur – Bukit Kiara

imagePosted on by Chris O’Connor in Grumpy Wookie

Recently, I had a work-related trip to Kuala Lumpur, and arranged for a day of sight-seeing – and emailed to a bunch of websites & forums asking about Mountain Biking while I was there.

I simply Google’d for “Mountain Biking” and “Kuala Lumpur” – and found a few blogs/sites (eg. MTBR) – and emailed to the folk at KLMBH and then Melody at the KL MTB Carnival – who put me in touch with Stanley Ng.  

He suggested his favourite spot called Bukit Kiara – or to Putrajaya Challenge Park.

After a bunch of emails back and forth, It eventuated that there were no real “bike hire” places – or trailheads – but that Stan was able to borrow a bike for me – just bring shoes+pedals – he even borrowed a helmet for me – nice !   

And – he’d pick me up at the hotel and take me out to Bukit Kiara – awesome.

MTB’ing in a foreign country, with a total stranger !?   I guess it’s true that “a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met”.

About 4pm was the agreed time, I was waiting the lobby, and saw a car with a MTB on the back, and figured it was Stan – so we said hello and I jumped in.   The weather was pretty muggy & hot – and had been raining for close to two hours – very humid !

I’m glad I wasn’t driving in KL – the traffic was chaos – peak-hour out of town – and it was SUNDAY – not even a week day – LOL !

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We parked the car, and setup the bikes – attached my pedals – and prepared to set off.   I quickly discovered that the brakes were the opposite to what I was used to – this could be interesting !    And slightly different feel to my own bike – took about 10 mins to get acquainted.

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Scott Spark for the ride

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Stan getting his bike ready to ride

As we started out, the rain began as a drizzle – actually a little relief from the heat – it was nice & cool.    We rode up some tricky singletrack, through the rainforest, along the ridge of an embankment.  

Getting used to the bike, and wet trails, and tight sections was a bit of a challenge at first – I bashed my shoulder into a tree, and had a few rear-wheel spin-outs – and a bit of stop-start.

Stan explained that the trails are reducing in area, mainly due to some over-development of the area – we rode past some big (BIG) fencing – they reminded me of the fences in Jurassic Park – to keep out a T-Rex.  

The local mountain bike crew met with council & the construction company, and the fencing stopped – but, they simply left the materials along the forest roads – a bit of a mess.

In the wet, I was expecting the trails to be slippery & muddy – but it was more clay/clag – had more “grip” than I expected, but still unfamiliar to me – and so it was slow going.

The Singletrack was looped around and crossed a few forest roads, and we rode up a bitumen road for one section – originating at the Equestrian Centre.  

Some great trail names, including Wasteland, and Snakes & Ladders.

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Just after crossing a forest road (wide open trail in THIS part)

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Singletrack smilin’

It was great to have some local knowledge – of the trails, and the area – and Stan pointed out some of the rubber trees – with bags collecting the latex.   “Don’t touch ‘em – if you break the bag, and get it on you – it stinks !”

We kept riding – some tricky up-hill sections, and hike-a-bike parts – very tropical foliage – and was still raining – we were getting soaked – they don’t call it a “rainforest” for nothing…

I joked to Stan that the trails remind me of some scenes from the Colombian jungles in scenes from “Romancing The Stone” – that scene when we first meet Jack Colton (the Michael Douglas character) – LOL !

Getting Hard To See

With the constant rain, my glasses were soaking wet – I needed wiper blades – and it was dark in among the trees – with an overcast (clouded) sky.  

We stopped a few times – but I was soooo soaked, I couldn’t dry off my glasses.   I only took a few photos – as I wasn’t sure how my rain the iPhone could handle before it conked out.

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We rode from the upper-right (picture below), and across this bridge

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Heading back up the trail, after the bridge

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Action shot, along the river trail

The climbs were getting harder & harder with the mud, and a had a few slips & falls, and had to hike-a-bike up some sections that were just too steep.  

We saw a few wild monkeys (!) – they were rummaging through the bins – one had a baby monkey on it’s back – amazing to see them in the wild – I think they were fairly used to see people.

We did one awesome section of trail with a flowing downhill segment, and then a shortish climb back up to the 4-way road crossing – we ended up doing the same loop again – and then headed up to ‘twin peaks’.   

There was a bit of a view out over the valley – but it was raining, and cloudy – it would have been a great view over Kuala Lumpur, on a nice clear day.

By now, the trails had rivers of water running down, and we were entirely soaking wet – so we started to head back down to the car.  

Also, it was nearly 7pm – and starting to get dark, so it was getting even more difficult to see the trails – last bit of Singletrack called TNT + Dirty Deeds.   We came out onto the bitumen road for the last section, rode and down through the Equestrian Centre.

Here’s the map of the trails we covered – thanks Stan for being an awesome tour guide !

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Post-Ride Dinner + Beers

After we got back to the car, we decided to ride on the suburban streets – to a local outdoor eatery – where I had to rely on Stan to help with ordering (local language).  

I asked for a Thai Green Curry – but the chef told me (via translation) that it was fairly spicy (!) – so I opted for a Pad Thai noodle dish – and we ordered some beers too.

We had the courtyard to ourselves – it was raining still – but we were totally soaking wet – so didn’t bother us.   Stan said that they often head to the same place after rides – and so he knew the local staff.

Over noodles & some Tiger beers, we chatted about Australia & Malaysia, and the various cultural, religious, social & economical differences – and personal family situations with up-coming Christmas & Chinese New Year.  

It turns out Stan went to university in Melbourne, and lived there for five years – so we knew some similar areas & suburbs.

He & his wife are hoping to come to Melbourne again – hopefully for a work placement (residency visa) – and so I’ll have to take him out to Lysterfield for some trails.

After we’d finished a few beers – the rain had stopped (doh !) – and we rode slowly back to the car – and loaded up the bikes.    I had to sit on some newspaper as I was still sopping wet – and didn’t want to get mud on the leather seats (nice car, Stan !)

It was a fairly easy drive back to the hotel – and I said goodbye to my new biking buddy about 9.30.   

Wow – what a great afternoon + evening – some great trails, and a unique wilderness – and good local knowledge.   And, lots of chatting over noodles & beer.

Thanks Stan – hope to see you in Melbourne sometime !