Hiking Day Trip In Kuala Lumpur

Monday, September 3, 2018



Yes, you read the title right. Who would have known that this natural beauty can be found in a concrete jungle like the city of Kuala Lumpur? Well, I didn't! Like most Singaporeans, I grew up having visited our neighbouring country a lot and for me, Kuala Lumpur happen to be the city in Malaysia that I visit the most because I have relatives living there. However, like most Singaporeans too, I never knew that this existed just thirty minutes away from the city centre. It was crazy how surreal the feeling was to witness this view after two to three hours of scampering through the dense forest of Bukit Tabur.




The Story of Bukit Tabur

Just a little backstory - Bukit Tabur (Read: Tabur Hill) is located in the quiet neighbourhood of Melawati, just outside of the city centre of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The hill is a popular hiking spot for locals and tourists, and is a part of the Klang Gate Quarts Ridge. It is actually quite an important natural feature (the ridge, not the hill) because of it's size and because it's the largest 100% quartz ridge in the world.

For more geographical information on Bukit Tabur, click here

Unfortunately, there have been a lot of serious cases following the trails of Bukit Tabur, where there had been fatal accidents happening at different checkpoints on the hills. I read about it through an online article here and here, and our guide was also very transparent about it during our hike. Even so, with all due respect to the victims, I think that it's really really important to keep your safety in check by hiring a professional guide who knows the terrains well, not go where you're unsure or unfamiliar with the terrain / route and also practice safe hiking habit while on the trail itself.


During our hike, we actually spot some young hikers climbing without proper gear, blindly following their friends who've been there once or simply following their "instincts" on which path to follow and even using ropes that previous hikers have setup and left behind. Our guide Ben reminded us time and time again, to not use those ropes or any other equipment that you may find in the forest because a) you don't know the integrity of the ropes and how long it has been there, b) the rope can fray any time because it was left in the sun and rain for days or months or even years and c) your safety is much more important that to get on that top ridge for just a photo.


The Booking Process

I first stumbled upon this activity while searching for an apartment on Airbnb. You know how when you search for accommodations and somehow the SEO detects your plans for the trip and the suggestive ads start popping up? Well Airbnb does all that (within it's own website) with the new addition of Airbnb experiences. The booking process and system is exactly the same that of Airbnb apartments, just that instead of experiencing houses, you experience activities with locals.




The price actually caught me off guard at first because it's almost SGD70 per person, just for an activity. If you convert that to Malaysian Ringgit it's almost MYR210 per pax, which is kinda steep when you first look at it and I was still contemplating to almost a week before our trip. But after thinking it through and weighing out what we're getting for that price, Fazwan told me to go ahead with the booking because it turns out to be quite a reasonable amount and pretty value for money if you consider everything individually. 


What you get: 
  • A professional and certified guide 
  • Private pick-up and drop-off to your location choice
  • Simple gloves and rain poncho for the hike
  • Snacks and fruits during the hike
  • An authentic local meal after the hike
  • An experience of a lifetime, of course! 


If you're anything like me, this section is absolutely useful to you. I like to read and my decision making relies a lot on photos reviews from people who have experienced it first hand - be it activities, events, places or even accommodation - which is why I take writing reviews seriously. 

Once you've decided that you want to go on this trip, simply select a date that you're interested in attending it. Some dates were blocked out but there was also a mention that "The dates blocked are for scheduling purposes, alternative date and group size and we will try to accommodate. Message us via Airbnb." So if the date you're interested in isn't available, or if you have any other queries, there is also a link to contact the host directly. It's that easy! 

Now let's move on to the reason you clicked this link - the hiking experience! 


The Hike

The trip started before sunrise and we were told to be ready for pick-up at around 6.30am in the morning. Ben came over with his Range Rover and picked us up from the lobby, before making our way to the neighbourhood of Melawati which, in reference to tourist terms, where Melati Mall is, the closest mall to the National Zoo.




After parking the car at a road side in the Taman Melawati neighbourhood, Ben will start the hike off. This will be the first view of Bukit Tabur that you will see, with some local houses in the foreground. Ben will also stop let us take a shot with Bukit Tabur in the background - a snapshot before all the sweaty faces. 

A small section of the Klang River. 

A simple map of the Klang River to educate folks around the area.


These pipes indicate the start of the hike and the last stretch of flat ground that you will see, so appreciate it while it lasts. From then on, the rest of the hike looks something like the following:




As I mentioned before, Bukit Tabur is a part of a quartz ridge but our guide mentioned that it wasn't the valuable kind - which is why no one bothers to do any digging on this hill because the crystals were not of any value. Nonetheless, the small pieces were really beautiful to look at and some of them are even really clear and shiny! But you gotta be very, very observant to find them amongst the fungus.


A small backpack is really ideal for this trip, for you to fill up the things that you need to bring. On the airbnb activity page, they did not mention what exactly to bring, but upon confirmation of the experience booking, Ben will send in an e-mail to prepare you for the upcoming trip.


Things to bring along on the trek:

  • Drinking Water (1L - 1.5L)
  • Light snacks
  • Insect repellent
  • Small Towel
  • Extra t-shirt and shorts (to be left in vehicle)
  • Slippers/ Flip-flops for after trip
  • Plastic bags for wet clothes / dirty shoes
  • Small backpack to put everything in it

Optional things to bring:
  • Cap / Hat / Sunglasses / Sun block lotion
  • Rain Coat / Poncho
  • Camera




Wan actually slipped and fall down during the hike because his shoes didn't have great gripping. He wore a regular sports shoes that are meant for flat ground or running tracks. Unfortunately for him, the forest soil was a little wet because it rained the night before and while trying to scamper past the trees, he slipped and fell on his bum, scraping both his hands hahaha! 



While we're at this, I think it's apt to mention that in the middle of the hike (after Fazwan has his bad fall) I finally understood why proper shoes are extremely important - for my own safety's sake. Thank god I had these Kalenji Trail Shoes on, because it really assisted with my footing/balancing and the grip at the bottom of the shoes were an excellent help. I'm the type who will use one shoe for everything because it didn't make sense to buy something for a niche activity and then just use it once, but thank god for these. 

Some shots of Ben, our guide for the day. He actually brought his own shock-proof camera to take shots of us during the trip because he didn't want us to drop our cameras during the hike and enjoy the full experience in front of our eyes instead of through the camera. How thoughtful!




You can see how shagged I was! Hahahaha. My fitness level is super low and I did my best to keep up with the group but nonetheless, Ben was really accommodating and ensured that everyone is doing okay throughout the whole hike. We were given quite a lot of breaks during the hike - primarily to catch our breath or also, to grab some photo opportunities. He even provided us with healthy snacks like apples, nuts and reminded us to drink sips of water during those breaks, to ensure that we don't go low on sugar or get dehydrated. 



A shot with the other two hikers that joined us that day! 




It was so insane because on one side of the terrain you have the city view of Kuala Lumpur and when you turn a hundred and eighty degrees, you see a completely different side of this city. I never knew this natural beauty even existed before this, and that's crazy because I visit Kuala Lumpur at least once a year. 





Ben provided us with these "durian" gloves for the hike. I was criticising it at first because it's so ugly and not visually appealing, but at the end of the trip, I was so thankful that I had them on me - these gloves turned out to be a real help, for me especially, because I like to grab on to things while climbing and it didn't help that there were a lot of soil, gravel, rocks, dirty branches and sticky unknown stuff.


I was really really tired and whiny at this point of time hahahahaha. 




Along the way, there were quite a variety of different fruit trees like mangosteen, rambutan and even some durian trees. Ben stopped along the way for us to try the different fruits and introduce them to the foreigners in our group because some of these fruits were seasonal and exclusive only to tropical countries, so it was kind of a new experience for visitors who aren't from Southeast Asia because they probably hadn't seen them before.




There are a number of different viewpoints during the hike and almost every viewpoint was so picture worthy but this has got to be my favourite. It was the hardest to get to because you literally have to be on all fours and climb the rough rocks, but the view was spectacular - all three hundred and sixty degrees of it.  



Once you start seeing the local houses, it means that you're almost reaching the end of the hike! If only you guys could have seen the relieved look on my face when I knew that flat ground was coming again, hahaha!

A random horse that we met at the end of the hike.


After the whole hike, Ben helped set up a portable changing room so that we could change into a fresh set of clothes and knock off all the soil off our shoes before jumping into the back of his jeep. After which,  he drove us to a nearby local restaurant (otherwise known as Kedai Makan Mamak in Malaysia) and treated us to brunch! 

Local Kedai Makan Mamak. 


Seeing that we are Singaporeans and are pretty familiar to this type of food and setting, I felt that it was really polite of Ben to actually check with us if "it was okay" before placing the order. Fazwan and I were completely fine with Mamak food so Ben suggested to order a few different dishes for us to share so that the foreigners in our group could get a taste of everything - seeing that it was their first time in Kuala Lumpur.





I think it's pretty thoughtful of Ben to include this post-hike brunch as a part of the experience, so that foreigners (especially) can get an authentic experience of eating freshly cooked local dishes at an equally authentic local restaurant. It's really rare for you to get this kind of experience if you're on your own.




After the meal, we stopped by the fruits stall for awhile and then Ben drove us back to our individual accommodation. You can also choose to drop off at Batu Caves or any other tourist location if you prefer. During the drive back, Ben even drove past some iconic buildings like the National Museum and shared some fun facts with us. Amazing day it was, indeed! 


What we liked:
The super friendly and knowledgeable guide, Ben from openskyunlimited. You might think that it would be awkward to spend a couple hours with strangers but that's how you make new friends! He shared a lot about his life as well as his passion for the outdoors, cycling and also shared a lot about his beloved country, Malaysia. The pick-up and drop-off made it super convenient for tourists. The yummy and satisfying meal after the trek. We honestly thought that the trip, overall, was really well planned out by certified professionals and definitely worth every cent. 

What we didn't like: 
There wasn't any warm up done before the hike, but there was a short walk to get through the pipes and then you start of with the terrain. I think it wouldn't be an issue for fit people (because Fazwan didn't have a problem) but for those who are not as physically fit (like me) it might have helped to get some stretches in. That's the only thing we didn't like actually. 


The last time that Fazwan and I hiked was way back in March, at the majestic Blue Mountains in Sydney. Well I never expected him to enjoy this experience as much as I do because I've always been the outdoor girl and he's the city guy. Well, we actually did this hike just two days after our anniversary and I'm so happy that he's learnt to grow to love nature and the outdoors. Thank you baby for agreeing on this trip and for being the best partner that I could have ever asked for 


And of course, thank you once again, Ben (From OpenSkyUnlimited) for the great day trip and hiking experience! We sure are glad that we decided to go on with the booking because it definitely was a great day. Personally I feel that the pros outweighs the cons, and this review explains itself. It was a very well planned trip and we certainly enjoyed ourselves. To all my readers, if you are interested to give Airbnb (either apartments or experiences) a try for your next trip, click here to receive more than SGD20 worth of travel credit for your first Airbnb booking!


This review was not written under any pressure, endorsement or sponsorship of any of the parties mentioned. It was written under my own initiative with the sole purpose to share my experiences - both adventures and misadventures. We paid the full amount for this trip and was in no way sponsored or endorsed. All information displayed here are accurate at the time of posting. All visuals and opinions here are as always, my own, unless otherwise stated.
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