Get out of the city and into the jungle, and join me on one of Kuala Lumpur’s most casual green adventures to Bukit Gasing Forest Park.
Spread over 100 acres of secondary forest marking the boundary between Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya.
This isn’t the most physically taxing or even the most interesting hike in town but for one to two hours it is a great little escape for nature lovers, ideal for family outings and has different trails to suit any fitness level.
Intrigued? Well read on and I’ll throw in a dramatic tale about a dragonfly for free.
Rope bridges with beware of the snakes signs. Snake bridges! What more could you want?!
Just like Bukit Kiara hike in Kuala Lumpur, the area of Bukit Gasing Forest Reserve is less one hike and more a maze of routes across a myriad of jungle trails for you to explore at will.
Whatever your fitness level, energy level or available free time, there will be a trail for you.
I fired up AllTrails and opted for the Bukit Gasing Loop. Why? Well, a) I love a good looped walk and b) I saw the words “suspension bridge” and c) it was under two hours so it fit in with my schedule.
I’m a busy and important man don’t you know.
What to bring
The joy of these jungle hikes is the concrete jungle is mere metres away so you don’t have to bring much of anything. Find a vantage point high enough and you’ll probably see 7-Eleven.
That said, bring drinks. Bring mosquito spray. And bring proper shoes, no flippy flops.
Getting there and away
Easy and convenient. Just type in Bukit Gasing Hiking Trail and that will get you to the main entrance.
I didn’t see much parking when I entered the park at the main entrance to the west. Although it wasn’t busy and the entrance is on a residential street so you could easily park around there.
I’ve read elsewhere there are ample parking spaces near other Bukit Gasing entrances such as the Pantai Hill entrance near the Lembah Pantai Community Centre. And also a parking lot at the Taman Rimba Bukit Kerinchi entrance to the southeast.
But I didn’t see these with my own eyes so I can’t say for certain.
Bukit Gasing park is officially open 6am – 7pm, which is fair enough. Nobody wants to wander around the jungle in the dark.
Pre-Hike Routine: Coffee Before Everything
My Kuala Lumpur hiking adventure began as almost all adventures in KL, at a Starbucks in a mall. I know, not exactly exotic. But hey, this is KL you work with what you’ve got.
I also like to think if I start these green escape hikes in the most boring city-type-place possible like a Starbucks in a mall, it increases the experience of contrast when I get into the jungle. Mall to the jungle in less than an hour. What a whirlwind!
In terms of transport, I’ve been laying my head near Lalaport Mall so my nearest stop on the MRT is Hang Tuah. I changed at Masjid Jamek and jumped off at Taman Jaya. From there it was a thoroughly pleasant 25min stroll to the Bukit Gasing entrance.
The train ticket was around 3.5 ringgit too. Pretty cool to go on adventures like this for less than 10 ringgit round trip (roughly £2 for any UK people reading this).
Good luck trying to go anyway for £2 in the UK.
Super boring photo at the train station. Stick with me, it gets more interesting. I promise.
The whole journey from Lalaport Mall to the Bukit Gasing entrance is about an hour. While a Grab would’ve taken just 15 mins. So why wouldn’t I Grab it? Grab works great in Kuala Lumpur.
Well, I’ll tell you why.
Public transport is one of the best ways to get to know a new city. Trains go places cars can’t, you often get glimpsed views into workplaces, homes etc, that you don’t from a taxi window.
Plus the more leisurely pace feels like a more natural way to start a hiking adventure. It gives you time to think about what lies ahead. It eases you in. At least it usually does.
Unless you get a little drama as I did. Sat on the MTR surrounded by locals I was lost in daydreams until my gaze fell on a dragonfly which had found itself in the carriage.
R.I.P Flappy Flapperson, you brave warrior of the skies.
Huh, maybe he’s catching a lift back to the Bukit Gasing Hill so he can be with his mates in the jungle.
I watched the little fella flit about over the heads of others until he got sucked dramatically onto a vent in the ceiling. Eek! I wanted to rush to his aid but a lifetime of BBC documentaries had taught me don’t interfere with nature.
That and I didn’t want to look like a weirdo on the train running to the aid of an insect.
Twitching his last twitch it looked like he met his fate by being fried on the heat of the grill.
Nobody but me noticed his bizarre and gruesome end. Poor Flappy Flapperson (as I christened him posthumously), this article is dedicated to your memory.
Anyway, I told you the trains were all part of the adventure.
Now on with the hike!
Petaling Jaya, what a pleasant part of town to be.
After the high drama of the train, it was lovely to step off at Taman Jaya station and have a jolly stroll through the streets of Petaling Jaya.
What a thoroughly pleasant neighbourhood. If Malaysia wasn’t so incredibly sweaty I could imagine myself living here. Lots of peaceful pretty houses and all just a few stops on the train from downtown.
Stocking up on snack bars and a couple of bottles of 100Plus (see Taman Tugu hike for more on my love of 100Plus). I came across the main entrance. Also known as the Petaling Jaya entrance.
It would be virtually impossible to miss the main entrance. There is a great big very unsubtle sign wishing me a hearty “Selamat Datang” to Bukit Gasing Park. That’s welcome for those of you who don’t speak fluent Malay.
They look like they are doing a bit of work at the entrance right now (February 2023) to upgrade the path. So hey, you have that to look forward to at some point. A nice new bit of path.
Selmat Datang (welcome) to Bukit Gasing.
The very first thing I saw as I stepped into Bukit Gasing Park was a sign telling me to beware of snakes. Which instantly put me on edge. Not that I’m scared of snakes, I just don’t like the idea of them jumping out on me whilst I’m wandering alone in the woods.
It was at this point I might’ve started sweating a little. But as this is Kuala Lumpur I was already as sweaty as a human person can be before they are scientifically declared water.
I do however like monkeys and If you’re reading this hoping I encounter some of this hike – spoiler alert – I don’t.
I know I was disappointed too. I knew there were long-tailed macaques in Bukit Gasing but the sneaky bastards must have heard my big flappy foreign feat coming and hidden away.
I did see a load of bullet ants though. Eek. You don’t wanna step on these fellas.
Watch your feet. These guys have quite a nip.
As I ambled around the 90-minute loop of Bukit Gasing soaking up the lush jungle around me, coming up with names for the various flora around me. Floppy Leaf Larry, Pokey Leafed Percie. That kinda thing.
I was once again amazed at how close I was to the metropolis of Kuala Lumpur and yet felt like I was in another world.
If I strained my old man ears hard enough on the trail I could hear the faint hum of trains and at some points the calls of nearby residents but I may have even imagined them.
I was pretty freaked out at one point when I heard two gunshots. At least they sounded like gunshots. A little unnerving. I checked my body for holes but nothing came from it so it could’ve been another jungle dream.
Amaran! Beware of the giant black worms.
I was walking Bukit Gasing on a weekday afternoon, not exactly peak time, and I saw a handful of guys on the hiking trails, that’s it.
They were pretty much all rocking the standard Kuala Lumpur hikers set up of a bum bag + umbrella + towel draped over the head. It’s a look.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing it. Every part of this uniform makes sense.
At one point I heard the faint sound of music through the trees ahead. Turned out to be a trio of older guys casually strolling through the jungle playing classical tunes on their phones with their hands clasped behind their backs.
Rocking bum bags and towels on heads of course. We shared a nod but no words. It was a lovely moment.
Typical Malaysian hiking uniform.
Apart from these chaps, the only other encounters I had in Bukit Gasing were with the helicopter-sized mosquitoes. The same giant ones who plagued my Taman Tugu adventure.
Slow down for a moment or dare to stop still for a second and they are on you.
Bring spray. Bring lots of spray.
The highest point is only 160 metres so Bukit Gasing doesn’t have a summit. Well, it does but it’s not much of a view. I wouldn’t come to Gasing Hill just for the “hill” bit.
There is another viewpoint of sorts, a kinda platform where a watch tower used to be. But the view is mainly of the sides of trees. There are no sweeping vistas to be had. Or maybe I just didn’t come across them.
So what’s the main attraction of this old rubber plantation? Well, nature’s miraculous power to lighten the soul of course. Shinrin-yoku the Japanese call it, which translates as forest bathing.
But apart from 100 acres of lovely secondary forest to bathe in, which in the fast-growing climate of Malaysia means some legit decent jungly trees. There are many interesting landmarks such as an abandoned house covered in moss, a Telekom tower, a Hindu temple, the killer stairs, and a kinda cool steel bridge.
But the best of the lot is the Bukit Gasing Suspension Bridge.
Look out for Indie and the crocodiles!
You will find the bridge halfway around the Bukit Gasing Loop Trail. And you know what, it was pretty freaky cool.
Imagine that bridge in the film Indiana Jones Temple of Doom. The one our hero Indi has to fight his way across before chopping the ropes and sending the baddies into the crocodiles below.
Imagine that but ten times scarier. Ok, not scarier, much less scary. Not scary at all. But it’s a fun little feature.
It was a little sketchy, a bit rickety crickety, and there were signs saying one person at a time, but it was safe enough.
Me being Indiana Jones
The infamous Killer Stairs! Spoiler alert: You’ll survive.
After the bridge you’ve got a steep climb ahead of you, these are the “killer stairs”, or “stairway to heaven”. I’ve noticed a trend so far on the different hikes I’ve done in Kuala Lumpur for naming parts of the trails with quirky names.
Bukit Kiara had “Serenity Tree” and “Angkor Wat Rock”, and here at Bukit Gasing they have the “Killer Stairs”.
I think it must come from a lot of the parks having “Friends of” groups. These are local residents, regulars who come together with other hikers and take it upon themselves to be guardians of their local “green lung”.
Bukit Gasing is no different. There’s a Friends of Bukit Gasing gang who care for the many trails and I for one salute them.
I would give them one piece of advice however. Your trail maps are confusing and there aren’t enough of them. Although I don’t know if you are in charge of that. So apologies if not.
I relied on Alltrails for my trail map needs and it worked most well indeed. That said, you can’t get too lost when there is a city around you in every direction.
After the stairs, there are some super narrow bits. Nothing wrong with them but my snake radar was twitching at this point.
I didn’t see anything but I armed myself with a good stick just in case a slithery assassin launched itself at me and I had to hit it for a home run.
Another fun suspension bridge to finish with.
I finished my Bukit Gasing adventure by emerging from the park by a bridge that leads to some apartments. It’s very cool that these locals have the jungle right on their doorstep.
I found a spot to take a rest. Finished off my tasty brunch bar. Rung the sweat out of my shirt and relaxed.
At least I started to. The mozzies gave me three minutes but then the vampire swarm descended out of the forest and back into modern Kuala Lumpur.
Out of three Kuala Lumpur “green lung” city hikes I’ve done this week. I’d say Bukit Gasing Forest Park is currently my second favourite.
Not as much fun as Taman Tugu but more enjoyable than Bukit Kiara. Let’s see how Sri Bintang Hill hike fairs on tomorrow’s adventure.
Bukit Gasing is an all-around chilled-out experience. My 90 minutes of walking were probably just about right.
There are several trails if you wanted you could easily add on some extra trails to increase your hiking time.
I’d definitely now consider myself an unofficial friend of Bukit Gasing.
Well until we meet again Hiker Heroes, happy trails!
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
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