Sri Bintang Hill: A Secluded Hiking Trail with Sunset Views of Kuala Lumpur
Need a quick no-nonsense injection of nature into your city-weary soul. Well, come on down to Sri Bintang Hill to stretch your legs and get an eyeful of Kuala Lumpur’s impressive cityscape.
It’s not the most challenging walk in the world but with two peaks connected by a maze of split trails it’s a fun spot for a couple of hours of exploration.
Plus the views are spot on with the Batu Caves, Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower all shimmering in the distance.
Oh, and yes. It does have monkeys and it does have a makeshift jungle gym. So a win-win in my book. Ah, but it also has big spiders. So maybe we will make that a win-win-lose.
I also heart Sri Bintang Hill.
Planning Your Own Walk – A Sri Bintang Hill Itinerary
Sri Bintang Hill (Bukit Sri Bintang) is a tiny island of hilly jungle located between Kepong and Desa Park City.
It used to be part of the more extensive forested area that extends south, a forest reserve in fact that included Bukit Kiara. But it seems reserve in KL means “reserved for a motorway”. As a big ass road now separates the two. Concrete wins again.
Bukit Sri Bintang itself is a rough L shape with the jungle bits separated by a deforested area, kinda in a long stripe through the middle. It looks like it was cleared for pylons.
The two peaks sit on this cleared treeless area and you can easily take the paths that lead between the two. Or you can delve back into the bush and wander around. The route we followed did a bit of both.
Getting there and away
Grab is great but avoid rush hour. What should’ve been a 25 min hop across town turned into 70 min crawl through traffic. Going back was much easier, we waited less than five mins for a ride.
Public Transport: Not great really. The closest train station is Segambut, about a 40 min walk away. While in terms of buses the T115 and T109 will get you closer but who knows how buses work?
There’s a bit of parking in the housing area at the trailhead on Jalan Sri Bintang. Just looked like a side of the road job. So you know, check for yellow lines etc. I shall not be footing any bills if you get a ticket!
Looks quite tyre-ing doesn’t it? Tyre-ing gettit? Hahahaha.
My Sri Bintang Hill Trail Experience
Late but lucky
Dear reader, I’m assuming you’re a smarter cat than me so you likely don’t need this advice. But I’ll tell you anyway. Don’t do what we did and try and catch a Grab across central Kuala Lumpur during the evening rush hour.
What a silly decision indeed.
What should’ve been a simple 25 minute jaunt became a 70 minute slog through traffic, and that’s no fun. Especially as we wanted to hike and had no desire to do it in the pitch black.
We eventually arrived at the trailhead at Jalan Seri Bintang 8 (also known as Jalan 11/36) at around 6pm.
So we only had about an hour before the sun disappeared completely. Not ideal. We had no desire to get lost in the woods. But it also meant we would get a sunset. Luckily Sara (my beloved) had today deemed me worthy of her company. Sunset with my girl. How romantic!
Absolutely classic example of some monkey business. Monkey Business 101.
A Bit of Early Monkey Business
As a millennial I have no time for delayed gratification. I want what I want and I want it now. So I love it when my desires are met immediately. When I go on a Kuala Lumpur hike I want to see monkeys! Is that too much to ask?!
Apparently no! Bukit Sri Bintang gave me monkeys on a plate with no waiting. We had barely stepped out of the Grab before a flock of monkeys made themselves known.
They were frolicking around on the scaffolding outside a recently built home. Swinging around, doing pull-ups, you know your general run-of-the-mill monkey business.
We watched for a while wondering what happens when the scaffolding comes down and someone moves in.
Do the monkeys just move on? Do you have to get the monkey removal experts in? Do you just throw a load of bananas into the next door neighbours garden and cross your fingers? Answers on a postcard please (or in the comments below).
Yep, leg day is here again. Feel the burn.
Up We Go
The main trail starts climbing with some makeshift stairs through some pretty forest. Maybe due to the time of day or just luck but the hill was empty. We barely saw any other hikers at all.
The trail itself is fairly easy to follow, there are a fair amount of split paths leading off in different directions amongst the many trees. But it’s generally easy enough to know what direction you are travelling in.
The tree section. Watch out for face-hugging spiders!
Navigation is especially easy when you emerge out of the trees to the area between the twin peaks as this area must have been chopped down for the pylons. It seems deforestation across Malaysia is ramping up everywhere. Sad times for sure, but good times for finding your way.
The path to the top is clear. All you gotta do is walk it!
The first peak we hit up was the smaller of the two, closer to Desa Park City. There’s a nifty rope swing close by and the MCO Cafe rest stop. Not sure what the MCO stands for but they sell coffee.
After that we ventured back into the southern side of the hill and into the trees again before completing a loop around and back up to the second peak.
I never knew KL had the Olympics? Then again there’s lots of things I don’t know.
Golden Hour Glory
The nice thing about our mess up with the rushhour Grab is we ended up peaking at the exact right moment to catch the sunset in all its golden glory.
I have photographer friends who won’t stop banging on about their precious Golden Hour and you know what, they are freakin right. Everything looks so magical at that time of day.
We played around at the peak in the golden light, popping out a few reps on the makeshift jungle gym the locals have installed up there. Whilst enjoying the long views over the city.
In the far distance the light glimmered of the Petronas Towers. It was all very lovely indeed.
There I am now, operating at peak performance.
The only thing letting it down slightly is that towering above you is a dirty great massive pylon.
And as you can see its pesky power lines get in the way of view. It kinda ruins the jungly feeling standing under such a glaring man made object.
Quite a view of the famous Petronas Towers and some less lovely power wires.
Spidey Sense in Overdrive
After a short break and with the light fading, we had to backtrack and make it back down the steep path to the start point before it got too dark,
I consider myself a brave-ish kinda man. I’m not spooked by much but there is definitely something unnerving about walking on jungle trails in the twilight. It gets your spidey sense tingling.
Logically I knew there were no big jungle beasties out there in the bushes but it didn’t stop me finding tiger faces in the patterns of the leaves (a phenomenon known as pareidolia for any word nerds out there).
Fortunately Sara was with me to hold my hand.
I’m not ashamed to say I let out a giant very unmanly shriek when I nearly walked face first into the biggest spider I’d ever seen in the wild. Just dangling there with its hairy legs as big as my fingers.
Thankfully, I think it was as shocked as I was. Most Malaysian hikers to Sri Bintang are probably a foot or so shorter than me so pass merrily underneath the spider’s lair. Not this giant. I just smash into their peaceful webs with my dumb face. Doh!
If you’re interested Malaysia has some freaky looking spiders you can’t find anywhere else. Arachnophobics please don’t click that link.
Anyway after that shock we hotfooted it down to the trailhead, reaching the entrance in near darkness. Fear not, we summoned a Grab chariot to ferry us home and it was with us in minutes, quicker than any jungle Gruffalo could get to us!
Those pesky pylons look pretty cool in this pic. Less so in person.
Final Thoughts: Sri Win-Tang or Sri In-The-Bin-Tang?
I liked hiking Bukit Sri Bintang. Although hike seems like too big a word. It’s not big enough to hike. Maybe “visit” is a better word. I liked visiting Sri Bintang. Think of it as a quick leg session at the gym.
Of all my Kuala Lumpur mini jungle island hikes so far it was probably the least jungly and the hardest to imagine that we weren’t still in the heart of a city. But that could be just me.
On all the other hikes there were moments when if you stopped for a moment you could easily think you were a hundred miles from civilisation. Here with pylons running overhead you really couldn’t.
But that’s not to say we didn’t enjoy it. We did. A lot. And if you like your walks with impressive views of a city then so far Sri Bintang is the winner.
It would be interesting to see if there was a way to link up hiking between this hike and Bukit Kiara, I don’t know if it’s possible with all the construction that’s happened but maybe one day I’ll be back and can investigate.
Well, until next time trail warriors, watch out for dinner plate-sized spiders in your path. You never know when you might come eye to eight eyes with one.