Kuala Lumpur’s Top Hidden Hikes

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Kuala Lumpur is one hell of a city. It’s the quintessential melting pot of cultures, Malay, Chinese, and Indian vibes blend to form something unique. 

Every day tourists flock to the Malaysian metropolis. Most do so to try the world-renowned food, soak up the sublime skyline and enjoy a little real therapy at one of the city’s many malls. 

But get this, there’s a little secret that you should know. Kuala Lumpur is not just about eating and shopping in shiny air-conditioned environments. Sure it is that with bells on. But it’s also a hikers’ paradise.

Surprising right? Across town hidden among the concrete and glass are pockets of jungle that have (so far) escaped the developers’ notice or are on plots of land too awkward to build on. And they are waiting to be explored. 

So if you find yourself in the Malaysian capital with a day or two to kill, look at this selection of downtown KL jungle hikes and take your pick. All are easy to reach by public transport or a short Grab ride from your hotel or hostel.  

Oh, and by the by, “Bukit” is the Malay word for hill. Happy trails!

P.S – If you’re looking for even more great Kuala Lumpur hikes I’ve written about them here but the ones below are a selection of my favourite .

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Bukit Kiara: A Local Favourite

Topping at just 258 metres, Bukit Kiara isn’t the tallest hill in town but that doesn’t stop a hike up it quickly becoming the sweatiest day of your life. This is Kuala Lumpur after all. 

Just 20 minutes from downtown and sitting on a tract of (so far) undeveloped land between the busy neighbourhoods of Taman Tun Dr Ismail and Bukit Damansara, Bukit Kiara is very popular at the weekends with local hikers, runners and mountain bikers trying to escape the concrete elsewhere. 

There’s a maze of trails leading through the dense jungle foliage, and get this, there are a bunch of chattering monkeys too! Who doesn’t love monkeys?  

There is a lot of love for this pocket of jungle amongst locals. You can tell as almost every twist and turn has been given an affectionate nickname.

As you climb to the peak keep your eyes peeled for the Bamboo Tunnel, the Serenity Tree, the Angkor Wat Rock and even Starbucks Corner. 

Bukit Gasing: A Gentle Jungle Jaunt

Bukit Gasing Forest Park is 100 acres of protected woodland on the border between Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya. 

Bukit Gasing itself is only 180 metres high so don’t arrive expecting to see vertiginous views of the city below. Do however come for relaxing forest trails where you can wander carefree amongst some fine jungle greenery. 

The city is mere metres away but here, under the leafy canopy serenaded by bird song, you could be a million miles from civilisation..

As well as the opportunity to lighten your soul with a little forest bathing there is also the world-famous (in Kuala Lumpur at least) Bukit Gasing Suspension Bridge. 

Picture the rope bridge in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, now shrink it tenfold. Now, it’s not remotely scary but it is still a cool little addition to an already fun jungle hike. 

Bukit Gasing Malaysia

Bukit Saga: Waterfall Scramble 

Located close to the Cheras District in the city’s southeast is Bukit Saga. This is a genuine stretch of untouched jungle surrounded by cityscape. A real hidden hikers’ paradise. 

The first section of this hike is a sweaty 410-metre climb to the peak where you will be met by a homemade rest area. This is kind of a Kuala Lumpur special found on many of the city’s hills.

Proud local residents take it upon themselves to set up a lounge area with benches and hammocks, free for all who make it to the top to enjoy.  There’s even a makeshift gym where you can put in your reps as if the climb wasn’t tiring enough! 

Now you can call it quits here and head back down, or you can wipe the sweat from your brow and plough on deeper into the bush. 

What’s great about Bukit Saga is unlike the other hikes mentioned here the hill is part of a larger stretch of undeveloped land. And there is an out-and-back jungle hike from the peak to a splishy splashy waterfall.

Now, this hike is a real scramble fest and not for everyone. There are a lot of ups and downs, you will need to use your hands a lot. Watch out for all the jungle regulars such as spiders, snakes and hidden roots waiting to send you tumbling down a slope. 

You are gonna get hella sweaty but dunking your head in a waterfall at the end and feeling like an old-school explorer makes it all worthwhile. 

Bukit Saga: Waterfall Scramble 

Bukit Sri Bintang: A Little Hill with A Big View

This diminutive tract of land between the Kepong and Desa Park City areas appears to have escaped the developers’ concrete, by simply being too awkward a shape to build on. 

It’s for sure not the highest hill in town, the hike isn’t the most adventurous and the jungle foliage isn’t the most jungley, so what has io going for it? 

Well, time your visit well, arrive at the golden hour just as the sun is setting and you will be treated to one hell of a view across the Mount Kiara landscape and the Kuala Lumpur skyline. 

Bukit Sri Bintang: A Little Hill with A Big View

Final thoughts: Go Get Sweaty

So there it is, four jungle-filled reasons to leave the air conditioning and shopping malls behind and go get as sweaty as can be. Have fun but please go careful now, take sunscreen and load up on water. 

The heat and bustle of downtown Kuala Lumpur can become overpowering to even the most worldly travellers. So even if you are in town for just a few days, taking a few hours out to explore a little bit of jungle can be a great free way to reset and unwind. 

There will always be a Starbucks waiting for you on your return! 



  • Mike

    Mike McLeish is the head hiker, chief boot cleaner, and master sandwich maker at HikerHero.com HQ, a blog dedicated to inspiring you to lace up your hiking boots and explore the great outdoors.

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