Bukit Tabur is just over 30 minutes away by car from the city of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, but it is not a well-known place for tourists. Many who visit the city with large buildings and terraced pools remain oblivious to the existence of such natural beauty so close to the metropolis. So did I.
I actually found that Kuala Lumpur is surrounded by mountains when I visited the KL Tower and could overlook the surroundings of the city. I thought to myself that it should be something interesting in there to explore, and I was right. It might sound stupid, but sometimes I find unexplored places by looking at the map and spotting a blue area. If there is a lake, the surroundings must be quite nice.
Why is it illegal to hike Bukit Tabur?
That was when I found Bukit Tabur. Bukit Tabur overlooks the Klang Gates Dam, a place surrounded by mountains and forests. There is not much about this place on the web and I only found it cause of my research tactic. Bukit Tabur was once a tourist point of contact with nature made through mountain trails. I say once because nowadays it is illegal to hike these mountains. Access to Bukit Tabur became illegal after some tourists died while doing this mountain hike. This is known as a very difficult hike as the path is rough and very rocky with some climbing points too. I know that in the past, some excursions took place during the night so that you could reach the highest point of the mountain to see the sunrise, which I believe did not help anything and only contributed to these deaths.
Knowing this, I was a little afraid to venture alone on the mountain. I even asked in some Facebook groups about doing this hike on my own. I was totally advised against taking the journey alone and alerted to illegality and that if I was caught I could end up at a police station.
But this did not move me. I thought to myself: how can it be so hard that I can’t do it alone? If I feel like I can no more, I simply turn back. I’m not stupid enough to put my life in danger…I mean… At least I tried …
In this Facebook group, I couldn’t find a companion to venture with me to Bukit Tabur, so I went alone towards the mountain. I’m used to walking in the forest alone anyway, so it won’t be anything new. How can it be worst than trekking in a bikini in Con Dao?
From Kuala Lumpur to Bukit Tabur
To get there I take the metro to Wangsa Maju station, which is the one I find closest to where I want to go. Then I called a Grab, who I confess I was afraid not to be available to order cause I am already quite far from the city. The trip by car from Wangsa Maju to the base of the mountain takes just over 10 minutes and there I was in the middle of nowhere alone. Nothing is happening here, but there are still a few houses.
Bukit Tabur hike
There are two distinct paths to reach the top of the mountain, but I am heading to Bukit Tabur West. The road is closed with a gate, but before reaching the gate, I see a lot of yellow tape around a path drawn in the forest. The tape was obviously there with the goal of aware people not to go, so this is my starting point. I confess I felt a rebel for doing it and knowing that is forbidden put a lot of stress on my back all the time. The only thing I was wishing for was to not see people. Although this trail is closed, there are still several people who do it. You can even find tours on the web to come here with a local guide for around 40€ / 50€ – I thought it was expensive and with less than 10€ I did everything myself.
I know that I am in the forest and that there are wild animals here. I am always afraid of the animals I may encounter when I walk in the forest, but this time I was more afraid of meeting people and ending up in a police station. The trail start is very steep and rocky, as well as 90% of the trails I did, and there were so many but so many mosquitoes that I couldn’t even stop to decide where to put my next foot or I would be eaten by 30 mosquitoes perched on my legs. I forgot the repellent … Take repellent, please! Fortunately, I only found this absurd number of mosquitoes in the first 5 minutes, otherwise, it was going to be a horrible hike.
I did not know how long will I have to hike to be able to see the Klang Gates Dam, or Bukit Tabur Dam, which is hidden on the other side of the mountain. This was my goal during this hike, to be able to see the water from a high point, something that to my amazement was possible in a little while more than 10 minutes of the trail. My goal was not to do the trail until the end but to enjoy a breathtaking landscape.
I am happy with the view because I think that at least I did not come here in vain. I can see the lake on one side of the mountain and the city on the other, but I feel like I’m not too high yet. However, I already know very well which side of the view I prefer.
I’m already amazed by the view and the following rocks ahead don’t seem frightening so I’m still going further. I understand why people say it is dangerous because the path has a lot of rocks, but I still do not understand very well why so much reluctance in going alone. I didn’t find the Bukit Tabur hike very difficult. Maybe it’s because I didn’t reach the highest point that requires vertical rock climbing from what I saw in photos. I ended up doing more than half of this trail that lasted about 40 minutes.
In this part of the hike that I did, there were several ropes at some of the most critical points to help climb, and some parts that were a bit scary, but nothing that wasn’t rewarded by the view.
The featured image shows the best view I had and the farthest I went. It is enchanting. I can see the other mountains in the background where I started the hike. They seem so far away! The view over the water surrounded by nature is relaxing and rewarding. I am grateful to be able to spend a few minutes here enjoying the surroundings, which include the sounds of various birds and insects as well. That typical forest tune. I managed to see a Gibbon and a very beautiful bird with attractive colors. This fact made the hike even more exciting. I wasn’t expecting to see Gibbons here at all! Everything was surprising because there is not much about this place on the internet so I was heading to the unknown. That’s why I had no idea that I would also have a great view of the city from here. I can identify the Petronas towers far away. But nature, trees, and the lake are my favorite sight. I am relieved to have decided to come because it was worth it. I seriously thought about not doing it because of Facebook advisors…
Ahead of me, the path is traced on the rock. I need to recline my head all the way back to be able to see the very top. But as soon as I lift my head, I also see some dark clouds in the sky. I need to make a decision as I believe that I already got a view that was worth it and that walking this trail in the rain will not be funny, since the path will be super slippery as it’s mainly on rocks. Seems like I have learned nothing from my experience in Con Dao and walked until the clouds couldn’t get darker. I decided to go back but it was again too late.
I think to myself that the rain must still take some time to fall, but I was sadly mistaken. It wasn’t more than 5 minutes after I decided to go back that the rain finally falls. I start to stress. I know the trail ahead is still long and it will become slippery and dangerous to do. But that didn’t stop me to walk fast and less cautious. In fact, I was so afraid that the rocks would get too slippery, that I made my way back a lot faster. That meant making a long-distance almost crawling to be as close to the rocks as possible. In case I slipped, I wouldn’t get hurt as I was already on the floor haha.
It starts to rain heavily and the heavier the rain gets the wetter I get. I don’t want to be soaked again in the middle of the forest, just like it happened in Con Dao. In fact, I found myself thinking: what bad luck, whenever I decide to go to the forest it had to rain …
The way back was therefore not to enjoy the scenery. A bear may have passed by my side and I didn’t even see him, I didn’t take my eyes off the floor! I was already pretty wet when I finally reached the final stretch of the trail and could see the road. However, I saw a car stopped right in front of the forest access area that was covered with yellow tape, and I heard an engine running. I think: damn it, I can’t believe that now that I’ve reached the end of the trail and a shelter from the rain is only a few meters away, I’m going to have to stay hidden here waiting for the car to go.
I hid behind a tree and wait while I feel the rain dropping inside my t-shirt. The car is taking so long to move… I start to suspect that they knew I was there and were waiting for me. Why are they taking so long to leave? I started to get tired of waiting while I got soaked and I thought that if they were going to catch me, at least I will go with a prepared speech.
-I’m so ridiculous- I’m pretty good at overthinking as you can read about my India experience that I now am ashamed of reading. I feel ridiculous for having such thoughts and later I realized how stupid I was.
I decided to go ahead and be whatever God wants. I decided to go down to the sheltered place and noticed that the car stopped in there and the sound I heard, did not come from the same place… It was just a parked car, with no one inside. I can’t believe I stayed for 5 minutes, which seemed a lot longer, in the rain for no reason. Sometimes it is better to remain in ignorance. If I hadn’t read these things about going to the police station, I wouldn’t have been making up things where they don’t exist.- See how good I am at overthinking?
From Bukit Tabur to Kuala Lumpur
I managed to drain my clothes because they were so wet. I tried to call a Grab to go back to the metro station, but I’m afraid this place is too deserted to have any moving car nearby. And so it was. I tried several times and the verdict was always the same: we don’t have drivers available at the moment.
It was still raining but slightly at this time. I will have to walk 15 minutes to the nearest bus stop. Nothing was going on here. It was a completely quiet place and few cars passed by me. I found myself laughing again in the rain alone and thinking that the day was exciting. Apparently, getting drenched in the forest puts a smile on my face.
There were several buses at the station, but none seemed to be departing soon or going where I wanted to. I decided to try “Grab” a few more times since there is already more population here. After 5 minutes of trying to get a car, I finally got one. I was extremely happy. Nothing could make me happier at that moment. I was tired and shivering cold. I just wanted to get to the hostel and take a hot shower. I do the same way back by metro and about 30 minutes later I was at the hostel. – To mention that the view from Metro station Wangsa Maju is actually cool.
I was very happy about this day and that I made the decision to visit Bukit Tabur and escape Kuala Lumpur hustle and bustle.
Take your food and drinks with you so you can enjoy your snacks or lunch at the mountain.