Bukit Sapu Tangan can be considered a “baby hill”, only 200 metres or so high, but provides a good workout in sweaty tropical conditions. It is located in Taman Botani Negara Shah Alam (formerly known as the Malaysia Agriculture Park).
Taman Botani is a huge park on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, which once formed part of a vast unspoilt forest but is now hemmed in on all sides by the capital’s fast expanding urban sprawl.
Once inside the park however, you’ll soon forget about the bustle of the city as the sounds, sights and smells of the jungle take over.
If you’re there on a public holiday, the main trails within the park will be busy with lots of traffic, particularly from cyclists as bikes can be hired from inside the park.
The terrain is quite hilly and unless you are super fit and have a bike with good gears, you end up pushing your bike uphill for much of the way. A word of advice – mums and dads should avoid renting their own bikes as they will spend most of the time pushing their children along.
The path to Bukit Sapu Tangan is marked with a sign showing a distance of 1.8km. This distance, and the fact that the path becomes narrower and steeper, is enough to put off most visitors and almost no one hikes in this section.
But it is still a tarmac path, making it relatively easy to walk on with no need to worry about snakes and other creepy crawlies.
Apart from a few skink lizards, small birds and the sound of monkeys crashing around in the treetops, a hike won’t come across much wildlife.
At the top of the hill is a concrete and wood-view tower from which one can get a somewhat hazy view of the Shah Alam City Centre and beyond.
The view from this side gives an idea of the scale of the park but to the rear, more new housing developments are underway, threatening the fragile eco-system of this once pristine forest.
Bukit Sapu Tangan literally means Handkerchief Hill. Perhaps its odd name means that you have to take some sort of cloth with you to mop your brow. Or perhaps it refers to the future size of the park once all the planned development projects are finished.
This article first appeared on thriftytraveller.wordpress.com