KUALA LUMPUR: Located smack in the city centre, Taman Tugu is an under-appreciated green lung that deserves more attention for its beauty and historicity.
With that in mind, the Taman Tugu Project was set-up by Khazanah Nasional to raise public awareness about the park and ensure its continued existence.
Taman Tugu, which covers a total of 26.7 hectares of prime land, was initially slated to serve as the site of a theme park among other things.
However, with various organisations including the Malaysian Nature Society providing valuable feedback on the proposal, Khazanah decided to conserve the park and the forest as a public park instead.
There are currently five kilometres of trails snaking throughout 16 hectares of Taman Tugu. Apart from these trails, the park is home to numerous towering trees that provide shady sanctuaries besides being natural treasures in their own right.
The Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) has identified over 1,000 trees, including those of the Jelutong, Tembusu, Pulai and Gaharu species, to be preserved.
Taman Tugu’s trees are primarily indigenous Malaysian rainforest species, now considered endangered.
With the protection Taman Tugu offers these trees, it is quite likely that the park will be home to 200 trees per half hectare; forming a rainforest in the centre of the concrete jungle that is Kuala Lumpur.
In addition to being a sanctuary for nature, visitors should also be able to enjoy the historical value of Taman Tugu, for it is here that one will find the earliest palm oil trees introduced by the British into then Malaya.
Prior to becoming a park, the site of Taman Tugu was also the residence of former finance minister, Tan Siew Sin, as well as many other government employees.
Today, a Surau and Hindu temple remain on the grounds of Taman Tugu, permanent fixtures of the forest park.
The park has also recently been put in the care of the National Heritage Trust that will ensure it remains a green lung of the city.
So far, the amount of care that has gone into maintaining the park has reaped benefits, with TripAdvisor magazine voting Taman Tugu as one of the Best New Openings last year.
With the Movement Control Order ended, the park has reopened to serve as an outdoor space for many longing to experience some fresh air after weeks of cabin fever because of the pandemic.
To ensure the public’s safety, several measures have been implemented including rerouting the main trails to ensure visitors walk in only one direction, as opposed to being two-way previously.
Visitors will also have to submit to temperature checks before entering the park while public mass gatherings on the grounds have been postponed indefinitely.
So if you are looking for a green and serene spot to stretch those sore muscles or to just enjoy a quiet walk with the wind in your hair, Taman Tugu is the perfect place for runners, hikers and families with young children.
Taman Tugu is open daily from 7am to 6.30pm. Entrance is free.