One of South East Asia’s most vibrant and lively metropolises is not normally one you would associate with a tranquil rainforest setting. And yet, deep in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s bustling centre lies one of its hidden and most intriguing treasures.
Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, which is located at the foot of Menara KL (KL Tower), is the city’s last remaining patch of tropical rainforest. Although just 10 hectares in size, it packs in an amazing diversity of flora and fauna, including two species of monkey, snakes, monitor lizards and numerous species of birds. It may be small, but it’s quite possible to see more wildlife in Bukit Nanas in a couple of hours than on an extended visit to a massive national park such as Taman Negara.
Bukit Nanas has been protected for more than 100 years, during which time the city around it has grown from a pioneer settlement of tin miners to the modern bustling metropolis of today. As you stare at one of the huge trees soaring into the sky, it is possible to shut out the traffic noise for a few moments, and imagine what all of KL would have looked like little more than a 150 years ago.
The reserve has a number of clearly marked walking trails, a jogging track, a campsite, an outdoor obstacle course and a bird watching spot. It is open from 07:00am to 7pm all year round, and admission is free of charge. Also free are the highly recommended guided nature tours, at 11:00am, 12:30pm, 2:30pm and 4:30pm taking place each day.
The park can be accessed from several places, including Jalan Ampang, between Dang Wangi LRT station and Bukit Nanas Monorail station, by the forest product art shop; at the foot of KL Tower; and near the junction of Jalan Raja Chulan and Jalan Bukit Nanas, which is the closest entrance to the visitor centre.
Bear in mind that the trails can be slippery, so comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Although not hardcore trekking, the trails can be energy-sapping, not least because of the heat and humidity, so bring plenty of water with you. As with all tropical environments, biting insects are much in evidence, so a good insect repellent is advisable.