Plenty Of Forest Walks In Our Wonderful City

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Here I am with my nephew Han Jin at the start of our morning trek up the hills of Bukit Rembau Forest Reserve. The grounds are well laid out for an “easy and accessible” walk. When we go deeper into the forests, we can opt for wood-paved walkways or go exploring the unpaved trails. We can stay on the gentle slopes or climb up the steeper footpaths to reach the top of the hills to see the city laid out below. Plus there are many crossroads where we can decide whether to take the difficult high road or the easier low road!

I am so lucky to be living in Kuala Lumpur, a city where the energy is bustling, the weather is warm all year round, where skies are almost always blue and where the air we breathe stays oxygenated by the vast cover of trees in our magnificent jungles. Not to mention the enormous Dragon – our main range of mountains – magnificently poised on the spine of Peninsular Malaysia bringing us lots of good fortune luck!

Not many people know this, but the vast flora and fauna of equatorial Malaysia is nearer our city doorstep than we realize, and visitors to our fair city can climb our tropical hills and mountains just as easily when visiting our city, because there are forest reserves dotted along our city fringes where it is easy to get a taste of the equatorial jungles close by. Believe me, immersing yourself in its energy is quite incredible!

All round the city, our health-savvy local authorities have ensured there is a network of undulating jungle walks and forest trails with different levels of challenge for anyone wanting a healthy morning walk, trek or run!

I discovered when I went out trekking one weekend that around Kuala Lumpur are plenty of forest reserves where you can see secondary and primary jungle as you trek some pretty groovy trails specially cleared for anyone to explore. On my maiden walk last month, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many young people of all races walk these trails, and everyone looked genuinely relaxed and happy. They were very friendly and I experienced many spontaneous greetings of good morning. It is as if the fresh air puts us all into a happy, lighthearted frame of mind.

Surprisingly, I found the trails easy, although t here is always a slight incline, so it is challenging without being too difficult. The great thing is that you can enjoy your walk at your own pace; you do not need anyone to teach you how to walk (ha ha I have a fear of gym machines) and most of all, it is free! There is no admission ticket to purchase, no queues and plenty of choice pathways. It is also very cool, as the trees provide good cover from the sun, especially when you go during the hours of the early morning.

The morning walk really is easy; it is such a great way to get some gentle exercise, both physical and mental, allowing me to get my blood flowing and moving, enabling me to breathe unpolluted oxygen into my body, and best of all, giving me the chance to enjoy all the smells of the forest and feeling psychologically and spiritually more agile than ever.

Start before 8 am and walk for two to three hours; you can map out your own path and walk from one hill to the next. Do this every weekend and before you know it, you will be as fit and as toned as any of your children or grandchildren!

The pathways in the Reserve are nicely laid out, so the walk is pleasant. Every now and again, we arrive at a crossroads where we must decide which way to go. Sometimes the alternative is unpaved and much steeper. Other times, we meet up with a bridge to cross over a deep ravine, or small steps that take us to a valley floor. The terrain is interesting enough to keep us on our toes.

When my nephew Han Jin invited me to join his family on one of their regular weekend walks, I was at first fearful I would not be able to do the trek given my age, my problem shoulder and bad back, but then I reasoned that if I managed to climb the Himalayas only a few years ago, and if I can still ski, surely I can trek these small hills of Kuala Lumpur? In any case, AGE is just a number and we are only as old/young as we think we are! I had to break through the chronic feeling that I was somehow “getting too old” to enjoy all the things I used to enjoy. The way to break through this mindset is to simply “do it” and prove to myself that my body can match my still young at heart mind!

Was I glad I went! Because not only could I handle the gentle slopes of the jungle trails, I also had a great time! All through my two-hour trek, I did not once feel myself breathing hard or out of breath. Honestly, this meant a lot to me.

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The morning walk really is easy; it is such a great way to get some gentle exercise, both physical and mental, allowing me to get my blood flowing and moving, enabling me to breathe unpolluted oxygen into my body, and best of all, giving me the chance to enjoy all the smells of the forest and feeling psychologically and spiritually more agile than ever.

We passed many young people, and like them I felt good enjoying the outdoors surrounded by trees and plenty of green cover, yet still feeling that I am in the city with people around. And above me, blue blue skies! The energy is truly liberating!

I could choose whatever level of difficulty I wanted, so I started gentle. These trails around the foothills of Kuala Lumpur provide ample variety for anyone, no matter the age, to have any level of exercise we want. Our walk was in the forest reserve off Old Klang Road where the hills join up with the unpaved forest paths of Bukit Gasing. Just watching the kids running with all the energy in the world was enough to inspire me to want to feel young again. We had a great time discovering the network of “developed” trails there. This time around I settle for discovering the small brooks and streams of the forests. Next time I plan to venture higher, steeper!