Two days ago (this Friday) me and two of my friends (Hani and Zetty) went for a hike at Bukit Gasing. It’s located in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. To be honest, being the ultimate couch potato that I am, this is not something I thought I would do. But hey, that’s what adventures are all about, right? Trying new stuffs. Anyways, I’m going to divide this post into three points to make it more organised (and to prevent myself from rambling on and on lol.)
- The 1st Hike
The three of us was already having a sleepover at Hani’s house three days prior, so that Friday morning we got into a car together and drove to Bukit Gasing at around 7 am. We managed to find a parking spot near the entrance since it was still quite early (we arrived at 8 because of traffic jam) and not to mention it was a weekday. As soon as we got in, we were enclosed by greeneries. There was an old Chinese lady doing tai chi on her own and it was actually quite calming to watch.
We then realised that there was more than one route that leads to the peak, so we chose the one that looked less ventured. The air was cool, and the canopy above us shielded the harsh Malaysian sun from biting our skin. Somewhere among the trees, we could hear birds and crickets chirping. The hike itself was a breeze at first, but then as we got deeper into the woods, the route started to get steeper and the climb more difficult. After about 20 minutes, we arrived at a clearing with a wooden platform. There was a woman doing her exercises on it, and after taking some pictures of the scenery we asked her where the watch tower was.
She said that the tower was destroyed years ago and this little clearing was all that was left of it. She said that back then lots of people used to climb the tower to watch the view from the top, and the view spanned from the green jungle of Bukit Gasing to the concrete jungle of Kuala Lumpur. We must’ve looked a bit disappointed, because she then gave us the direction to “someplace with a nice view that all tourists like”, as she put it. “You go down this road, then 10 minutes you turn right”, she said in a thick Chinese accent. We went down the road she pointed, but a minute later the road diverged and we got confused. I wanted to continue forward (“She said 10 minutes not 1”), but Hani and Zetty wanted to go right. “What if we get lost?” I asked. “Don’t worry, it won’t matter”, Zetty said. I guess in a way they were both right. What was the point of this whole trip but to get lost in nature?
We did get lost in the end. The route went downhill instead of up and it was steep. But 10 minutes after that we could hear the soothing sound of running water. We found a creek!
After taking some pictures there we continued walking. Somehow, we chose one route after the other, and it lead us uphill. It was exhausting then. The route seemed to go on and on and I and Hani had to take a few breaks along the way (not Zetty, since she’s already an athlete). But then finally, we could see the blue sky as the trees began to clear. We got out on the side of the road and just sat there. Hani was so tired she just lied down on the road lol. We rested for a bit, walked a bit uphill to see the view, and then continued downhill to get to our car.
We didn’t really walk long before a stranger stopped and offered us a ride. He was a middle-aged Indian man who had a kind face. Next to him was another Indian man who seemed to be his friend. “Do you need a ride? It seems a long way down on foot”, he said. We agreed, but I couldn’t help thinking how most serial killers offer their victims a ride before killing them. God, I watch too much Criminal Minds.
The kind uncle who picked us up turned out to not be a serial killer (thank God). He said his name was Balan and he used to be a manager at a hotel in Shah Alam, retired, served an additional 6 years, and finally retired for good. He said that he loves to hike too, and once he went on a climbing expedition at Mount Kinabalu for 3 weeks. And by the end of the expedition the team stayed at the Orang Asli’s houses near the mountain, and they got to enjoy their simple way of life for a few days. “So which one of you has hiked here before?” he asked. The three of us looked at each other awkwardly. “No one”, we replied. He looked shocked then, “You should always hike someone who’s familiar with the place”. He then told us about a route you can take that will lead you to a bridge, the same bridge that we were trying to find lol. The way is more treacherous and challenging than the one we previously took, but it would be worth it. He finally dropped us back at the main entrance (after finding out that we got out at the wrong side of the hill and walking on foot would’ve taken us around half an hour). To put it simply, we were extremely grateful we met Uncle Balan.
The 2nd Hike
We decided that we weren’t really tired and that going inside for the second time won’t be too bad. Besides, we really wanted to find that bridge. A couple of my high school friends went hiking there a week before and they took a picture at the bridge; it was beautiful. This time though, we took the main route and followed other hikers. Like before, the hike was easy at first, so much that I actually thought Uncle Balan was wrong. LOL I THOUGHT. The route then started to get really steep, steeper than the previous route. I was fine for the first 5 minutes, but I actually felt like dying after almost half an hour of that. I remembered thinking: “No bridge is worth all this trouble”. The thought of quitting entered my mind more than once, but Zetty was already far ahead and clearly had no intention of quitting, and when I looked behind at the line of hikers, I felt compelled (or forced) to continue. After extreme exhaustion and countless pep talk from Zetty, we reached the top. For the second time. There were other hikers there who had just finished their hikes, and they were all cheerful and friendly. A woman and her husband even volunteered to take our picture.
We made small talk with the couple and told them we actually wanted to go to the bridge that everyone seemed to be talking about. They offered to take us there, since they were actually hiking with the man’s friend and brother-in-law, and they knew the way around pretty well. The woman introduced herself as Kak Zita (she laughed when she heard Zetty’s name, since it was quite similar to her own), her husband was Abang Nik, his brother Abang Yie and their friend Abang Hakim. Hani was actually reluctant to continue, she had that “Let’s just go home guys” look plastered on her face. But hey, majority vote wins. Our way down was faster and a lot less tiring than our climb, but God was it dangerous. I wasn’t kidding when I said how steep the hill was. I had to squat down to avoid from stumbling forward. I almost slipped more than a couple of times and had to grip the surrounding plants for support. I couldn’t help thinking that I climbed this hill to appreciate Mother Nature but ended killing a few on my way down. I also relentlessly wished that there was some sort of railings on either side of me, but I guess that would take away the thrill of almost dying. We finally found the bridge though, both the old and the new one. I’ll just let the pictures explain for themselves:
After all of that, Abang Nik wanted to take a route (Denai 4, if I’m not mistaken) that involves a lot more climbing and would eventually lead us to the peak (again). But Kak Zita just wanted to take the route that will lead us out of the forest and into the nearby housing area (it’s much shorter and less tiring). Abang Nik said, “OK, we’ll see”. But Kak Zita replied “No. We’re taking that route”, in a low, serious voice. I loved her for that.
Kak Zita invited us for lunch at this Nasi Kandar place in Kuala Lumpur. We talked along the way, (well mostly Zetty did, me and Hani were too busy trying to catch our breath). We learned that Abang Nik and Abang Yie were into a photography business, (they’re Tangkap Photography on Facebook, hit them up if you want a photographer for any event). Meanwhile, Kak Zita just started an insurance business, she said what she loved most about her job was that she could help people in need, and educate others on the importance of having an insurance, since most Malaysians turn a blind eye on it and rely solely on public hospitals and other forms of help from the government. We talked about other things too, and it was nice to hear about the world through the point of view of someone older than you.
The housing area near Bukit Gasing are really nice. Some are just regular houses that you see every day, but others could actually qualify as a mini mansion. There was even a house with bronze statues of dragons and roman soldiers. Kak Zita said some local celebrities lived there, but she wasn’t sure who. We got to our cars and had lunch together, and I remember thinking that my parents had always warned me of strangers ever since I was little, but the strangers I met that day were extremely nice.
- Tips and Advices
- If you’re easily dehydrated (like me), bring 2 bottles of water
- Don’t stop and take a break for too long if you don’t want mosquito bites all over you
- Despite my dramatic description of the steepness of the hill, Bukit Gasing is actually a safe place for a hike
- Hike with someone who is familiar with the place, and if you can’t find one that’s ok, just tag along with other groups
- Bring a small backpack, but pack light
- You don’t have to be an athlete to hike (take it from a renowned couch potato)
- If you do get lost, don’t be shy to ask for directions
- Wear sports attire (duh) and really comfy shoes
- There’s no entrance fee whatsoever so it’s free (yeay!)
- Mostly people just hike or do jungle trekking here, but there’s a camping site too, but I didn’t explore it so I don’t really know.