Is not often that one can claim to be lost in the jungle right in the middle of a major city like Kuala Lumpur, but it is possible. No more than a five minutes drive from Merdeka Square and nearby Parliament House, the hill of Taman Tugu beckons to become lost in.
Taman Tugu is the place of the National Monument. Drive around a few winding bends and Taman Tugu park entry presents. For many years this area was neglected and full of weeds, aged palm oils and the odd old growth tree.
Much work from 2017 onwards resulted in what is there today. Taman Tugu nowadays has got modern toilets, many forest trails, and thousands of plants installed with interpretive and information signage throughout.
Let’s get inside
Angled concrete pillars announce the entry to the trail system. It adds to the mystery, as nothing can be seen of what is within. As soon as you’re inside though, you will see signage which includes a park trails plan.
Greenery and shade transform the senses to focus within, silencing the city sounds less than a kilometre away. Instantly the senses tune to bird calls, the rustle of foliage from light winds and the odd wildlife sound. If you’re lucky, you may see monkeys and monitor lizards.
There are many steps downward to the valley below and a well maintained compacted gravel trail. This sets the standard for the remainder of the walk. Up and down various steep slopes to level out for a while and around corners that encourage more exploring in the bliss of the cooling dappled shade.
A few rest stops are strategically located along the many trails, some intimate with a single bench and others surprisingly with robust double swing sets, that also adults can have much kid memory fun on.
Trail markers are at most, but not all track junctions. It is easy to turn left and not right, when right would have brought about the destination earlier. It doesn’t really matter, as Taman Tugu is compact enough that only a few minutes are added to the walk.
Lost? Yes, but not for long and it adds a level of mystery and excitement to the experience I’d say. Rest assured that all trails eventually lead back up the hill to the car park and facilities. I will guarantee that the walking shirt will be nice and sweaty after the experience.
How to choose your walk
You can choose an easy 5-10 minutes walk, generally level or slight incline or challenge up for the longer walks down into the valleys and throughout the park. Just follow the trail markers. My journey was 45 minutes of up, down, along and around. It was roughly 3500 steps (2.6km) and 18 flights climbed according to my walking App. I was happy that my knees and hips held up.
Taman Tugu is off Jalan Sultan Salahuddin coming from Jalan Parlimen, Kuala Lumpur. Waze will get you there easily by car. The nearest train station is Bandaraya LRT. It will be approximately a 30 minutes walk via a bridge from the LRT station across Jalan Kuching towards Bank Negara.
- Take your own hydrating fluids. A small vending fridge can be found near the main carpark.
- Parking is available from 7am – 6.30pm and is free of charge.
- Hats or sun cream are optional as 90% of the walk is shady, but robust footwear is preferred.
- Avoid early mornings as the fanatics descend for their fitness workouts. About 9-10am is a good time to start your walk. During weekends it can get crowded too.
- Taman Tugu is suitable for mostly all ages, but I wouldn’t recommend the main walking trails for those with knee or hip issues.
- Check volunteer, education and adopt-a-tree programmes here and the Taman Tugu website here. Both are very informative and easy to navigate.
Would you like to explore more hikes in and around KL? Have a look at our listicle here!