The bustling city of Kuala Lumpur has many tall buildings and modern structures. However, many people are not aware that in the heart of the city, a patch of greenery still exists.
In fact, one of Malaysia’s most prominent landmarks, the Kuala Lumpur Tower (KL Tower), is built on top of one of the oldest forest reserves in Malaysia, the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve.
Gazetted in 1906, Bukit Nanas serves as a green lung of Kuala Lumpur and is home to an abundance of flora and fauna unique to the Malaysian tropical rainforest.
Bukit Nanas can be categorised as a heritage for two reasons. Firstly, it is the only remaining patch of tropical rainforest that still stands in the middle of the city. Secondly, it is one of the oldest permanent forest reserves in the country (it celebrated its Centennial Anniversary in 2006).
The 10.5 hectare forest reserve was also gazetted as a Wildlife Reserve and Bird Sanctuary in 1934 and in 1950 respectively, with a section of about five hectares dedicated as a Virgin Jungle Reserve.
When paying a visit to KL Tower, visitors should include a trip to Bukit Nanas in their itinerary, as it lies just beside the entrance to the tower and requires no admission fee. It offers nature lovers a good opportunity to learn more about the ecology of the local forest. It is also perfect for shutterbugs and photography enthusiasts.
Nature guides are available to explain about the various types of flora and fauna in the jungle reserve. The daily guided tour runs at 11am, 12:30pm, 2:30pm and 4:30pm.
“This jungle helps to cleanse the air within its surrounding environment, and the visitors here are very supportive of preserving the natural ecology,” explained Anthony Paleng, one of the nature guides, whilst guiding a group of visitors to Bukit Nanas. According to him, a rich variety of flora can be found within the forest reserve, which includes rare herbs, creepers, ferns, climbers and giant bamboo grasses. Huge tropical tree species also occupy the jungle namely meranti, keruing, chengal and pulai.
“All of the trees here have a unique way of surviving in the wild, a bio defense mechanism specific to each species,” he explained further.
Along the trail, there are traces of broken branches, indicating the presence of local monkeys. If you are lucky, you might see the two local species of monkeys that exist in the park, namely the Silvered Langur and the Long-tailed Macaque. Other varieties of fauna include squirrels, snakes and birds.
A camp site is available for nature lovers who wish to pitch a tent and enjoy the lush greenery of the jungle, free of charge. People who love jogging can also enjoy running through the forest trail, and there is an outdoor obstacle course for those who want to do a little stretching and body lifting.
Visitors to the forest reserve need to take certain precautionary measures during their visit as there are some slopes that are quite steep along the forest trails. It is advisable for visitors to dress casually, ideally sports wear which includes running shoes, as there is a ladder section that could be tricky to navigate.