KUALA Lumpur may be better known for its tall buildings and traffic jams, but nestled in this bustling city are swathes of green that break the monotony of brick-and-mortar buildings.
These green lungs of the city are a welcome break from the surrounding concrete jungle, and offer relief to city dwellers and tourists alike.
Perdana Botanical Gardens
Situated close to the city centre, the Perdana Botanical Gardens provides city dwellers an opportunity to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of the city.
A favourite weekend spot for families and individuals, it not only provides much-needed refuge of greenery to visitors, but also features many different species of flora and fauna, all tagged with information on its type and species.
The garden, which has a good-sized lake as a centrepiece, also has a herbatarium, Orchid Garden, Hibiscus Garden and many others.
The Perdana Botanical Gardens also has a library where visitors can look up information on the plants, insects and animals found here.
Built in 1888 by the then-Selangor state treasurer A.R. Venning, it was then known as the Lake Gardens.
Almost a century later in 1975, the park was given a facelift and renamed Perdana Lake Gardens by the second prime minister, Tun Abdul Razak.
Being a public park, priority was given to the construction of jogging tracks and other amenities, catering to those who want to get fresh air and exercise.
In 2011, the garden was further expanded and turned into what is now known as The Perdana Botanical Gardens.
Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM)
FRIM’s main function may be to conduct research on forest and timber utilisation, but its main facility also serves as a favourite spot for nature lovers to enjoy some fresh air, have a picnic, outdoor recreation and other educational activities.
Located about 16km from the city centre, the facility is one of the must-see attractions in Kuala Lumpur, especially for those who would like to know more about Malaysia’s rainforest and its ecosystem.
Spanning a 544ha area, FRIM boasts a wide variety of flora and fauna; many of these labelled or with information available at the facility’s library.
Activities such as jogging, camping, a canopy walk and bird watching are a draw for city dwellers who want to be close to nature.
Opening hours of the facility are weather-dependant, and potential visitors are advised to check its website (frim.gov.my) or call before making the trip.
Taman Rimba Kiara
Located at the fringes of Taman Tun Dr Ismail, this park is the place to go for those living in surrounding neighbourhoods for a light hike or jog.
The park is pretty basic, with a tarred running trail in the middle of a jungle. There are many trees along the trail that keep visitors in the shade at all times.
Surrounded by the greenery and clean fresh air, visitors can go there to melt away the stress of the hours spent stuck in the city’s traffic jams.
A great place to spend the weekend with family or friends, Taman Rimba Kiara is the place to visit the next time you want a break from city life without having to travel too far.
Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Park
Located at the intersection of Jalan Pinang and Jalan P. Ramlee, the park was recently adopted by the Standard Chartered Bank.
It may not be as big or as well-featured as the neighbouring KLCC park, but it remains a welcome break from the city.
Uniformly-placed tall indigenous trees make visitors feel they are in another place the minute they take a step into the park.
Benches are strategically placed, giving visitors the chance to just sit back and relax or enjoy a good book for an hour or two.
Poems by 13th century Persian Muslim poet, jurist and theologian Jalal Al-Rumi are also strategically placed in the park.
Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park
A favourite of tourists and locals alike, KLCC Park offers respite from a day of shopping at nearby Suria KLCC or from visiting the city.
The 20.23ha park features ample greenery, playgrounds, a water fountain, a jogging track, benches, a wading pool and a lake, making it a welcome contrast from the concrete jungle surrounding the area.
Indigenous trees and palms representing over 74 species can be found at the park, including some which were preserved and transplanted from the former Selangor Turf Club.
The KL Forest Eco Park (formerly Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve)
The only natural rainforest reserve in the city, The KL Forest Eco Park was gazetted in 1906 and has remained untouched despite being located on prime city land.
The 11ha rainforest is smaller than the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), but is well worth a visit.
The rich variety of flora include rare herbs, giant bamboo grass, creepers and ferns, are a rare sight and should not be missed.
Visitors can traverse any of the trails available such as the 360m Merbau Trail or the 300m Jelutong Trail. The forest is potentially dangerous at night, and as such, the reserve is only open from 7am to 6pm.
Putrajaya Wetlands Park
While many visit the administrative capital of the country to see its unique architecture, the city also has a lot to offer when it comes to eco-tourism.
The Wetlands Park is the first man-made wetland in the country, with the park itself occupying 138ha and another 1,977ha of wetland, which is not accessible to the public.
The park plays an important part in maintaining the ecosystem of Putrajaya, as well as giving visitors and residents a chance to appreciate what nature has to offer.
Among the biggest attractions of the park is its flamingo pond, nursery and lookout tower.
Visitors to the park can also go for a walk along the nature trails and even have a picnic.
The place is also favoured by cyclists, joggers, as well as nature lovers.
Agriculture Heritage Park, Putrajaya
This park is not only a place to enjoy the nature, but also a place to learn more about the traditional and modern agricultural methods in the country.
Visitors have a chance to sample local fruits, observe the rubber tapping process, crop maintenance, fruit preservation and many other activities. Herb and spice gardens, orchards and viewing decks are only some of the attractions that visitors can enjoy.
Agro-based activities are also organised from time to time, so those interested in participating can visit the park’s official website to check the dates and coordinate their visits.