WHEN the Taman Tugu Project was opened to public on Sept 22, its close proximity to the city centre as well as the Perdana Botanical Garden made it a great alternative for Kuala Lumpur city dwellers to enjoy mother nature while exploring forest trails.
The not-for-profit corporate social responsibility initiative led by Khazanah Nasional Berhad is also supported by various public, private and civil-society organisations.
The 26.7ha Taman Tugu site, was initially brought to Khazanah’s attention as a proposal to convert it into a for-profit tourist attraction theme-park.
However, based on feedback from various communities and organisations including the Malaysian Nature Society, Khazanah motioned to convert the site into a public park and protect the secondary forest contained within it.
Visiting the trail at noon was unexpectedly pleasant due to the amount of shades provided by the forest’s thick canopy, making it quite cooling amidst the humid weather.
The forest trails have two entrances along Persiaran Sultan Salahuddin, namely the Taman Tugu Campsite Entrance and Taman Tugu Nursery Entrance.
Visitors can start at several routes of the trail as it branches out to different forest trails between the two entrances.
It was not a tough trail and the shortest route connecting both entrances takes about 20 to 25 minutes at most.
The trail was fairly easy and I believe it should be alright for every age group.
Something different apart from other forest trails is that logs were lined up as borders of the forest walkway while rocks were made into steps at several places of ascend and descend.
Visitors can also enjoy checking out the tree species and get to as most of the trees were tagged with its scientific names on it.
Interesting details of Taman Tugu are printed along the trails while a board highlighting the map of the trail and other facilities in the park is placed at the entrance of the park.
Those who are not so good in navigation can take a picture of the map while hiking the trails.
Several check-point tags are also in place where the trails branch out to different directions.
As you walk the trails, you will also notice quite a number of palm oil trees.
It is believed that the trees were brought by the British prior to independence when the site was home to British residences.
The British initially brought in the palm oil seeds from West Africa and planted it for ornamental purposes.
After independence, the site was home to Malaysian government officials including Malaysia’s first Director of Agriculture, and Finance Minister Tun Tan Siew Sin.
The site eventually became a government quarters and you will see the remnants of these quarters as concrete slabs along the trails.
The Taman Tugu site will be transferred to Amanah Warisan Negara (Awan) to be managed and protected into perpetuity as a public green space.
At the moment about 8.09ha consisting of approximately 2km of forest trails is open daily to public from 7am to 6.30pm and admission is free.
In December, Khazanah will be opening an additional 8.09ha with another 2km of trails bringing the total to 40 acres with 4km of trails.
The rest of the site which will include a camping site, Surau-Jumaat, Hindu Temple, an events space and more trails will be opened in phases over 2019 and early 2020.
Visitors can park at the parking lot near Tugu View Café or Padang Merbok carpark to hike the trails.