‘Angkor Wat’ in Bukit Kiara – splendour of Mother Nature in our midst

Bukit Kiara in Kuala Lumpur is a popular destination for those who want a good workout.

Residents who live in Taman Tun Dr Ismail and surrounding neighbourhoods are spoilt for choice when it comes to exercising outdoors.

There is Taman Persekutuan Bukit Kiara (a public park with full amenities and a two-level walking trail – one flat, and the other uphill), Taman Rimba Kiara, the 5km paved Bukit Kiara walking trail, and finally, the many interesting jungle trails within Bukit Kiara for those who hunger adventure.

For hikers, there is now another good reason to put on your hiking shoes and head to a new attraction – commonly known as the ‘Bukit Kiara Angkor Wat’.

Many choose to hike up Bukit Kiara just to catch a glimpse of this beautiful, multi-layered rock structure.

The Bukit Kiara ‘Angkor Wat’ bears some semblance to the world-famous Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Most of us know that Angkor Wat is the ruins of an enormous ancient temple complex, built in the 12th century.

Today, parts of the temple complex have been restored and the jungle, which had enveloped and choked it, has been pushed back, exposing a great expanse of rocks and stones.

The miniature structure in Bukit Kiara is characterised by towering rock formations and aerial tree roots penetrating deep into the rocks (as seen in Angkor Wat, too) while those under the ground, protrude and weave an interlocking pattern for all to marvel!

The presence of a cave-like abandoned shrine also adds an aura of mystery to the site.

So, hiking up Bukit Kiara to see ‘Angkor Wat’ not only gives one an excellent workout, but an opportunity to witness the splendour of Mother Nature, and be amazed!

For regular hikers who want to reach the site by the shortest route, be forewarned. The trail is somewhat challenging as you have to hike over craggy surfaces and jump over protruding tree roots from all directions.

A group of hikers who made it to the site. Image: Dr Pola Singh

At times, you will need to use both arms and legs to grip onto the rocks.

This trail is not recommended for inexperienced hikers. After a downpour, the climb becomes treacherous, and you risk slipping or getting your shoes entangled in the maze of roots, or worse still, spraining your ankle.

Despite these challenges, the ‘Angkor Wat’ continues to lure many.

With the steep inclines and perilous trail, most would have built up enough sweat by the time they reach this attraction. And what a reward that awaits them!

Even at the site proper, please exercise caution. The uneven protruding roots make walking difficult especially when you want to take pictures. So, be extra careful.

The easier way to reach this site is to take the longer ‘Twin Peaks’ trail with friendly, and manageable inclines. Just before reaching the top, one has to veer to the left and go downhill.

As it is a very popular destination, many hikers will direct you to this place.

Avoid going to this site during weekends as this place is crowded with visitors.

As more and more hikers frequent this site (especially after the publication of this article) and if no control measures are in place, it’s a matter of time before vandalism rears its ugly head in terms of defacing the surface of the rocks with graffiti.

Hopefully, the authority responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of Bukit Kiara – namely the National Landscape Department – will hold discussions with experts and key stakeholders, such as Friends of Bukit Kiara, on what needs to be done to prevent irreparable damage to this unique heritage in our midst.

It would be appropriate for the department to develop a management plan, including issuing guidelines and advice to visitors.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

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