One week after having gone to Langkawi for the BDB Climb and Run preview, I was called by some friends to go trail running on a friday night in Bukit Gasing. I couldn’t make it due to some work obligation but there was another session on the sunday morning. We agreed to meet at 6am at the gate entrance of Bukit Gasing, not far from the playground area.
Where is Bukit Gasing ?
Bukit Gasing is along Jalan Gasing at the border between Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. It’s the only green area in this part of Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya. To get there is fairly easy as it’s reachable from Federal Highway.
A good introduction can be found on http://www.malaysia-traveller.com/bukit-gasing.html:
Bukit Gasing Forest Reserve is a 100 hectare stretch of green belt dividing the city of Petaling Jaya (Selangor state) from the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur. It was once a rubber estate but, in the intervening 60 years, the miraculous restorative powers of nature have been allowed to work their magic and the park is now a haven of lush secondary forest including some pretty large trees. Being surrounded by heavily populated areas, Bukit Gasing is a popular place for nearby residents to stretch legs, get the lungs and heart working and sweat off any extra weight.
What is not said here is that Bukit Gasing is under threat from developers encroaching on it on the south and east side of it. Over time, Bukit Gasing has been shrinking and despite the actions from Jalan Gasing residents, nothing was done to avoid this beautiful green lung to shrink. More generally, Bukit Gasing is precluding what might happen to Bukit Kiara if protective actions are not taken by the authorities (gazetting it as green lung as promised and committed so many years ago… but no actions taken). From what I understand, Bukit Gasing was gazetted on the PJ side as green lung, however the Federal Territory (KL) side is still not and that’s where developers keep getting green land to develop either bungalows or condominiums, despite the environmental impact and the risk of lank slides (as it’s been unfortunately quite famously known in Malaysia with unsafe condominiums constructions on hill slopes)
Bukit Gasing has a very active association of people loving it and protecting it: Friends of Bukit Gasing (FOBG). They have a web site that you can consult at http://www.friendsofbukitgasing.com.my and they provide many resources about Bukit Gasing: trails map, list of what you can see in the hills, fauna and flora informations. It’s quite common on a week end to see a lot of runners, hikers and also fauna and flora photographers, … To tease you and have you go check Bukit Gasing and FOBK web site, below are some what you can see there. Photos are courtesy of FOBK web site.
Over the week-end, it’s a VERY popular destination and there is clearly too many cars going there. It creates parking issues, despite a small public carpark area. People park along the main road near the playground, which is allowed on one side only and in certain areas. However that’s not enough and many park on the other side of the road or on the other access roads. This creates some serious traffic congestion issues and nuisance for the neighbourhood residents. Whenever you go there, please be considerate and think as if you were living there. Personally, I think it’s best to go there very early and start close to 6am… this way you have no parking issues !!!
Running and hiking in Bukit Gasing
There are quite a lot of trails there. Best is either to go with someone who knows them (or some of them) and to look at the FoBG trails map (map available here on their web site). For the purpose of illustrating this article, I will reproduce it here also:
As you can see, there are quite a lot of them despite the reasonably small area of greeneries (compared to Bukit Kiara for example). To be noted, you have couple of small hills there culminating at around 130-150m high. That’s not much but it can provide you a good 100m climb in a short distance depending where you go !
Last week end run
This was my first trail running in Bukit Gasing. I went there in the past for some short hiking and honestly I never saw much of the extend of what you can see and where you can go to in the hills. It was always the trail on the west side of the hill. One time recently I went there for a hike on a saturday morning with the Salomon Click group. That time was just basically a walk (too many people, need to wait for the group to regroup, …), though it brought me to an area of Gasing I never went before: the suspended bridge.
So here we are 6-6:15am, parked right in front of the entrance pretty much getting in the hill with the headlamp with my friends Frank and Nick, with Frank leading the way as Gasing has been his trail playground since his preparation for Malaysia Eco 100 last year. Below is where we went. Honestly I knew some section at the beginning but then after I was following only: everything was new. To help you see where we went, I sur-imposed on top of the FoBG map, the trails where we went:
We did 2 loops. The first one was done in 1 hour and 10 mn (this is inclusive of 5+ minute of rest/waiting time as we were regrouping from time to time. There were not so many people on the trails as it was early, hence it was good. With a good light, there is no problem of visibility though the terrain at some section is reasonably technical. The second loop was with my friend Romi who joined us after Nick left. It was a slower pace I think. I took 1 hour 23 mn to complete the loop BUT there was 9 to 10mn in rest/stop/regroup time as we were starting to be a bit tired (at least me !). My pace was pretty lame, I was struggling to follow. Next time certainly, I’ll make sure to have proper sleep and a normal light dinner (not a big tartiflette with friends and wine !). That did not help at all…
There were a lot more people on the trails. Especially the main trails like the one used by the Salomon Click run. See below on the map, it’s much shorter. If you want to avoid people, go early or stay away from this route !!!!
It was the first time I went trail running with my Z-Trail Xero sandals. I reviewed these sandals after receiving them and I ran on road with those at Route 68 Challenge and BDB Climb and Run Challenge in Langkawi. I knew that on trails I would need more lateral motion than on the road and that when you sweat it can be difficult to achieve so with a pair of sandals. Also I did experience some chaffing on the sides of the back foot where the strap is. That was after more than 50km in sandals, but I knew I had to either protect these areas with tape or wear socks. I decided to wear running socks. That was a good idea as it gave me stability within the sandals even after sweating. However like any socks when they get wet, it’s better to change them but luckily as you run in sandals, it limits how went they can become.
The threading was very good for the trails. Even when the trail was slippery. Also whenever there were rocks, small roots, … the cushioning was very good to allow to feel what is under your feet, yet not experience any pain. As a comparison, running the same route with the Z-Trek would be much tougher I think. It’s only been 10-12km on the Gasing trails, but the threads at the bottom of the sandals look quite robust. I think if I run trails more often, I’ll probably buy a second pair of Z-Trail once they are sold in Australia.
Some other trails you can do in Bukit Gasing
I’m assuming here you’re into trail running and want to maximize your training in these hills ! I have not ran these trails and the traces were given to me by my friend Real Ho Yuenloong:
So if you want to trail run and climb, don’t just ignore Bukit Gasing. It has a big advantage to say Bukit Kiara in the sense that it has only hikers and no bikers, whereas Bukit Kiara has a lot of trails, some pretty steep ones, technical but you have to share this with bikes.