Bukit Tabur West & Bukit Tabur East Hiking Trails in Kuala Lumpur

Bukit Tabur Hiking Trails Kuala Lumpur

If you’re looking for reliable information in regards to hiking the Bukit Tabur West or Bukit Tabur East trails in Kuala Lumpur, you’ve come to the right place. We successfully completed this hike in late 2019, before we knew of the trail being ‘officially’ closed. This blog post aims to provide all the accurate information you’ll need ahead of hiking Bukit Tabur, including how to get there, safety precautions, important things to know and more.

When you think of Kuala Lumpur, the last thing that comes to mind is hiking and nature. The modern metropolis is famed for its towering skyscrapers, vibrant culture, and religious temples. But on our 3rd or 4th visit to the city, we were keen to discover something new. That’s when our local friend Ben suggested hiking.

As it turns out, there are several hiking trails in and around Kuala Lumpur. Some of the hiking trails are relatively easy and suitable for beginners. Others, like Bukit Tabur West & Bukit Tabur East, are harder and slightly more precarious.  

So with this in mind, let’s get to preparing you for hiking Bukit Tabur. We encourage you to read through the entire article, as there’s a lot of safety information in here that you need to know in advance. Stay safe people!

WARNING!

Please note it is now ILLEGAL to hike the Bukit Tabur hiking trails without a permit from the Government. Several accidents have occurred over the years, some fatal; therefore, we strongly advise that you do not attempt the hike without a permit. The penalty is a hefty fine and risk of injury.

Stunning Views from the top of Bukit Tabur Hike, Malaysia
Stunning Views from the top of Bukit Tabur Hike

Bukit Tabur West & Bukit Tabur East Hiking Trails in Kuala Lumpur

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Hiking Bukit Tabur West General Details

Here are some general details for hiking Bukit Tabur West Trail, which will help you to decide if this trail is for you. 

Hike Distance

The total round distance of hiking Bukit Tabur West is between 7-8 KM.

Hike Elevation

The Bukit Tabur West hike involves 446 metres of incline. Although, the start of the trail is already quite high above sea level, so it feels much higher when you’re at the top looking down.

Hike Duration

The suggested duration to summit Bukit Tabur West is between 2-3 hours. However, naturally, this is dependent on how fast you trek. We completed the hike up in around 2hr 30 minutes, including stops for water and to take photos. To get back down was less than half that. With this in mind, I think most hikers can expect to complete the entire Bukit Tabur Hike in under 4-5 hours.

Hike Difficulty

All in all, we found hiking Bukit Tabur West to be moderately difficult. If you’re an experienced hiker or relatively fit, you won’t find the hike strenuous as such; however, the trail requires a lot of focus. Towards the top of the ridge, things get particularly hairy. Here’s what you can expect:

  • An element of rock climbing and bouldering using ropes and handles engineered into the rock.  
  • A narrow trail in some areas with fatal drop-offs on each side.
  • Little to no safety regulations and zero maintenance along the trail.

So long as you are careful, of course, you should be fine. But I’d be lying if I said there was no risk involved in this hike. There have been many accidents, some fatal, in the past which has consequently lead to the closure of the official trail.

Bukit Tabur Hiking Trails Kuala Lumpur
The most scariest part of Bukit Tabur Hiking Trails

Getting to Bukit Tabur West Starting Point

To get to the Bukit Tabur West starting pointing there are a couple of options. The first is to take a taxi or a Grab directly from the city. It’s a 25-30 minute drive from the city centre, and Grab is pretty cheap in KL. From what I can remember, it was around 25-30 MYR each way.

The other option is to take the metro line. The closest station to Bukit Tabur is Wangsa Maju, but it’s another 5km from there to the starting point. You could order a Grab to take you the rest of the way or increase the length of your hike – up to you.

Bukit Tabur West Map Location

Hiking Bukit Tabur East General Details

Here are some general details for hiking Bukit Tabur East Trail, which will help you to decide if this trail is for you. 

It’s important to mention that the Bukit Tabur East trail is slightly more dangerous than Bukit Tabur West. If you’re new to hiking or want to play it on the safe side, we urge you to take the West trail.  

Hike Distance

The total round distance of hiking Bukit Tabur East is around 6 KM.

Hike Elevation

The Bukit Tabur West hike involves 275 metres of incline. 

Hike Duration

Usually, it takes somewhere between 1.5 – 2 hours to summit Bukit Tabur East. Though, considering the precarious nature of the trail, we urge you to take your time and focus on your footwork. As the path is no longer in public use, you’ll likely be alone on the course, so it’s down to you to map out a safe route as you traverse along the ridge.

Hike Difficulty

Bukit Tabur East is said to be somewhat more difficult than Bukit Tabur West. While the overall duration and distance are less, the inclines are tougher, and the route is more treacherous. There’s a lot more rock climbing involved on this trail, and there is a higher risk of falling from height. Everything else in terms of the views and terrain is pretty much identical.  

Bukit Tabur Hiking Trails Kuala Lumpur
Stunning Views from Bukit Tabur Hiking Trails Kuala Lumpur

Getting to Bukit Tabur East Starting Point

The Bukit Tabur East starting point is only 1km away from Bukit Tabur West; therefore, you can follow the same instructions, but instead, head to the location pinned on the map below. 

Bukit Tabur East Map Location

Things to Note Before Hiking Bukit Tabur

  • Please note that the Bukit Tabur Hiking Trails are ‘officially’ closed. It has been brought to our attention that it is ILLEGAL to hike Bukit Tabur, and could result in a fine if you are caught.
  • Do not hike Bukit Tabur alone, and be sure to let somebody know where you are going.
  • Never attempt the hike when it is wet or has been raining. The trail becomes slippery and very dangerous.
  • A permit from the government is required to hike Bukit Tabur.
  • There is a lot of conflicting information online regarding the hike. We aim to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge and based on our experience.
  • Wear sensible shoes such as trainers or hiking boots.

Our Experience Hiking Bukit Tabur West

WARNING!

Please note it is now ILLEGAL to hike the Bukit Tabur hiking trails without a permit from the Government. Several accidents have occurred over the years, some fatal; therefore, we strongly advise that you do not attempt the hike without a permit. The penalty is a hefty fine and risk of injury.

On the morning of our Bukit Tabur West hike, we left our hotel when it was still dark. We wanted to start the climb at the first show of light so that we’d get to enjoy the last of the sunrise when we reached the top. We opted for the Grab option, as like I say, it was relatively cheap. If you’re travelling in a group of 2 or more, I think it’s worth taking a taxi purely for the convenience.

As we neared closer to the starting point, our driver pointed out the trailhead of Bukit Tabur. It was hard to imagine the scenic views that had been described to us as it still seemed like we were in the heart of the city. After reading several contradicting reviews online, we were unsure of what to expect. Some said that we needed to get a permit, others said the trail was permanently closed, so we were apprehensive, to say the least.

Eventually, we arrived at the starting point of Bukit Tabur West. Our driver dropped us off along what appeared to be a residential road, and we looked around for an office or any indication we were in the right place. With nowhere to be seen, we set off in search for the starting point. Soon enough, we found it, with bright yellow caution tape wrapped all around the entrance. But our friend had done the hike only weeks before, so we decided to pass under the tape. We saw no other signs that the trail was closed.

Once you’ve passed under the yellow tape, the trail heads into the cover of the forest. You’ll immediately feel the burn as you climb the mixture of steep dirt tracks and genetic steps made from rocks. If you’re lucky, you might befriend the two local dogs who often accompany hikers to the top. We nicknamed them Ding & Dang, and they stayed with us throughout our hike.

Bukit Tabur Hiking Trails Kuala Lumpur-8
Ding & Dang, and they stayed with us throughout our hike

As you start getting higher into the forest, you will begin to notice various trails spearing off in all directions. Ultimately, I think they will all lead you to the same place, but it would be wise to stick to the most obvious path. It’s evident that the trail hasn’t been maintained in a while, but it’s still easy enough to follow the route.

Soon enough, the forest will spit you out, and you’ll get your first glimpse of views like the one above. The reservoir is Klang Gates Dam, and it appeared majestic in the misty early morning light. It was also kind of eerie considering that nobody else was around, and you often hear mysterious rustling in the bushes. Of course, there is various wildlife in these parts, and we were grateful for having Ding & Dang by our side.

After this point, things start to get a bit more interesting. You’ll shortly hit the first ‘rock climb’ of the trail which is an almost vertical wall of rugged rock. Thankfully, the assistance ropes are still in place so you can hoist yourself up quite easily. This was probably our favourite part of the hike as it felt super adventurous, but at the same time, we were in no real danger.

From then onwards, you’ll encounter a series of obstacles similar to the one I mentioned above. You’ll also start to catch glimpses of the view through gaps in the bushes. On one side you have the reservoir, and on the other, you have the city. It’s a contrast of two completely different worlds and honestly quite mindblowing.  

In hindsight, the trail isn’t all that long, but there’s no doubt that all the climbing and concentrating start to get tiring. You must keep your wits about you though, particularly as you near the summit of the ridge. It’s here that things start getting a little sketchy, and you’ll want to take time to assess the situation and decide if it’s something you are confident enough to do. I don’t mean to scare anybody, but the last thing I want is for anybody to get hurt.

The scariest part of the hike was having to traverse the ridge using footholds engineered into the rock face. This part quite literally felt like a death-defying moment, even if it was only just for a few steps. I repeat, please be exceptionally careful when attempting this part of the hike. But I mean, wow, would you just take a look at that view?

Once you’re over the risky part, it’s just one final push before you summit the ridge. At the top, you will be rewarded with great views back down to the reservoir and over the city skyline where your day began. We sat here for a good 45-minutes to an hour, taking in the view and sharing our breakfast box with the loyal Ding & Dang.  

After breakfast and lots of photos, we followed the same trail back to where we started. Try not to get too cocky on the return journey. You may be in a hurry to get back down, but you’ll still need to take extra care on the tricky areas.  

In conclusion, the Bukit Tabur West hike lived up to its dangerous reputation. At the same time, it was an adventurous day out from the city and certainly one of the more unique things to do in Kuala Lumpur. If this hike sounds like it’s up your street, we hope you enjoy the challenge. Happy hiking, and remember, stay safe! 

Hiking Bukit Tabur East Trail

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to trek the Bukit Tabur East trail on this occasion, but who knows? Maybe we will add it to our Kuala Lumpur itinerary for next time. In the meantime, if you are considering the East trail, it would be worth giving this article a read first.

Bukit Tabur City Views
Kuala Lumpur City views on the other side of Bukit Tabur

What to Wear for Hiking Bukit Tabur

You will want to be comfortable for the trek, here is what we recommend you wear.

  • Pair of broken-in hiking boots – or trainers with a good grip will also suffice. 
  • T-shirt or vest
  • A thin hoodie or jumper
  • Trekking pants – or comfortable leggings/trousers.
  • Trekking socks
  • Gloves with a good grip for the ropes
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat or Bandana
  • Insect Repellent
  • Fitbit – A useful piece of kit to keep track of steps, distance, and calories!  

What to Pack for Hiking Bukit Tabur

We also recommend taking along these few items in a small backpack. Remember not to overpack though as the extra weight could slow you down.

  • A bottle of water. 
  • Light Snacks – Nuts, protein bars, and bananas are great trekking snacks.
  • Camera & Drone – So many photo & video opportunities! Suggested Read:  Our Travel Photography Gear
  • Raincoat – Just in case. 
  • Blister Plasters – Again, just-in-case.
  • Suncream

Travel Insurance

Of course, all the best adventures have an element of risk involved; so we advise that you never attempt any hike without travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. In the unlikely event that something goes wrong, you’ll want the best cover money can buy.

We always recommend World Nomads for travel insurance, as they are affordable, offer a variety of packages & add ons, and make it super easy to amend your policy when travelling. Read our article on why you really need travel insurance, or get an on-the-spot quote using the form below.

Where to Stay in Kuala Lumpur

If you are yet to book your accommodation in Kuala Lumpur, here are some recommendations suitable for all budgets.

Hostel – Paper Plane Hostel – Sporting quirky wall art and chic modern design throughout, it’s no wonder that Paper Plane hostel is a consistent favourite among backpackers. Along with a choice of comfortable dorms or private rooms, guests can enjoy socialising on the rooftop and the common glass room. Hungry? The hostel is located within walking distance of Bukit Bintang, Chinatown and the Central Market.

Budget Private – Step Inn Guesthouse – Step Inn is an affordable yet highly rated hostel in the city. Guests love the friendly & sociable atmosphere, as well as the excellent location just minutes away from China Town. The cheap private rooms make it a great option for couples, while the working space & high-speed wifi considers it the perfect choice for digital nomads. Not to mention you get a free breakfast included in the unbeatable price!

Luxury – The Face Suites – If budget permits, we highly recommend splurging on a one night stay in this luxury apartment block. Not only can you enjoy a night of divine comfort, but you will undoubtedly go crazy for the rooftop infinity pool sporting unrivalled views of the cityscape.

For more places to stay in Kuala Lumpur you can check the latest prices here.

Bukit Tabur Hiking Trails Kuala Lumpur
Bukit Tabur Hiking Trails Kuala Lumpur

More on Malaysia

Planning a trip to Malaysia? Check out our other articles to help plan your trip.

Did you enjoy our Guide to Hiking Bukit Tabur?

Well, that concludes our Bukit Tabur West & Bukit Tabur East Hiking Trails in Kuala Lumpur guide.  If you have any questions or feel we have missed anything, please reach out to us in the comment section below. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram here!

Stay adventurous and Happy travels.

Charlotte & Natalie x

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Hiking Bukit Tabur in Kuala Lumpur

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6 thoughts on “Bukit Tabur West & Bukit Tabur East Hiking Trails in Kuala Lumpur

  1. the tabur hill is forbidden because numerous death has occurred on this trail.. even more incidences have occurred where irresponsible hikers trespassed and entered the hill despite the warning sign. in case you can’t read. the sign says do not enter unless you have a permit to do so. failure to comply will result in a fine of RM 5 000 to RM 10 000.

  2. Obey the law,, dont be an asshole and breaking the law. Many have died hiking bukit tabur.
    “Please note that the Bukit Tabur Hiking Trails are ‘officially’ closed. That doesn’t mean you can’t hike; however, you do so at your own risk.” = Stupid advice.closed means you can’t hike there.

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