Hiking Ketumbar Hill
A Walk With Wild Boars
Ketumbar Hill (Bukit Ketumbar) is a modest sized hill of around 300 metres above sea level in the Cheras area of Kuala Lumpur. The hill is part of a stretch of forest reserve which also includes Bukit Apek and Bukit Saga. Its location catches the breezes which help to make the hike more enjoyable.
This is a popular hiking spot for nearby residents, especially in the early mornings, late afternoons and at weekends. Community-spirited hikers have set up a ‘Jungle Gym’ in a clearing near the top of the hill complete with improvised exercise equipment.
What makes this hike special is that the hill top is also frequented by a family of wild boars who often congregate at the Jungle Gym area. These normally shy creatures seem to have become accustomed to humans and probably find it easier to scavenge a meal from scraps left behind by people rather than foraging around for edible roots which is their traditional diet.
These boars are wary and alert to people but otherwise go about their normal business of grunting, eating and mating so long as we do not provoke them. They may look passive and cuddly, especially the young boars, but hikers should keep their distance, don’t feed them, avoid sudden moves, do not come between a mother boar and her young and don’t bring aggressive dogs. Boars would normally only attack if they feel cornered or threatened but they are unpredictable and, since they are packed with 100kg or more of solid muscle and teeth, you wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of their aggression.
The trail begins at the far end of Jalan 6/95b (a dead end street), just a short walk away from Ketumbar Heights Condominium. (Ketumbar by the way translates as ‘coriander’ but I did not notice any growing here.)
The path starts climbing straight away, initially with steps and later over the usual rough terrain. The path is not very well marked but is easy enough to follow.
Ropes have been left in place to assist the climb.
The noise of traffic soon fades to a distant humming and is replaced by the sounds of insects, birds and monkeys thrashing about in the tree tops.
After 20 minutes climb you arrive at the hill top where a substantial shelter has been erected to provide rest and refreshment for hikers.
There are a lot of rudimentary exercise equipment here for those seeking a more serious workout.
Some people return back to the start from the Jungle Gym via the same route. This makes the hike shorter but you miss out on the best views if you do not continue the full circuit.
There are some quite steep sections coming down this way but it only takes a further 40 minutes or so to get back to the start.
According to the Health gizmo on my phone, the distance walked was just 2.9km or 4,946 steps, equivalent to 59 floors climbed.
Highest point of Ketumbar Hill is around 300 metres above sea level.
- Start to Jungle Gym: 20 minutes
- Remainder of Circular Route: 40 minutes
- Total 60 minutes.
What to Bring
The usual: water, insect repellent, comfortable shoes, hiking pole, mobile phone. I did not bring any food because I did not want to be surrounded by hungry boars (they have a very good sense of smell but poor eyesight).
How to get to Ketumbar Hill
The start point is shown on this Google Map:
GPS Co-ordinates of the starting point:
Address of starting point:
Taman Cheras Utama
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, 56100
There is free parking on the street but it gets busy here as there are many housing blocks nearby. If full, there is also a pay car park in this street.
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