Hitting The Trail For The First Time? Here’s A Beginner’s Guide To Hiking In Malaysia

several individuals hiking

These days, it seems like just about everyone is into hiking. It is not hard to see why—hiking is a fantastic and fun way to sweat it out (especially when done with good company), offers a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, and provides a good backdrop for the Gram. For beginners, it can be an excellent entry point into outdoor activities. However, hiking can also be overwhelming for those who are not familiar with the terrain, equipment, and preparation needed. If you are a hiking virgin (no shame, we all start somewhere) looking to embark on your first hiking adventure, this little hiking-for-beginners guide will provide the necessary tips and advice you need to get started on the right foot.

Hiking For Beginners: What To Wear For Hiking?

a man in a forest hiking for beginners
Credit: @maxzchua via Instagram

Common sense dictates that one should wear as comfortably as possible. For guys, a light-coloured t-shirt or a singlet paired with shorts is the best combination in our hot and humid Malaysian climate. Opt for sweat-absorbent material clothing too if you can. If you are going for long pants out of necessity, sweatpants are your best friend.

For the ladies, you have a bit more options here. If you prefer not to go for the simple tee + shorts combo, pairing a sports bra with leggings will give you the comfiest fit. Oh, and do you know that yoga pants also make for a good hiking bottom?

Not to forget, it is always a good idea to bring a hat or a cap along if you are expecting a sunny hike. 

What About The Shoes?

Hiking shoes hiking for beginners
Credit: Decathlon Official Store, UtanKing, and NECKERMANN X B.U.M Equipment on Shopee

For short, casual hikes on mostly paved trails, your regular sneakers or sports shoes would suffice. However, if you plan to go for regular hikes by tackling various trails, investing in a good pair of hiking shoes, boots or sandals is the way to go. Shoes made for hiking are studier and more robust. They are designed to handle rough terrain and offer better protection against sharp rocks. Not to mention, they last longer than your regular pair of shoes.

Hiking shoes don’t necessarily cost a bomb. You can get some decent ones like the Decathlon Quechua Hiking Shoes, UtanKing Anti-Slip Trekking Shoes and Neckermann Unisex Tornado Sandals at affordable prices. 

Hiking For Beginners: What To Bring Along For The Hike?

A closeup shot of a water bottle hiking for beginners
Credit: Alan Carrillo via Unsplash

It is normal for hiking beginners to fret about what to bring and what not to bring. While there are no hard rules on that and each individual has different load capacities, some basic items will be needed to make your hike as easy as possible. Here’s a simple checklist if you need some guidance to get started.

The Basics Checklist:

Hiking For Beginners: How Do I Prepare My Body For Hiking?

For first-timers going on a leisurely hike, you may not require an intensive training program beforehand. But it is crucial to apply the most basic rule of exercising—that is, to get your body warmed up first and foremost. Go for a 10/15-minute brisk walk which will allow your muscles to gradually warm up and be ready for the ascend. A light breakfast/meal is important too!

Hiking For Beginners: Where To Go For Your First Hike?

Hikers in Malaysia are blessed with hills and trails aplenty that offer something for everyone. In this article, we will feature a few beginner-friendly terrains that are located in and around the city centre.

1.   Bukit Kiara Trail

Bukit Kiara Trail hiking for beginners
Credit: @bukitkiarafriends via Instagram

Located in an affluent suburb of Kuala Lumpur known for its golf course and equestrian centre, Bukit Kiara Park is a sanctuary for hiking, running, and biking enthusiasts. You will find an explorable dense forest teeming with wonderful flora and fauna waiting to be discovered. The many trails available here include a few that are suited for hiking beginners. It also means you can come back for repeated visits and still be able to uncover new adventures.

How to get here: Navigate to Changkat Abang Haji Gopeng, Bukit Kiara Park (free but limited parking)

Operating hours: Daily, 7am – 7pm

Entrance fee: Free

2.   Taman Tugu

Taman Tugu hiking for beginners
Credit: @laiyohmin via Instagram

Taman Tugu is one of the few great green lungs that Kuala Lumpur has to offer. It is also home to a forest trail that caters to people of all ages. With several tracks covering a distance of between 1km to 5km, you can start small before moving on to longer routes in subsequent visits. Trail maps are available at the starting point and peppered throughout some checkpoints which is a boon for hiking beginners. Another reason to make Taman Tugu your weekend hiking destination is that there is usually a hive of activities going on such as pop-up stalls selling a variety of stuff and fun educational programs that will add more value to your visit.

How to get here: Navigate to Taman Tugu Nursery/Padang Merbok (free but limited parking)

Operating hours: Daily, 7am – 6.30pm (last entry 5.45pm)

Entrance fee: Free

3.   Ketumbar Hill

Ketumbar Hill
Credit: @placesmalaysia via Instagram

If you stay in or nearby Cheras, make your way to Ketumbar Hill for an easy 1-2 hour hike. It may seem like a nondescript hill compared to the sprawling Bukit Kiara and Taman Tugu trails, but it is a charming hiking spot with a few highlights that keep pulling hikers back. Friendly dogs and wild boars are a regular sight as you hike up (but look out for the mischievous monkeys). Besides serving scenic views, the peak also houses a makeshift gym, Instragrammable spots, and even a stall selling foodstuffs and refreshments.

How to get here: Navigate to Ketumbar Hill, Cheras (there is a paid parking lot charging a small fee)

Operating hours: Open 24/7

Entrance fee: Free

For more hiking trail recommendations, be sure to check out our picks here where we also ranked them based on difficulty.

For Beginners, Hiking Is Best Approached Gradually And With Proper Preparation To Ensure A Safe And Enjoyable Experience

three women on top of a hill
Credit: Tron Le via Unsplash

While hiking can be a fun and rewarding experience, it can also be unkind to those who come unprepared. It’s important to start slow, choose an appropriate trail, and bring the necessary gear to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Once you get into the groove of hiking, your weekends will never be the same and all the better for it. Happy Hiking!

Related: 10 Free (Yes, Actually) And Fun Outdoor Activities In KL

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