The sleepy Selangor town of KKB is often viewed a pitstop on the long winding road up to the colonial hill retreat of Fraser’s Hill in Pahang. But there’s more to this former administrative town that meets the eye, particularly if you love the outdoors.
As it takes six river crossings to arrive at the thunderous vertical drop that is Chiling Waterfall, adventure is guaranteed. A steep path cuts past the impressive but inaccessible second falls to the third where you can safely dangle your feet over the edge. An hour’s hike, the lower falls is flat and suitable for beginners and the young (Malaysia Traveller provides a great guide to getting there), but the more technical trek to the upper falls is an additional 45 minutes and best suited to adults and older children only.
The orang asli village of Kampung Pertak is the starting point for the 6km hike along Sungai Lui to the unspoilt cascades of Lata Jebus. then along Sungai Rinting to Lebuk Mecu and the impressive Lata Medang falls. The journey there takes 2 to 2/12 hours and passes through forests and orchards tended by the indigenous Temiar. There are a few forks in the road but Waterfalls Of Malaysia provides an excellent description of how to get there to avoid getting lost.
Rush the rapids
Take on the rapids of Sungai Selangor and prepare to get very wet. Surrounded by dense tropical forest and crystal clear waters, your 2-hour white water thrill ride starts innocuously enough with portions of the creek where you can float or body surf down the river. But as the water speeds up expect spills and tumbles befitting a Grade 4 white-knuckle river run. Oxbold and Whoa! are two of the more experienced adventure tour groups running activities here. Prices start at RM200 and drop for larger groups.
Feed the fish
If bashing all the way up Sungai Chiling to its waterfall is too much of a commitment, find a sandy bank along the river from which to feed the fish instead. Established in 2007 by the Selangor State Fisheries Department, the fish sanctuary is teeming with rare freshwater species known locally as kelar and tengas. You can purchase fish food at the entrance where you’ll need to sign in and pay a nominal entrance fee of RM1, plus a deposit for any gear you’re carrying.
Wheel the winding roads
With beautiful roads that coil through the forest and past the spectacular Sungai Selangor dam, KKB is particularly popular with weekend cyclists that peddle all the way up to Fraser’s Hill and back. The 40km up hill slog takes 5 to 6 hours one way but if that’s too much toil, ride the 8km to the dam and stop to enjoy the view before the return journey with the wind in your hair and the hill to your back.
Hike the hills
Just like the trek to the Lata Medang, the trail to the peak of Bukit Kutu begins in Kampung Pertak but veers right instead of left, The arduous 6km hike up to the peak takes 3 hours and at its peak is a chimney stack (all that’s left of a turn of the century colonial bungalow), the ruins of a sanatorium and, on a clear day, breathtaking vistas of the Sungai Selangor dam from the absolute summit (1091m) – you just need to brave the ladder climb up a series of boulders to view it.
Soak in the springs
After all that physical activity you owe it to yourself to treat your aching body at the town’s natural hot springs. A local secret, it’s tiny with few facilities (benches, gazebos, a carpark but not toilets or changing rooms) but what it lacks in size it makes up for in warmth. Hidden behind Taman Arif’s rows of single storey terrace houses at the end of Jalan Arif 12, you’ll find KKB’s friendly denizens sitting along the spring’s concrete wall with their feet and legs dangling in the water at almost any time of day – unfenced and unlit it’s open 24 hours.