Never judge a book by its cover, or a hill by its height. At a mere 120 meters above sea level, Bukit Jugra isn’t immediately obvious as a hiking destination. Yet, rising out of the monotony of monoculture, this virgin forest covered hill surprises for its dramatic views and short but sweaty challenge.
It was for this reason the KL Hiking crew (yours truly included) gathered outside of the unique Masjid Al Muttaqin in Kampung Permatang Pasir one Sunday morning.
Following the mosque road towards the water pipes, we turned right up a hill until we came to a dead end. Straight ahead: barren earth; to our right: a water plant. We trekked anti-clockwise around the water plant and just before we were round the back, veered right again into the brush.
The trail wound its way through the jungle around Bukit Jugra with occasional roped sections marking the way forward and providing support on the surprisingly tough uphills. These were no mere trifle as I was soon gasping for air and sweating profusely.
Half an hour after starting out we came to a rest area with two trails on the other side of it. We took the right up towards the peak (we took the left on the way down).
Within minutes we were faced with an open gate. We veered left into the scrub and skirted around a perimeter fence belonging to a long-abandoned air force barracks, and eventually emerged at its front gate 10 minutes later.
The path ahead is a tarmac road surrounded by a permanent forest reserve of virgin jungle. It leads to the Bukit Jugra lighthouse where we turned in. The sight that met us was a revelation.
Stretching out beneath us was a wide open plain, part marsh, mostly oil palm plantations bordered by a narrow ribbon of protective mangrove, and divided by the expanse of the Sungai Langat as it plotted its final course towards the Straits of Melaka. On the other side of Sungai Langat: Carey Island.
The strategic location is the reason Jugra was once a royal town and state capital, and why Bukit Jugra or Parcelar Hill as it was once known, a strategic site for a lighthouse.
Parking myself on the steps under the “Jugra” sign that marks the lookout point, I watched as a ship silently made its way down river to join others at sea. Behind me was the low hum of the lighthouse, above the buzz of several drones. Overhead a Brahmini kite flew past soaring on the thermals.
If it were later in the day, this raptor would have been joined by paragliders as this is where they suit up and take off. Their landing site located a 10 to 15 minute flight away was visible beneath the scrub.
Our return journey saw us backtrack down the same route we came, the exception being that at the rest area, mentioned earlier, we took a right down a shorter, steeper trail, most of it roped off on either side.
Within 10 minutes we were at the forest’s edge, a perimeter fence separating us from the denuded hillside beyond. We crossed the open expanse of red earth and headed towards the water plant where the tarmac road back towards the mosque began. There was no telling how long this return route will remain passable.
I noticed an alternative trail left of the one we were on just before we came to the fence, but as I can only vouch for what I know, I’d recommend taking the same route down as the one we took up.
8.40am Start hike
8.43am Duck behind the water plant
9.12am Arrive at rest area and take the trail on the right
9.15am Turn off just before the fence gate
9.23am Arrive at tarmac road
9.30am arrive at lighthouse
10.45am leave lighthouse
11.22am Arrive at mosque
Altitude 140 meters
Time and distance 50 minutes up, 40 minutes down. 1 hour an a half hours in total not including breaks. 5.7km round trip.
Rating Easy to moderate.
Getting there Our designated meeting point was Masjid Al Muttaqin on Jalan Bukit Jugra, Kampung Permatang Pasir, Banting, Kuala Langat, 42700, Selangor.
Coordinates 2.837377, 101.430081
Post hike treat Chelliah Toppu aka Banting Toddy Joint. (It was Wei Ching’s idea – I swear!) About 16 of us drove 12.3km to this unexpected gem situated next to a patch of oil palm trees. The specialty is toddy, an alcoholic drink made from the fermented sap of coconut palm flowers.
Under palm frond cabanas you can enjoy yours poured from large clay pots designed to keep the milky-hued drink chilled. The small plastic bag of ice secreted inside keeps the toddy cool as well, without watering it down.
This licensed toddy joint also serves up a simple mee hoon, and rice with a choice of curries – chicken, lamb, wild boar (!), monitor lizard (!!), as well as (phew!) a vegetarian option. After parking, head round back to the toddy garden and place your food and drink orders at the hole in the wall.