Bukit Tabur West (Dragons Back)

A steep circuit up to and along the 446m Tabur West (Dragons Back) ridge, offering great views over Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Gates Dam.

I’ve suggested a hike on the outksirts of Kualu Lumpur as a team-building activity… surprisingly, my team agrees and Sonia volunteers to be our team leader, as she’s done this hike before. We’re off to Bukit Tabur West, a a quartz ridge on the outskirts of KL, also known as “Dragon’s Back”. The hike starts with a steep climb up through the forest to the ridgeline.

From the ridge, there are views of Kualu Lumpur in the distance – it’s a bit hazy, even though it’s only 10:30am when we set out.

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In the opposite direction is Klang Gates Dam, which supplies water to KL. It’s at about half capacity, after a spell of hot and dry weather (the maximum water level for the dam is 95.2 metres, the critical level is 84 metres and currently it’s at 89.9 metres).

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The hike gets interesting from here, as it follows the top of the rocky ridge.

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Compared to Bukit Tabur East, the trail along the top of the ridge is a bit longer and more challenging, traversing five peaks. In a number of places there are ropes in place to help you scale the steeper crags and rock outcrops.

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In some spots, arrows point to what seems to be a sheer cliff face – but there is a narrow path next to a sheer vertical drop to the forest below. (It’s not a walk you want to do in wet weather, and there have been a number of deaths and injuries that often result in access to the trail being temporarily closed.)

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By the time we reach the last rocks that we need to clamber over, we’re all pretty tired. My team are regretting their support of my team building activity. [Although they tell me they’re never coming with me on a hike again, I somehow manage to convince them to do a jungle walk to Medang Falls a year later.]

We still have the descent from the ridge and back to the car, and the track is often quite steep and slippery. It seems to take longer coming down than it was to go up. At one point, on a flat section, there’s a string of red lanterns that must have been put there for Chinese New Year, a couple of weeks earlier.

Finally we reach the road, a bit further down Jalan Kolam Air to where we left the car. near the Bukit Tabur Retreat. To the right of the road is Bukit Tabur East, part of the ridge we have just been following.

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It’s taken us exactly four hours for the circuit, with lots of breaks, and fairly slow progress along the ridge as a result of the challenging trail. I’ve really enjoyed this walk – although having started fairly late (a very early morning start is recommended) I’m pretty tired from the heat, and a few of my team are relieved to have finished the hike!

Location Jalan Kolam Air (Taman Melawati)
Distance 4.3km loop (2-3 hours)
Grade Moderate. 330m total ascent.
Season/s All year. Avoid after heavy rain.
Map/s Interactive topographical map [AllTrails]
Download topographical map (A4, 1:4K) Map [PDF]
GPS Route PlotaRoute map with option to download GPX / KML file

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