When I was on a prolonged medical leave recently, I took the chance to explore the parks in Klang Valley. My wife and I had been to some in the past, but though we have lived in Petaling Jaya for over 30 years, we were unaware of the other gardens. So here is a list of our favourites.
Denai Alam Lake, Shah Alam
Tasik Denai Alam fronts the Denai Alam township. The lake is moderate in size, and has a lot of lotus plant and flowers. Well-paved walking and jogging paths surround the lake. Visitors can climb a tall wooden lookout constructed near the lake for a view of the surroundings.
Shah Alam National Botanical Park
The facilities and cleanliness of the garden are impressive. You can walk or cycle along the wide paved roads, though the incline is quite steep in some parts. Motorised bicycles are available for rent at RM40 an hour.
The trees and ferns are beautiful, and there are no mosquitoes in spite of the vegetation. We saw signs indicating the presence of porcupines, but did not see any. A small horse farm is in one corner of the park, but we were not sure whether horses were available to ride.
There is also a canteen that serves local food.
Kepong Metropolitan Lake Garden, Kuala Lumpur
This beautiful park has many jungle trees, flowering plants and shrubs that border a big central lake. Well-paved walking and cycling tracks also skirt the lake. These are generally flat, but can get moderately steep in some areas.
An observation tower provides a good view of the surroundings. You can see the Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower from a distance.
The pond teems with fishes, so angling is allowed. We even saw one bird swoop into the lake and make off with its lunch! This garden is also a favourite with kite enthusiasts.
Permaisuri Lake Garden, Kuala Lumpur
This beautiful recreational park near Cheras has a huge lake in the centre. A large wooden platform extends into the lake near the garden entrance – it is a favourite spot for visitors to do tai chi and yoga exercises.
A broad, well-paved and flat track for walking and jogging surrounds the park. For those who want a more vigorous exercise, there are trails leading to the adjacent hill. But the slope is very steep in some places.
Storks have made the lake their home, and I was surprised they could fly right up and sit on the tall trees that fringe the lake.
Perdana Botanical Gardens, Kuala Lumpur
Also known as Lake Gardens, this is one of the oldest and most popular parks in KL. It is in the heart of the city and in a heritage part of KL. Commissioned in 1888, it was the brainchild of then-British State Treasurer, Alfred Venning
This lovely garden, with its well-laid-out walking and cycling paths surrounded by trees and plants, includes a large deer park. Most of the paths are flat, but some adjacent to the deer park are very steep and may be slippery when wet.
A big lake, a central feature of the garden, was created by damming Sungei Bras Bras. The lake teems with fishes and a paddling of resident ducks, as well as several fountains. Visitors can also feed the fish, which will swim to the surface for food.
(Editor’s note: Not all human food is safe for wild fish or ducks. Bread contains yeast, which can cause constipation for most fish. Junk food and snacks like popcorn are bad too. Instead, try fresh veg, fruits, insects or small seafood that are natural to fish. Here’s a list!)
Taman Tugu, the bird park and the butterfly park are all nearby. The garden opens 7am-8pm daily, and at night the grounds and trees are beautifully lit by multicoloured spotlights.
Taman Jaya Lake, Petaling Jaya
For over 40 years we have been going to Taman Jaya to exercise. The grounds are well-kept, but unfortunately the pond smells. Despite that it is still popular with anglers. The commonly caught fish is ikan sepat (gourami).
The park was upgraded recently, and new plants including a bamboo grove have been planted. The walking paths are flat throughout, easy for senior citizens to negotiate. There is also a nice, winding, paved cycling path shaded by trees.
A large concrete stage jutting into the pond is popular with those practising qigong and yoga. And the children’s playground is well-maintained, so the equipment should be safe.
Editor’s note: Kepong Metropolitan Lake Garden is not part of FRIM (Forest Research Institute Malaysia) as originally stated. This post has been updated with corrections.