Once the site of government homes and then an unofficial landfill, Taman Tugu was saved from commercial developers who probably wanted to put another crappy mall on the spot. Instead, it was converted to a 66-acre public park and conservation site with over 5 kilometres of trails.
By partnering with the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), over a thousand trees in Taman Tugu have been marked for preservation. More trees, including indigenous species, are being planted on-site within nurseries to eventually be moved into the main forest area.
This park is so clean that it’s hard to believe that not long ago it was a dumping ground. Over 150 truckloads of trash was cleared away from this site since its conversion. With its well-marked trails and low difficulty that even children can enjoy, this is a favourite spot for many Malaysians to enjoy nature.
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How To Get to Taman Tugu & Parking
Taman Tugu is the green space directly above the Perdana Botanical Gardens. Parking is free at the Taman Tugu Nursery parking lot from 7 am to 6:30 pm. Make sure to leave on time, because they threaten that there’s a RM50 fine for leaving after 6:30 pm. The nursery car park is a big lot, but if it’s full, there are lots at the eastern edge of the site at Padang Merbork (5-minute walk) and Lake Gardens (15-minute walk). These lots may not offer free parking, however.
The nearest metro stations are Bank Negara and Masjid Jamek stations, but these are seriously far away. You’ll be walking for at least 30 minutes next to busy highways before reaching Taman Tugu. Masjid Jamek is closer to the main entrance. After leaving the LRT station, get on to Jalan Tun Razak toward OCBC and CIMB bank buildings. Walk past Merdeka Square until you get onto Jalan Parlimen, a road that goes under the highway. Then you simply follow this road until you see the Taman Botani Perdana clock tower. You will see the sign and road leading to Taman Tugu on your right hand side.
Admission Fee & Hours
Entrance to the Taman Tugu Conservation Site is completely free. They do accept donations at a table near the parking lot, but they by no means beg or guilt visitors into donating by constantly calling attention to it.
The hours of operation are 7 am to 6:30 pm, with the last entry at 5:45 pm. At 6 pm, a whistle will sound across the park so you know to get moving to the exit.
Trails at Taman Tugu
There are now five trails in Taman Tugu. You can read my dedicated posts on the various trails below for extensive detail on directions and what to expect during the hikes.
There is a new large rest area in the nursery parking lot. It looks very simple with wooden benches, but it’s very comfortable. This is the perfect spot to enjoy a snack after hiking. There’s a sink with soap to wash up and bins for all your rubbish. Guests can even control each of the overhead fans individually from the power box that’s off to the side.
The toilets are next to the rest sheds. It looks like an ugly building from the outside, but honestly, these are the best toilets I’ve seen in a Malaysian park system.
There were four stalls in the women’s – no squatters, all sitting style. Each toilet was in its own enclosed room with the walls and door extending to the floor and ceiling for maximum privacy. Inside the stall was clean, dry and with no mysterious smell. There was no toilet paper in the stalls, but there was a well-stocked dispenser in between the second and third stall that you can gather beforehand. The large communal sink has surprisingly good water pressure. The soap dispenser was full and the soap inside it was, for once, not watered down.
After a jungle hike on a sweltering day, what is the only thing anyone would want? A shower! There were also two roomy shower stalls in the women’s (I’ll assume the men’s has the same). If you bring a towel and a change of clothes, you can end your visit to Taman Tugu with a refreshing rinse.
Food & Drink at Taman Tugu
There is a souvenir desk across from the rest area, tended by a security guard. This kiosk has everything you might want on a long nature walk: sanitizing hand gel, mosquito repellent, snacks and a small selection of drinks like 100 Plus and iced tea.
Also occupying prime real estate were novelty Taman Tugu souvenirs. There were hats, eco bags and t-shirts for adults and children. The souvenirs actually didn’t look half bad and would make a decent keepsake. Try to have the exact amount for anything you want to buy, because I’m not sure if the guard will have any change. When I went to buy a drink, he instructed me to put my money directly into the donation box. All of the money collected from sales goes right back into the park for maintenance and upkeep.
For proper makan, you’ll need to leave Taman Tugu. The Taman Tugu Cafe is less than a five-minute walk from the main entrance. You drove past this on the road into Taman Tugu. This is a very simple outdoor food court where you can get basics like ayam goreng, curries, and veggies from metal trays.
When To Visit Taman Tugu
The Taman Tugu trails are an easy walk for people of all fitness levels. I’ve heard that this place can get very busy on weekends. Many Malaysians flock to this site to get their weekend exercise.
If you’re desperate to avoid other humans on the trail, the obvious recommendation is to come on a weekday. However, I’m going to assume that you’re not a shameless slacker and that you have an actual full-time job that only leaves you with weekends for your leisure time.
You can try what we did and plan your visit for a long weekend. A long weekend is when many KL denizens take a vacation out of the city or go back to the kampong to be with family.
On a regular weekend, an overcast day may scare off the crowds. It’s not such a good idea to go during heavy rain. Not only is it unpleasant, but you may be stuck waiting anyway as security may restrict entry until the storm has passed. However, if you manage to slip in before the rain hits, you can walk the trail as normal since no one is going to kick you out once you’re inside. You’ll be a little wet, but it is highly unlikely you’ll have to dodge other hikers in this situation. Savour the solitude and that jungle rain sound.
You can also try going early when the park opens at 7 am. I doubt any families or casual weekend warriors will wake up that early to hike through Taman Tugu.
Taman Tugu is the most organized and well-kept Malaysian park I’ve even seen. Unlike a popular hiking spot like Bukit Kiara, all of the Taman Tugu trails are regularly maintained and cleared. You’ll never have to guess if you’re on the right path, or if what you’re walking on is even the proper trail. It might be too easy for serious hikers, but Taman Tugu is perfect for casual walks. It’s a stress-free experience coming here. You don’t need to worry about getting lost, bringing refreshments or where to relieve your bladder – Taman Tugu has taken care of it all for you.
Official Website: http://tamantuguproject.com.my/en/