Disclaimer: Do note that the writer's hiking trip was done before the pandemic. We recommend practising safe distancing and good hygiene while exploring the hiking trails in Malaysia. If you're unwell, it's best to stay at home until you're fit to hike again.
If you are looking for a hill to hike close to Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Bangi, Kajang or Sepang area, you can consider Bukit Melati
in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan. It is approximately 30 minutes drive from these areas. All you need to do is get ready your shoes, invite your hiking buddies and off you go to this beautiful hill in Negeri Sembilan!
Who knew that a doctor’s desire to help his patients here in Malaysia has resulted in a series of short trails in Nilai that have been embraced by all walks of life. Dr Johari Aziz is the neurosurgeon who dreamed up of the trails in Bukit Melati. Eventually, the hill gained wider popularity with beginner hikers after access to Broga Hill was temporally closed in mid-2017.
Nestled behind Taman Desa Melati in Bandar Baru Nilai, Melati Hill is a neighbourhood trail which is so well-utilised by the local community, that it has its own hashtag (#melatihikers)!
Melati Hill is the perfect starter hike for beginners like my friends and me. Today, its varied terrain and choice of paths make it popular with all levels of hikers and runners looking for a quick workout, while the presence of stalls selling refreshments and pre-loved hiking gear transforms its foothill with a festive atmosphere on weekends.
There are all 6 trailheads excluding a tarred road. The trails are named Centipede, Monkey, Cobra, Rope, Eagle and Mosquito Hills, each was designed by the good doctor, of different lengths and levels of difficulty depending on the different stages of recovery for his patients.
The main trail is mild – you can easily hike up the trail until you reach Centipede Hill. It takes 5-10 minutes to get there. Once you reach Centipede Hill, you will see a signboard with directions to subsequent hills. Here, we would follow the direction to get to Monkey Hill. Upon arriving at Monkey Hill, you could take a rest, enjoy the view of Nilai or continue your hike to either Cobra or Mosquito Hill. If you want to cut your hike short, follow directions to Mosquito Hill. I advise you to take lots of selfies or wefies before continuing your hike.
The Eagle Hill trail (we decided not to try it that day as we thought it would be better to explore it with more experienced hikers) is located at the far right end of the road. A relatively new addition, apparently people use it to get to Cobra Hill before descending towards the exit at the opposite (far left) end of the road.
From my observation, there are many hikers from various ages, from a 4-year-old child to a 60-year-old lady! Some are regulars and a few, like yours truly – are new to the trail.
Our workout session may have been short and rigorous but was capped off with laughter and conversation with my hiking buddies. A morning of exercise and bonding, I’m pretty sure this holistic approach to wellness would be just what the doctor would have ordered.
It is also a good place to do hill training. It takes us 1.5 hours to go through the three hills and we stop many times to enjoy the 3-4 km hike. It is family-friendly, well-maintained by a friendly community. Please don’t forget to bring water and put on visible sportswear and a good pair of hiking shoes.
Putra Nilai, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
Not more than 350 metres
Easy to Moderate. The trails are short but they have fierce uphill sections and it can get pretty hot and humidOther useful tips:
- There are public toilets and even showers (who knows you need to take one in case you got yourself stuck in mud or something ?).
- On weekends, the main trailhead is a mini morning market selling fresh coconut water, pressed guava juice, fruit as well as food and sometimes pre-loved hiking gear.
It is advisable to start early and take your time. Bukit Melati is bordered by housing estates, a school and Nilai University with further land clearing visible which makes it the perfect place to capture the beauty of Nilai. Go on, add Bukit Melati to your hiking bucket list! For more nature adventures in Malaysia, check out our recommended reads below: