Hiking has become weekend activities for KL city folks

HIKING has become one of the favourite weekend activities for city folks since it is not only a great workout for the heart and to get in shape, but also offers psychological benefits.

A keen hiker V.Murugiah, 59, who has been hiking for the last 10 years, said the activity has not only reduced his stress level but has energised him.

"When working, I am so stressed up and to release my stress, every weekend and public holiday I will definitely hike. That is how I recharge my battery. So when I get back to work I am fresh," he told Bernama when met at one of his favourite hiking trails in Puchong here recently.

Murugiah has been actively hiking locally and abroad, and has climbed Gunung Bunga Buah in Genting Highlands, Pine Tree Hill in Fraser Hill, Gunung Kutu, Gunung Semangkuk, Gunung Daik, Gunung Angsi and Datuk.

And if he is not going out of KL, he will just hike up the Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve, Bukit Gasing in Petaling Jaya, or Broga in Semenyih.

"I have been to Mount Kinabalu three times, it is the most beautiful mountain, its extraordinary. I just got back from there with my group. Two of them are in their 70s and a few of them were in their 60s and it is not a problem for us," he said.

Murugiah said despite slowing down a bit due to age factor, he still does one or two overseas trip trekking.

"This Nov 6, I am going to Mount Binaya in Molucas Island, Indonesia.

It is 9,000 feet tall and it will take me three days to go up and two days to go down. It is a remote park. My team, all of us are in our 50s and 60s but we enjoy this kind of activity," he said.

Murugiah said the hiking lifestyle had been growing now, and there were so many hiking groups that one could join.

"We can see the number is increasing. Young and old are indulging in this activity like trekking, hiking, visiting waterfalls where they can appreciate the nature given to them," he said, adding that hiking had also widened his circle of friends.

Following him for hiking at the Air Hitam Forest Reserve in Puchong, one can feel the camaraderie among the hikers who were friendly and helpful despite meeting for the first time.

They will just wish you 'good morning' or just say 'hi', and some will give words of encourgement when one just felt like giving up at some steep slopes.

Murugiah did not deny there were challenges for hikers, since they need to be disciplined to wake up early and motivate themselves from the weekend slumber, and also need to learn about the do's and dont's while inside the jungle.

For Muhd Faiz Musa, 24, who has been hiking every weekend to lose weight, the activities have helped him to shed some weight.

"Previosly I weighed 160 kilograms and I did a lot of cardio activities before changing into hiking. I started early this year and usually I will go together with my group, Hiking Advanture Silversango," he said.

While for Pien Wing Kit, 30 and Chuah Hooi May, 29, among the main purposes for them to indulge in hiking was to stay healthy.

"After you sweat you will feel fresh. We do hiking when we are free, at least once in two or three months.

Pien also joins marathons as one of his activities," said Chuah.

For Alex Wong, 56, he finds hiking as a very refreshing activity and loves to do it with his family.

"We hike together with our guide who is also our friend. She does this every weekend. I like nature, we can get pure oxygen too," he said.

Another enthusiast Fong Wai Yean, 43, started hiking in 2000 and has been doing it every weekend to stay fit and healthy besides hikes at Mount Kinabalu twice.

For first timers, Kuala Lumpur offers a lot of opportunities apart from the easy walk at the Bukit Nanas or KL Forest Eco Park, Bukit Gasing in Petaling Jaya and Bukit Kiara Park in Taman Tun Dr Ismail as well as the difficult terrains in Bukit Tabur in Taman Melawati, Gunung Nuang in Hulu Langat and Broga in Semenyih. — Bernama