KL Forest Eco Park

The KL Forest Eco Park hosts the oldest permanent rain forest reserve in Malaysia, and it’s the only natural rain forest in the world to be located in a city center. If that wasn’t enough to earn a star, then maybe it was the fact that the KL Forest Eco Park ticket price was free (March 2018). 

When we told our friends and family about our plans for the year, Kuala Lumpur (known as “KL” to the locals) was not on the list. This wasn’t intentional, we just didn’t know we would be coming here! We ended up booking a two-week house sit, and since the whole plan is to go where the wind takes us, it seemed like a great opportunity to go somewhere new and unexpected.

With only two weeks notice, I didn’t have a lot of time to plan and had no idea what to expect. I had done a one-day guided tour from Singapore into Malaysia once when I was kid, but it was through some poor fishing villages in the south. I had no idea whether or not the entire country was like that; we came in almost completely blind, with no idea of what to expect in terms of local culture, food, economy, and adventures.

Thankfully, I am an avid travel planner. Every time I see a travel picture I like on Pinterest, some delicious dish on Instragram, or an enticing adventure on my favorite travel shows, I “star” it on Google Maps. I have stars scattered all over that thing in every corner of the world. So I already had a number of stars around Kuala Lumpur when we arrived.

As Josh and I were walking around on our first day I noticed a star on KL Forest Eco Park. I had starred it so long ago I couldn’t remember why.  Is it good for birding or hiking? Is there a rare plant or animal inside? Does it have historic significance? Without internet, it remained a mystery. We decided to check it out, hoping I would know what I was looking for when I found it.

The KL Forest Eco Park hosts the oldest permanent rain forest reserve in Malaysia, and it’s the only natural rain forest in the world to be located in a city center. If that wasn’t enough to earn a star, then maybe it was the fact that the KL Forest Eco Park ticket price was free (March 2018). We walked right in and enjoyed a couple of different, well-maintained trails that weaved through the park. The trees were old and tall and thick with leaves. I didn’t see a lot of birds, flowers, or even bugs, but there was a lot of greenery and almost all of it looked tenacious.

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One path we ran into had a larger sign than the others and looked quite lovely. We enjoyed a stroll up the side of a small hill and noticed what looked like a tree house off to the left. Although Josh was interested in checking out the tree house, he was also skeptical due to his fear of heights. But, he was a good sport, took a deep breath, and climbed up.

The view from the top not only gave us a beautiful view of the tree tops, but access to what must be the REAL reason I starred this particular park: KL Forest Eco Park Canopy Walk. 650 feet long and 69 feet off the ground, the series of sky bridges was formidable. Josh immediately panicked when we got to the top to see them towering through the forest in all of their glory… and with a small child bawling her face off trying to walk across one.

After some (I’m using the word “some” simply out of politeness) goading, I was finally able to get Josh to walk across the bridge. Little did he know, that the other side didn’t provide a way back down to ground level, but instead another sky bridge… and another… and four more. He was a good sport, sweating, and slinking across each bridge with the poise of a scared cat. And, to both of our surprise, he made it all the way to the end. He claims it is the scariest thing he has ever done.

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My story isn’t nearly as dramatic. The Canopy Walk looked scary with wood planks and rope sides, but hidden underneath was a thick layer of metal gratings and steel reinforcements. The sky bridges were steady with only a little bit of movement. The view was awesome. I loved looking at these old and gnarled trees up close. I only wish we had seen some of the monkeys that are said to be spotted there.

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I think it is a good sign that our first adventure in Kuala Lumpur was successful and blog worthy. I have had a chance to review some of my other Google Map stars and am really looking forward to the adventures we have ahead of us… including ANOTHER rendition of Adventures in Eating at KFC!

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Seven Star Park

Today’s adventure was to Seven Star Park. I didn’t find a lot of information about it except that the park also hosted a zoo, cave, and theme park for an additional charge. So, I thought that it was a park. We could head over there, grab some lunch to go, and eat in the grass. As per usual in China, I was wrong.

Today’s adventure was to Seven Star Park. I didn’t find a lot of information about it except that the park also hosted a zoo, cave, and theme park for an additional charge. So, I thought that it was just a regular ol’ park. We could head over there, grab a picnic, and eat in the grass. As per usual in China, I was wrong.

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The walk from our hotel to the park was a little under 30 minutes.

Seven Star Park is a large area filled with small things to do. Most of those small things cost money… as does getting into the park. At the gate, we were given the option of a park ticket for ¥70, cave ticket for ¥55, or a combined ticket for ¥115 ($17.50). The price would have usually made us turn away, as the price of one combined ticket was nearly our entire daily budget. But we had already walked a long way to get there, so we each purchased a combined ticket, and went in.

The park hosts many mini hikes and adventures. Our first stop was the Square of China’s Glory. It is a little bit more like what I was picturing when I had envisioned the park. It had a big, open lawn with people picnicking, kids running around, that sort of thing. There was also a big art installation at the far end of the square, a mural painted onto a big semi-circular wall. We didn’t bring any food with us, and the stalls that were selling food were too expensive for our taste, so we didn’t end up getting our picnic after, but instead moved on and kept exploring.

Throughout the park, there are statues and paintings of animals, so when I came across a couple statues of monkeys, I didn’t think anything of it. Then a little farther in, I saw another statue… and it moved! Apparently, there are wild monkeys living in the park. We walked over to a park bench were several people were feeding them grapes. There were signs everywhere warning of getting bitten, complete with pictures of people’s bleeding wounds. We sat down on the benches and watched them for a while. They were peaceful and curious, hopping around in the trees and coming down when someone offered them food. Some of the people were quite aggressive toward the monkeys, which Josh did not like, but no one got bit, even though they kind of deserved it.

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Dear Moms, I promise we did not feed nor touch the monkeys.

It took us a little while to realize that the smaller side paths were also for us to use. Once we figured that out, we set off up one of the hills within the park. Putuo Hill is one of the hill series that makes up the cave, and at the top is an area called Star Pavillion. It was a long and hot hike to the top, but definitely worth the view, as you could see most of the city from up there.

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We hiked down the opposite side of the hill and headed for the cave entrance. We had hoped there would be food there (we still hadn’t eaten lunch) and that we could walk right in. Again, wrong on both counts. We walked up to the booth and confidently handed the guy our tickets, only to be told that we’d have to wait half an hour for the next tour. So, at 2pm, we joined the crowd for a Chinese language guided tour of the Seven Star Cave.

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We did our best to look like we understood what the tour guide was saying, but only really caught a few words here and there. The cave is huge! Maybe it was the hunger talking, but it felt like we walked for miles through lighted caverns and formations.

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A formation reflected onto the pool of water below it.

The tour was 45 minutes long and, for the most part, was informational (I can only guess from the amount of talking the guide did and the amount of oohing and awing the crowd did). However, China is China, so we were treated to several stops within the cave where we could purchase pictures or visit the gift shops.

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The gift shop… literally in the middle of the massive cave.

We didn’t see everything in the park, but by the time our 45 minute tour of the cave was over, we were near-starving. So, we booked it out of the park and over towards our side of town for an amazing snack of Hong Kong Waffles (which is as delicious as it looks).

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Egg waffle filled with vanilla gelatto and topped with cookie crumbles.

I enjoyed our day at the park, but I don’t think I would recommend it to visitors of Guilin. It is overpriced and a little underwhelming. There are plenty of other sights in the area that are cheaper, less crowded, and more interesting (like Fubo Mountain). I would, however, recommend the Hong Kong Waffles. Those things are to die for!