Thursday, January 13, 2011

Get Out of the House - Visit the Ampang Recreational Forest!

Located in the southern area of the Selangor State Park is the Ampang Forest Reserve.  The Ampang Forest Reserve is, importantly, a water catchment forest.  It also includes some of the most magnificent forest stands left in this locality, and is rich in wildlife.  Hundreds of wildlife species have been documented in this area, a few include tapirs, leopards, slow loris, and gibbons, pit vipers and great angle-head lizards. 


There are also a number of important recreation sites within this region of the Park, of which, the Ampang Recreational Forest is one.  The Ampang Recreational Forest, also known as Taman Rimba Ampang or Bukit Belacan, is located about 13.5km east of Kuala Lumpur, following Jalan Ampang right to its very end.   The site is easily accessible from the city and is a popular get away for a lazy, afternoon picnic by the river.


The river is cool and clear, with many shallow pools to wade in and small rocks that provide natural massage.  The recreational forest actually runs along the access road to the Ampang water in-take (which supplies water to over 9,000 accounts in the Ampang area).  Only authorized vehicles are allowed on the road to the in-take point, so it makes access to the river quite simple, especially for those with small children or with disabilities.  You just need to walk along the road until you see a spot in the river that looks appealing, and then set up your picnic!


The Ampang Recreational Forest has recently been put back under the management of the Selangor Forestry Department.  The Department is doing a very good job keeping the area clean and fairly well maintained.  There is a car park at the entrance to the recreation site, and a small playground for young children.  There are a few changing hut and small gazebos to picnic under.
Aside from lazing about and enjoying the fresh air and cool river, the Ampang Recreational Forest is a popular birding area, in part due to the easy road access, and also because of the number of beautiful birds that dwell in the forests there.  It is possible that there are some trails in the vicinity, but these are not officially established trails, and it is not advisable to go hiking without informing the forestry department before hand.


There is a small entrance fee, to help the Forestry Department maintain the area, and to clean up the trash, but the fee is worth the beauty you’ll experience – and it is a real bargain as compared to the price of movie tickets!


When you visit, remember to always KEEP THE FOREST CLEAN.  Don’t feed the animals, especially the monkeys.  Don’t cut any trees or disturb the wildlife or other living creatures.  Let others enjoy the beauty that you enjoyed.

UNDER THREAT

Sadly, the entire Ampang Forest Reserve is under threat from the proposed alignment of the KL Outer Ring Road - or East Klang Valley Expressway.  The forest will be cut in half, as the highway is planned to run from the south to the north of the forest reserve.  Somewhere near the end of Jalan Ampang (i.e. the Ampang Recreational Forest and the kampong), there will be an access point to the highway It is difficult to know exactly where the highway will cut through in relation to the water intake point and the recreation site, but the pollution from construction and from the future highway use will definitely have a negative impact on the forests here and the functions it plays.


HOW TO GET THERE

1. By train: Take the Rapid KL train (Ampang line) from the Masjid Jamek station and get off at the last station which is Ampang itself. From here, you could either take a taxi or bus directly there (Rapid KL bus #332 – you have to cross the road to get to the bus stop though).  The bus will take you right to the car park outside the recreation forest 

2. Take Rapid KL bus #332, it starts near Menara AIA in Lebuh Ampang and runs all the way along Jalan Ampang.  The bus route ends right at car park outside the recreation forest - so easy!

3.  By car – just stay on Jalan Ampang until the very, very end (heading out of the city, towards Ampang).  It winds through a small kampung, and then you’ll end up at the parking lot.

2 comments:

  1. Don't bother wasting your time for the 332 bus or take any buses there for that matter.

    The 332 bus takes an immensely long time to wait for and while I was waiting I noticed it appeared frequently in the other lane(the route to K.L) but not on the route to Bukit Belacan.

    So save your time, and instead hop on a taxi. It's about 5.60 which is a fair price. And remember to call it by the name locals know it as; Bukit Belacan. Asking around to get to Taman Rimba earns you looks of confusion.

    Sadly while I was there I noticed that there's quite a few amounts of rubbish around, the forestry should really consider keeping this forest well maintained or have strict guidelines against littering. Due to the lack of authority there, locals are able to litter where they please.

    Bukit Belacan is actually a small area of the massive Ampang forest that is constructed with pavements and roads for people roaming around. In fact, when one travels around there they become aware of the fact that the recreation park really just is the tip of the iceberg. ;)

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