Updated: Jun 18
Recently 4 very photogenic trees have shot to stardom among the hiker's community in the Klang Valley, appearing in every hiker's post and bucket list!
These 4 trees are located in Bukit Cerakah (not to be confused with the other Botanical Park Bukit Cerakah) amongst the deserted FELDA palm oil plantation.
In recent years there have been many controversies of how the forested area in Puncak Alam have been cleared, excavated and quarried to the extent of the whole hill being barren and disappearing, and slowly encroaching deeper into the forest!
Starting point: car park along the road of the reservoir
Hike Duration: the hike is rather easy and straight-forward but if you are looking for the 4 trees, you might need to navigate a little
End Hike: Loop/Backtrack
Hike Difficulty: 2/5 although some parts especially to Vine Tree can be rather steep! It is a fairly easy hike and I think it is suitable for children above 7 too.
Scenery Rewards: 2/5...... it was really painful to see the barren hill!
Tip: The car park can get pretty packed on the weekends, so the best would be to reach early!
What to bring
1. Good pair of hiking shoes
2. Gloves, as there are parts where you will need to use some help of the ropes, especially towards the Vine Tree
3. Some snacks
4. 2 litres of water. I can get very hot as there is not much shade if you hike to Botak Hill
5. Walking stick is necessary especially when it rains the trail can be slippery! Otherwise barefoot might be a good option too! (just joking)
6. Cap and sunscreen!
7. A GOOD ADVENTURE SPIRIT
There is a path leading up to the hill along the reservoir. It is a short uphill track until you reach a flatland with the gargantuan electrical pylons. On a clear day, you would be able to see as far to the straits of Melacca.
From here we descended to find our first tree. The Pu Ti Bohdi Tree. Follow the path down under the pylons, you will see some huge rocky formation on the left and the handsome Pu Ti tree is on the right. This tree is a Malayan Banyan tree aka Curtain Fig.
From here is backtrack as we headed uphill toward the false peak of Bukit Cerakah. The views here on a clear day is a sight to behold! This jagged rocky peak connects to the Bukit Ceraka hill.
From here, it is a short hike to the peak of Bukit Cerakah 214m. You will find a collapsed Trig Station (if you have been hiking enough, you will notice this pyramid structure on almost every peak. It comes in different shapes and sizes in different countries indicating a peak and for geodetic studies) monkey bar, a bench to catch your breath and very welcoming soft breeze billowing in the area. I was told that this area can be really hot on a clear day but we were really lucky as throughout the whole hike it was over-cast and cooling and breezy!
We continued to hike on for another 10 minutes to find out next tree. Soon we approach the Octopus Tree! Although the branches or trunk did not equate to 8, the tree certainly resembles the elusive octopus! This is a Kapok Tree.
At the other side of the tree, there is a steep slope that descends to the Vine Tree. The descend is really steep although only 2 flights down. There are ropes to help you distribute your weight down this formidable slope! Take it step-by-step and don't rush it!
The sight of this tree is majestic, as it balances on the rock over the slope. The best angle to capture this tree in all its glory would be from its root system all the way up its lush leaves! Try your best not to pull the veins of the tree, as with this number of hikers, I reckon it will be 'botak' (bare) very soon! This tree certainly resembles the strangler fig tree.
After admiring the tree, go back up where you came from and hike further into the wooded area to arrive at Bukit Botak.
The sight of this bull-dozed hill is an eye-sore! It is sad to see how man-kind has raped the land and flatten the hill. Landscapes as such are getting more and more common as the unscrupulous business continues to encroach on what little forest reserve we have left in the Klang Valley. But if this dry, arid, radiating hot land excites your interest, you could hike up to either peak. Besides, it is a matter of time the hill gets flatten. Nevertheless am sure the view from there on a clear day would be glorious!
It is questionable the ill effects this excavation plays on the degradation of the environment, as I notice many fallen trees in the forest! Bukit Cerakah is in peril!
Tips: The climb up to either hill is on loose gravel and is dangerous. Especially so for the hill on the right! When we were there, a hiker fell from climbing the Bonsai Peak.
From here we headed back to the to towards the Bukit Cerakah Peak, False Peak, but we took the Biker's path as we descend down from the false peak.
We hunt for our final tree- the KILLER TREE. This name given to this tree is perhaps how it appears to be suffocating the host palm tree, and eventually choking it to death. Strangler figs and other strangler species are common in tropical forests around the world.
This tree is located just at the corner of the Bike path! Beware of oncoming bikers who might be circling the route!
From here, it is a short hike down-hill the flatland of the pylons.
Flora & Fauna
Among the matured oil plam trees this area is a refuge for wild-life animals such as wild boars, birds, and insects and an array of plants!
It is a wonder how much buzz these 4 trees have created over the weeks. It is truly amazing how a little area not so far from the housing estate can house such fascinating trees. I would surely urge you to hike up that hill and hunt those trees before they are deforested to oblivion!
A big shoutout to the Trailblazer team for leading and organizing the group to this amazing place! Your passion is relentless and we appreciate how your team works to share little gems to novice hikes! Keep up the great work!
Fast forward 22nd March 2021, the Octopus tree was fallen! There won't be much left of this forest in the weeks to come! This magical place remains only in my memories. I hope you had a chance to visit it! Further developments, as per 5th July 2022 more land in the Bukit Cerakah Forest Reserve has been degazetted to make way for development.
some shots shared by Carl Lew and Kathy Ong
** Disclaimer: The actual names and species of the trees may vary.
Date visited: 13th September 2020