Walking ‘With Locals’

You’re going to need a change of clothes as it is going to get sweaty, is the advice on With Locals website in the trek trip notes.

I had not heard of With Locals before I started researching hikes around Kuala Lumpur. A website that hooks travellers up with local people for a ‘local’ perspective to tours, With Locals is such a simple, great idea.

I chose the ‘Exhilarating morning/evening hike up Bukit Tabur’. This trek, just a 20-minute drive from KL, climbs up the challenging east side of the hill/mountain and along what is allegedly the world’s largest quartz ridge.

My ‘local’ Casey picks me up from the hostel at 6am sharp. A 62-year old who describes himself on his With Locals profile page as: “An outdoor enthusiast and nature lover. I am a super active guy and run 6 days a week. If I am not running, I will be hiking.” My type of guy.

Despite the morning rain, it is very humid. My glasses steam up the moment we get out of the car. We set off up through the rainforest by torchlight. Within ten minutes my t-shirt and buff are soaked in sweat. Nice. The trek trip notes weren’t wrong.

imageWe scramble up the track using roots and rock. It gradually gets light as we make our sweaty ascent and reach the first lookout point. Clouds hang below us but you can just make out the outline of a lake. KL is shrouded in mist.

We traverse the rocky ridge line and finally get to the summit. A massive 275m high! No fear of AMS here!


Monkey calls boom out from the rainforest floor and the clouds lift to reveal the lake below. You can make out the range of hills in the distance that divide east and west Malaysia. Look in the opposite direction and the full KL cityscape, including its famous twin Petronis Towers, is spread out before you.

The orange mud, still damp from the morning rain, makes the descent quite slippy. We hold on to roots and foliage to lower ourselves down the steep slope. I am grateful for my sturdy new boots with their good grip.

imageIf you do one thing in Kuala Lumpur – book this tour with Casey. He is one of the nicest people I have ever met. He adds little touches to the day, like the gift of scrambling gloves at the start and the snacks at the top. After lunch he gave me an extra tour of the city including the botanical gardens.

The trek is described as a climb but I would say it is roughly a grade 1 scramble. It gets you into the countryside near the city and rewards your exertions with great views and a lot of sweat! Bring that change of clothes!

With Locals
Connecting travellers with locals through food and experiences.
Cost: varies according to trip and guide. The Bukit Tabur trek with Casey was €49 including lunch. Casey doesn’t add a single person supplement which some do. A regular marathon runner, he can also personalise tours.
Website: withlocals.com

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