At least not if you’re staying in Chiang Mai… I…
Well actually in the humidity it felt more like a hike. A word of advice don’t wear jeans if you’re going to check out the Botanical Gardens in KL. I had planned to tag along with the free guided walks at 8am but I forgot to book my spot so I didn’t end up getting to the gardens until about eleven. I should have come early anyway to beat the heat. Live and learn.
Getting to the gardens was a little confusing. I caught the KTM from KL Sentral to Kuala Lumpur. That was easy. But I wasn’t sure where to go once I got there. I don’t know how I ever managed without Google Maps and my iPhone’s inbuilt GPS before. They’re a lifesaver when you’re in a new place. They had me on the right track pretty quickly without too much confusion.
Just to add to my discomfort it’s a twenty-minute walk up a hill to find the entrance to the garden. There are lots of signs pointing towards the various attractions in the area once you find the street so it’s hard to get lost from there. The KL Bird Park is on the way to the Orchid garden but it does cost to go in there. The Butterfly Park is pretty close as well. When I got to the entrance to the Orchid garden I spotted a sign saying that there is a fee of RM1 on a Sunday or Public Holiday but there was no one around to collect it so I just went straight in.
I was in the orchid garden so naturally there were a lot of orchids around. Mostly there seemed to be the pretty and colourful varieties. I had been hoping to see a few more unusual ones like spider orchids but there didn’t seem to be any around. At least I didn’t see any in bloom while I was there. I spent a bit of time wandering through the orchid beds before heading over to the hibiscus garden. I spotted a pair of squirrels jumping through the trees on the way but they were too quick for me to get a photo. By this point I was pretty warm so I plopped myself down on a bench in a covered walkway. I watched the brightly coloured dragonflies flitting around the garden. I didn’t get to see the bright red one up close but I did manage to get a picture of a yellow one.
There is an abundance of wild life in the garden which is surprising for a place in the heart of a city. I saw many different varieties of birds. Including the little brown ones that seem to be everywhere. Australia has flies. Malaysia has these birds. They’re small and they will be all over your food if you leave it unattended. I also had a monitor lizard cross my path. He was just ambling along presumably looking for food. I stayed and watched him did up the garden bed for a little while before moving on.
I could have continued down the paved road but I spotted a wooden archway off to the side which looked a little more interesting. It was the start of a set of wooden stairs leading down through the tall trees. They looked a bit old and rotten so I took it slowly as I descended. The planks creaked and shifted a little but seemed to hold my weight. I love following paths through tall trees. It makes me think about forests in fantasy books. There just always seems to be a bit of magic there. The path wasn’t very long though so the feeling was short-lived and somewhat tarnished by the mosquitoes looking for a bite. Still it led to a different part of the park where I found people having picnics and children playing. I also found a dilapidated old stone doorway hidden amongst the ferns. It looked old and the carved stone was covered in moss. I’m not sure if it was a remnant of a time gone by or had been added to the park to give it the appearance of cultural depth. But it was still an interesting find and made for good camera fodder.
At this point I decided it was time to head back. I was tired, hot and starting to get a bit hungry. Despite the heat I did enjoy my time strolling through the gardens. It would make for a lovely spot for a picnic. Just remember to dress appropriately for the weather. It’s generally free to get in and they do offer free guided tours between 8 and 10 on a Sunday morning. So if you’re into botany and you’re on a budget it’s a pretty cool place to spend a morning. Just remember to book it in advance. For more info you can visit their website at http://www.klbotanicalgarden.gov.my