Broga Hill (400m), also known as “Bukit Lalang” by the locals is located in Semenyih, Selangor, Malaysia, and just about 45 minutes away from Kuala Lumpur.
It is an extremely popular weekend hike because of its panoramic view and various viewpoints (3 hilltops). This is especially so for most Malaysians, or for the urbanites who live in KL. For Singaporeans, it is a popular beginner sunrise hike, one that gives you a chance to see the “sea of clouds”.
I honestly think the idea of seeing the “sea of clouds” is overrated. It is a beautiful sight for sure, but you see it in almost every hike in Asia. In fact, I see it in Seletar Camp every time I book in to the army last time in the mornings. Enough of my gripe over people travelling to hike for the “sea of clouds”.
So I went to check out what the hype is about. It was part of my 2 hikes in 2 days in Malaysia. I first did Fraser Hill Pine Tree Trail before doing Broga Hill the next morning.
Broga hill is a super short hike in my opinion, and much easier. I took like 30 minutes to reach the 1st summit for Broga, and 1 hour to reach the summit at a very slow pace.
I think as I do more Malaysia hikes, I’m beginning to run out of adjectives for beginners. Broga Hill is like the appetizer, or a taster set. It feels too short to be a real hike, but it does give you many elements of a hike. If you arrive at a time away from the crowds, the reward to effort ratio is extremely high, although I would feel that the effort component can be too little for it to be fulfilling.
If I stayed in Broga, I think I would hike up every morning or so!
*All the nicer pictures, credit to Zoe!*
How to DIY
The starting point is at this wide area that looks like a sandy plantation carpark along the main road. There is a small brown sign which says “Broga Hill”, but the huge coconut trees lining up all around the carpark would be more conspicuous. Once you turn in, you will see many signs (asking for payment) and there might be people collecting the carpark fees.
I have tried to find a local public transportation or bus option but there doesn’t seem to be.
The best chance if you wish to DIY, is to travel to Kuala Lumpur, before taking a local bus to Semenyih Town. The local bus takes around 1h to get to Semenyih. From Semenyih town, you would most likely have to take a taxi or hitchhike to the Broga Entrance Carpark.
Most people drive there. If you come from Singapore, it is around 6 hours away.
Therefore, the most efficient way seems to be driving there yourself, or taking a taxi from KL and negotiating with the taxi driver to wait for you and send you back after that. This means that logically, it would make sense for Broga to be part of a KL itinerary.
Of course, you can hire a private vehicle from Singapore, which makes sense only if you have enough people or you wish to visit KL. Travelling all the way there for Broga Hill….seems slightly desperate.
Some meetup groups do it as a sunrise hike, so they start from Singapore at midnight, take an overnight transport and hike. That is fine, but travelling 12 hours just for a 2 hours hike, doesn’t seem very fulfilling.
My suggestion, is to make it as part of a KL itinerary, such as staying overnight in KL or around it. We did it as part of our 2 days in Malaysia.
- Summit: 400m
- Altitude Gain: ~310
- Total Distance: ~3km
- Terrain: Sandy, gradual mud slopes
- Average Duration: ~2h -3h (total)
There are 3 “summits”, or 3 hill points. The last point is the true summit, being at 400m. The first hill top is the one with the best view
- No pre-registration or quota and cheap entrance fees
- Easy and short, can be done anytime of the day
- High reward to effort ratio, beautiful view for a short hike
- Short distance from KL
- Annoying fees (for a hill), confusing information
- Extremely crowded on weekends, especially for sunrise
- Too short / too easy, can be unfulfilling. Especially if you’ve travelled some distance
- Trail can be narrow, and confusing with many split roads and without the right markers
- Quite far from Singapore for such a short hike
Facilities & Fees
Parking Fees: 1 RM
Toilet Fees: 1 RM (per entry), only open in the morning
Entrance Fees: 1 RM (per person)
The toilets are located on the right side of the carpark near the mainroad. It is an extremely small toilet, and there is only 1-2 cubicles (for the hundreds that visit it on the weekend, so go imagine). The toilets were also closed by noon! There also isn’t really a place to shower.
Therefore, the facilities at Broga doesn’t really make it the most comfortable area for hiking. As it is a short hike, most people just drive off after the hike.
The Broga hike is part of a private land apparently. There is a lady or a family collecting entrance fees and dishing out these “entrance tickets” in this hut which sells coconut, cold drinks and some snacks. It is located near the start of the trail once you walk past the carpark. It doesn’t cost much, just 1 RM.
There isn’t really a proper place set up for registration, because it isn’t really managed by any Malaysian authorities. Broga Hill is in a weird flux in terms of organization.
For most locals, it should be free to hike Broga Hill. It is like Gunung Lambak at their backyard, so it seems ridiculous to have to pay fees, even though they are cheap. However, it is part of private land so that is where the confusion is.
I suspect the private land part is not the Broga Hill Peak, but only the entrance portion. Jomblang Cave in Yogyakarta is also part of private land, and the owner actually commercialized it (it is so expensive!). I guess the land owners are actually being nice to only charge 2 RM in total.
My personal gripe is having to pay at 3 different instances. For a hiker, you wish to pay the entrance fee and start hiking. For Broga hill, the payment for the carpark, toilet and the entrance fee are all separate locations! It is quite annoying, although the fees are cheap. It would be much easier and more efficient if they charged everything at the start, like 5 RM.
From some blogs, you might read about the “old” and “new trail”.
It was quite confusing for me, as I couldn’t find the different trails. The “new trail” seemed like the “old trail” instead, and the locals also told me that, which differs from the information given by Hikers for Life. This led to a lot of confusion on my part, as the “new trail” wasn’t well-maintained at all and the “old trail” was obviously more well-trodden. Either way, there are 2 trails and one is clearly more well-used.
So to avoid confusion, I’m going to call it the “standard trail” and the “alternative trail”.
However, they are not as distinct and clearly marked as in the past. I tried to find the “alternative trail” on the way up but couldn’t find it. You can refer to the map from Hikers for Life. I have also posted an image of my hike for references.
It was a lot easier to spot the “alternative trail” on the way down, than on the way up. I couldn’t really find the way to the “alternative trail” on the way up, even with using the other blogs as reference.
I think some things have changed, so it might be easier to just use GPS. You can see that at one point on the way down, we almost connected back to the “standard trail”.
To follow the same trail as me, you can use this GPS.
They tried to open a “new trail” which is the one which skips past the registration or entrance fee. It is also known as the 0 RM route, however that doesn’t exist anymore. (so does that mean it becomes an “old trail??)
So the above picture is not a good reference anymore. This was found outside the toilet.
Some blogs highlight this picture of the gate, which shows “Trail to Broga Hill, 2nd Viewing Point”. The gate is still there, but it isn’t really functional. There isn’t really 2 trails now, it is just a singular trail which passes the “registration point”. After the registration point, the trail splits.
Having done this trail on the descent, I DO NOT ENCOURAGE people to do it. You should only do it if you are bored, or if you really like shrouded forests trail. The pathway isn’t used by a lot of people, so the foliage can be slightly thick and will cut into your skin. Also, the trail isn’t that nice. You should do it to just avoid the crowds. Trail Directions
Broga Hill is a simple hike if you follow the most obvious path, or the path which everyone takes.
As I can’t really tell you exactly how the old trail differs, this is the standard trail. Even on the standard trail, there are some split roads which I will highlight in the detailed trail directions. The main trail goes like this:
Carpark –> Entrance –> Sandy Bends –> Steep Ascent –> 1st Hilltop –> 2nd Hilltop –> Summit
Carpark -> Entrance: 10 minutes
Sandy Bends: 15 minutes
Steep Ascent: 10 minutes
You can reach the 1st Hilltop in 35 minutes on average. I was walking at a very slow pace.
1st Hilltop -> 2nd Hill Top: 15 minutes
2nd Hilltop -> Summit: 15 minutes
We were taking our time, with lots of pictures and rest, and still reach the summit in an hour.
Detailed Trail Directions
Carpark -> Entrance
We reached Broga Hill around 10 am because we were coming from Raub. I guess it was a good thing because we avoided the large crowds. By the time we started, most people were descending, or have descended.
The carpark is a big area, but just head straight north from the entrance and follow the sandy path. There is a small car “barrier” thingy (not sure what it is called) which means you are going the correct way.
Once away from the carpark, the path will lead you through to the “registration hut” or the stall. The trail might seem a bit messy, but just follow it, the signs or people. You might see the huge gate, ignore it and just follow the trail to the stall to get your entrance ticket.
After paying the Auntie 1 Rm each, I asked her about the other trail. She told me that this was the only way and the other trail doesn’t exist anymore.
The trail onward is a gradual up slope which bends, like a road bending up a hill. The ground is mud/clay like. There are 2 paths, following the bends, or taking the short-cut through the trees. Both paths will converge. The bends are of course easier as they are more gradual.
Of course being more adventurous, we cut through the forest. Honestly, it isn’t much, it is simply cutting upwards instead of taking a longer more gradual route. So if you are afraid of getting lost, as long as you are ascending and on the google maps trail, you should be correct.
Steep Ascent to 1st Hilltop
We hit a clearing and some flat ground after the bends. We took around 25 minutes starting from the carpark. This is like the calm before the storm. After this lies the steep ascent to the 1st Hilltop. The steep ascent looks daunting, and is kinda fun. In fact, I think it is the most fun part of the hike!
There are actually a few ways one can ascend, like 3 ways in fact. The ascent can be quite slippery due to soil erosion and small rocks. The rocks can be quite dry and sharp, so you might scratch yourself on the surface.
1. The safest way is to take the path on the right. There are like steps cut into the ground to help you.
2. As you can see from the images, there are some ropes to aid you. You can navigate through the rocks and is much faster than using the “mud steps”. This works if there is a jam on the steps.
3. You can ignore the ropes and walk up on the left of it. This path is steeper and without the aid of ropes. Do it if you feel adventurous, but safely of course.
The steep ascent can feel slightly like climbing at times so it was quite fun. I was trying to ascend without the use of my hands to train my balance.
In addition, the steep ascent gives you a good view, and some fresh air of the area!
The steep ascent took us 10 minutes and there we are, the 1st viewing point! I was slightly disappointed upon reaching this because I was hoping for the ascent portion to be longer. In fact, I almost thought that this was the summit, but luckily realised it was only the 1st viewing point.
I wondered how many people actually just stopped here and descended! It was just an easy 30 minutes hike! The first hilltop or viewpoint does boast an excellent view of the area, one of the few hikes in Malaysia where the view isn’t blocked by trees or forest. In fact, the views reminds me a lot of Hong Kong hikes.
The bad thing though, doing it around 10+am means it was extremely hot and there was no shelter around. We were all getting sunburned!
From the 1st Hilltop or viewpoint, you can see the snaking trail to the next hilltop as the area is an open mountain top. It was quite nice to take photos along this trail. In fact, I think the best for photos are the portions from the steep ascent to the 2nd Hilltop. They do have some spectacular views for such a short hike, so I can see why people love coming to Broga Hill.
It is a slight upslope, steeper than the start, but not super steep.
It is a short walk of around 5-10 minutes to the next hilltop. At the 2nd hilltop, we met the Broga Dog! This dog accompanies people to the summit. On other mountains, we usually meet some mountain dogs but this is the first for me on a Malaysia hike!
It was quite cool because the dog kind of guided us to the summit and all the way down. We were desperately trying to get the dog to face the camera but it wasn’t interested.
Same thing as before, it is another 10 minutes to the summit. It was almost noon and we were all getting fried by the sun. I had to whip out my umbrella, truly a casual hike!
The trail was pretty much the same between the viewpoints, the only difference this time was the presence of this boulder/rock portion near the summit of Broga Hill.
One has to climb these huge boulders, that can be quite hard if you are not wearing correct shoes, small size or have weak strength.
The Boulder Section can be slightly tricky. There isn’t much grip on the boulder and it is around 70 degrees. You will definitely need to use your hands. There is a rope on the side to help also. However, when ascending even with the rope, it feels like your feet will slip and your body will slam into the rock.
I can imagine some people struggling with this, but it seems from seeing videos and pictures most people manage to overcome it. It was a tricky section but only for like 2-3 steps.
We tried to get the dog up the boulders but it seemed scared. So we though maybe it needed water, maybe it needed food. We also thought maybe we needed to carry it up. We tried all sorts of ways before giving up.
Little did we know it had no problem going up. It was just waiting for us to go up. Once we reached the summit, the dog jumped up easily. Truly the Broga Dog.
The summit doesn’t have that nice views, unless you climb on top of the rock. Also, it is a smaller space as compared to the other viewpoints. The best portions were indeed the 1st and 2nd viewpoints.
From here, there was a sign to Gunung Tok Wan, another hill but we were not that interested. Having done Fraser Hill Twin Peak Hike via Pine Tree Trail the day before, we had enough of Malaysia mountains. Also, the trail was just a forest trail and we were not interested in a summit with no view.
Broga Hill was a good dessert for us to end the trip, a good morning workout and it was time to leave.
Descent via “Alternative Route”
I met a fellow local at the summit who looked exhausted so I asked if he was okay. We ended up talking a bit and I asked if he knew about the other route and he said that was where he was descending, so we followed him.
We still had to descend down the boulder section. After the boulders, we took a trail to the left that was adjacent to the “Standard Trail”. This trail took us down the grassier route, through the shrubs. It seemed like a nicer route at first because it was greener and more comfortable. I love descending on soft grass trails rather than mud trails. Except, some of the Lalangs or grass were really tall and sharp and started cutting into me as the trail narrowed. In fact, at some points I couldn’t even see the trail, I was just descending hoping it was the right way.
There are no proper trail makers along the way, except once in awhile a stick with some red painted at the tip. The only way to know this is to see the trail yourself and simply descend, or look at the following pictures and refer to my GPS.
The trail also diverges at a few points. At one point, we almost converged to the standard trail. We got slightly lost and guess who saved us, the Broga dog!
It disappeared and we thought it had gone back by itself and was bored of us, but what happened was because we were on the wrong trail and it was waiting for us. Realizing we were gone, it came back to find us to bring us down the correct path. I love dogs man, especially mountain dogs! These dogs are so protective and make random guides!
The descent feels even worse once we were about perpendicular to the 1st Hilltop. The trail gets muddy, or sandy with small rocks. It was really boring! I felt that if I descended via the “steep ascent” or the “standard trail”, it would have been better.
We took around 40 minutes to descend and reached back to the Auntie / registration hut. I would suggest not buying the snacks from there as they seemed expired ( I bought biscuits but didn’t finish them). We had some cold drinks and coconut before going down.
We were more exhausted from the heat and humidity than the hike. The toilets were closed by noon. Can you believe that? I had to change somewhere discreet and we departed back to Singapore, another 6 hours drive back.
Broga Hill is a hike with fantastic views for such a short hike. This makes it extremely appealing to families and casual hikers! Moreover, the steep and exciting portions (steep ascent + boulders) are short enough to feel both thrilling and doable at the same time.
If you are quick, you can ascend to the summit in 30 minutes easily, but for most people, this hike is a casual 2 hours hike in total.
This also means that it can get extremely crowded, especially on weekend mornings which takes away the beauty of it, especially if you hike for some serenity.
I can imagine a more experienced hiker getting frustrated by casual hikers resting 10 minutes in, or blocking the slopes and stuff. It wouldn’t be that nice or fun. It could be more challenging if you included Gunung Tok Wan (45 minutes away) I guess!
Objectively, if I were to view this hike alone, it is a fantastic hike. I wished it was in my backyard so I could climb it everyday. If I lived in Broga, I might do it every morning. The views are quite spectacular and I can imagine just heading up in the mornings or evenings with a book, maybe a coffee or something and chilling there.
However, if I were to come from Singapore, I would feel like the hike is too short to justify the distance. It is almost a 10-12h journey, just for a 1h hike for me? That is ridiculous to me. But I guess many people travel to KL to eat, shop and massage for a day trip, so it works?
“Z” remarked that the hike was too short therefore she didn’t like it. It is true, if it is too short, it does feel unfulfilling. I guess we are all kind of sadistic. We want some form of torture, some form of push to get that satisfaction that comes with a summit, rather than something so easy.
Therefore, Broga Hill (400m) to me is like the icing on a cake. The best is to make it a small component on the itinerary, and pair it with good food in KL or other places like a multi-day itinerary.
I am also running trips to Broga Hill and other Malaysia hikes via my meetup group: https://www.meetup.com/Little-Monsters-Travel/ so feel free to join if you are interested! I am also considering doing Broga as part of a twin-hike itinerary in Malaysia. Please do contact me via email: [email protected] / Website/ Whatsapp +65 97511216
If you need more references, just search more youtube videos on Broga Hill!