One of the most important things you need to know about Kuala Lumpur is that it is hot. No matter at what time, month or season you visit the city, you are pretty much guaranteed to be dripping with sweat from dawn to dusk, and even at night if you don’t have a decent aircon at your accommodation. With some of the best infinity pools in the world, taking a dip while staring at the city skyline is a pretty good way to beat the heat. But, as swimming in fancy rooftop pools is a hot commodity in the city, hotels and apartment blocks have made them even more exclusive and you will not find a single hotel pool offering day passes. So, if you want to take a dip, you’ll have to be clever and a little sneaky.
If you have already booked other accommodation but you really want that infinity pool experience, I have found the perfect little cheat for you. The Regalia Residencies are a group of three skyscraper towers made up of smaller hotels, holiday apartments and a few hostels. Situated a little out of the main centre of Kuala Lumpur, the view from the infinity pool on the 57th floor is absolutely breath-taking, and with a poolside bar, good music and fewer crowds than at many of the other hotel pools, the vibe is really good.
As is the case everywhere else, you need to be a guest of one of the hotels or hostels to gain access to the pool, and to do this without breaking the bank, book yourself a bed in a hostel, even if you don’t plan on sleeping there. For as little as £4 per person you can book a bed at the Sky Pool Kuala Lumpur Hostel, show up, get your key card and enjoy the pool for the entire day without even stepping into the hostel. This is also a great idea if you have to check out of your accommodation early morning but your flight is only later at night, as you can store your luggage inside the hostel’s lockers and enjoy a last sunny day in KL swimming and relaxing.
To read more about all the fantastic pools you can swim in and the gorgeous hotel with the best pool in Kuala Lumpur, please visit my KL Pool Guide at Where to swim in an infinity pool in Kuala Lumpur.
Escape the city to the Berembun Rain Forest
A visit to Malaysia would not be complete without exploring some dark green rainforests, Being situated less than 2 hours’ drive from central Kuala Lumpur, the Berembun rainforest is the perfect place for escaping the hustle and bustle of the city and reconnecting with nature.
The Berembun Forest Reserve lies within the Malaysian state of Negeri Sembilan and sits on the outskirts of Seremban. Before you even think about setting foot in the reserve, cover every inch of yourself in eco-friendly insect repellent as mosquitoes in the Berembun Forest Reserve are very, very thirsty. The paths, streams and rivers are also crawling with leeches, so wear long socks and check your legs regularly. Even though they are absolutely disgusting and almost impossible to get off, they are harmless for the most part. Pack at least two litres of water to replace everything you will be sweating out and wear sensible hiking boots or trainers as it is muddy, slippery, hilly and generally ankle-breaker territory. Lastly, pack your camera, even if it is rainy and you need to wrap it in a plastic bag. The rainforest is decorated with the most fantastic details and you are going to want to capture the unique fauna and flora of this area.
Once inside the reserve, almost invisible and completely overgrown footpaths lead you further into the muddy abyss. Keep talking to a minimum and walk as quietly as you can to give yourself the best chance to spot some local forest residents, including white-handed gibbons, macaques, wild boars, lesser mouse deer, tapirs and little common tree shrews jumping high up between the branches. Due to deforestation in the surrounding area and general urbanisation, Malayan tigers, currently listed in the IUCN Red List as critically endangered, have sadly not been seen in the Berembun Forest Reserve for many years.
Up in the tall trees, Berembun is also home to hundreds of bird species, but non as vocal as the Asian koel. Ferns, flowers and other flora cover the forest floor; keep your eyes open all the time for frogs, bats, butterflies, millipedes and even snakes! The forest floor is literally teeming with creepy-crawlies waiting to be unearthed, inspected and photographed. Naturalists and researchers have in recent years flocked to this largely unexplored rainforest in the hope of discovering new and exciting species.
One of the most popular treks in the Berembun rainforest leads hikers past brooks trickling down the mossy slopes, over small rivers via fallen tree trunks, over large granite boulders and finally to a tiered waterfall where the Batang Penar river gushes into a large rock pool where you can swim and explore under the lush rainforest canopy. You can also hike to the wreck of a British Royal Air Force aircraft that crashed in the forest in 1945, or make the incredible effort to hike to the summit of Gunung Berembun at 1014 m above sea level.
To read more about the Berembun rainforest and how to visit it as a day trip from Kuala Lumpur, please visit my full travel guide to this fantastic place at Everything you need to know before hiking through the Berembun Rainforest.
Spend a night or two in the rain forest
There are very few places left on this earth where you can really escape the work and world of man. A place where the birdsong replaces car horns, where the chirps and croaks of frogs carry you off to sleep and where the only thing you can do is read, rest and relax. Less than a two-hour drive from the bustling centre of Kuala Lumpur, the Dusun is just such a place.
The Dusun is made up of six unique houses, built to be eco-friendly and to blend into the unparalleled natural beauty of its rainforest location. Each house has distinctive traits, design characteristics and varying sleeping quarters, but all have equipped kitchens with a fridge, gas stove, basic crockery, pots and pans, so bring your own food, snacks and drinks and enjoy the option to self-cater. The best part of these houses is the fact that they all offer undisturbed views of the surrounding Berembun Forest Reserve. As a guest you have access to two stunning infinity pools where you can lounge the day away, as well as to a communal dining and seating area with a honesty fridge in case you need some ice-cold beers.
Focused on sustainable development, farming and building, the entire project has created a beautiful and healthy environment and lends itself as a sort of extension to the Berembun Forest Reserve on the borders of which it is build. The Dusun employs local people, fosters a good relationship with the local community and aims to raise more awareness of Malaysia’s beautiful natural heritage. It also supports local traditions, communities and NGOs. The nature resort is proud to promote responsible and sustainable travel. The Dusun only serves home-grown organic fruits and vegetables from their own gardens and is committed to protect the local area and use water carefully. The resort only uses eco-friendly cleaning products from the Malaysian non-profit Truly Loving Company (TLC) and in each house you will find plastic-free soap and shampoo bars from Kinder Soaps.
As they are committed to the environment, the resort is also completely free of air conditioning, but fear not! The cool mountain breeze or a dip in the pool is more than enough to help you escape the stifling Malaysian heat. Be sure to also pack some eco-friendly bug spray as the mosquitoes are omnipresent in this part of the world.
If you are planning your rainforest escape at the Dusun, I highly recommend booking the Berembun House – a Malay-style house on stilts, with verandas on two sides, a small barbecue stove for private dining and a view onto the Berembun Forest Reserve that will take your breath away! Even though all the houses are self-catering, I recommend preordering meals from the small onsite restaurant as the food is mainly from the garden, prepared by locals and tastes absolutely amazing.
To find out more about the Dusun and how you can book your stay at this fantastic rainforest escape, please visit my full travel guide at Rainforest bliss at The Dusun – Kuala Lumpur’s top weekend getaway destination.
If you would like to see more pictures of my time in Kuala Lumpur and of all the fantastic things to see, to eat and drink, please visit me on Pinterest at @LuzanneFletcher and follow me on Instagram at @luzanne_f. Also check out the related article section below for the full guides to some of KL’s best attractions and day trips.