Anita had been harping about it for some time. She quite literally dragged me there last Saturday - it was a Public Holiday for Maulidur Rasul. After heading out to settle my ward round early, it was straight to the park.
Anita was there last week with one of her friends but got more than what she bargained for. She was chased away by a group of monkeys! That cut short her plan for exercise that day. This time around, she was hoping that I could be her bouncer in case the monkeys showed up again.
Taman Tugu was located behind the Tugu Negara area, previously a space used as a residence for high ranking government officers and their staffs. Over the years, the place was abandoned and at one point was used as a rubbish dumping ground. A few years back, Khazanah through the CSR initiative taught to revitalised the area. They went a few steps further, at not only clearing the place but restoring it to its former glory. This formed a park in the middle of the cities. They also sought to create Amanah Warisan Negara (AWAN), akin to National Trust in the UK.
The project was implemented in three phases. The first couple of areas had been opened, complete with a trail of around 3.5 km. When the third phase opens next year, the trail will snake around at 7 km. Eventually, it will be linked to the main Taman Botani Perdana. The Taman Tugu Project has a vital arm, in the form of its nursery. They source in plants as far away as Tanjung Malim, and with the help of Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), more plants were added into the ecosystem.
Walking around the park was straight forward and safe. They have checkpoints every 100 meters or so, with clearly laid out route. The secondary trails and shortcuts were also clearly posted and you could choose how adventurous you want to be. Every so often, there would be seating areas and swings for you to drink and catch your breath. Despite the hot sun, the shades protected us from the warmth and the sound of flowing water and insects transferred away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
What I am especially impressed with was the maintenance and foresight they put into running the area. The nursery was a strategic plan. The landmarks, such as old buildings and streams, were maintained and kept clean. There was also a campsite which Unfortunately we did not venture to that morning. Walking around, I could see the ruins of the old building there along the paths.
The park is opened daily from 7 am to 6.30pm. We were greeted by friendly volunteers when we were about to start our walk. She explained to us the route and what to expect inside. Parking was also straight-forward, although limited. You could park at Taman Botani Perdana main carpark, which will add another 15 minutes to your walk.
Taman Tugu Project also has an excellent social media presence. I found the website helping in highlighting their past activities. Facebook may be a better site to visit to keep yourself up to date. All in all, I could see us heading there often, just to chill and stay fit. The food truck at the exit would also come in handy ... Bravo!