Refreshing hike up Kanching falls.

9 Nov

Waterfall hiking for a little peace and serenity.

Refreshing hike up Kanching falls.

Uneven terrain : stepping stones and tree roots litter the path

Uneven terrain : stepping stones and tree roots litter the path.

I HAVE always wanted to do a waterfall hike, so when a fellow hiker shared his trip to the 208m high seven-tier cascading Kanching Falls, it was a simple decision picking it as our destination for the weekend.

All of us in the group were eager to see the much-photographed and much talked-about waterfalls.

Kanching Forest Reserve lies to the north of Kuala Lumpur, in Rawang, and is a short drive from Templer’s Park. It is a popular spot for swimming, picnics, camping and jungle hiking.

Beautiful : Power shower and cool dip at the fifth tier.

The waterfall and pool at the third level.

The 30km drive from Kuala Lumpur to our rendezvous point in the carpark was smooth and easy.

After four months of unhealthy haze last year, we were all enjoying the fresh air and blue skies during the car ride.

The weekend is a busy time to visit this place. Parking spaces are often occupied very early in the morning.

Also out in full force were the resident monkeys – often described as aggressive and quick-fingered.

1 The waterfall and pool at the third level.2 30m of cascading fresh spring water.3 Steep steps going up to the fourth level4 Stepping stones and tree roots litter the path.5 Power shower and cool dip at the fifth tier.

30m of cascading fresh sping water

Reviews on various websites, without fail, warn visitors to guard their belongings, especially food, from these creatures.

We got our tickets and followed the sound of trickling water, walking through a large picnic area with drink stalls, ice-cream carts, souvenir shops, gazebos and directional signs pointing to changing rooms, toilets and the camp site.

Our plan was to go beyond the seven levels with the upper falls as our end point. A flat paved road led up to cement steps, quickly taking us past the first three levels within five minutes.

Not surprisingly, the purpose-built pools at the base of these lower falls were filled with children and families having a splashing good time in the refreshing cold water.

From the third tier, the next flight of steep steps make a nice, short lung-buster that is over before you know it.

The cement steps ended midway up and we continued along an earth path.

The next level is marked by a small bridge with the waterfall and natural pool on one side, and an overlook of the water roaring down on the other.

We crossed the bridge to the other side of the waterfall, continuing along a clearly marked trail.

Popular : The waterfall and pool at the 3rd level

Power shower and cool dip at the fifth tier

A pleasant short stroll on a gentle incline got us to the fifth waterfall.

It was blessedly quiet and empty. The temptation to dip in the sizeable pool’s clear spring water and to experience the power of the falls on my shoulders.

We pushed on, reluctantly, following the narrow dirt path that snaked its way up with the waterfall on our left.

The sixth level presents a rare view of the waterfall from the base, all the way to the top.

I could almost feel the force of the water as it tumbled down over the rocky surface.

From here on, we hiked along the right side of the waterfall, accompanied by the sound of water roaring down to the bottom.

We picked our way carefully along the tree-root littered path, scrambling on hands and knees on the bare rocky portions for added stability.

After an hour’s uphill climb, the trail ended at a sandy bottomed pool that carried on upstream.

Lung buster : Steep steps going up to the 4th level

Steep steps going up to the fourth tier

To go further, a river trek was the only option.

At the upper falls, the shallow pool of crystal clear water exudes peace and serenity, inviting us to dip in its chilly water.

A light drizzle that steadily got heavier had cut short my peaceful contemplation causing us to packed up and head down.

We made our way down cautiously as the trails became muddy in the rainy conditions and soon turned into mini cascades with puddles forming in many places.

To avoid slipping on the wet rocks, we walked around it, using the roots as footholds or holding onto tree trunks for balance.

The rain eased up when we reached the cement steps and we were back in the carpark 10 minutes later.

It was a leisurely but exhilarating climb covering a distance of 2.8km with beautiful waterfall views at regular intervals.

On a sadder note, it was disheartening to see the amount of rubbish left behind along the paved walkway and at the lower falls.

The public has  littered the park with plastic bags, bottles and unwanted wrappers.

While there are sufficient bins strategically placed at rest stops and gazebos, the bins are not monkey-proof.

As it is, the monkeys rummage the bins for food scraps, leaving an even bigger mess.

While corporate bodies and environmental groups regularly organise clean-up efforts here, instilling a culture of caring for the environment among Malaysians, to not litter and be responsible for their trash, is the only long-term solution. The KampusSarap organisation held a clean up on Nov 28 last year, in conjunction with the Global Climate March.


About Kanching Falls:

Kanching has seven tiers of beautiful waterfalls spaced out over a height of 120m. Set in a 500ha forest reserve between Rawang and Selayang, Kanching Falls makes an ideal break from busy Kuala Lumpur, offering activities such as swimming, camping, picnic, photography and jungle hiking. It is approximately 30km away from Kuala Lumpur and 13 km from Rawang via Jalan Selayang–Rawang.

Getting There:

GPS : 3.299641,101.619371

N 03° 17.927’ E 101° 37.153’


Take the bus no.150 from Central Market. The bus stop is behind the market. You can ask local people around there where to get it as well as ask a bus driver to stop nearby the waterfall, too. It is RM 2 per way. Tell the bus driver you would want to stop at Kanching falls. The stop should be by the motorway.


Entry fees (since 2009)

• Adults (with MyKad): RM1

• Adults (without MyKad): RM3

• Toilet/Bathroom: 50sen

• Parking: Car (RM2), Motorcycle (RM1), Lorry/Bus (RM5)

Opening Hours: 7am to 7pm daily


How to get to central market from TravelHub KL to board the No 150 bus. 

Walk along the red highlighted path to the bus stop near Bangkok bank and take the Bus 150. Each way costs about RM 2 to get to Kanching falls. When you arrive, it would take a 5 mins walk to reach the entrance. After you had your fun, take the bus and head back to Central Market station where you came from.  Have fun  🙂


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