Bukit Chenta (or Bukit Cinta), located on the grounds of the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, is a pleasant running route with a hill thrown in! Well, actually.. Bukit Chenta is the hill itself (Bukit = Malay for ‘Hill’).
The Hill Loop
A convenient place to start would be the Dewan Tunku Canselor, or ‘DTC’ (#1 on the map below), given the ample carpark facilities around the area. The DTC is a massive grey concrete building reminiscent of architectural styles of the 1950s and 1960s, and is the campus’ main landmark.
Our route takes us in the direction of the traffic from DTC (NB. at this point, traffic is one-way). You will reach a point where there is a fork in the road (refer to the map) – turn left. At this point, traffic becomes two-way.
You will run past faculty buildings, residential colleges and sports facilities. After having done approximately 1.5km in total from DTC, you will see a bus depot on your right where university buses are parked. Ignore the turnoff that leads to the bus park. Immediately after the bus depot, you will see the beginning of a shady road that goes left and later uphill (#2) – that’s the beginning of Bukit Cinta.
You begin to embark on a seemingly endless, though not too torturous, incline (#3) that brings you around the fringes of the university grounds. The elevation goes from approximately 57m at the start of the hill to 113m a.s.l. over a distance of 1.2km.
After a quick breather at the crest of the hill (#4) where the road widens to accommodate a campus bus stand, the route thereafter is mostly downhill, going past some residential colleges (and the incredible smell of nasi lemak sambal and possibly laksa if you’re running in the morning while the halls are preparing breakfast for the masses!).
Before long, you’ll be seeing the familiar wide junction you would have passed on the way to the DTC, and you’ll be well on your way back to your starting point, completing a loop of approximately 4.7km.
The Lake Loop
Thereafter, you have plenty of options:
- a second loop (what!)
- a second loop in reverse (ok… what?!)
- a nice undulating jog on the pavement around the university lake (that sounds a bit better!)
For purposes of this blogpost, we opted for the last option, to record the approximately 3km lake loop.
From DTC, run straight on until the fork in the road; and this time, turn right, and stay on the pavement. After crossing a small bridge, you’ll see the pillars of the elevated Kerinchi Link high above you on the left, and the tree-lined jogging track is quite delightful in the morning (#5). However, traffic can be busy here and elsewhere on the lake loop as it is the campus’ main thoroughfare, so we recommend that you stick to the paved jogging path for the entire lake loop.
You will begin to see the lake proper after passing the Faculty of Law and the First Residential College. While largely flat, the lake loop does have its undulating bits (#6). There is an inner jogging track around the lake itself, but for purposes of this post, our route remains on the main road until you have passed the Library on your left (#7) and finally end your loop at the DTC.
Do take care when crossing roads.
Also, while we runners would normally prefer to run on asphalt rather than pavement, for safety reasons we would advise that you stick to the pavement where the roads get narrow, or have busy traffic; as university buses ply the route regularly, as do other vehicles (who may or may not strictly adhere to campus speed limits).
Do note also that traffic on the Bukit Cinta loop is two-way, while traffic around the lake is one-way.
7K too short?
There are endless possibilities of engineering various distance and terrain combinations here (and what a lovely route for daily exercise it must be for resident UM students!) – from mid-week 10Ks to LSD (long slow distance) weekend runs of any distance you wish.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that a Bukit Cinta Ultra is being organised for 12 September 2015 – a 12-hour endurance road race where participants run as many loops of the hill as possible, with a minimum of 5 loops (25km), which earns you a medal for the ‘Bronze’ category. We’re huffing and puffing already just thinking of the minimum threshold for a ‘Gold’ medal – 15 loops (75km) in 12 hours.
Gotta love (cinta) this hill! 😉