Monday, February 11, 2013

The Great Outdoors

The long Chinese new year holidays, while totally welcomed does bring some pretty difficult decisions for the wife and me to make. While I'm totally fine with running the entire week away, the wife says we can't be selfish and need to take the kids out somewhere.

Both of us don't fancy driving out of town and the only other option would be the malls. That's not something the wife had in mind. We decided to take them out somewhere outdoors. Unfortunately for us city dwellers, most of the good outdoor spots were a long drive away.

Healthy Park, Healthy People, sadly the people were missing ...
The first suggestion was to take them to FRIM, but I kinda vetoed that idea cos I didn't think the kids would hack it or even like it so we decided somewhere nearer. Putrajaya came to mind. Just a short drive away and there's some cool outdoor places to visit like the wetlands and the botanical park.

The foliage at the wetlands ...
We started the journey there a little late but the weather was kind and stayed cloudy throughout. We headed to the wetlands park first (first time for all of us) and the place was basically devoid of people. Just a small handful of cars were seen at the car park with a smattering of people cycling and hanging around.

At Kona, Hawaii ... urmmm, I mean, Putrajaya ...
I thought it was a real pity cos the place was simply awesome. A nice canopy of trees, a well built road and pathway, which by the way is an excellent place to run with some pretty decent inclines and declines. There was even an off road (well, sort of) section consisting of a 1km stretch of loose gravel to run on.

The 'off-road' section of the park ...
The entire wetlands is believed to be the largest constructed freshwater wetlands in the tropics. For a city boy like me, it was something pretty exciting getting to get up close with the wetlands.

Two ducks (if you can spot them, that is) lazing on the lake ...
We walked around the place, catching sights of ducks and flamingos, checking out the flora and fauna and just plain having fun. At least, it looked that way for the wife and me cos the kids were already in this 'what? I thought we were going to the mall' mode and were already huffing and puffing from all the walking. I was more like cursing myself for not having my running shoes on cos I just wanted to run around the place. The wife who wisely had her GObionic on was teasing me about lending me her shoes to run in.

The lovely stretches of run capable roads ... 
We gave the Nature Interpretation Centre a miss cos I wasn't about to experience the outdoors by going indoors besides I was eager to head up the 80m high (I think) observation tower before we headed out of there. This is where I encountered my first meeting with a cotton tree. I've never seen a cotton tree before and soon enough was frolicking around the cotton on the grass ... urrmm, I did say I am a city boy, right? We hardly get to see such things!

Lazing under the cotton tree by the base of the observation tower ...
The boys were too afraid to head up right to the top of the tower even though there was a nice wide and safe stairway to the top. They stayed at the second level while the wife and me headed to the top. Good thing we didn't go to FRIM, what with some of the climbs there. The view at the top is pretty awesome, spanning out as far as the eye can see of the Putrajaya surroundings.

The green and beautiful wetlands trail ...
We left the place after about two hours spent there and headed to the botanical park located 10 minutes away. The botanical park was another pretty awesome place to be and was also another first time visit for us. The area covers over 92 hectares of ground and is home to some 700 species of local plants as well as from the African and Asia-Pacific regions.

The canopy bridge, the start of the botanical trail ... note the emptiness.
I'm not going to bore you with the details about the park but to me this was way better than hanging out at some man-made mall. The place, just like the wetlands was pretty barren of visitors. Just a handful of people could be seen. I guess the malls were more attractive than being out in nature. This was like a natural mall to me. The air was crisp, well as crisp as one could get so near to the city. The chirping sounds of birds were so calming and the light breeze made it feel like we were out in some secluded habitat.

The lower level of the 'natural mall' ...
We only covered a small fraction of the place and had to leave after about an hour plus cos it was threatening to rain and the boys were totally bored and tired already. The wife and me plan to visit here again and cover the entire 92 hectares, this time I'll be in running shoes cos the place looked good enough to run in though I'm not sure they allow people to run here.

The vast expanse of greenery ...
What really struck me as we drove towards home was the fact that there was hardly many people taking advantage of places like these. The two parks are beautiful and well maintained. Tucked nicely within the confines of this noisy and polluted city, it's a perfect place for some healthy outdoor recreation. A good place for a walk (or run) with nature, a nice picnic or even a stroll with a loved one, there's even boating facilities too!

Not complete if you don't do a Bollywood pose and hug a coconut tree ... LOL!
Sadly, the boys were not too excited and I guess most kids from this generation would prefer the calling of a mall to the outdoors. Maybe it's all those iPads, tablets and stuff that are more attractive to these generation of children and I'm afraid one day the future generation will forget what the outdoors really feels like. That will be a sad day indeed.

This might all be forgotten one day ...

8 comments:

  1. Awesome excursion Nick!

    I always feel the parks around Putrajaya are under-utilised and not visited by people.

    Been awhile since we've been to Tmn Botani.

    And yes, this beats malls by a long stretch. :)

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    1. It was! There's a lot of beautiful under-utilized recreational places around here which really is a pity. Explains why we have very unhealthy people around us.

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  2. Time to get your kids running shoes and "motivate" them to run hehehehe. I'll leave the "motivation" to your creative mind ;)

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    1. Maybe if I dangled a PSP on my back, it might work ... LOL!

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  3. Nice! VERY NICE!
    Wish I were there! Makes running all the more interesting and meaningful, doesn't it?

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    1. It does Francis and it's a pity to see all these great places totally under-utilized.

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  4. Yuppp so true indeed, better bring your kids to some park rather than to the malls, where us, Malaysians will be getting fatter and fatter after the shop and eating fast food routine in the mall...

    At least we can have some fresh air n awesome scenery. Plus to chillax and be one with nature... Most definitely will include Wetlands in my LSD route soon... Such a great entry Nick!

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    1. The generation of kids these days are of the electronic generation. Gone are the days when every kid I know would just wait for the holidays to be outdoors playing football or whatnots all day long till their parents screamed at them to come home!

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