Rawang Bypass

Malaysia’s
Tallest
Highway

I have travelled on the Rawang Bypass once, in 2018. The experience was truly amazing, especially on the elevated portion, cruising past the forest canopy at eye level.

Recently, when stunning views of Rawang Bypass from Matt Hill (Bukit Matt) went viral, I wanted in on the action. From Kuala Lumpur, is it about an hour’s drive to the trailhead.

A short 5-minute walk along a road that curves right eventually leads to the highway.

Across the highway, beyond the sound barrier wall, a cascade drain going up the opposite hill grants access to the lookout point at Matt Hill.

Taking the maintenance trail beside the highway, we turned right and soon reached the top of a slope.

Below, on the left is the mouth of the drain that runs beneath the highway. This is the short cut to the cascade drain on the opposite side.

Deciding to take the longer, scenic route we continued straight, past the end of the barrier wall, walking downhill alongside the highway. (The plan was to explore the short cut via the drain on the return trip).

Ducking under the structures, we stopped midway to take pictures of the divided highway from the underside with the ravine below.

The elevated structure is purposely built to be curvy to save a lot of trees from being cut down.

The elevated bridge spans across four lanes. The highest pillar stands approximately 60m from the ground.

Ten minutes later, we reached the start of the 2.7km elevated portion. We climbed left onto the shoulder and stood beside the massive structure.

From this spot, we had unblocked views of the elevated bypass and supporting pillars winding its way towards Templer Park and Kuala Lumpur.

The grey concrete contrasts sharply with the lush greenery as it cuts through the jungle.

Finally on the opposite side, we started the uphill trek back to the cascade drain we spotted earlier. Starting initially at a gentle incline, it got steeper with steps further apart, as we advanced to the next terrace.

On the final two slopes where the steps had eroded, ropes had been tethered to assist hikers going up and down. Though the climb took just 15 minutes, we gained elevation quickly. The exertion got my heart pumping fast and breathing deeply.

Good news! There’s no need to go all the way to the peak.

From the cascade drain, we turned right into a trail under the trees, emerging in the open again after a short distance before walking along the edge of the terrace that overlooks the highway.

Though not quite at the peak, this upper terrace already offers impressive horizon stretching 270° vistas of Rawang town.

The lookout point is located at the southern end of the terrace.

From my 220m perch, the Rawang Bypass appears to curve gracefully through the forest.

I was content to just sit and be mesmerised by the sight of ‘tiny’ vehicles travelling along its length.

The most photographed tree on Matt Hill stands proudly on an outcrop, its leaves frequently used as a natural frame for the iconic shot. The tree also provides shade, making it the ideal picnic-spot-with-a-view.

The Rawang Bypass has inspired many videos and below is one shared on YouTube by Syamoes. I was pleasantly surprised to read Syamoes description of the treetops, likening it to a ‘giant brocolli’. I had the very same thought when we drove through the forest canopy on the way back to Kuala Lumpur.

The Rawang Bypass runs from Templer Park to Serendah and was officially opened on 29 November 2017. It was built expressly to reduce travel congestion especially during peak hours and to cut commuting time from Serendah to Selayang. 

The construction of the 9km divided highway began in 2005 and was completed after 12 years, at a cost of RM628 million. The new stretch offers panoramic views of the Selangor Heritage Park as it cuts through vast greenery, providing a pleasant driving experience for motorists.

The elevated section measures 2.7km with the highest point at 58.2m, making it the tallest highway in Malaysia. The remaining 6.3km section is built at ground level. 

This video highlights the sustainability effort and environmentally responsible processes used during construction. Click here to view. 

Return Journey
For thrill seekers, going down the cascade drain is a ‘treat’. Otherwise, use the ropes provided, go slow and you will be down in no time. For me, it was manageable, back on level ground in 10 minutes.

Near the bottom, we met a hiker heading up with more ropes. His intention was to reinforce and replace frayed ropes at the steep sections.

Next, we easily located the drain and short-cut back to the other side. Though it did not look inviting, once inside, it was airy and we had no problem keeping our feet dry.

When I first peered into the opening, I saw birds flying inside and was worried about being hit in the face. My fears were unfounded. The winged-species managed to fly around me.

Interesting discovery
Upon closer inspection, the protrusions on the ceiling turned out to be nests built by swiftlets, which explained the incessant flying activity in the darkened interior.

Sights of Serendah
We continued our adventure to nearby Serendah, stopping at a coffee shop near the market for lunch. We supplemented our meal with a big croissant, garlic bread (or pineapple at first glance) and ais kacang.

Our next stop was to revisit the Seven Wells of Serendah, as we were in the neighbourhood. My previous blog is found here.

We amused ourselves by observing the rate-of-flow at the Watergate outlet (bottom pic), to rank the wells by height, from lowest to highest (top pic).

Verdict : 1, 5, 7, 3, 2, 6, 4

We rounded off the trip with a visit to Serendah Falls. Its easy accessibility – a short walk from the entrance and carpark makes it popular for family picnics and outings. Facilities include changing rooms and toilets. It was crowded when we arrived just before 3.00pm as it was the school holidays.

No hiking needed to get to the waterfall.

Visited 31 March 2021

2 thoughts on “Rawang Bypass

  1. William

    Thanks for the smooth comprehension and strategic photos. It was a well written piece and I will definitely look back this article to prepare for the by pass hike once MCO is over.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s