The Mirror Lake at Bukit Sapu Tangan has become an instagrammable spot. But is it worth the hike? Is it as easy for beginners as some of the reviews say? What do you need to prepare? Read on to find out.
Where Is Mirror Lake?
Located within Bukit Sapu Tangan in Shah Alam sits Mirror Lake with clear waters reflecting the green trees and blue sky above. If you look at the map, it’s partially surrounded by construction work and deforested lands.
There are at least two access points which are via the Taman Botani Negara Shah Alam or the Peak Garden Setia Alam Trail (also known as the Shah Alam Community Forest Trailhead). On my first ever hike there, I went in via the latter trail.
Getting There & Parking
There is no public transit nearby so the only way to get there is by car. If you are driving to the Setia Alam trail, be sure to park the car at the shop lot area where the Petron petrol station is and walk 10 minutes to the trail entrance. It’s subject to street parking rules and as far as I’m aware, you would not need to pay on a Sunday. Do not park near the entrance because it would disrupt the housing area and you would find a ticket on your windshield after your hike.
If you’re entering through the botanical garden in Shah Alam, you would have to pay RM3 per car parking fee and RM3 per pax entrance fee into the botanical garden. However, if your intention is just to go to Mirror Lake and not hike towards the Bukit Sapu Tangan tower, it’s best to go via the Setia Alam trail.
Hiking to Mirror Lake
From here on I’m going to refer only to the Setia Alam trail because that’s the only one I’ve been to. And for context, I consider myself an intermediate hiker. I’ve hiked up a few small hills before like Broga Hill and Gasing Hill as well as the more challenging ones like Bukit Tabur and Gunung Santubong.
So what do I think about the hike to Mirror Lake?
I agree with AllTrails that it’s a moderately challenging hike. However, when you read people’s reviews, you might be misled. It’s actually not suitable for beginners.
I repeat — Mirror Lake hike is not suitable for beginners.
The first stretch up was already steep so you would really need good stamina. There were more steep parts the further you go but there were also flat parts. The trail itself is a typical dirt trail and some parts are rocky so be sure to protect your feet with a pair of good shoes. Rest assured, you would not need to climb on all fours or go up a vertical ladder.
If you are physically fit and have been consistently exercising, then you could go for it. But if you’ve been a couch potato in the past few weeks, I’d suggest you go to Taman Tugu Trail or Bukit Gasing first.
Get An Experienced Guide
Regardless of your hiking level, if you’re new to this trail, seek a guide who knows the area well. This is because there are a few trails that you can take to go to Mirror Lake. You can go on a loop or take the direct route.
I went with a group of friends and two of them knew the area very well and are first aiders. That’s another important thing when going on any hikes. Be sure to carry a first aid kit with you and better yet, bring along someone who is a qualified first aider. In our hike back to the entrance, we came across someone who got injured and a group of people who seemed to have lost their way. Thankfully, our friends were able to aid the former and guide the latter to the right path.
How Far and How Long
The direct hike to Mirror Lake and back covered a trail with a total length of roughly 6km which took us about 3 hours. And based on my smartwatch, the elevation was at 278m.
If you go on the loop trail, it would be an 11km trail with an elevation of 793m.
At The Mirror Lake
I could tell that we had arrived when I saw a lot of people just chilling around. It was a Saturday so it was expected to be crowded. Luckily, we found a spot and our friends boiled water to add to the instant noodle cup. I only brought a few protein bars but they were kind to offer me a cup so I heartily accepted it. Thankfully, it was accidentally vegan. I admit, despite it not being the healthiest of foods, it was quite tasty and satisfying. Well, at that point, tired and hungry, anything could be delicious.
So remember to bring along some yummy food. At the very least, pack some fresh fruits like oranges or papaya for a refreshing treat.
Another important thing to remember while you’re at the lake is to not swim in it. There have been cases where people have drowned and died there. Respect nature as they are. You may take pictures and rubbish but nothing else. Leave only footprints behind.
This hike is not suitable for beginners unless they have high stamina or have been doing consistent exercise.
If you’re thinking of hiking to Mirror Lake, remember to:
- get a guide or an experienced hiker
- park at the shop lots or designated parking lot to avoid fines
- bring a first aid kit and/or have a first aider with you
- bring along some food and drinks to chill by the lake
- not swim in the lake as people have drowned there
- leave only footprints and take rubbish with you
I hope this guide based on my personal experience helps you.
Always be prepared for any hikes no matter how easy they seem. Once you manage your expectations, you may be able to truly be in the moment and enjoy your hike.