Discovering Kuala Lumpur – Frim and Crown Shyness

Kuala Lumpur is known by its magnificent towers and the modern landscape, but it is surrounded by great parks where one can experience some taste of tropical forests.

Today I visited one of these places, Frim – Forest Research Institute Malaysia. This is a research area, a man made forest, established in 1920. The complex offers a lot to its visitors, waterfalls, ponds, botanic gardens and, of course, nature trails.

So off we went to some hiking in the forest.

I wanted to see the “crown shyness” – a phenomenon where the crown of the trees won’t touch each other, but was not sure where to find it. After an hour or so of hiking, on our tentative to find a way out we bumped into a guide, who told us that we were supposed to have guide to be in that area (oops!). But well, we are leaving anyway.  I asked him about the crown shyness, if he said that we had probably passed by it some minutes before! Oh no! But he could lead us there.

So we went all the way back. 30 minutes later. “Stop!” He said.  I looked up, and there it was. Amazing!

The phenomenon has some explanations. The guide explained that it happens when you plant these specie of trees at the same time, the branches are too soft and when they touch each other they will break. Another explanation is that the leaves produces ethanol, so the other leaves would come close. And there other explanations too, such to use the sunlight better or to avoid the spread of insects. The fact is that it is really impressive and can be found in several places around the world. We were lucky enough to see two crown shyness formations. They can be really hard to find, so you will need a guide to show you the location.

After that we encountered another surprise, a pond full of “pirarucus” – a giant fish from the Amazon, that was introduced to other places like Malaysia and some countries in Africa. It can reach up to 4,5 meters!!! Yes, they are giant creatures. In Malaysia they are called Arapaima.

Ah, and we also met another Frim creature: leeches. They seem to be everywhere, we all got at least one. You don’t feel anything, while they enter your socks and feed on your blood. I really don’t know how they do it, but they are pretty good at it. So if you have anti-leeches socks, use them! I like this article on leeches. Thank me later!

Leeches apart, Frim is certainly a fun way to spend a day out of the concrete jungle. They have bikes for rent and a restaurant onsite. It is pretty close to the city centre, although not really easy to reach by public transport.

Have fun! And I hope you find the crown shyness!

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