Kite-flying at Metropolitan Park
IWell-paved tracks for running and cycling at the park.
Colourful kites on sale blowing in the wind. F Johor has its Bukit Layang-Layang, Kuala Lumpur too has a dedicated park for kite flying. If you are wondering where in the concrete jungle you can find enough open space to fly a kite, then you will have to drive north, along the Middle Ring Road 2, to get there.
The picture on the top left shows my painting of the watch tower of the Kepong Metropolitan Park, the 90-hectare parkland that was an accidental success with kiters. Built in the late 1990s and opened in 2001, the park surrounds a 50-hectare lake that was also a source of joy for anglers before fishing was outlawed.
This watch tower, at least 25m high, has several platforms connected by a series of staircases, and ends in a viewing deck on top. On its roof is what appeared to be a beacon. On the location signage not far The park is located between Kepong and Batu Caves. To arrive at the main entrance, you will have to drive from the Batu Caves side of the Middle Ring Road towards Kepong, passing by the Batu Caves-Selayang-Jalan Ipoh roundabout. When you spot the Petron and Shell stations, keep left until you see a multi-storey condominium project under construction.
The entrance to the park is just a short distance from here. There is a huge parking space at the entrance but even so, space runs out on weekends. There is also a toilet facility beside the car park.
The watch tower of Metropolitan Park, sporting a beacon just like a lighthouse; Acrican catfish, some almost a metre long, thrive on the generosity of park-goers.
Middle Ring Road, that draws kiting enthusiasts and park goers.
On days when the breeze is constantly strong, single-string kites paint a myriad of colours high in the skies. A decade ago, I remember kite sellers were setting up tent for kilometres on the approach to the park entrance to display their colourful Chinamade polyester kites. Cars would be parked and double-parked along the highway — this caused bottle-necks for ongoing traffic on weekends.
On the field itself, single-line kiters jostled for space, with the higher-end flyers showing off their expensive high-powered kites. In fact, several accidents occurred along the highway, some fatal, as kite flyers dashed across the road to retrieve kites that broke off from the tether.
Today, the park is still popular, especially on weekend afternoons. The enthusiasm
for kiting is still unabated, and there are still a few kite sellers. There is a boat house and a lakeside auditorium. I did not see any boats there or an indication of any activity at the auditorium. However, the park’s undulating landscape, well connected with jogging tracks and cycling lanes, appears to have drawn cyclists and runners.
Just beside the watch tower which I painted, a barren ground seemed to hold yet another surprise for visitors. The day I was there, I spotted a group of people feeding bread crusts to fish. What was surprising was that the aquatic beneficiaries were not the usual tilapia or carp as often seen in parks but giant African catfish, each a metre-long, that had grown fat with the park-goers’ generosity. There were easily more than a hundred of them that day, in a feeding frenzy as they fought for the bread crumbs.