COOL PLACES IN MALAYSIA
The cool climate in the highlands of Malaysia make the highlands a favourite holiday destination for local and foreign travelers. Many of these highlands are situated on the main mountain ranges of Peninsular Malaysia with average temperatures between 16°C to 21°C. Many travellers come to the highlands to enjoy the fresh,air and the natural beauty of these surroundings. Some of the popular hill resorts are Fraser’s Hill, Cameron Highlands, Genting Highlands, Berjaya Hills and Maxwell Hills.
At 1,524 m above sea level, Fraser’s Hill is located in the state of Pahang, surrounded by lush rainforest. This hill resort was founded by a Scottish trader named Louis James Fraser and is a great place for those who prefer a quiet holiday. The average temperatures here are between 18° C to 21°C, activities here include bird-watching, fishing, horse riding and jungle trekking. Fraser’s Hill is a paradise for birdwatchers as there are over 250 species of birds recorded in this region. Visitors can also go boating on a man-made lake called Allan’s Water or visit the strawberry farm next to it, where you can buy some strawberries. Fraser’s Hill is not very developed and there is a good opportunity to see wildlife, flora and fauna during jungle trekking. The buildings at Fraser’s Hill are unique and are of Tudor and colonial styled designs. The centre point for this hill resort is the iconic clock tower covered by creeper vines and is one of the most photographed places at Fraser’s Hill.
Cameron Highlands is located in the state of Pahang at 1,524m above sea level. It is Malaysia’s premier hill resort and was discovered by Sir William Cameron in 1885. Many visitors travel to Cameron Highlands to enjoy the cool weather, the stunning views of the tea plantations, vegetable farms, strawberry farms and beautiful flower gardens. The highlands are dotted with picturesque villages and farms where one can buy many varieties of fresh vegetables, fruits and flowers. Here, one can also visit the butterfly farms, honey bee farms and see Tudor-styled inns.
This highland is made up of small townships like Ringlet, Tanah Rata, Brinchang, Tringkap, Kuala Terla and Kampung Rajah. Tanah Rata is the place where you can find many types of accommodation depending on your budget and taste. Many tourist attractions are found near Brinchang and one can visit the popular Night Market held during the weekends at this small town.
Cameron Highlands can be extremely crowded during the school holidays, festive holidays and the weekends, traffic jams are a common sight on the narrow roads and at tourist spots here.
Visit Tea Plantations
Visiting a tea plantation is one of the main highlights of a trip to Cameron Highlands. Here, the visitors can see the beautiful panorama of the valleys and mountain while visiting the tea factories to learn about the process of tea making. At the café, one can have an English scone with a cup of tea while admiring the stunning view. The Boh Plantations produces about 70% of the tea grown in Malaysia and is the main tea grower in the country. They consist of the main Boh Plantation which is located between the township of Ringlet and Tanah Rata and the Boh Sungai Palas Plantation which is further north from this plantation. The former plantation is less crowded, many visitors visit the Sungai Palas station because it is located on top of a hill, providing a stunning view. Many visitors choose to visit the Bharat Tea Plantation as it is easily located along the main road near Tanah Rata. The tea houses serve English biscuits, scones, strawberry jam, cakes and fresh tea for visitors to enjoy while admiring the impressive views of the undulating hill slopes.
All Tea Plantation factories close on Mondays.
GENTING HIGHLANDS Located at 1,800m above sea level, Genting Highlands is an extremely popular destination for leisure and entertainment with the local and international visitors. Many people travel here just to enjoy the cool climate where temperatures can range from 15-25°C. It can sometimes get to as low as 10°C on rainy days, it can get very misty at times. On a really clear and sunny day, one can get a magnificent view of the surrounding valleys, rainforests and Kuala Lumpur in the distance. Genting Highlands is known as the ‘City of Entertainment’, there are restaurants, cinemas, shopping outlets, theme parks and concert halls where performances and concerts are held. This is the only place in Malaysia where you can gamble legally, there are 3 casinos here. For the adventurous people, the outdoor theme attractions include thrilling gondolas and roller coaster rides. Other nearby places of interest are the strawberry, mushroom and vegetable farms.
At the Awana Station, visitors can travel to the top using the gondolas, the journey takes about 15 minutes to reach the SkyAvenue Station which is the final station. This is the longest and fastest cable car in Southeast Asia. Take a ride in a glass bottom gondola to really enjoy a spectacular view of the ancient rainforests and the surrounding areas.
Genting Highlands is about an hour’s journey from Kuala Lumpur. Buses to this highland are available at the Pekeliling Bus Station which is very near Titiwangsa Station. (Monorail/ Ampang LRT ) at a 20 t0 30 minutes interval. Buses are also available at the Putra Station, (Gombak LRT Line), you get a discount if you purchase the combined bus and the cable car ticket at the same time. Taxis can be easily hired to take you to Genting, make sure you agree on a price before you start your journey.
There are many hotels at Genting Highlands, from budget to 5-star hotels, should you decide to stay here. The various hotels are inter connected through covered walkways so there is no need to go outdoors if you do not want to do so.
Situated at 800m above sea level, the French-style Colmar Tropicale at Bukit Tinggi creates great memories for a holiday. This picturesque site is a replica of the original Colmar Village in Alsace, France. Here, can be seen a cuckoo clock tower, wishing well, castle moat, castle drawbridge and a viewing tower. The Colmar Square is a cobblestone courtyard surrounded by many restaurants. There is a happy environment here with the clowns playing their tricks and other street performances. Nearby, is the Zen-inspired Japanese Village where traditional tea ceremonies are conducted in a serene environment. At the Rabbit Park, cuddle and play with the over 200 rabbits here or enjoy painting lessons or take donkey rides. There are some species of deer in the Rabbit Park. Other activities include playing golf or taking riding lessons along the scenic horse riding trails.
Maxwell Hill or Bukit Larut is located at 1,250m above sea level and was established by William Maxwell in 1884. At that time, it was used as a retreat for the colonial officers because of its’ cool climate. This highland resort is the oldest and the smallest in the country with temperatures ranging from 10 °C to 25 °C. This is one of the wettest places in Malaysia and sudden, heavy downpours are common occurrences on this hill. From the summit of Gunung Hijau, on a clear, sunny day, one can get a panoramic view of Taiping town, the Straits of Malacca in the distance and also the western coastline from Pangkor Island to Penang. The cool climate here allows flowers such as marigold, daisies, roses, pansies, dahlias and sunflowers to flourish well. Tall pine trees and giant Fishtail Palms add beauty to the surroundings. For nature lovers, there is an abundance of ferns, wild orchids, flora and fauna to see in the rainforest when they go jungle trekking. One can also see cascading waterfalls and small streams during the hike. The wildlife here includes squirrels, monkeys, insects and many species of birds. Many people come here to do bird-watching as the hill is not very developed and has a tranquil environment. The unspoilt beauty of this hill station has a charm of its’ own and has attracted many nature lovers and visitors.
Many people visit the hill during the school holidays, weekends and during the festive holidays. The roads up the hill are steep with 72 hairpin winding sharp bends and the only transport up the hill is by the government owned Land Rover. It is an exciting trip as the vehicle cruise up and down the hill, turning around the very narrow sharp bends of the small roads. Not to worry, the drivers are very experienced. It takes about 30 minutes by the Land Rover to travel the 13km journey from the foothill to the top of Maxwell Hill. It is also possible to hike up the hill, it can be strenuous and can take up to 8 hours or more for the round trip, depending on your stamina and fitness. There are no hotels here, only cosy bungalows and rest houses for rental, which were built long ago.
The operational hours for the Land Rover is from 8am to 5pm daily, with an hourly interval in between. Do go to the hill during the non- peak periods. Seats are limited so go early to get the tickets, to avoid disappointment .