If you are looking for an English-styled village with fern-filled hiking trails and sumptuous scones in tropical Malaysia, look no further than Fraser’s Hill, our very own Little Britain.
Perched on top of the Titiwangsa Mountain Range, this old hilltop station was discovered by Louis James Fraser, a Scottish prospector looking for precious minerals in the 1890’s before mysteriously vanishing some 25 years later. It was later transformed by the Colonial British administration into a highland retreat for officers wanting to escape the sweaty tropical heat down below. Although not as famous as its cousin Cameron Highlands, it still holds its weight to those wanting solitude in a rustic setting. Here are five things worth experiencing at Fraser’s Hill.
EMBRACE THE MOCK TUDOR ARCHITECTURE
The Mock Tudor architecture may look kinda tacky at first glance but the appreciation sets in once you breathe in the fresh pine air and sip on some locally-planted tea. The English-inspired buildings and gardens were a testament to those homesick British officers yearning for a piece of home; today, these structures are still standing and have been well preserved as a picturesque attraction. Start your mini tour at the clock tower where a number of government offices are located before venturing out to the nearby public park and Allan’s Water, a small lake nice for boating and paddling.
TRAVERSE THE FLORA-FILLED HIKING TRAILS
One of the reasons I enjoy going to the highlands is that I get to enjoy a different set of flora on my hikes. The coniferous pine forest found here starkly contrasts the tropical rainforest typical of Malaysia’s climate. Here, I get to marvel at the giant ferns and mushrooms, feel the texture of moss and lichens, and snap photos of rare flowers that seem to pop out from nowhere. There are close to 10 hiking trails around Fraser’s Hill with varying levels of difficulties – families can go on a short nature walk along the Kindersley or Mager trails while hardcore hikers could attempt to take on the 5.5 km Pine Tree Trails.
SPLURGE ON SCONES AT YE OLDE SMOKEHOUSE
A trip to the mountains is never complete without having the quintessential English Afternoon Tea. If you’re looking forward to indulge on a pair of scones and a pot of freshly brewed tea in a garden with creeping vines and petite flowers, then Ye Olde Smokehouse is your destination. It was definitely a great place for me to unwind after embarking on a couple of hiking trails. The Smokehouse is a hill resort that is as English as you can get – I’m talking about log wood fireplace, glass-paned conservatory and roast beef with Yorkshire pudding. If you want to go full-on British, this is place to stay.
VIEW THE MAJESTIC TITIWANGSA MOUNTAIN RANGE
Here’s a protip: if you want to wake up to the view of the Titiwangsa Mountain Range, book a room at Fraser’s Silverpark Resort. The resort is situated on top of a tiny hill with commanding views of the whole hill station. At dawn, thousands of swiftlets would suddenly emerge from the forest to forage for food while the at dusk, these birds would head back home and their take resting place for the night. Right when the sun vanishes from the horizon, the loud chirping sounds of the swiftlets would automatically turn off, like a switch. This is Mother Nature’s clockwork precision timing at its best.
DIP IN THE COOL WATERS OF SUNGAI CHILING WATERFALLS
If you have some time to spare, make a short detour to the majestic Sungai Chiling Waterfalls. The falls, which doubles up as a mahseer fish (ikan kelah) sanctuary, is just off the road to Fraser’s Hill right after Kampung Pertak. The trek takes about one hour and you have navigate through five river crossings along the way. The fantastic falls might not be as grand as Langkawi’s Seven Wells Waterfall but the friendly fishes and fresh mountain water provides a chillingly fun experience (pun intended). Take note that the entrance fee is RM1 and the falls are only open Friday – Sunday every week.
Fraser’s Hill is perfect for a weekend getaway as it’s only a two-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, passing through the forgotten town of Kuala Kubu Bharu and the Selangor Dam. If you’re feeling adventurous you can do the “Colonial Trail” by heading down the winding road from Fraser’s Hill to the gold-mining town of Raub which takes about an hour drive. Fraser’s Hill is one of Malaysia’s hidden treasures tucked way up in the mountains and this is one place that I wish to be forever stuck in time.
- The million dollar Titiwangsa Mountain Range view can only be seen if you book rooms in Block A at Fraser’s Silverpark Resort (Tel: +60342515462). Please inquire on availability especially during peak season.
- Kuala Kubu Bharu is the last stop to get petrol and supplies before your ascend since there are no petrol stations and major supermarkets up in Fraser’s Hill.
- Fraser’s Hill is also home to the annual International Bird Race organized every June where bird enthusiasts from around the world gather for a week of everything ornithological.