Monday, June 14, 2010

Fraser's Hill, Malaysia

This highland station was originally founded by Louis James Fraser, a Scotsman who had abandoned accountancy in Britain in search for gold in Australia, but instead struck it rich with tin in the hillsides of what was then called Ulu Tras in 1890s. 25 years later, he disappeared mysteriously and was nowhere to be found. In 1917, the Bishop of Singapore, C. J. Ferguson-Davie led a trek up from the Gap to look for Fraser's site, and although he did not find Fraser, he reported that the place was perfect for a hill station.

The drive to Fraser's Hill is about 2 hours from Kuala Lumpur. It is easier to use the old trunk road to Rawang than to take the North - South highway, which requires some zig-zag driving through poorly signed roads after taking the Rawang exit. You will reach Kuala Kubu Bharu (KKB), and from there, the road snakes up to the Gap. You will pass the recently built Sg. Selangor Dam, and there are designated areas for you to stop and catch a glimpse of the dam if you wish to do so.

The road will lead you to the Gap Resthouse, where you will have to wait at the traffic control gates to ascend the hill. Odd hours are for ascending and even hours are for descending vehicles. Previously, when a new road completed on 2001 (about 200m down the road towards Raub) was operational, all downward traffic used the new road and all uphill traffic used the old Gap - Fraser's Hill road.

However, the new road was constantly plagued by numerous landslides and finally a large gap (which was beyond repair) appeared in a section of that road, thus rendering it useless and a waste of public funds. Hence, the old system of odd-even hours came back to effect on the Gap-Fraser's Hill road. So do not be caught by the odd-even hour opening of the Gap-Fraser's Hill road, which calls for careful timing of your arrival at the Gap.

UPDATE: As of mid-July 2011, the new route was reopened, so the Old Gap Road is for going UP and the new route is for coming DOWN. If you are afraid of temporary road closures, then do call up your hotel to check.

When you are up at Fraser's Hill, there is nothing much to do, unless you enjoy nature walks, bird watching, looking at old bungalows and perhaps golf. I find it a good place to relax and be close with Nature. In each of my trip to Fraser's Hill, the trees, ferns, orchids, birds and pitcher plants, to name a few, never failed to enthrall me.

Beds of bright Impatiens (Busy Lizzies)
View of the mosque from the food court at Fraser's Hill

Thunbergia grandiflora (Bengal Clock Vine)

More Buzy Lizzies to dazzle frazzle your eyes.
Purple Dahlias
Yellow Dahlias

A bed of mixed Dahlia blooms
Dahlia bloom

A stand of pine trees that adds the temperate touch to this hill station
Parking area in front of the food court.