My family did something different this year, we drove up to Fraser Hill, a.k.a Bukit Fraser, for a 3D2N vacation on the first day of Chinese New Year. We drove up to Fraser from Malacca on the first day of Chinese New Year after reunion dinner in Malacca the day before. It was about a 4 hour leisure drive with a 30min stopover for really yummy Sate Kajang. Love the cool mountain sunny weather of about 25-30 degrees here on Fraser Hill.
We stayed Silverpark Resort, which is possibly the accommodation on the highest elevation. This means great view of the mountain! This resort is rather old, actually there is no new accommodation on Fraser Hill as it is a conservation nature reserve, limiting the amount of development to preserve nature. From what I know, most of the apartments in Silverpark Resort are now privately owned. We got our apartment through airbnb. I saw units available on usual hotel sites like Agoda and hotels.com too. Do not expect too much from the interior of the apartment though. They are very simply furnished and my apartment did not have wifi.
The most convenient location hotel is possibly Puncat Inn, which is right next to the Clock Tower in the middle of the town area. Little convenient shops and eateries are within 100 meters away. The prettiest British Colonial style accommodation will be Ye Old Smokehouse.
Horse Riding at Paddock
A horse ride cost only RM8 (approx. USD2) around the white fence course of less than 200 metres. Just for the fun of it, I went for a ride on the black horse. The chestnut coloured horse was friendlier though. It even rubbed its face against mine when I stood next to it! Awwww… There is archery in the premise as well at RM10 (approx. USD2.50). Even if you are not interested in a horse ride or archery, a walk in the pretty gardened expanse is therapeutic. My aunts sat and waited while we rode the horses, enjoying the scenery and fresh cool air. Right across the Paddock, the lovely golf course can be seen.
About 4km away from the Clock Tower Central, is the Jeriau Waterfall. We drove past Ye Old Smokehouse and Aida Strawberry Farm (there are two Aida in Fraser Hill, one near the Clock Tower and another along the way to the waterfall.) It was about 20min leisure hike from the entrance to finally get to the waterfall. The river and lush temperate vegetation in the cool weather makes the hike really refreshing. Many locals pitch tents and camp along the river banks, from young children to senior grandparents.
Ye Old Smokehouse Scones & Tea
You cannot miss the Old Smokehouse when passing through it. A quaint pretty English Colonial style home with garden is very inviting. An English tea set for one cost RM18 (USD 4.50) includes 2 scones and a pot of tea. The scones look simple when served. After spreading a generous amount of cream and jam on the scone, the first bite was a huge surprise. It was soft and not dry with freshly baked fragrance. Delightful! The huge plus is its view of the hill with their own garden. Paid a little attention and we spotted various kinds of birds perching on the flowering shrubs and trees. We had a little unplanned show of a clan of monkeys walking along the electric cables while having our tea too!
Take a walk in the Old House and there are fire places and very Instagram worthy corners and furnishing. I personally love the garden, although not a big area, the small details make a difference. They have a 3 Course set dinner for two at only RM308.00 (USD 76), including a bottle of house red or white wine. We did not go back there for dinner though. They have accommodation too!
Interpretative Bird Centre
One attraction that is probably not getting enough exposure is the Interpretative Bird Centre. If you are as inquisitive about the hill’s history and ecology, this is the place to go to for all the information. It is great for children and teens to learn more as well. It is located on the second level, above the Strawberry Eating House near the Clock Tower. We went to the reception at Puncak Inn just across to have them open the centre. I think it is best to visit in the afternoon as we went in the morning and they said come back after 2.30pm, possibly short of staff. We spent quite a bit of time in there. Fraser is the name of a Scottish tin businessman who went missing and was never found. May/June is the best time to do bird watching on Fraser Hill as the North South migratory birds stop here. Even in February, I was fascinated by the variety of birds so May/June will be a haven for bird and nature lovers.
There is plenty of natural primary forest and animals to enjoy on this hill. In my short stay, I managed to capture a few on my camera but many were too fast for my slow trigger happy fingers. Here are some of them for your enjoyment.
Food and Meals
We had hotpot dinner back in the apartment for both nights as we prepared to spend some family time since it is Chinese New Year. Yes, we brought a whole bunch of meat, fishballs, vegetables, etc up the hill!
After Trip Reflection
I did not have a chance to check out the trails. The trails look really interesting. The Pine Tree Trail (about 5km) leads to the summit at 1505 metres above sea level. I was told that there is only 1 out of the 5 old dacrydiums left on the summit due to global warming. The Bishop Trail (about 1.5km) is known as a bird sanctuary, but is slippery and full of leeches during rainy season. If I am back, I will definitely check out these two trails.
I will say it is a good short vacation, a getaway from the city buzz and tropical heat. It is a different world on its own. There were moments when I looked up and saw the trees and thought maybe I am in Jurassic Park, less the dinosaurs. Time well spent with the family during Chinese New Year in a cool climate.
More information about Fraser Hill can be found at http://www.fraserhill.info.