Highlands in West Malaysia – No 9 Attraction

The highlands in West Malaysia comprises of four (4) key resorts situated on the Titiwangsa Mountain Range (formerly called the Main Range). There is a lesser known highland resort at Bukit Larut (Maxwell Hill) near Taiping, Perak. For the former four they are Genting Highland Resort, Cameron Highland, Fraser’s Hill and Bukit Tinggi. These hill resorts are generally cool and could be fairly cold in the night. They offer a respite from the hot and humid climate at the low lands and favourites with both locals and foreign visitors.

Genting Highland

Genting Highland situated in the state of Pahang and Selangor, but an hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, is the top entertainment centre for both local and foreign tourists as it offers both a theme park and the only casino in Malaysia. The resort offers six hotels with 10,000 rooms, 50 fun rides and 170 dining and shopping outlets for the whole family. From 2014, Resorts World Genting will be undertaking major upgrading to increase its room capacity and conversion of the current theme park to the RM 5 billion 20th Century Fox World Theme Park, the first of its kind in the world. Several international artists like Elton John and Lobo had performed at Genting. Getting to Genting Highland is easy as there are many buses and taxis plying between Kuala Lumpur and the resort. The resort is accessible by a cable car called Genting Skyway. Development in Genting Highlands Resort is controlled to maintain the natural beauty of the rainforest of the region. At the lower slopes of the resort is Awana Resort (also owned by Genting) which boast of a 18 hole golf course and heated swimming pools. Located nearby is Goh Tong Jaya where one can enjoy Chinese cuisines at its many restaurants.

Cameron Highland Tea Plantations

The Cameron Highlands with an elevation of 1135 m to 1829 m above sea level is located in Pahang and an hour drive from Ipoh using the newly constructed highland road. Previously, the only access was through Tapah (it still is) through a very winding and hair raising road. It is also connected to Kelantan in the East Coast via Gua Musang. The Cameron Highland got its name from Sir William Cameron, a British surveyor who was commissioned by the former colonial government to map out the Pahang and Perak border area in 1885. The highland of Cameron Highland is extensively developed for tourism, vegetable farming, flower growing and tea plantation. This development is causing a grave concern to both the authorities and environmentalist due to destruction of the rainforest and the accompanying soil erosion problem. The climate can be cool, cold and hot, depending the time of the day. The three main townships in Cameron Highland are Ringlet, Tanah Rata and Brinchang where the later two towns are the most popular.

Frasers Hill Clock Tower

Frasers Hill Clock Tower

Fraser’s Hill is another hill resort retreat in the rain forested mountain of the Titiwangsa Range and is nearer to Kuala Lumpur than Cameron Highland. It is located in Selangor and smaller in size than Genting highland and Cameron Highland. It is famous for its English like cottages besides a 9-hole golf course. A much photographed clock tower at the main entrance indicates entry to Fraser’s Hill. Its main attraction is its cool mountain climate and its unspoilt natural rainforest environment. It has a water fall with a natural pool. Dipping in can be quite chilling.

Bukit Tinggi French Village

Bukit Tinggi French Village

Bukit Tinggi is located in Pahang, accessible from the KL Bentong East West Highway and a one hour drive from Kuala Lumpur. It is one of the latest highland developments in recent history. Its main attraction is its 27-hole golf course, the French Village Replica known as Colmar Tropicale, a Botanical Garden and the Japanese Garden in the mountain. Development in Bukit Tinggi is controlled and gradual, as the developer take efforts to preserve the natural beauty of its rainforest environment.

Bukit Larut or Maxwell Hill is not well developed for mass tourism. It is next to Taiping Lake Gardens and requires a Land Rover to reach the hill resort. Maxwell Hill retains its colonial origins with its old bungalows and gardens. The hill is ideal for bird watchers and nature lovers.

Visits to all these resorts require planning as they are not all located in proximity to each other and the journey can be taxing and arduous. Normally a visit to one or two would suffice for short term stays. For those from Kuala Lumpur, Genting Highlands, Fraser’s Hill and Bukit Tinggi would be the preferred choice. Cameron Highlands would be for those from Ipoh.

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