Saturday, November 9, 2013

Top 10 Most Beautiful Hill Stations in Malaysia

It is only recently that Westerners have developed a sense of enjoyment towards our warm, humid tropical weather. But back during colonial times, our hot weather was considered alien and barbaric to our former British colonizers. This is why they developed hill stations in elevated grounds around our country, mainly to escape from the lowlands and its tropical heat. Today, these hill stations now serve as famous vacation sites for both locals and tourists alike. Their rich colonial history further adds to the value of these heritage sites. Here is a list of the top 5 most beautiful hill stations in Malaysia.

10) Janda Baik

This is a traditional Malay village that is only half an hour's drive away from Kuala Lumpur, which makes it the ideal getaway for city folk looking to take some time off from the Klang Valley's hustle and bustle. The village has many campsites that organize motivational courses, obstacle challenges, jungle trekking, water rafting, off road 4 wheel drive, flying fox and abseiling. Picnic spots and waterfalls are also popular choices among tourists.

A beautiful picnic spot

One of the popular waterfalls


9) Tambunan

Often dubbed as the Switzerland of the East, Tambunan is almost always overshadowed by the more popular Kundasang, which is also located in Sabah. Located in the interior division of the state, it is located around 1000 m above ground level. Tambunan is surrounded by terraced paddy fields and bamboo forests. Though Tambunan is famous for its memorials built for local heroes like Mat Salleh and Tun Datu Mustapha, it is most popular for housing the Tambunan Rafflesia Reserve, devoted to the world's largest flower, the Rafflesia.

Tambunan Valley

A waterfall at Tambunan


8) Jerai Mountain 

Despite being relatively unknown, Jerai Mountain serves as an interesting visit to those visiting the famous Lembah Bujang archaeological site nearby. At 1200 m, this is highest peak in the northern region of the Malay Peninsula.  Famous attraction include the Forestry Museum, the Sungai Teroi Forest Recreation Park, various jungle trails and some waterfalls. Most of its colonial buildings that make the area resemble an English countryside have been converted into holiday chalets for tourists.

A misty path

Attractive pine trees


7) Maxwell Hill

Also known as Bukit Larut, this is the oldest, wettest and most well-preserved hill station in Malaysia. Built some 1,250 meters above sea level in 1884, this hill station is located around 10 kilometers from the heritage town of Taiping, Perak. This hill station still retains much of its quaint old colonial bungalows and flower gardens. There is also a war cemetery for Commonwealth soldiers who lost their lives during World War II. Though Maxwell Hill is admittedly less developed  compared to the other hill stations on this list, it is one of the best spots in the country for bird watching since the surrounding wildlife is generally left undisturbed. There is also a proposed cable car ride being developed for easier travelling up the hill from the town of Taiping below.

Speedy's Rest House

Foggy morning

Taiping town as seen from the hilltop 


6) Penang Hill

Known as Bukit Bendera by locals, this hill station offers a breathtaking view of Georgetown, the rest of the island and even Butterworth in the mainland. Located 830 meters above ground level, Penang Hill also boosts a beautiful 150-meter canopy walk for visitors who wish to trek up the treetops. Also, Penang Hill is home to one of the oldest funicular systems in the world, which is being upgraded to serve a direct route to the hilltop.

A train going up the hill

The train station

5) Fraser Hill

Resembling more of a quiet Scottish village then a Malaysian small town, Fraser Hill is most famous for its granite Tudor buildings. Surrounded by its many English flower gardens and pine trees, the town's life mostly revolves around the market square. A small, moss -invested clock tower sits at the center of the square. Most of the Tudor cottages are private homes, but some of them have been converted into motels, a post office, a police station, a clinic, a tourist information center, cafes, restaurants, prayer houses and many more. Fraser Hill is also famous among wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers.

The town square

A former colonial bungalow now a private residence

Now a police station

Now a post office

A chalet

The iconic clock tower

4) Kundasang

Located about 6 miles away from the Kinabalu National Park, Kundasang offers visitors a scenic view of Mount Kinabalu. With is lush flowery meadows, green grasslands, blue-like mountain range, spotted cows and colonial architecture, Kundasang has often been described as resembling a small town in New Zealand. Despite being a very small town, Kundasang also provides facilities such as hotels, motels, chalets and holiday bungalows for the convenience of its tourists. There is also a Commonwealth memorial to remember those who lost their lives during World War II. Most villagers depend on agriculture as their main source of income.

The Crocker Range

Spotted cows

Desa Dairy Farm

Panoramic 

Kundasang Valley

War Memorial

3) Bukit Tinggi

Unlike the other hill stations on this list, Bukit Tinggi's weather is much warmer since it is only located less than 800 m above sea level. But what it lacks in weather, it makes up in other departments. Bukit Tinggi is most famous for housing Colmar Tropicale, the French-themed village located in the Berjaya Hills Resort's 80 acres of natural forestland. Mainly inspired by the town of Colmar in Alsace, France, the village resembles an authentic 16th century French small town. Apart from Colmar Tropicale, Bukit Tinggi is also home to a rabbit park, a Japanese garden and much more.

Colmar Tropicale

Very very French

Japanese Garden

A Japanese hut

2) Cameron Highlands

At 1500 m above sea level, this is one of the highest hill station in the country. It also is the largest hill station in the country, having as much as eight different towns. Cameron is most famous for its many butterfly parks, strawberry farms, cactus plantations, rose gardens, tea plantations, vegetable farms and much more. It is also known for its many British colonial buildings like the Smokehouse, the Convent school and many more. The temperature can drop as low as 16 degrees and the highest is only 24 degrees, adding more to its resemblance as an English hamlet.

Tudor architecture

Terraced tea plantations

Ye Old Smokehouse

Convent Primary School

A cute playground

A flower garden

Heritage Hotel

A modest Hindu temple overlooking a tea plantation

1) Genting Highlands

Genting is different from other hill stations in the country. First of all, it was not opened by the British during colonial times, but was founded in 1965. It is more famous for its family theme park then for its wildlife and historical architecture. Genting is also the only place in Malaysia where gambling is legal, which earned it the nickname the Las Vegas of Malaysia. The resort houses a wide range of entertainment, leisure, recreational and sporting facilities as well as hotels, condominiums, apartments and camping facilities. At the foot of the hill is a golf course, a horse ranch, an eco-park and a cable car terminal which is the world’s fastest and Southeast Asia’s longest cable car; otherwise know as the 3.3 kilometer Genting Skyway.

Las Vegas of Malaysia

One of the largest hotels in the world

Genting Skyway

6 comments:

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