Everything you need to know about Fraser's Hills
Fraser’s Hill is one of Malaysia’s most unexpectedly satisfying short-stay destinations. Navigating up the tight twists and turns of the road to this hill station is a stimulating experience – in fact the uphill road is so narrow that the final eight kilometre stretch is limited to one-way traffic at any time. The direction changes every hour; odd hours are for ascending the hill, while even hours have been denoted for descending traffic.
Fraser's Hill Attractions
With a majority of its buildings featuring mock Tudor-style architecture, Fraser’s Hill hasn’t changed much from its days as a British colonial hill resort. Besides the essential photo stop opportunity at Fraser’s Clocktower, a hard-to-miss clock tower which stands in the old English village square, you can head on down to Allen’s Water, a former reservoir turned into a boating and fishing attraction.
Akin to a tiny Scottish hamlet, Fraser’s Hill is one of Malaysia’s premier locations for bird-watching. Avid bird watchers can take advantage of the fact that Fraser’s is home to over 250 species of birds – the Fraser’s Hill Development Corporation and the World Wildlife Fund both run classes and excursions to see the flora and wildlife of the hill station. What's more, the Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race – a contest to document the vast variety of birdlife on the mountainside – is typically held here in June.
Fraser's Hill Dining
Fraser’s Hill is a perfect day trip if you’re spending more than a few days in Malaysia. It’s a great and entertaining drive uphill but you can probably see its limited attractions within one day. It’s decidedly unpretentious and charming in comparison to the country’s other alpine-like escapes such as Genting Highlands, Cameron Highlands and Berjaya Hills (formerly knowns as Bukit Tinggi), but dining options are pretty thin on the ground. Fraser’s slim pickings range from a couple of mamak stalls to a Chinese eatery where the rice and noodles pale in comparison to its western menu. The Pines Restaurant at the Pines Resort is a casual eatery that serves up steamboat and barbecue fare. However if you’re looking for western cuisine then the pricey yet pleasurable Smokehouse Hotel & Restaurant is a good option. The hotel has a restaurant with an outdoor patio and serves English afternoon teas, roast dinners and meals by the fireside. Although it may be overpriced, service is excellent and it’s your only choice particularly if you’re not willing to hit the hawker stalls.
Fraser's Hill Nightlife
Spread across seven densely forested hills, Fraser’s Hill – situated 103 kilometres north of Kuala Lumpur – is Malaysia’s most undeveloped hill station. Dotted with a mix of granite mock-Tudor bungalows and modern complexes, this tiny Scottish-style hamlet is one of the country’s premier locations for bird-watching. It attracts only a fraction of the visitors of Gentings or Cameron Highlands, yet there are plenty of accommodation options and weekends often see the hill station swarming with visitors.
Sitting on a portion of the Selangor/Pahang border, Fraser’s Hill’s focal point is the tiny village at the end of the golf course and its main attractions is its verdant landscape as well as abundant flora and wildlife. When the sun goes down, it goes without saying that this sleepy station doesn’t feature much nightlife – in point of fact, most people who turn up here prefer to turn in early for the night in order to be up early the next day.
Fraser's Hill Shopping
There’s relatively little to do in Fraser’s Hill besides enjoy the cool mountainside air, taking short strolls through the fertile forest and indulging in a spot of bird watching. The mountainside is not known for its indoor offerings – it’s more popular for its relatively undeveloped landscape which results in stunning jungles treks and exotic flora and fauna.
Home to 265 species of birdlife, one of the high points in Fraser’s calendar is the International Bird Race – a competition in which teams of bird spotters vie to record the highest number of species on the hill station. Meanwhile, if truth be told, retail therapy options are pretty thin on the ground up at this hill station – if you’re looking for souvenirs and other knick knacks, head on down to KL.
Fraser's Hill Activities
Fraser’s Hill’s ‘alpine’ location has cooler temperatures than the rest of the country and as a result it is a popular retreat amongst naturalists and bird watchers. Featuring family-friendly jungle treks with rewarding views, the hillside is also a popular spot with hikers; there are eight nature walk trails available ranging from easy to hard. Try the Maxwell Trail – a short and easy hike that lets you enjoy the cool mountain air – or the six-kilometre Pine Tree Trail – a longer trail that takes you past some dramatic views and ends near the Jeriau Waterfall, the perfect spot for an afternoon swim. The 18-foot waterfall is located about five kilometres from the town centre and has a well-managed picnic area with pathways and shelters in the surrounding lush tropical forest. Fraser’s also plays host to the Royal Fraser’s Hill Golf Course – a nine-hole green that is one of Malaysia’s oldest. There’s also a paddock at the eastern edge of the course where you can saddle up for a horse riding session for very little money.