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Fraser's Hill

Fraser's Hill

Fraser's Hill is a popular tourist destination nestled along the hills and mountains of the Main Range in Pahang, Malaysia. Between Genting Highlands and Cameron Highlands, Fraser's Hill is probably the least developed but also the lowest in elevation with a mean altitude of 1,200 meters. The highest point of this serene place, with an access road, is the peak where the Telekoms tower sits, at 1,500 meters. Access to Fraser's Hill is confined to a narrow roads that leads from Bentong, but is not too far away from Kuala Lumpur.

Fraser's Hill was named after James Louis Fraser, a Scottish trader who discovered tin in the shallow valley and opened it up to Chinese prospectors, setting up mule trains to cart the ore to Kuala Lumpur in 1890. Although he disappeared in 1900 and the tin ran out sometime in 1913, the hill was rediscovered by British clergymen in 1917 and developed into a colonial hill station. Today, Fraser's Hill is a small and rustic town spread out across seven hills and composed sporadically of hotels, apartments, shop lots and bungalows.

Because of its lush green environment and lack of crazy tourist development, Fraser's Hill has become a very popular destination for nature activities such as bird-watching and hiking. In fact, Fraser's Hill hosts an annual bird-watching competition on an international level. It is also just 100 km away from Kuala Lumpur, making it accessible for city folks who want to escape into the cool of the highlands, but do not want to make the 250 km journey to Cameron Highlands or experience the rather noisy atmosphere of Genting Highlands.

Most of the forest is Fraser's Hill is composed of the lower montane variety, which means there are no big trees. A rich diversity of wildlife can still be found here, especially birds, but reptiles, amphibians and mammals are no less common. To explore the lush landscape, there is a series of forest trails that circle around the town in a semi-loop that are well-maintained and graded to difficulty. Each trail entrance can be found along the main road, with a big signboard and wooden arch to signal your attention.

The easiest trails to conquer are the Abu Suradi, Mager and Rompin trails. Most of it are smooth inclines with broad paths that are clear of buttresses and large rocks. The Hemmant, Bishop and Maxwell trails offer a slightly more challenging journey with longer routes and rougher terrain. However, for the experienced hiker, these trails are still easy. Even though these trails are well traversed by tourists and visitors, wildlife can still be frequently glimpsed, thankfully due to the little development.

For the ultimate challenge, the Pine Tree Hill route is a 5 km trail that leads up and down a series of peaks to reach the summit of Pine Tree Hill, which stands slightly above 1,500 meters. A one-way journey takes about 2-3 hours for the moderate climber. Do beware thought, that the trail, on wet days, is infested with leeches. This route cuts through pristine forest and tigers tracks are still sometimes found in the area surrounding the peak of Pine Tree Hill.

Huge maps planted on signboards have been places at strategic spots around Fraser's Hill, so you can't get lost even if you tried. Other than bird-watching and hiking, there is a small public golf course and a horse ranch for entertainment. Dining outlets are confined to hotels, a few small stalls and a row of shoplots in town. During the night, there is absolutely nothing going on as everything closes early. The pace of life here is slow, , so waiting for your food to arrive at a restaurant can even be painful.

To reach Fraser's Hill, one can approach it using the old trunk road from Bentong or from Kuala Kubu Bharu if coming from Rawang. From Kuala Lumpur, using either one of those two roads will cover an approximate distance of 100 km. Coming from either direction, you will reach the Gap, a checkpoint before heading up to the top via a narrow road that can only accommodate one-way traffic. Hence, traffic direction is controlled along the Gap, changing hourly.

This means from 7 am till 7 pm, you can either go up or go down at different hours. Other times, the traffic is not controlled. There is another more recent road that leads up to Fraser's Hill in place, but due to the frequent landslides that beleaguer this road, it if often closed for repairs. Whenever this road is open, it is used for going up to Fraser's Hill. The road at the Gap is then used for downwards traffic.