2/17/2013

Fraser's Hill Debut

I went to Fraser's Hill for the first time (ever!) on the first weekend of February with 3 other friends. Fraser's Hill is a popular hill station (approximately 2 hrs from KL) named after Scotsman James Fraser who discovered tin deposits in these parts and operated a gambling + opium den for workers. He disappeared mysteriously and when CJ Ferguson, Bishop of Singapore, failed to find him, he proposed turning the area into a hill station as a cool retreat from the warm lowlands. Today, Fraser's Hill is a nature reserve area dotted with colonial bungalows and several inns. 
 
We took the route from KL > Rawang > Kuala Kubu Bharu > Fraser's Hill. Previously there was only 1 road to access Fraser's Hill and the direction is open in opposite directions every alternate hour, ie you can only go up during odd hours and go down during even hours. However now there's a road from the top to the bottom, so going up/down was a one way affair. We headed to Kuala Kubu Bharu for lunch and we were super starved since we didn't have breakfast prior! We had lunch at Restoran Hailam Sun Sun Nam Cheong: we had hailam mee, chicken chop and French toast. The service was prompt and the coffeeshop had "booths" which lent a quaint atmosphere to our lunch experience :) The kopi hailam was banging and the freshly squeezed orange juice was super refreshing! 
Hailam mee
Chicken chop
French toast

We headed to the Teng Wun bakery (apparently the owners of the two businesses are related to each other!) located in the parallel lane and bought their famous kaya puffs and cupcakes: simply divine! 


Cupcake galore!

We made a pitstop at the Sg Selangor dam; it was incredibly breezy and there's an information center called Splash explaining the history and structure of the dam. The journey up wasn't very winding and it was good not to worry about oncoming traffic! :) It took us 1 hr to reach the top and we checked into our 2 bedroom apartment at Silverpark Resort. 
Sg Selangor Dam
Splash info centre
Solar lamps


Silverpark Resort

The air was surprisingly cooler than at Cameron Highlands (remind me to write up about that trip next time! :p) and somewhat fresher. With an old TV and only TV 1,2,3 available, we settled on an Indonesian TV drama before heading out for tea at the Smokehouse. The hotel was previously a Red Cross rehab center and today it's a lovely hotel with English furnishings and even a real fireplace! 
The Smokehouse
The fireplace
Terrace dining
Scone
Assorted cakes

We chose terrace dining and ordered scones and cakes. There was a bird's nest nearby so birds were tweeting and fluttering here and there; a lovely tea time experience! We then headed back to the town square, snapped photos of the landmark clock tower and strolled around town. 
Clock tower 
Post office
Police station


We had dinner at Scott Bar and Restaurant (under the Smokehouse group too). This is reportedly the only establishment serving alcohol, the surroundings were simple and had an English-pub feel. We had sandwich and garlic bread, chilling out watching TV until about 9pm then we returned to the apartment for a good rest. 
Scott Bar & Restaurant
Garlic toast
Banana walnut cake

The next morning we headed out to Hemmant Trail, the entrance is located next to the mosque and it was a good 1.5 hr trek. We caught sight of various birds, spiders and the jungle vegetation was so green and the air was cooling, so it was a very comfortable trek. It didn't rain the night before so there was nary a leech on our path! 
The Hemmant Trail
Out of the woods

We checked out then headed to town for breakfast at Scott Bar then rented bicycles. We cycled around town but our expedition was plagued by a loose pedal and a bike that couldn't switch to a lower gear! We passed the Paddock and there were many uphill points; we tried to find the Smokehouse for a 2nd time at tea but lost the way and headed back to town. We drove to the Smokehouse and had bangers and mash, hot chocolate and scones. Then we traveled down to KL and that was the end of a short but sweet trip to this charming hill retreat. 
Char kuay teow
Big breakfast
Cycling group
The Paddock
A bungalow
Bangers and Mash
Hot chocolate

I plan to return with family and try other trekking trails. For those looking for a truly quiet and peaceful break from the hustle and bustle of city life, a weekend getaway to Fraser's Hill is the answer :)

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