Fraser's Hill derived its name from a colorful character in the colonial history, Louis James Fraser, who operates a tin-ore trading station in the Titiwangsa Mountain Range. Its relatively cool climate in the low 20°c's makes Fraser's Hill an ideal location as a hill holiday station from past to present.
The journey to Fraser's Hill takes approximately 2 hours from Petaling Jaya/Kuala Lumpur. A pretty good driving direction that we used is from impressions.com.my
. One important thing to consider when planning your journey is the traffic control hour of the route from Gap to the top of Fraser's Hill. The route is open for ascending traffic flow at odd hours and descending traffic flow at even hours. We misjudged the time and only got to Kuala Kubu Bahru at 1.30pm, which meant that we would have to wait at Gap for at least an hour if we continue driving (The next ascending hour would be 3.00pm - 3.40pm). Fortunately, Empangan Sungai Selangor (Selangor River Dam Information Center) was conveniently located on route to Fraser's Hill. We took a turn out for detour and learned some facts about the dam and water supply in the country. The visitor center is well maintained and worth a short visit.
From the dam, it is a leisurely drive of 30 minutes uphill along the winding road to Gap through the woods. We got to Gap at 3.05pm and continued to drive for another 25 minutes before we got to the top of Fraser's Hill. The road was indeed narrow and winding that I can hardly imagine how one can drive safely during the off-control hours (road opens to 2-way traffic between 8pm and 6am). In fact, I thought I got a little nausea when I finished the drive!
We booked ourselves into the Guinevere suite at Ye Olde Smokehouse and we must say that we were very satisfied with what we saw. The traditional country house built in Tudor architecture used to be a Red Cross clubhouse build in the early 20th century and is now converted to a holiday bungalow. The place exudes an old yet timeless English charm, and aptly decorated with English silverware, china, paintings and the likes.
The main room in the suite is a king size bed with a sofa set. Going deeper into the room is a small dining area, with windows overseeing the front of the house and the mountain ranges. Next to the dining room is the dressing room, followed by the bathroom. From here, a door opens to the back of the house and leads to an open balcony that looks out to the garden. While the suite is not a typical all luxurious executive suite, we love it being cozy and comfortable.
We took a tour around the house, and decided that we will have Devonshire cream tea at the garden. Unfortunately, it started raining soon after we placed our order. We moved into the house, by the window and enjoyed our English tea. The Devonshire cream tea set comes with two scones, butter, cream, and strawberry jam for RM18. Yen loved the scones! We also read a little during the tea. The house has a collection of paperbacks and magazines. Not the best collection but I found this interesting 1966 book called "The Cat Who Could Read Backwards" and was reading it throughout our stay.
Before nightfall, we drove out to venture a little around Fraser's hill. Great thing about this place is you can just wind the car windows down to enjoy the fresh and cooling air. Like everyone else that came to Fraser's Hill, we gladly obliged to take a photo of the Fraser's Clock Tower located in the center of the town. Instead of having dinner back at Smokehouse, we had Chinese for dinner at the only Chinese restaurant in the town. The food was mediocre and as with every other business up here, they charged slightly more expensive than normal. (Alright I wasn't complaining, it was just RM33 for the dinner, anyway). Took a couple more photos and got myself a Ramly burger before we headed back to the hotel. It's just intriguing to find that Ramly burgers are always so good anywhere! (Noticed that it’s always about food when we travel...)* * *
From our time together I learned to strike a balance between our interests. I got up early the next day and went around alone to take pictures of Fraser's Hill. Time seems to have stopped in this place. The English homes, woods and birds formed a perfect picture of serenity. What an ideal place for self-reflection!
(Now I'm eagerly awaiting my return to Singapore to get the films processed!)
When Yen got up we headed down to the restaurant for breakfast. The traditional English breakfast included fruit juice, porridge/cereal, bread, croissant, eggs, bacons & sausages, and coffee. It was a good start for the day!
We have planned for a picnic up here right from the beginning. Together, we brought along some fruits (grapes, mainly) and a bottle of Australian Shiraz-Merlot. So instead of having a proper sit-down lunch, we had a picnic. Spread our rug at the garden, poured the wine, and lazed under the mild sun and refreshing breeze. Sleep a little, read a little, eat a little, talk a little. It was just perfect. What more can one asks for?
Having requested for a late checkout, we headed back to our suite at only around 2pm to get ready for checkout. We planned to drive down at 4pm as the Gap gate is opened at even hours for down-hill. Not wanting to end this vacation as yet, upon checking out, we drove to the Jeriau waterfall (about 4km from Smokehouse). Unfortunately, the waterfall was a disappointment. It was certainly nothing of a spectacular waterfall sight that one might expect. On the other hand, we managed to end our memories of Fraser's Hill on a high note. Back in the town center before we headed down, we bought ourselves some pisang goreng (fried banana) and ubi goreng (fried sweet potato), and most deliciously, cempedak goreng (deep fried jackfruit).
The journey took us another 2+ hours before we got home at 7pm. Yen and I both agreed that the place is definitely enjoyable and we will be back!
p/s: Oh yeah, I haven't finish reading the book
and I guess that makes up another reason to go back to the Smokehouse. Or I could just buy it online from Amazon.
More photos at pbase
11-Aug-05: More photos from my trusty FM3A: