Fraser's Hill

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Fraser's Hill (or Bukit Fraser in Malay) is a hill resort located on the Titiwangsa Ridge in the state of Pahang in Malaysia.

Clock tower

History[edit]

The location is one of Malaysia's few pristine forests, with a high level of biodiversity,[1] first recognised by the botanist H. N. Ridley in 1897.[2]

Fraser's Hill derives its name from Louis James Fraser, a solitary Scottish pioneer, who set up a tin-ore trading post in the 1890s.[3][4] The British army had not explored the Titiwangsa Range, so Fraser recruited guides and coolies for an expedition to the upper ridges, prospecting for gold or other valuable metals. At the top he found an ancient forest of moss-draped trees and ferns with a prehistoric appearance, kept constantly moist in the cloud layer.

He also found rich tin deposits, and recruited Chinese workers to open a mine. A steep track was constructed for mules to transport the tin ore down to The Gap and on to Raub, the nearest town. Fraser operated a gambling and opium den at the workers' camp, through which he profited a second time from the wages paid to his coolies.

Fraser vanished without trace some 25 years later. In 1917 C. J. Ferguson-Davie, Bishop of Singapore, led a trek up from the Gap to look for his site, and did not find him, but reported that the place was perfect for a hill station–a retreat from the heat of the lowlands.[5] In 1919, work started on the access road to the hill station from The Gap and by 1922, the hill station named Fraser's Hill was opened to visitors. The hill station covered 140 hectares of land and had over 50 km of jungle paths. The 1927 Handbook to British Malaya recorded that there were 9 bungalows for the use of government officials, 4 houses built with the help of the Red Cross for ex-servicemen and women, 3 private homes, a country club, a golf course, water supply and a post office.[3]

In 1951, during the Malayan Emergency, the British High Commissioner in Malaya Sir Henry Gurney was killed near Fraser's Hill in a random assassination by Communist guerillas.[6]

Timetable for the road up to Fraser's Hill

The 1970s saw another burst of development with buildings and golf courses.[2] Faced with growing evidence of the effects of environmental damage at the Malaysia's largest hill resort, Cameron Highlands, the Pahang state government in 2010 ruled out further development of virgin forest at Fraser's Hill.[7] Frasers Hill was also had a rest centre for the British Forces based in Malaya and Singapore during the 1960s. The centre was run by NAAFI (Navy Army and Air Force)beside accommodation it had a swimming pool, built by volunteers from the forces and a tennis court.

Location[edit]

Fraser's Hill includes seven peaks, with altitudes between 1,220 and 1,524 meters above sea level.[8] The Meteorological Department station is measured at 1,280 m. Year round temperatures are between 17°C~25°C / 63°F~77°F.

The resort is situated 64.6 miles (104 km) from the capital city, Kuala Lumpur. At the foot of the steep ascent, at an altitude of only 800m, is The Gap, where a colonial resthouse remains open. The winding 8 km single-track road up from The Gap is open in alternate directions each hour; odds hours for going up and even hours for going down. The drive from The Gap to Fraser's Hill takes less than 20 minutes. Some visitors prefer to walk up, spotting birds and enjoying the noticeable fall in temperature.[6][9] A new alternative road was opened in 2001, but from time to time this is closed due to landslides.[8]

Recreational activities[edit]

Cool and invigorating throughout the year, Fraser's Hill remains popular with Malaysians and Singaporeans for company retreats and weekend breaks.

Golfing[edit]

Fraser's Hill golf course

Malaysia's earliest highland golf course was constructed on Fraser's Hill in 1925. The 9-hole course was built on former tin mines. In the 1970s, an 18-hole course was added at Jeriau, about 3 km from the main town.

Walking[edit]

There are several hiking trails around the hill; their entrance is usually marked by signboards. There is also an accessible waterfall. Trails range from the Hemmant Trail, a short walk, to the Pine Tree Trail, a full day's trek.[8][10]

Bird watching[edit]

Fraser's Hill is a notable centre for birdwatching aficionados.[9] The hill station has over 270 species of local and migratory birds flocking here together. The annual International Bird Race is held in the second weekend of June each year, organized by the Fraser's Hill Development Corporation in collaboration with WWF It sees participants throughout the world converging on the hill station in a team competition to sight, identify and record the highest number of species of birds stated in the official checklist.[11] There is a special spot for the birdwatchers which is a metal-framed hanging bridge that has completed its construction but still awaiting for some approvals before being granted for opening to the public.

Accommodation[edit]

Silverpark Hill Resort
The Smokehouse

Accommodation at Fraser's Hill includes colonial-era bungalows for rent, modern apartments, inns and a small hotel.[12]

Main options for accommodation
  • Silverpark Hill Resort
  • Fraser's Pine Resort
  • The Smokehouse, a former Red Cross rehabilitation centre[3]
  • Shahzan Inn (formerly Merlin Inn)
  • Puncak Inn
  • Bungalows rented out by various corporations

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sustaining highland biodiversity and endemic species, World Wide Fund for Nature
  2. ^ a b Fraser's Hill left Natural, Malaysian Nature Society, 13 April 2010
  3. ^ a b c Fraser's Hill, JourneyMalaysia.com
  4. ^ Fraser's Hill, Pahang Tourism
  5. ^ History (2 pages), Fraser's Hill Development Corporation (FHDC)
  6. ^ a b Fraser's Hill: The Gap, JourneyMalaysia.com
  7. ^ Fraser's Hill freeze, New Straits Times, 13 April 2010
  8. ^ a b c Frasers Hill Highland Station, Nature Escapes from Kuala Lumpur
  9. ^ a b Birdwatching Trip Report, birdtours.co.uk, 4 March 2001
  10. ^ List of trails, FHDC
  11. ^ Events, FHDC
  12. ^ Fraser's Hill: Accommodation, Pahang Tourism

External links[edit]