As the 2008 curtain drawing to a close, I went for a 6-day trip from West to East and back. It was a long-planned vacation trip with my eldest brother where we planned to look for some exotic macro subjects. The journey started on Friday December 26th.
From KL we took the PLUS highway and exited at Kuala Kangsar. Since we have about 3 hours before we need to take the jeep ride up to Bukit Larut, I took the luxury to take some shots at the royal town. Among the must-see places are the Ubudiah mosque which has a unique architecture and the royal palace not far from it. If you happen to be in Kuala Kangsar, you may want to purchase the A1 machete which is of very high quality. The blacksmith who forge them is supposedly a village guy. Go to a place called Lembah by the river banks and you can find a row of shops selling knives and machetes.
At 3pm we took the ride up to Bukit Larut. Since private cars are not allowed to go up, we parked our car at the designated parking lot and rode on the 4WD. The shuttle took about 40 minutes through a steep zigzag road which gave me a headache.
There are several bungalows ran by the Recreational Body up the hill. You can rent the whole house but have to do your own cooking. I was informed that each bungalow has between 3-4 rooms but further information can be obtained by calling them at 05-8077214. You can also make the jeep reservation with them. I stayed at Cendana Hut which is run privately. There are 3 family rooms with attached bathroom and 3 standard rooms with toilet outside. The family room we took was very spacious and clean, there was nothing much to complain about. The Cendana lounge was also spacious with sofa and astro. You can check them out by calling 05-8062777.
From where we stayed, the road leads 3km uphill to the telecom tower. The next morning we took a walk to look for macro subjects but turned back after about 2km as we need to get an early breakfast before the jeep takes us down at 11am. There was some interesting species I found though I expected much more. Mostly the roadsides were inhabited by Leucauge spiders although some exotic species lurk between the shrubs. It was a shame that we could only stay there for 1 night as the rooms were all fully booked for the following day.
Saturday. We already planned for a 2-night stay at Jelai Resort in Fraser’s Hill. After arriving at the hill foot, we replenish our stock at Tesco Taiping where we initially plan to buy a barbeque set if not for the fact that it was sold out. So the travel took us south until the Tanjung Malim exit. I refilled my tank before going up to Bukit Fraser as the last gas station is in Kuala Kubu Baru. We arrived at Gap just in time for the up bound traffic which started at 7pm, not really a nice time to travel through a forest road.
The room in Jelai was quite well kept except that the bed was kind of damp. Fraser is known to be very humid therefore I always bring along a disposable humidifier, aka thirsty hippo, to keep my photography kit dry. There were a few constructions going on at the town center, the kid’s park and the pond. It seems that the tourism department is getting serious about developing this hill station although I and a few of the locals I talked to are not that keen about this whole idea. Left uncontrolled, tourism can damage the pristine ecosystem in Fraser which has long been the home of some endemic species recorded no where else in the world.
Sunday was supposed to be an all adventure day. We took the Abu Suradi trail and continued through Hemmant trail before tracing our way via the tarmac road back to the resort. It was raining lightly in the afternoon when we went to scout for arthropods. There was quite a crowd on that day which stirred the tranquility of the otherwise quaint little town. Nevertheless we took a night tracking to hunt down nocturnal arthropods, creature you can hardly find under the light of day.
On Monday morning we tried the Pine Tree trail which is the longest trail in Fraser. Of course we didn’t even plan to complete the trail but just to see the sight along the mossy part of the forest. Some 10 years ago an Englishman got lost in this trail alone and he spent a few night in the forest before S&R found him.
For those who plan to trail in Fraser, I would suggest to start with the Hemmant and Abu Suradi trail. Both are quite easy, short and not very much leech-infested. After you have warmed up, perhaps Mager and Bishop trail can give a bit more challenge. There are other short trails such as Rompin and Kindersley though thse are essentially connecting trail between 2 hills.
Bukit Fraser is situated in a forest reserve therefore the animals and plants there are protected. Infact some animals are endemic and it is illegal to even transport them. Please respect the nature and refrain yourself from removing anything.