Destination: Holiday in the Highlands
Given that Malaysia is situated in the equatorial region, we enjoy a tropical and humid climate all year long as opposed to the four seasons that the European countries experience. While this means that we don’t have to go through the hassle of changing garments every season or investing in both heater and air-conditioning, every so often, it’s nice to seek respite somewhere with cooler weather. Thankfully, Peninsular Malaysia is laden with highlands that give us a taste of winter (or cooler weather at least).
1. Bukit Tinggi
Set amid lush tropical rainforest at 2,500 feet above sea level in Pahang and merely 45 minutes’ drive from Kuala Lumpur, the Bukit Tinggi highlands provide a pleasant and refreshing break from the hot and humid weather all year round. Its allure lies in its picturesque offering, from Colmar Tropicale — a French-themed resort that reflects the beauty of the Alsace region of France, a serene Japanese Village that could trick you into thinking you’re in Japan and an Animal Park for your little munchkins. Whip out your phones to digitalise the picturesque surrounds and be ready to explore a smorgasbord of experiences.
2. Cameron Highlands
Founded by British colonialist named Sir William Cameron, the classic English architecture of the cottages converted into hotels, the cold weather and the laidback lifestyle is reminiscent of an English countryside. There are plenty of attractions here, from the sweeping tea plantations that travel as far as the eyes can see, delightful tea shops to enjoy homemade strawberry jams and scones to basking in the lavender and rose gardens. For nature lovers and adventure seekers, a trek through the Mossy Forest transports you to a fantastical land where distinct plants and trees exclusive to the region will amaze you.
3. Fraser’s Hill
Fraser’s Hill is one of the last hill stations of Malaysia, an imprint by former British colonial masters. Tracing back to the 1890’s, the hill was founded by Louis James Fraser who opened up a tin mine but mysteriously vanished in 1915. Fraser’s Hill was rediscovered in 1917 when the bishop of Singapore went on a hunt for the man, providing suggestions for the area to be developed into a hill station which was brought to fruition by the authorities. In the early 20th century, Fraser’s Hill became an idyllic country retreat for British residents for the refreshing mountain air and cooler temperatures. Quaint grey-stone bungalows were built around Fraser’s Hill and many are still existent till today. The Fraser’s Hill experience starts with a picture at the iconic clock tower, then take a pedalo out on Allan’s Water and continue with a walk along Hemmant Trail. The Olde Smokehouse is a pleasant stop for lunch, afternoon tea or dinner.
4. Genting Highlands
The list of highlands in Malaysia wouldn’t be complete without the inclusion of one of the most popular and fun-filled spots — Genting Highlands. Cold weather meets casino and various offerings here, which attract locals and international travellers alike. There is so much to explore and experience at Genting Highlands, from its five-star hotels such as Crockfords Hotel to a plethora of F&B offerings, cinema, bowling alley, snow world and many more. With the addition of the SkyAvenue mall, one can indulge in some retail therapy or take a cable car down to the Genting Premium Outlets. Another recent attraction at Genting is the SkySymphony where spellbinding stories are told through a dynamic transformation of 1,001 winch balls suspended from a four-storey high ceiling. It’s an extraordinary orchestra of audio, visual and motion graphics programming.