Monday, March 23, 2009

Fraser's Hill, Malaysia

Destination #11: Fraser's Hill, Malaysia

Year of Visit: 2007

Fraser's Hill is a hilltop resort located in the state of Pahang in Malaysia.

It was discovered in the early 20th century by a group of British clergymen during the colonial era and it was developed into a hill station by the British to escape from the heat of the lowlands.

Today, Fraser's Hill is a popular getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city especially among city folks from nearby Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Fraser's Hill is located approximately 100km from Kuala Lumpur.

I first set foot on Fraser's Hill in 2006, fell in love with it immediately and I went back again in 2007. Fraser's Hill is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque hill resorts in Malaysia with plenty of greenery, chiefly British architectures and a cool high altitude temperature.

Many beautiful colonial-styled bungalows are privately owned by certain individuals, companies and organisations. It is quite unfortunate that those who are not affiliated to any of those organisations, companies or individuals who own some of the bungalows at Fraser's Hill will have to get a room in one of the hotels in town depriving them of the opportunity to enjoy the luxuries and comforts of living in one of these British bungalows.

These bungalows have a cosy feel to it and many of them have a very large lawns. Large enough for a diverse range of flowers and plants to grow which went on to attract the birds and the bees.
The bungalow that has brought us many good memories.

From the side.

I realised that these bungalows in fact have a striking resemblance to the country houses I have seen in Britain. It is as if these bungalows were transplanted 10,000 over km from the UK to Malaysia.

Vegetables planted by the locals for their own consumption.

The backyard.

Another nicely refurbished bungalow - in case you can't read see, the signboard reads Richmond Bungalow. You guys should seriously consider taking the trail up to the cluster of private bungalows but be careful not to wander too far into their compound. I was accused of trespassing by the housekeeper of the Singapore House for merely admiring the flowers in his compound. He even threatened to sue me for trespass!

Our meals were prepared by the housekeepers throughout our stay there. The housekeepers can really cook! They've been there for decades, I won't be surprised if they were trained by their predecessors who have served the British back in the colonial days.

The famed clock tower of Fraser's Hill.

The lush greenery on Fraser's Hill.

After spending a day in the comforts of the lovely bungalow we set out for some outdoor activities - first pit stop - horse riding.

Trees at the riding range.

2nd pit stop - bungalow hopping. I wish I have a holiday home up here one day.

I will dream harder.

Pit stop #3 - boat paddling at a nearby lake. Yes there's a lake on Fraser's Hill and it's large enough for you to paddle deep into the jungles and never be seen from the station.

It was very misty that morning that within seconds the mist had enveloped the lake and parents were screaming hysterically for their children to come back fearing that they would paddle deep into the jungle and run away from their controlling parents.

The mist later enveloped the hill which made driving dangerous so we went back to the bungalow and curled around the fireplace playing cards and sipping English tea.

Dory fish and mash for breakfast. Heavenly.

We head down to town again later in the afternoon to hunt for souvenirs.

The picturesque clock tower and post office.

We then drove out of town again in search of a mini waterfall.

There was a trail which led us along a flowing stream, it was such a serene sight, only birds chirping and the sound of water hitting the rocks as it flows through the stream.

We followed the flowing stream, walk through narrow paths, some ascending, some descending until we saw what we all have been looking for.

The mini waterfall. The water near the waterfall was shallow hence the kids had alot of fun.

We then continued with our tour around Fraser's Hill in the car and we came to this old English bungalow cum hotel. I highly recommend this place if you love unconventional and distinctively unique hotels.
Before we left, a special occurrence took place which was later reported as a solar phenomenon. I reckon it was the high altitude which made it so visible to the eyes.

The Fraser's Hill ranks among my top three most favourite holiday destination in Malaysia.

It is undeniably one the most perfect family getaways from city life in exchange for a quiet and laid back lifestyle.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

AirAsia X to fly no frills from London to Kuala Lumpur

The first low cost long-haul route connecting Asia and UK has launched, easing the pockets of backpackers, holidaymakers and businessmen alike.As most airlines are tightening their belts and increasing prices, Air Asia X, an associate of Air Asia, has launched a cheap London Stansted-Kuala Lumpur flight allowing travellers to access Asia without paying premium prices.

Initially operating five flights a week the airline aims to connect the UK with the whole of Asia and the route is already popular amongst travellers taking the ‘Kangaroo route’ between Australia and Europe.

AirAsia X Chief Executive Officer, Azran Osman-Rani, said, “Stansted connects practically all of Europe to AirAsia X, allowing us to open up an amazing range of exotic, tropical, cultural and cosmopolitan destinations across Asia Pacific to suit everyone’s pocket.”

Using Kuala Lumpur as a hub passengers can then access a further 64 destinations such as Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Bali for as little as £10, and on to Australia for under £100.

Commercial & Development director BAA Stansted, Nick Barton said: “Advance bookings on this new non-stop service prove how popular it is set to be, particularly with business and leisure passengers seeking affordable long-haul travel options.”

The economy promotional fare of £99 sold out within 48 hours and regular fares at £149 and £199 one way have been selling fast. Business class seats start at £699.

Source: Daily Mail

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Reminder to travel enthusiasts in Malaysia

Matta Fair KL

Venue: Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), Kuala Lumpur

13 March 2009 until 15 March 2009

Matta Fair Penang

3 July 2009 until 5 July 2009

Venue: Penang International Sports Arena (PISA), Relau

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Mount Titlis, Switzerland

Destination #10: Mount Titlis, Switzerland

Year of Visit: Summer 2008

The Titlis (3,238 m) is a mountain in the Urner Alps of Switzerland. It is located on the border between the cantons of Obwalden and Berne in Switzerland, overlooking Engelberg (Obwalden) and is famous as the site of the world's first revolving cable car. The cable car system connects Engelberg to the summit of Klein Titlis (3,028 m) through the three stages of Gerschnialp (1,262 m), Trübsee (1,796 m) and Stand (2,428 m) - wikipedia

How to get there:

Drive or take the public transport from Lucerne via Stans to Engelberg, ascend the summit of Mt.Titlis by aerial cable-car.

When I flew from London to Rome in December 2007, I looked out of the window and saw snow covered mountains of the Swiss Alps and questioned myself if I was making the most sensible decision to travel to Italy in winter instead of signing up for a ski trip to Les Arcs, French Resort.

I had a wonderful time in Italy and about 7 months later I'm at the Swiss Alps.

No skiing over summer of course so technically skiing remains something I would love to try out in future. The snow on Mount Titlis didn't melt off completely over summer, definitely not at the peak.

The cable car system connects Engelberg to the summit of Klein Titlis (3,028 m) through three stages - Gerschnialp (1,262 m), Trübsee (1,796 m) and Stand (2,428 m).

The picturesque town of Engelberg from the cable car.

Another view of the Engelberg town. Mount Titlis is a proven attraction amongst Asian tourists. Chinese nationals, Indian nationals, Hong Kongers, Indonesians and of course Malaysians. Being Asians, more often than not we join a guided tour for the sake of convenience.

The ascend to the third stage of Stand (2,428 m).

The visible greeneries over summer is simply magnificent.

From Stand (2,428 m), we switched over to the world's first revolving cable car to get to the summit of Klein Titlis (3,028 m).

Voila! We're at the summit of Mount Titlis.

Sky blue and white. The only two visible colours at the summit.

There is this part of the mountain at Mount Titlis that look like a statue of Buddha from a distance. It was discovered by a Chinese adventurer back in 1996.

The breathtaking view from the summit of Mount Titlis (3,028 m). Awesome!

The author lying down on the ice with the Swiss Alps as the backdrop.

This looks like an ideal slope for skiing.

It wasn't easy hiking up the slope with shoes though, watch your steps or you will roll down fast!

Another view of the snow-clad mountains in summer. Stunning!

I guess it will be all white during winter.

The Ice Flyer descending to another level.

I went up the slope, slid down all the way on purpose and ended up with a wet butt.

I couldn't ski nor do any snowboarding so I did a butt-slide.

If you noticed I only wore a thin long sleeved roundneck shirt.

It certainly felt like 10-15 degrees Celcius though I doubt it was 10-15 otherwise how could the snow not melt away. It was definitely way colder in Britain even though we didn't get much snow over the year.

The ice grotto is also an attraction at the Mount Titlis summit.

It was much colder in the ice grotto. Probably a dozen degrees Celcius lower than outside!

The last bits of the snow capped Mount Titlis before descending in the revolving cable car.

Mid level - The snow melts away very quickly in summer.

The rest of the massive Swiss Alps.

Engelberg and the Swiss Alps - how picturesque, doesn't it look like one of those Mild Seven advertisements in the 1990s?

More on Mt. Titlis

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