Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fraser's Hill, Between Suffering and Relaxation! Part 2: Relaxation!

It's now time to earn some much needed R&R! :) Leaving Kampung Pertak at close to 4:30pm, Wei Han and myself head towards the gateway from which the single narrow road leads up to the delightfully chilly climate of the English countryside at Fraser's Hill. We were aiming to reach the gateway before 5:45pm, after which the road will be closed to uphill driving, allowing those from the resort to head downhill.
Timing is crucial when going up Fraser's Hill, you can review the times here :D

It's a system to accomodate the very narrow road to the top, which was wide enough for one way traffic only. Even before we reached the gateway however, the roads were already starting to wind as we weaved through mountain country, that was covered by virgin jungle. Incidently, for those not really in the 'know', these roads are the same ones where the 2nd High Commissioner of Malaya, Sir Henry Gurney was gunned down by communist guerillas on 6th October, 1951. :p We reached the foot of Fraser's hill at about 5:20pm, right between the time uphill traffic is allowed and headed up. The curvy road continues all the way up, requiring an additional amount of fortitude (as well as a strong stomach ;)). Although there were a few solar powered lamps on this road, it is advisable NOT to travel downhill after dark for the same reason. Coupled often times by the mist, it could be pretty dangerous negotiating pass the sharp bends in the darkness. My roti canai lunch had ascended almost up the base of my throat when thankfully we reached the top about 45 minutes later! :D Passing through the clinic, some shops and the police station, we found ourselves parked near the hill's famous fern entwined clock tower at the center of 'towne'... ;)
The towne 'center' by the clock tower

We immediately tried to make contact with Pui Voon, who is our 'host' for tonight's R&R. Apparently, working for KLK has a few unique priviledges, chief of which is the ability to rent (at a fantastically low price!) company owned fancy English countryside homes on chilly mountaintops! Our initial efforts to contact her however only managed to get us 'familiarized' with the already familiar 'Nombor yang anda dail, tidak dalam perkhidmatan'... Attempts to call our other party joining the trip, Vincent and Fei, was met with similar results. True to the spirit of a 'resort', Fraser's Hill apparently does not have FULL coverage of phone services. There was a moment of apprehension, after coming this far; "Are we to head home now?" :p
This view encompasses the entire towne center ;)

Fortunately, the phone came alive again. Although it was not Pui Voon, it was Vincent who called. Together with Fei, they had just arrived at the exit of the single lane road. They too had problems reaching Pui Voon but now with strength in numbers, we decided to hang around towne and take some photos. Located 1280m above sea level, Fraser's Hill was first developed by none other than Louis James Fraser, a solitary Scottish pioneer, who set up a tin-ore trading post in the hills during the 1890s. Finding a small deposit of tin, he opened up a mine, brought in Chinese workers and expanded the trading post to include opium and gambling dens (something of a necessity to us chinese perhaps? :p). He vanished mysteriously among the hills 25 years later, which resulted in an expedition led by J. Ferguson-Davie, Bishop of Singapore in search of him. Although Mr. Fraser was never found, Ferguson reported back to the British of the area's ideal location for the construction of a 'retreat'. By 1922, construction of the single lane road was complete and the resort opened to visitors.
History buff? Read this! :D

More development came in the 1970s to the point that it threatened the environment around the resort. In 2010, the Pahang state government announced that there will be no further development of the virgin forested area. Today, aside from the bungalows dotting the surroundings, the town center is formed by a clinic, a police station, a post office, a large foodcourt and a golf resort. Ok, well enough about history... ;)
Ho-hum... who says Fraser's Hill got nothing to do? Look at the list of things you CAN do! :)

Pui Voon finally called us about half an hour later. Coming out from her bungalow, she guided us to our home away from home a 10 minute drive away from the town center at a bungalow called 'Arundel'.
The entrance to KLK's bungalow in Fraser's Hill. ;) Thanks KLK! :)

A typical English bungalow in the countryside...

More English 'cottage's... how exciting! :D

It is joined by it's smaller sister 'Bunge', both of which are connected to a central building where the workers who take care and tend to the place now live. Around the two bungalows were gardens of beautiful flowers, coming in a variety of colors aside from a rather secluded open air badminton court a short walk away from the bungalows.
The LONELY looking badminton court a distance away from the bungalows... Eeeee :p

Entering our English abode, we were introduced to Pui Voon's colleagues (as well as spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends and daughter of her colleagues, no pickings here... ;)).
Interior of the bungalow: The hall. (Notice the bookshelf behind... ;))

"Care for some supper sir?" The bungalow's dining room... ;)

A relic from the past! A radial phone!

Wei Han and myself took a short nap thereafter, exhausted from our hike at Gunung Kutu. We awoke just in time to attend the BBQ dinner, which was served at the bungalow's main long dinner table by the attendants.
Pui Voon's colleagues chipping in to cook up the BBQ (Wei Han and myself were in dreamland then... sorry guys ;))

The meal, consisting of BBQ chicken, lamb, beef, sausages and complemented by generous servings of homemade coleslaw and fried rice was indeed food for the soul, especially after the tiring hike! Wei Han however, was noticably 'reserved' with the food, although I wolfed down a fair share despite initially trying to 'restrain' myself from over indulging (what the heck! one glass of Coca Cola down the hatch!)... :p
Enjoying the fruits (of other people's labour :p). BBQ dinner served with fried rice and egg! Yummy!

After that, we all hung around the hall, some of Pui Voon's colleagues unfolding a couple of 'Kung Ming' lanterns! We were asked to write down our 'wishes' on the lantern sides, after which we would let them off in a hot aired powered ascent to the heavens where hopefully, the Gods shall receive them and grant us our wishes! Great idea right? :D Well, believe or not believe, what's there to lose? Plus, it's fun to watch those lanterns fly in the mountain air! The night was starting to get chilly when we were ready to release the lanterns.
Releasing the Kung Ming lantern. May our wishes come true! :D

We watched as both lanterns rose into the air, until it's light was as faint as to mistake it for another star. The one with my wish written on it, flew the highest, the longest and the furthest, the latter perhaps due to it being caught up by the jet stream. Only when the faint glimmer that was our lantern faded did we retire back into the bungalow. Frankly there isn't really much to do here, but then again that's precisely the point isn't it? Wei Han, Vincent and Fei retired to bed early, while I joined Pui Voon and her colleague 'Candy' for a round of mahjong. Aside from being 'slaughtered', I was also subjected to a barrage of questions from Ms. Candy as well, one of which requiring to use my 'oil and gas' expertise to reply. ;) I retired to bed myself a little bit pass midnight, sleeping till morning with not the beacon of the World Cup 3rd/4th place fight enough to rouse me from bed. ;) At night I was assailed by mosquitoes, requiring me to change my 'feng shui' position and bring my head away from the window as I laid on the matress spread out on the wooden floor (what to do? have to accede to driver's priviledge mar :p). I was aware when Wei Han, Vincent and Fei snuck out of the bungalow to have their English RM30++ breakfast at the Old Smokehouse.
Fraser Hill's Old Smokehouse, where Wei Han, Fei and Vincent had their RM30++ English breakfast...

Is he our jockey? Nah, it's just Wei Han near the 'stables'(?)

I didn't bother waking up to join them though, sleeping in an English countryhouse till morning was too much for me to pass up! :p I rejoined the world of the living at about 830am in the morning, discovering the remaining inhabitants were mostly sleeping as well after a full night of 'Lami'. One of Pui Voon's colleagues was preparing sandwiches, to which I helped myself two pieces. ;) At length, I was joined by Pui Voon and on an invitation by her colleague Candy, tagged along for some early morning sightseeing of the area.
"Above all the rest, feeling so free and high, freer than the clouds, we touch the sky...", that's the medley for Salem's cigarette advertisment... HIGH indeed! ;)

We went pass the town center to another food court area with a large playground, trying to find breakfast at one of perhaps TWO Chinese shops, Hillview restaurant. It was closed when we came at about 830am so we had to settle at one of the nearby Malay shops instead.
Having my RM1 breakfast with the ladies...

While Candy, her husband and daughter had nasi lemak, I helped myself with 3 pieces of curry puffs for RM1 fried by a surprisingly Chinese speaking Malay lady! Pui Voon and another colleague which joined us just had drinks despite my pleas to help me finish the 2 other curry puffs (and avoid me piling up the guilt) :p. We adjourned to the playground for a while where some of us decided to 'relive' their childhood. ;)
Ah... isn't it nice to revisit our childhood once in a while? ;)

I also found out how much more work I need to do at the gym when a boy completed the monkey bars which I only managed to achieve but two with my scrawny arms. :p Wei Han and gang made an appearance at the playground moments later, seated in Vincent's MyVii. They called out to me and asked me whether I wanted to tag along with them to the Hill's only (artificial) waterfall (Jeriau waterfall). I waved back at them in a gesture I thought meant 'hi', which unexpectedly resulted in them driving off! I was to find out later that they interpreted my gesture as 'Go Ahead, I am not interested' instead. :p With my 'alternative' option literally 'driven off', I had to make the best of the situation. ;) Our group headed over to Allan's water, a small lake that what was once the hill's source of water.
Allan's water (opps, I am reading of the picture right?)

The lake was once a reservoir to store drinking water for the inhabitants of Fraser's Hill...

Today, the district office runs a recreational facility offering paddle boat rides at RM5for a 15 minute stint. Hoping to reduce the 'guilt' of ingesting 3 oily curry puffs, I invited Pui Voon to join me on a paddle boat cruise across the lake. Candy got on another boat with her daughter, and poor mummy had to do all the work for her little baby because for safety reasons, only two can board the boat no matter how small (or young) you are. ;)
... now it houses a facility for me to burn my accumulated calories! ;)

We returned back to the bungalow when one of our member needed to answer the call of nature. Once there, it was another round of lazing about. With nothing much to do, I checked out the dusty bookshelf in the hall. Remarkably, those books are the real 'McCoy' (ie real books and not just decorations). As I flipped through this very dated World Atlas by Lufthansa, I was also trying to figure out it's age, taking note of countries now vanished from the world map (Rhodesia, Czechslovakia, Yugoslavia, East Germany). I had better luck with the next book, when I happen to come across the glued on library slip on the reverse of it's front page. The earliest date chopped on the slip was 31st December 1962!!
This book is OLDER than ALL of us in the house!

The next book I pulled out from the dusty shelves was another surprise. Reading a biography of Sir Winston Churchill on wikipedia a few days before, I didn't expect to come across one of his famous books, 'Marlborough, His Life and Times', here! The book was about his most illustrious ancestor, John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough which he had written during the 'wilderness' (out of parliament) period of the 1930s, prior to World War II. Wow, another 'dash' of 'Englishness'. ;)
Interesting, and I was playing Empire Total War right around this time...

By the time Vincent, Wei Han and Fei returned, it was almost time to go home. For the entire BBQ dinner and lodging, the cost per person was a mere RM45, very cheap if I do say so myself, which we duly paid to Pui Voon. :)Wishing the now awoken denizens of the bungalow goodbye, we headed down the hill at about pass noon. Wei Han had initially aimed to have 'lunch' at Ulu Yam's famous 'loh mee' shop, but a quirk in his GPS took us close to Selayang instead. Resetting the GPS took us to 'Lan Jie's' famous patin fish shop in Rawang and upon reaching there at about 2:00pm, we ordered two of their famous fish dish. (They were out at 2:15pm and close at 3:00pm)
There is only ONE style of cooking this fish here. You get to choose the depth of spicyness though ranging from 'zero' to 'mild' and 'HOT'!

The shop isn't really hard to find, located as it was on the main road in Rawang town that led to/from Kuala Lumpur, a short distance drive from Kanching waterfalls.
If you are in Rawang, look out for this shop with THIS signboard!

Fei and Vincent enjoying the fish... Mmmmmm...

The last time I was there more than a year ago, I had the opportunity to take a photo with 'Jason' from Astro's Chinese 'makan-makan' fame.
A previous trip, caught with Ah Sien (Jason) from Astro AEC makan makan fame...

We went home from here, me to come out again at close to the wee hours of the Monday morning to watch the end of the 4 year gala at Subang's Little Balley, the WORLD CUP FINAL between Spain and Netherlands! Try as I did to defy the odds, Paul (the octopus) was right, making our Mr. Eric a very happy man (before realising that he had to 'pay' for our 'free' seafood dinner). Hahaha... until next time, Cheers! :D
The Winner(?) of our World Cup bet, Mr. Eric! :)


  1. when can we taste our first Zoom Zoom experience?YW.

  2. Hihi..can you please give me the contact details for the bungalow please? Thanks so much!!

  3. Hi Bell!

    Actually the bungalow belongs to KLK (KL Kepong Berhad). You have to be a staff to book the bungalow... ;) Maybe you can make friends with some KLK staff? ;)