Fraser’s Hill Day Trip

After having lunch in Damansara last weekend, my husband asked me, “where to next?” Instead of saying “home”, I said, “anywhere but here.” He replied, OK. Let’s go to Fraser’s Hill.” So, off we went.


Road to Kuala Kubu.

We took the Kuala Kubu Bahru route— E1, Route 1, Route 55 and Route 56—to reach Fraser’s Hill. We stopped by at Kuala Kubu Bahru town to buy USB phone cable; one of the things that we should have a spare in the car during spontaneous trip like this. Lucky our car has USB port, so charging is easy. The phone dubs as GPS.

 
Kuala Kubu Bahru town.

We drove across Sungai Selangor, passed by Selangor Dam and Chiling Fall and later found ourselves surrounded by thick forest of Selangor and Pahang. We wound down our side screens to smell the refreshing cool air filled with scent of trees and soil and perhaps Streptomyces too.

 
Aerial view of Sungai Selangor seen from the bridge on Route 55. Did you know that On 6 October 1951, Sir Henry Gurney was shot to death by the Communist guerillas on Route 55 while on his way to Fraser’s Hill for a meeting?


Empangan Selangor.


View on Route 56.

 After driving for about an hour from Kuala Kubu Bahru, we reached Fraser’s Hill.


Yassin and his cousin, Wanda. 

It was a bit gloomy when we reached here and temperature was around 17°C, just nice to go for a walk around the hill—thanks to its 1524 m elevation. First place we visited was the clock tower, the British-looking little stone building covered with creeper vines. This most photographed clock tower was designed by Malaysian Landscape Architect Z. Jaal for Frasers Hill Development Corporation in 1989.

So…, what’s Fraser got to do with this hill station situated in Pahang? Who is Fraser? I bet the history is familiar to some of you but I love to write about it again as you might missed some of the facts that I found while doing my reading online and offline.

Fraser’s Hill is named after Louis James Fraser, a Scotsman who prospected for gold in Australia but eventually struck tin here instead in the 1890s. In 1900s, he went missing but only few years later, a big search for him was conducted by Bishop Ferguson Davie of Singapore. It was an unsuccessful search and some believed that his opium and gambling business got something to do with his disappearance (read: murder). I could not help but think that maybe he was attacked and eaten by tiger. Or, fell down from a ravine.

Anyway…Bishop Ferguson Davie, on the other hand discovered a perfect hill resort and suggested to the authorities to develop the area.  By 1922 a road had been cut through the mountains to the valley, which soon sprouted bungalows and even one of Malaya’s first golf courses. Since then, Fraser’s Hill retains a wonderfully weird mixed-up character, where locals eat curries off banana leaves in an English cottage next to a golf course while the call to prayer sounds from the mosque.


A colonial building converted into a bar and restaurant. A Scottish one. To commemorate Fraser, I suppose.

Ok, enough with the history.

After the clock tower we visited Allan’s Water; an old dam which was converted into a lake. The dam was formerly served as a reservoir supplying fresh water to Fraser’s Hill. Since it was no longer used, it is converted to a recreational lake, providing boating and picnic activities for visitors. The name Allan’s Water was a tribute to Mr J. H. Allan, an assistant engineer who surveyed the area and mooted the idea of building a dam there.


We did not went on the boat but we walked along the trail at the right side of the lake. It was here that a LEECH decided to make me a victim. Tolong!! I was screaming like crazy but my husband and son laughed at me. While my niece was comforting me saying to just let it fall by itself, I took a twig and get it OFF me. Crazy la, such a scary experience. LOL.

After Allan’s Water, we visited a flower nursery next to it. Previously, it was a flower garden but had been closed down for four years previously. A new owner took up the space and the nursery has been opened for almost 10 months now. It is still in its stage of adding more plants but one thing for sure, they have a mini strawberry farm here. We got to taste it and it was sweet! Unlike those sour strawberries I bought from supermarket. My husband bought a pot to care for. The nursery worker told us that a pot of strawberry plant can make up about 50 more and he later taught us how to go about it.

Later we just wandered around the hill taking pictures. We passed by some of the nature trails; namely Bishop Trail, Mager Trail, Kindersley Trail but as we were not ready for long trails, we skipped the idea. Trail’s length are ranging from 500m (Abu Suradi Trail) to 5km (Pine Tree Trail). While passing by the latter, I saw that it was sealed with no-entry tape, almost certain that it was closed for the day or perhaps for good. Do check with the information counter at Puncak Inn near the Clock Tower if you wish to go on one of the trails.

Before we get home, I captured some photos of flowers. I’ll cover more about flowers found in Fraser’s Hill in another post. we did drop by Smokehouse for coffee/tea but too bad that it was just closing for the day. It was around 6pm. But I did take some pictures.

 

Bibliography:
http://wikitravel.org/en/Fraser’s_Hill
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysia_Federal_Route_55
http://www.thesmokehouse.my/?page_id=2
http://www.fraserhill.info/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraser’s_Hill

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Kemensah Waterfall

Initially, the plan was to go to Batu Asah Waterfall yesterday but after asking the locals the whereabouts, I had to scrap the idea. We actually need to hike or take the ATV in order to reach the place. Having kids (my son and 2 of my sister’s kids) and just me, I made a decision to just settle for a small waterfall along the Kampung Kemensah main road. The signboard says Kemensah Waterfall. Good enough for us and we rented a chalet just to have a place to sit, eat and put our things. Day use fee is RM40.



Two-tier small waterfall


Yassin enjoying the cool waterfall.

Kemensah Waterfall is located in Kampung Kemensah, Hulu Kelang. Getting here is easy, you need to look for Zoo Negara.  Take the main road beside the zoo before reaching Kampung Kemensah. Just take a drive further up and look for chalets on your left. If you go further up, it’ll lead you to ATV Adventure Park and further up to a  dead end where Institut Budaya Baru Melayu Selangor is situated. Well, I drove that far. I did dropped by ATV Adventure Park to ask for direction and the person-in-charge was the one who told that we cannot reach the place by car; only by foot, ATV or bike and it’ll take an hour to reach the place. It’ll be great to take the ATV but the fee is too high, me cannot afford to take 4 ATVs to Batu Asah Waterfall. It’ll cost me RM600!

The chalets here are purely kampung style, very basic and toilet is few steps away on sharing basis. There’s no restaurant here, so we were lucky that we had our lunch before coming here and brought some sandwiches and drinking water.

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De Palma Kuala Selangor #depalmahotel

When my family and I went to Kuala Selangor to visit the Kampung Kuantan Fireflies Sanctuary, we didn’t plan where to stay. As I know there is a De Palma Kuala Selangor, I suggested to my husband that we should check the place out. We just drove around and followed directions to the place.

After going through the registration process like any other hotels, we walked to our room. Our room is in the form of a Malay wooden chalet! I love it! Although it is not fully traditional, the main features are there; the wooden house, the verandah and the cylindrical column posts.

I like the fact that the room is equipped with praying mat, direction of Qiblat as well as Al-Quran. For your information, All De Palma hotels are Syariah Compliant and De Palma is the first to pioneer Syariah Compliant Hotel after recognising the needs of Muslim travellers who had difficulty in obtaining hotels to suit their lifestyles.

My favourite spot here is the area facing the admin building equipped with wooden benches. I managed to sit there for about an hour and draw. While I draw, my son took the opportunity to play in the pool and make new friends.




During our stay, there was a group having a family day or something and they had a barbecue picnic.  Intrigued by the idea, I went and check with the front reception and yes, they cater barbecue picnic to a group of 20 or more. Yay! I thought this is great because I am thinking of having a family day since last year and this is just the right place to hold such event. Other facilities here  include banquet facilities, ballroom, musollah, outdoor court and meeting room. While services include free WiFi service, laundry, Mountain Bicycles rental, newspaper upon request, outdoor/field trip package and 24 hours security.

Overall, our stay here was great. As for food, I didn’t have any from the hotel (except breakfast on the checkout day) because after my son had finished having fun with his new-found friends, we went to Malawati HillKuala Selangor Nature Park and Kg Kuantan Fireflies Sanctuary and had our lunch and dinner around Kuala Selangor.

For those who live in the city and in need a quick getaway, De Palma Kuala Selangor is the place to be. Just about an hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, De Palma Kuala Selangor is located in the heart Kuala Selangor town. You can get here by car or bus. From KL take the Sungah Buloh trunk road and from there will be many signboards directing you to Kuala Selangor. GPS coordinates is 3.349436,101.240473. You can also take Selangor Bus 141 from Pudaraya Station, KL.

—————Now, we move on to the best part—————

I have made an effort to contact the management for a hotel-stay sponsorship by e-mail. And few weeks after that I got a call from Ms. Michelle from De Palma Hotels management office for a meeting. After having discussion over tea and jemput-jemput and goreng pisang, De Palma Hotels is happy to sponsor a 2 Days & 1 Night stay at De Palma Kuala Selangor! Yay!

Now, do you like to win the stay?

If you do, here’s the catch:

  • Leave a comment and tell me (and the management of De Palma Hotels) why you deserve this stay.
  • You need to share this entry using the above social media buttons.
  • Follow De Palma Hotels on FB: facebook.com/depalmahotels
    and twitter: twitter.com/depalmahotel

That’s it, 3 simple steps. You DO NOT have to follow me or write a post in your blog or subscribe to my blog in order to participate in this contest. But if you win, a thank you note linking back to http://www.depalmahotel.com is good enough.

The lucky winner will be selected based on the most creative comment. Judging will be done by me and Ms Michelle from De Palma Hotels. Closing date is 1 June 2012; 11.59pm.

Treat this as warm greetings from De Palma Hotels management and a thank you gesture from me to you for reading my blog. Good luck!

 

 

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KL view from Bukit Ampang #ampang

Where is the best place to view sunset view of KL? One place I know very well is Bukit Ampang located at Jalan Hulu Langat. As I live in Ampang Tasik, I often drive up for the view.

Previously, you can have this view from the Ampang Lookout Point but sadly the place has been closed down for a reason.


Translation: Notice of Closure of Ampang Lookout Point. This area has been sealed with immediate effect. Violators will be prosecuted.  Majlis Perbandaran Kajang (MPKj)

Previously, the place was a popular tourists spot and there were good dining places. Until the place is open to public, you can have enjoy the beautiful Kuala Lumpur cityline landscape few metres away before the Lookout Point. You can have your teh tarik with maggi goreng, char kuey teow, etc from a group of small mobile food stalls located at the junction that leads to Taman Mulia Jaya, Ampang.

Do drop by the place and check out the view yourself. It’s breathtaking.


How to get there:


View Bukit Ampang in a larger map

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Chongkak Park

Sitting in front of a laptop everyday is not that good as the radiation somehow gets to you and your health. Realising this, my husband and I make it a habit to be with nature during weekends and just go somewhere near. Yesterday, we took that 30 minutes drive to Chongkak Park. Chongkak Park is located in Hulu Langat, Selangor; not that far from our home. We love the fact that we are so close to nature.

 

Chongkak Park is also a resort and it is managed by Tourism Selangor Sdn Bhd. This park is nestled within a tropical forest and is a popular retreat for the locals. Those who just come for a picnic, the entrance fee is only RM1 per adult. Kids below 12 is free. Parking outside the park area is RM3.

For those who wish to stay here, there are chalets for rental ranging from RM60 – RM350. For those who wish to be adventurous, a spot at the campsite can be rented at RM10. Don’t forget to bring your insects repellent. Activities here include jungle trekking and night walk. Fee is RM10 (minimum 10 pax) for jungle trekking and RM15 per person for night walk.

One thing I like to visit this park is because I get to learn tree names. I only went to the front part of the park and I bet if I explore the whole park area, I’ll get to learn more. Definitely will come back again to explore this place.

Here’s the area map of the park.


Click to enlarge.

Anyway, I took a flyer and if you want to enquire about the chalets, please e-mail to: info@tourismselangor.my. But if you want fast information, please call 013-3114822 – Sani or 013-3869723 – Shahrehan (after office hour only).

Here’s a video captured from our Lumix (DMC-FT3 0 12mWaterproof). Enjoy the view, the nasi lemak (hehe) and the fish! You can view the full HD in 1080p. The music is from YouTube Audio Swap library.

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Bukit Malawati, Kuala Selangor

I only have been to Bukit Malawati twice; the first time was way back in the year 2000 when I was on a working trip. The second time was with my family few months back. As it was a working trip the first time I went here, I did not get to explore much, the only thing I remember was seeing a lot of monkeys. I was happy to visit the place again the second time December last year and explore the hill.

To go up the hill, we have to park our car at the parking area and get on a colorful train. I totally forgot about the fee but it was around RM2 or 3 for an adult, half the price for children.

Anyway, when we reached the top of the hill, there were so many monkeys ushering us. Quite friendly when we have something for them to eat.


After the food ran out, monkeys went away and we walked up to the Kuala Selangor History Museum to learn more about the history of Kuala Selangor and Bukit Malawati.

According to the museum, Bukit Malawati was developed during the era of Sultan Ibrahim as a place for recreation while watching cock-fighting. This was the highest hill with a large area as its peak. Bukit Malawati was at one time the administrative center for the Government of the Selangor State during the early period until 1857. This hill has became a place of historical importance because it was a battlefield involving the Dutch and consequently the British.

History has it that the name Kuala Selangor came into being in conjunction with the name of a town on the bank of Selangor river upstream. Along the 6km river bank, it was believed that seafarers built their settlement.

The name Selangor was originated from the name of the river, Sungai Selangor. However, how the word Selangor itself came into existence is subject to various speculations. Some believed that it was originated from the word Mentangau, a type of tree which grew in abundance along the river bank. In the book of local history written by a Portuguese, Dutch and British, Selangor when written in LAtin are spelled Salangor, Salengor, Solongor, Chalangor, Charanguror, etc. But the name Selangor is stated in the Map Office of the British Museum, London.

In the area, there is also a light house which was built in 1907 and has two levels. The lower part consists of twirled steel stairs from bottom to top. At the top level there is a big rounded light bulb. They lit the bulb from 7pm to 6am the next morning. The light from the light house act as a signal to ships passing through the Malacca Straits at that times.

On the hill also situated a pavilion called Baitul Hilal. This is where religious authorities gather to sight the new moon before Ramadhan and Syawal begins.

Below is the map of Bukit Malawati. Do visit all the attractions especially the museum to know more about the history of Kuala Selangor.

You can get here by bus or car. Take Selangor Bus 141 from Pudaraya Station, KL. For car the GPS coordinates is N03° 20.483? E101° 14.683. From KL take the Sungah Buloh trunk road and from there will be many signboards directing you to Kuala Selangor.

 

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Kuala Selangor Nature Park

Have you visited Kuala Selangor  Nature Park (KSNP)? If you haven’t already, this is a place that you nature lovers out there should visit. This park is also good for photographers who love nature photography.

Kuala Selangor Nature Park area map

I went here with my son and husband few months back and we love the fact that it is also an Important Bird Area (IBA). For those not in the know, IBAs are key sites for conservation – small enough to be conserved in their entirety and often already part of a protected-area network. IBAs are selected based on below:
– significant numbers of one or more globally threatened species,
– a set of sites that together hold a suite of restricted-range species or biome-restricted species,
– have exceptionally large numbers of migratory or congregatory species.

You see the orange colored trail on above picture? We walked the trail; right from the entrance we took the right turn and made one whole round. We skipped the last part after the 3rd  observation tower because it was already 6pm. We started exploring around 3pm. Boy it was tiring but we thought it was a very good exercise.

Left: My son and husband are real walkers, I could not keep up with them. Right: First Observatory Tower we came across and climbed.

KSNP is managed by the Malaysian Nature Society(MNS) for the Selangor State government. This park comprises 324 hectares with four rich habitats, namely: secondary forest, mangroves, brackish water lake and coastal mudflats. From the observatory tower, we got to view the brackish water lake.

We spotted  Milky Storks and Herons at the lake.

One of the concealed drawings along the steps up to the top of observatory tower. If it was graffiti, I LOVE it!

A Brahminy Kite soaring high. LOL, what were you thinking?  It’s a species of eagle, not a kite.

The lake is man-made and was created for birds to roost and feed. It also acts as a safe nesting area for approximately 156 bird species, 57 of which are migratory. There are 3 Watch Towers and Bird Hides situated around the lake where we can observe many bird species including the Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus, Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis and Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata to name a few.

Within the secondary forest, there is a variety of animals including Plantain Squirrels Callosciurus notatus, Oriental Whip Snake Ahaetulla prasina, Four-lined Tree Frog Polypedates leucomystax, Green Crested Lizard Bronchocela cristatella and many other reptiles and amphibians. Of the primate species to be found in the forest there is the highly mischievous and noisy Long-Tailed Macaques Macaca fascicularis and notably the distinctive Silvered Leaf Monkey Presbytis cristata, an endangered species and logo of KSNP.

 We love it that MNS provides information about flora and fauna along the trail.

Some of the insect species found in the forest.

I actually have hundreds of pictures taken along the 3 hours walk in the forest. Will post them up on Instagram and tagged it with #kualaselangor. Will also include my pictures from the Fireflies Nature Park along with pictures of Bukit Malawati. Will cover the story of the latter in different post.

So, if you need to go somewhere during weekend and do not want to go far, consider visiting Kuala Selangor Nature Park. Here is some information about the park:

Operation Hours: 8:30am to 6:00pm daily including Saturday and Sunday.
Admission Fees: RM4 per adult and RM1 for student and children below 16.
Malaysian Nature Society member pay RM2 per adult.
GPS coordinates:  N03° 20.337′ E101° 14.680
Enquiries: 03-3289 2294
E-mail: ksnaturepark@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

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Kg. Kuantan Fireflies

I have been wanting to see fireflies (or kelip-kelip in Malay which means twinkling lights) in action since I was a kid. I only realised the dream recently during a two days trip to Kuala Selangor with my family.

At first we decided to stay at Firefly Park Resort and take the fireflies tour offered by the resort but we were told that we could only check-in at 2pm. We were there around 12.30pm and decided not to wait. We drove around the town looking for another hotel and then I remembered that there’s De Palma Hotel in Kuala Selangor. We followed signboards (there’s one misleading sign few meters away from the hotel, though, that says turn left instead of going straight and turn right) and checked-in the hotel. There were rooms available and so we do not even have to wait until 2.00pm. I like the environment and the rooms are all in the form of chalets.

And orange in color. I love.

De Palma

Watercolor on Moleskine watercolor book

After having late lunch/early dinner at Pantai Jeram, we headed for a cruise at Kampung Kuantan Fireflies Park. This park is managed by Majlis Daerah Kuala Selangor with the sponsorship of Tenaga nasional. Tenaga nasional has thus far been a major monetary contributor to preserve the fireflies colony in Kampung Kuantan. But that goes beyond monetary value as the effort has also proved to provide a sustainable livelihood to boatmen whose income are derived from tourism activities.

yassin at the entrance

yassin at the entrance

The park opens from 7.30pm until 10.30pm and after we purchased our tickets of RM40 for one boat, we headed to the jetty. The queue was quite long as there were many groups of tourist.

boats

long queue

We finally boarded a wooden dinghy boat operated by a friendly boatman. The usage of the small boats will also avoid sound and smoke pollution that can disrupt the firefly’s habitat. The boatman explained to us that the most of the species found here is the Pteroptyx tener type. He told us the difference between kunang-kunang (Photuris) and kelip-kelip (Pteroptyx). According to him, there are hundreds of kelip-kelip in a group to compare with kunang-kunang that only have about 5 or little more in a group. And furthermore, kelip-kelip emits rythmic light unlike kunang-kunang which emits spontaneous light.

When he paddled, we saw kelip-kelip litting up Berembang trees along the river!! The view was magnificent and if I were a litle dragonfly lost in this area, I would definitely find my way home.

fireflies!!!

Very hard to take pictures in the dark. These are the best we could.


The boatman also told us that the best time to see fireflies is when there isn’t any moon. The darkness will let us really see them. He then took us near the trees and let us see kelip-kelip up-close and personal. We had some on our palms and then let them flew back to their group. Catching kelip-kelip  is prohibited and would cost you RM1000 fine.

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