If the weather starts to get too hot and humid where you are, how about escaping to the cool hills of Bukit Larut in Taiping, Perak?
Formerly known as Maxwell Hill, the hill station is just 10km from the town of Taiping. There are no traffic jams in the area because private vehicles aren’t allowed in. You need to take the Government-owned four-wheel drive up the hill station, which is 1,250m above sea level. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the top.
The air is cool and refreshing, and it can get chilly, especially at night. The temperature is between 15°C and 25°C during the daytime, and around 10°C at night. It can also be very wet because it is located in an area that has the highest rainfall in Malaysia.
The place got its former name from the British assistant resident of Perak, William Edward Maxwell, who founded it in 1884 during British colonial Malaya. The name was subsequently changed to Bukit Larut.
Why you should go
There are many hill resorts in Malaysia but Bukit Larut, although not really new, is less crowded and not as commercialised. But, make sure you get there early because the tickets are limited to just 200 a day and run out very fast. The counter opens at 8.30am but the queue may start as early as 7am.
There are specific times for the journeys up and down Bukit Larut. It might be a rather bumpy ride, too – like a roller coaster – so if you are prone to motion sickness, be sure to take your medication before the ride.
Some folks might prefer to walk up the hill (about 13km). There is the tarmac road which the jeeps take, and also a jungle trail that goes all the way up. The walk might take three to five hours, though, depending on how fast you go and how fit you are.
It is a rather challenging hike and you will need proper hiking shoes and if you wish, gloves to protect your hands when climbing. In a way, you could say that Bukit Larut is still “unspoilt” because it is less well-known compared to other hill resorts in Malaysia.
What to do
Just chill. Enjoy the fresh air, cool weather and scenery. There are bungalows as well as chalets where you can stay. You need to make bookings for accommodation beforehand.
It is a place where you can get close to nature, and check out the flora and fauna in the area. You can go on a hike or do some birdwatching, as there are a few jungle trails to follow.
If you don’t wish to hike in the jungle, you can still go for a relaxing stroll to explore the surroundings. There is a playground and a bridge that leads to a watch tower where you can get a good view of Taiping and the surroundings. The place is sometimes filled with flowers depending on the season.
You can also sit in the garden (of the bungalow or chalet where you’re staying), sip some tea and have a snack. Some resorts even serve scones! This is a good place to take photos, too. It can be rather misty in the mornings but that just makes it seem like you are on holiday somewhere out of Malaysia.
Who will like it
Nature and outdoor lovers and anyone else who just wants some quiet and respite from city life, traffic, noise, pollution, and crowds, would probably enjoy a trip to Bukit Larut. If you enjoy nature and bird photography, you might also want to visit this place.
If you’re driving, take the North-South Highway and get off at the Taiping exit. There are signboards taking you to town after the toll. Head towards the Taiping Lake Gardens where you will find signs leading you to Bukit Larut.
You can also take a taxi or any e-hailing service from Taiping to the foothills of Bukit Larut. From there, you will need to buy a ticket for a ride on the 4WD.