Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Chill out at Fraser's Hill - 24-27 Jan 2013

Fraser's Hill is only 2 1/2 hours from Kuala Lumpur, a perfect escape from the sweltering heat of the city. Since last year, they've changed the traffic control system so now everyone can drive up to Fraser's at anytime you wish - no more time restriction for ascending and descending the hill from The Gap - the last 10km before the peak.

We felt like we'd arrived in an English countryside with beautiful and quaint colonial bungalows left behind by the British. We stayed at Rumah Methodist, a 10-room bungalow run by the few remaining Hainanese caretakers in Fraser's Hill. The rooms are very basic but the place is located uphill so plus points are it's very scenic and quiet.

The air was so fresh, with temperature hovering around 14C to 20C mid-day during our stay. At night, it's very chilly and thick fog greeted us in the early morning. The serene environment, pristine forest and cool fresh air make you want to come back again. 

Surrounded by nature, the kids were free to explore the compound.....

Over the years, there have been some changes here and there but overall, we didn't see any new or developing structures in Fraser's Hill. Let's just hope that this colonial hill resort will not follow the fate of the other highlands in Malaysia. 

A favourite place we would drop by - Ye Olde Smokehouse - famous for scones & tea and also something far more awesome.......

This was the main attraction for us in Fraser's - bird-watching!

 Spectacled Laughingthrush

Silver-eared Mesia

A common sight - the streaked spiderhunter - part of the sunbird family. As the name suggests, they will eat spiders and able to extract spiders from the centre of their webs! And one thing we also noticed, they love to consume nectar from flowers and they make a lot of noise, often described as an 'incessant squeaky whistle'.

Could not identify tis birds (pic top & below) - probably a "little spiderhunter"?

The common Long-tailed Sibia (pic top & below)

Black-throated Sunbird

Indeed a nature paradise, wish we have more time to explore and just to absorb everything there. It rained for 2 consecutive nights, enough to bring the leeches out in the garden and compound. Jin got his first bite from a leech - it was sooooo bloody! One landed on my sweater then hopped to my hand before I shoved it to the floor - yikes. An interesting find - a communal spider web where a group of spiders were building webs in the same area. We also saw a long snake - which looked like a Malayan rat snake as we're descending from the hill.

Hitting the gong for meal time! We felt so pampered here. During our stay, the caretakers took care of all our needs. They were the second-generation Hainanese caretakers - the Leo  (Chinese pronounced as "Liang") sisters. Both were born and bred in Fraser's. They picked up cooking from their parents, a first-generation Hainanese who came from China. Most of their siblings have moved out to the city.

The Leo sisters maintain the bungalow, cook and serve the guests and do the housekeeping as well. These folks can cook up a storm from western to oriental food and mouth-watering dessert. Roasted chicken, pork chop, apple crumble, beautiful scones, banana pancake, mango pudding.... these were some of the food prepared by the Hainanese caretakers who once conquered the kitchens in the colonial hill resort.

The younger generation is no longer interested in this kind of job. There were few remaining descendants of these immigrants. When they're gone, lost are the family secret recipes and the caretaker tradition who lived through the colonial period.

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