Hill stations are areas built in elevated ground by European colonizers as an escape from the tropical heat of the lowlands. In Malaysia, they are reserved for top colonial officials and their families; other residents must submit a formal letter to allow them access to these exclusive spots. In modern times, these hill stations have been converted into vacation locations and heritage sites, and are especially popular among visitors and locals alike during the summer months.
Here are 5 cool hill stations in Malaysia:
Cameron Highlands - located in Pahang, this hill station is the nationâ€™s highest at 1,500 meters above sea level. Cameron Highlands possess 8 towns, and is called home by a butterfly farm, strawberry farms, rose gardens and vegetable gardens. The Boh Tea Centre is also located here, a tea factory that offers tours to visitors, as well as Cactus Point, a market that sells every type of cactus imaginable.
Cameron Highlands is located 214 kilometers north of Kuala Lumpur, and can be reached in 2.5 hours by car.
Maxwell Hill – also known as Bukit Larut, is the oldest, wettest and most well-preserved hill station in the country. Built in 1884 some 10 kilometers from Taiping, Perak, this resort is 1,250 meters above sea level and still retains its colonial origins with its old bungalows and gardens. Maxwell Hill is ideal for birdwatchers and nature lovers, as the area provides a welcoming environment for the local wildlife. Maxwell Hill also has a war cemetery for British casualties during World War II.
To get to Maxwell Hill from Taiping Town, walk towards the Taiping Lake Garden and follow the turning in Alan Air Terjun towards the foot of the hill. Government Land Rovers await passengers there, the only vehicles allowed by the government to climb the slope.Â Visitors can also walk to the summit, an 8-hour journey.
Penang Hill â€“ also known as Bukit Bendera, this 830-meter high hill gives visitors the best view of Georgetown, the mainland and Penang Bridge. Penang Hill also has a canopy walk, which lets people trek up the treetops along a 150-meter long path.
Penang Hill Railways gave passengers a memorable ride on one of the worldâ€™s oldest funicular system, which snakes its way up the hill as it ascends. However, the system is being upgraded to provide a straightforward route to the summit. The adventurous can also opt to hike all the way up using the paved jeep trail. Visitors should let night overtake them up the hill, as the lights turn the Penang Island into a dazzling jewel.
Genting Highlands - home to the popular Genting Highlands Resort, also known as the “City of Entertainment” and the “Las Vegas of Malaysia”, for possessing the only legal land-based casino in the country. The resort has 6 hotels, 5 performance venues and a golf course.
Bukit Tinggi â€“ one of the larger cities in West Sumatra, whose name in Indonesian means â€œhigh hillâ€. Bukit Tinggi is 90 kilometers from Padang, with a height of 930 meters above sea level. Visitors can see Sianok Canyon and the Japanese Caves, a network of underground bunkers and tunnels built during World War II, which includes a two-story observation tower overlooking the canyon. There are also the ruins of Fort de Kock, a former Dutch outpost which are now connected to a zoo via the Limpapeh pedestrian overpass.
The primary way to get to Bukit Tinggi from the international airport is by car or chartered mini-van.