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. Employing Chinese miners to do the hard work for him and earning his keep by operating mule trains down the mountain, Fraser set up opium and gambling dens to increase his profits, which may have had something to do with his subsequent mysterious disappearance. The tin ran out in 1913, but the lush valley within was rediscovered as a colonial hill resort that, thanks to its 1524m elevation, enjoys considerably cooler temperatures than Kuala Lumpur. 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.
Not much has changed since, and Fraser's Hill retains a wonderfully weird mixed-up character, where locals eat curries off banana leaves in a English cottage next to a golf course while the call to prayer sounds from the mosque.
Orienting yourself in Fraser's Hill is easy enough: the entrance via the Gap is at the southwest corner of the valley and the "center" as such is at the intersection of Jalan Genting and Jalan Lady Guillemard, with the much-photographed clock tower marking the spot. Most restaurants and shops are clustered here, while the golf course takes up the bottom of the valley and bungalows and swanky residences dot the hills all around.
Fraser's Hill is located 105 km north of Kuala Lumpur, around 2 hours by car. For a long time, access to Fraser's Hill was possible only via a 8-km one-lane road known as the The Gap, used by uphill and downhill traffic in turns. However, a new road was completed in 2001, and while promptly closed for repairs it is, as of March 2006, open once again. Now all downward traffic uses the new road, while the old Gap road is designated for upward traffic, with no time restrictions round the clock.
Apart from car, the easiest way is by using taxi from Kuala Lumpur. Normal KL taxis can't do the trip, but you can arrange one from the Puduraya bus station, or call up Selangor Radio Taxi (tel. 03-2936213) or Comfort Taxi (tel. 03-7330495). You can expect to be quoted around RM200 for a one-way transfer, but this can be negotiated down, even more so for a return trip.
There is no more bus service to Fraser's Hill whether from Kuala Kubu Bahru or Raub. You will have to catch a taxi from these two places or directly from Kuala Lumpur to get to Fraser's Hill. From Kuala Kubu Bahru, taxis cost about RM60. See the respective pages on how to get there or for connections from there.
For getting around Fraser's Hill, your own car is the best option. However there is no petrol station up in Fraser's Hill so remember to fill your tank before going uphill. Should you get caught without sufficient petrol in Fraser's Hill, ask the locals and they may sell some petrol to you in 1 litre bottles.
Most distances are, however, walkable if you're not in hurry and don't mind going up/downhill or taking the trails through the jungle.
Fraser's Hill is famed worldwide as a birdwatching destination, with over 250 species recorded. Winners during the annual Bird Race have spotted as many as 70 species within 24 hours!
The top sporty activities on Fraser's Hill are hiking and golf.
There are eight signposted trails around Fraser's Hill, although some have been closed at least temporarily after a well-publicized incident in 2005 when three young boys got lost in the jungle. Watch out for leeches.
While you can get your fill of Fraser's Hill T-shirts and fridge magnets from the souvenir shops around the clock tower, the most useful local fashion accessory in these parts is a pair of leech socks. Baggy stockings of unbleached cotton worn over your pants, these not only prevent unwanted blood transfusions, but also double as handy Christmas decorations if you paint on a reindeer or two. RM16 from the Nature Education Centre.
Nightlife in Fraser's Hill is basically nonexistent, but the Smokehouse can serve you a pint of Guinness.
Most visitors come during the weekend, so it's not unusual for rates to be discounted as much as 50% on weekdays.
The best way to splurge on Fraser's Hill is to rent a private bungalow. Rates vary widely, from under RM300/day for a small, crumbling bungalow to RM1500/day for a top-of-the-line outfit complete with housekeeper. All bungalow have multiple bedrooms and can easily fit 4 or more people. Book directly with the Fraser's Hill Development Corporation, tel. +60-9-3622044.
Start your visit by dropping into the Fraser's Hill Tourist Information Centre on Jalan Genting, to your left past the top gate of the Gap. They hand out a useful (albeit scaleless) map and can advise on trails and such.
The trails are fairly well marked but not trivial, so register your intentions with the Tourist Information Centre if you plan on tackling the longer ones. Watch out for muddy trails after rain and take precautions against leeches.
Be careful not to leave anything of value in your car or trunk of value when you are visiting places like the waterfall, as there have been cases of cars being burgled.