About Bukit Larut (Maxwell Hill), Taiping, Perak
Bukit Larut, the smallest hill resort in Malaysia, towers over Taiping, famous for its lake gardens. The unique thing about this hillside resort is that nature has been left alone to flourish so bountifully.
Gazette as a permanent forest reserve in 1910, Bukit Larut’s untouched forests are filled with wildlife such as birds, squirrels and gibbons which roam freely around. This resort is especially popular with nature lovers, bird-watchers, day trippers and others looking for a tranquil getaway.
Not as developed as other hill resorts such as the Genting Highlands and Cameron Highlands, Bukit Larut retains a colonial atmosphere with its quaint bungalows and English gardens.
Origin of Bukit Larut
Bukit Larut, perched 1,250 meters above sea level, was formerly called Maxwell Hill. It derived its name from George Maxwell, a British resident of Perak who set up the hill station about a hundred years ago to serve as a cool retreat for colonial officials from the humidity of the lowlands.
With Taiping’s lush greenery, giant trees and placid lakes, it is easy to see why Maxwell chose this hill. Before you ascend the Bukit Larut, it is worthwhile to visit Taiping’s many attractions such as Taiping Zoo and Night Safari, the war cemetery, museum and its beautiful lake gardens.
Unlike more developed hills in Malaysia, Bukit Larut has remained pretty much as it was years ago, hence it’s low impact on tourism. Up on the peak, the cool weather is a welcome to many visitors mostly nature lovers and birdwatchers. The appeal of the resort lies in its untouched beauty, embellished with flowers, birds and tree ferns.
A few metres below Bukit Larut Rest House is a playground. Nearby it lies a bridge that leads to a watch tower, from where one can have a beautiful view of Taiping. On a clear day, one can even see the coastline all the way from Pangkor Island to Penang.
Getting to Bukit Larut
Transportation up to the summit of Bukit Larut is by government Land Rover, for which a small fee is charged. In the old days, pony back rides and sedan chairs were the only mode of transport to go up to Bukit Larut. Today, a 13 kilometers tarred road has been constructed all the way from the foot hill to the summit. The roads are still narrow and steep with very sharp turns.
Popular Trails at Bukit Larut
Among the many trails here, the Gunung Hijau trail is the best for bird-watchers. It spirals up towards Gunung Hijau at 1,449 meters above sea level. On a clear day, you can see all of Taiping town and even the Perak coastline from this vantage point.
For nature lovers, the Mountain Giant Fishtail Palm, wild orchids and many other exotic species can be found here. There are various bungalows and rest houses offering comfortable accommodation, most of them built about a century ago. The Bukit Larut Rest House serves local and western cuisine.
Ascending Bukit Larut
Situated about 290 kilometers from Kuala Lumpur and 9 kilometers from Taiping, Bukit Larut is accessible only via government vehicles. This service operates between 8.00am to 5.00pm daily. Bookings for accommodation can be made at the office at the foot of the hill.
It is advisable to bring along rain gear as it rains quite regularly in Taiping.
Temperature at Maxwell Hill is between 15 and 25 °C and can drop to 10 °C at night.
Bukit Larut is one of the wettest place in Malaysia with heavy rainfall all year round that can reach up to more than 4,000 mm (160 in) yearly.
Business Hours and Operating Period:
Almost all the hotels, restaurants and private businesses are operating during the usual 8am to 5pm business hours. Some hotels are operating 24/7 and is hardly closed.
Do take note that some restaurants and government offices such as tourism offices are closed on weekend or during public holidays.
You are recommended to book your tour packages, tour guide, accommodation, hotels and car rentals in advance of your trips.
Please visit the following photostream for more pictures of Bukit Larut
Popular Attractions in Perak That You Might Be Interested
- Kellie’s Castle – In 1915, William Kellie Smith, an English rubber planter commissioned the construction of this mansion which was never completed. It is believed that this mysterious mansion has hidden rooms and a secret tunnel.
- Pangkor Island – This popular island offers visitors the unique opportunity to live near fisher folk and observe their lifestyle, savor seafood delicacies, or simply enjoy the sun, sea and sand at numerous beaches along its beautiful coastlines. Located nearby is the exclusive Pangkor Laut Island, noted for its world-renowned resort.
- Perak Tong and Sam Poh Tong Cave Temple – The Perak Tong Temple within one of the caves houses grottoes with statues and paintings of Buddha set into nooks as well as a 12.8 meter-high sitting Buddha. A passage leads to the cave’s 385 steps and opens onto a ledge which gives a view of the countryside. Another famous cave temple is the Sam Poh Tong Temple in Gunung Rapat which features various statues of Buddha set among natural stalactites and stalagmites.
- Gua Tempurung – These ancient caves stretch over a kilometer from the south of Sungai Siput to Kuala Dipang and comprise of five domes with ceilings that resemble coconut shells with various formations of stalactites and stalagmites.
- Lost World of Tambun – This exciting water theme park features a wave pool, natural hot spring, children’s area as well as tube slides and speed coasters. Visitors can also take the opportunity to see the theme park’s tigers in action at the Tiger Valley.