If you truly love nature you will find beauty everywhere
Bukit Larut, formerly known as Maxwell Hill (but still often referred to by its latter name), is a hill resort located 10 km from Taiping, Perak, Malaysia. Founded in 1884, it is the oldest hill resort in Malaysia.
It is approximately 1250 m above sea level. Bukit Larut receives the highest rainfall in Malaysia because it is located in the wettest part of the country.
Maxwell Hill was named after William George Maxwell, who was the British Assistant Resident in Perak. He found this location, with its cool climate and splendid views, at over 1000m above sea level in the hills overlooking the town of Taiping. In 1910, the hill resort was gazetted as a permanent forest reserve.
Not as developed as other hill resorts, Bukit Larut retains a colonial atmosphere with its quaint bungalows and English gardens.
With daily temperatures of 10 to 25 degrees Celsius, Bukit Larut is indeed an ideal destination for those wanting to escape from the heat and humidity of Malaysia’s lowlands. Although it is the smallest hill compared to other hill resorts in the country, it preserves much more of the atmosphere of a colonial hill station and offers a natural peaceful and quiet sanctuary for weary souls. There are no swanky or five-star hotels available; accommodation is modest but nonetheless comfortable and cozy with a number of welcoming bungalows and rest houses, some of which were built almost a century ago.
Access is available only by (government owned) resort authority's transport (private vehicles are not allowed without a permit) although people are free to walk up the hill as many do for exercise (reaching the peak can take up to 3–5 hours). The journey, 13 kilometres from the base to the top of Bukit Larut using Land Rovers take around 30 minutes. Maxwell Hill still retains its colonial origins with its old bungalows and gardens. This hill is ideal for birdwatchers and nature lovers, as the area provides a welcoming environment for the local wildlife.
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 places in Malaysia with heavy rainfall all year round that can reach up to more than 4,000 mm (160 in) yearly.
Unlike more developed hill resorts in Malaysia, Bukit Larut has remained pretty much as it was years ago, hence its low impact on tourism. Up on the peak, the cool weather is a welcome to many visitors who are mostly nature lovers and birdwatchers. The appeal of the resort lies in its untouched beauty, embellished with flowers, birds and tree ferns. It is situated in a national forest where the abundant wildlife is protected.
Transport from the base station up to the top is by 4 wheel drive vehicle up a very steep and narrow road. The ride up and down is exciting quite like a roller coaster trip. Transportation at Bukit Larut has its own scheduled up-hill and down-hill, for which a small fee is charged.
There are many jungle trails and one of the popular ones is the Gunung Hijau trail. This trail leads to the peak of Gunung Hijau at 1,449 m above sea level. Along the way, one will be able to see many species of birds, the vantage view of Taiping town, the exotic wild orchids, ferns and other flora and fauna.
The hill resort features lush evergreens and a wide canvas of vibrantly colored flowers such as daisies, tulips, roses, pansies, marigold, dahlias and petunias. Golden sunflowers, reputedly of the largest variety in the country, can also be found in abundance. There is also a waterfall where visitors can enjoy a cool splash or a picnic.
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.