Fraser’s Hill is widely renowned as a paradise for over 250 species of local and migratory birds, and the little hill resort is a popular destination for bird-watching enthusiasts, who lurk about the rainforests in the early hours of the morning with their telescopic camera lenses and notebooks. There is even an annual International Bird Race every June which sees birders from all over the world converging on Bukit Fraser in a team competition to sight, identify and record the highest number of bird species stated in the official checklist!
The pristine forests of Fraser’s Hill are a recognised wildlife sanctuary, with a very high level of biodiversity which can be explored via clearly marked hiking trails in the area.
We really wanted to explore some of the jungle (and perhaps catch a glimpse of some birds) and having a toddler with us wasn’t going to stop us. We just popped J into a baby carrier and off we went!
We started out early in the morning with a short and easy trail – the Abu Suradi Trail. This is a nicely marked trail which is fairly easy and only about 500 metres long through the rainforest. Although the trail is very broad, it can be muddy and slippery (we are in a rainforest after all) so I would only attempt this hike at least with a good pair of trainers!
I recommend starting the trail from its exit at the Fraser’s Hill town centre, where the end of the trail is located at Maybank Lodge after the Allan’s Water reservoir. This will give you the opportunity to have a quick look around the town centre and get some maps from the tourist information centre near the clock tower. From here, you can also head off towards the Mager Trail, another easy 350 metre hike (with some steep bits and rather less impressive views of scrub forest and shrubbery).
The Abu Suradi Trail is fairly easy and flat most of the way, and towards the end, there is a steep but short slope with a good rope guide to help leading towards some steps to the start of the trail at Genting Road, where you can stop for a cheap snack at one of the hawker stalls.
The trail itself is very lovely, meandering through the rainforest where there is plenty of opportunity to observe some very beautiful flowering plants. We were fortunate enough to see a little bee eater as it flitted around the largest flowers!
For lunch, we packed some sandwiches and drinks in a bag, then drove to the entrance of Jeriau Waterfall, which was not far from the Smokehouse Hotel where we were staying. The trail to the waterfall is paved and there are stone steps leading to some derelict gazebos by the water’s edge. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to stay long, as the fruit juices we brought with us also seemed to attract some unwelcome visitors – and my poor husband got stung by a bee!
The waterfall itself was singularly unimpressive, with years of soil erosion turning what was once a playful river with rocky cascades into a small gush into shallow, muddy pool, dammed with concrete structures. This pitiful sight does not seem to stop the local boys from enjoying the cold waters of the river, and there were a rowdy bunch of them swimming happily in the water and throwing empty cans of beer into the forest.
After the incident with the bee, we quickly scooted back to the sanctuary of our hotel, just in time for J’s nap!