Maxwell Hill (Bukit Larut)

Bukit Larut (formerly known as Maxwell Hill) is considered Malaysia's oldest hill station and founded in 1884 by William Edward Maxwell, the British Assistant Resident of Perak. Perched at 1,250m above sea level, it is the wettest place in Malaysia, with an annual rainfall of over 500cm. Temperatures here hover around 15 degrees centigrade in early mornings and late afternoons and dipping to 10 degrees centigrade at night.

Bukit Larut is not nearly as developed as the more celebrated hill resorts of Cameron or Genting Highlands. However, its quaint atmosphere of a colonial hill station, with modest, welcoming bungalows, carefully cultivated gardens, and a pervasive atmosphere of cool respite. Reaching the top of the hill requires a four-wheel drive vehicle. Since private vehicles are not allowed, the resort authority caters to this service. A shuttle is available at the foot of the hill. It leaves every hour from 7am to 6pm. A 30-minute drive up the steep hairpin bends will bring you to the top. The narrow winding road was reportedly built shortly after World War II and was completed in 1948.

The Tea Garden House, located mid-way up the hill, was once the office of a tea plantation. However, when their tea plants did not grow very well here, the British moved their agricultural endeavour to Cameron Highlands, where the Boh Tea Plantation is operating now. All types of Malaysian flowers including the rare giant fishtail palm thrive here. The golden sunflowers grown here are the largest in the country.

On a clear day, the peninsular coastline and the Straits of Malacca are visible, sometimes stretching as far as Penang to the north and Pangkor Island to the south. The scenery is captivating during the day and magical and bewitching at night.