It’s nearing the end of the year and once again my in-laws got together for a family vacation. We try to arrange this at least once a year when everyone returns from afar. This year, we decided to spend three days and two nights in Fraser’s Hill, a hill station created by the British in the early 1900s. Hubby suggested Fraser’s Hill as it’s been almost a decade since my in-laws last went there. With a cooler climate at year end, Fraser’s Hill would be the perfect place to escape the heat of the lowlands and enjoy each other’s company.
Fortunate for us, dad-in-law’s former company (KL Kepong) owns two colonial style bungalows in Fraser’s Hill – Bunge and Arundel. Therefore, accommodation isn’t really a problem as long as booking is made in advance. Otherwise, it’d be almost impossible for us to get a place to stay that could accommodate so many people, as there are just a handful of such accommodations in Fraser’s Hill, most of them are refurbished English bungalows and cottages from the colonial era. Having said that, the bungalows are not available free of charge, but affordable for employees nonetheless.
It took us roughly one and a half hours to drive from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Kubu Baru, and another 40 minutes to drive up to Fraser’s Hill. The last 8km of journey from The Gap (where a colonial resthouse used to be) was through a single-track road which only allows for one-way traffic. Once upon a time, there was a certain timing allocated for the traffic upward and downward through that stretch, but that system has since been replaced a few of years back, rendering one’s journey uninterrupted. Nowadays, you can drive up through that stretch and down on the other newer road.
We departed from KL and Ipoh at around 9am in three separate cars. By the time we arrived at the bungalow, we were just in time for lunch. Dad-in-law booked Arundel, which is the smaller of the two bungalows. Nevertheless, with four bedrooms, two shared bathrooms, a dining area and a living room, it was big enough to accommodate all of us comfortably.
Lunch was prepared by the caretaker, with whom we’ve already pre-booked our meals (Chinese and western). Apparently, the culinary skill of the caretaker is supposed to be the highlight of this accommodation and something not to be missed. As such, there was really no need for us to cook ourselves or even go out hunting for food. Just like any other good things, they don’t come for free.
After lunch, we went out for a walk around the vicinity while enjoying the pleasant climate and natural beauty of Fraser’s Hill. However, before we could even walk 300 metres, it started drizzling and we had to turn back when the rain got heavier. I guess this weather is quite expected toward the end of the year. Soon, it was tea time and we had coffee, tea and scones. Truthfully, it isn’t a norm to have this meal in our usual daily routine, but since this was supposed to be a vacation, we just went along with it.
The rest of the evening was spent in the living room just playing games (Stacko and Monopoly) and watching movies until dinner time. It’s unimaginable how much food we were pampered with for the duration of this vacation. Truly a blessing and thank God for that! We had another round of Monopoly before retiring to bed.
The temperature at night dropped to 18°C from a high of 24°C at daytime. It was raining quite heavily almost throughout the night. With the comforters provided for in our cosy beds, our sleep couldn’t have been more blissful. Before long, I was woken up in the morning by the sound of the chirping birds. Outside the bungalow was still surrounded with a blanket of mist. There air was refreshing and free of pollution, unlike that in the city. Breakfast was served on time just as we’d ordered.
Afterward, we drove out to the town centre to explore as it was also the first time for the few among us. The visibility during our adventure in that small town, however, was poor due to the thick layers of mist and fog. To make matters worse, it was still very wet everywhere. If you think the skies of London are gloomy, it was even gloomier here. Besides, there aren’t that many attractions in Fraser’s Hill as compared to Genting or Cameron Highlands. It’s also relatively a smaller hill station than the latter two.
We took some pictures and then headed for The Paddock where my little niece, Emily, had a fun time with horse-riding and horse-feeding (I never knew horses eat carrots). You can also indulge in a game of archery at The Paddock if you’re really into it.
Once again, the rain got heavier and we had no choice but to return to the bungalow. It was almost noon and pretty soon, lunch was served. This meal was by far the best among all that we’d tasted. As soon as we were done with lunch, the mist had cleared and the sun was shining brighter than ever. Some of us decided to walk out to explore around our bungalow, while the rest chose to watch TV as well as play Monopoly and Uno.
It has been a long time since I last played Monopoly and Uno, but playing them again with so many people just seemed so fun and that took centre stage throughout the evening from tea till dinner time. After dinner, it was going to be our last night together and my sister-in-law, Alyssa organised a game of exchanging gifts with one another. Prior to this trip, each of us were already reminded to purchase our gifts for this purpose.
Then, we played a new card game called Apples to Apples. This was arguably the most memorable night, seeing that everyone was jovial with so much laughter filling the atmosphere. We hit the sack after a great night of fun. All in all, it was a great family vacation, not merely because of the place but also the fellowship!
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