Bukit Larut

This article is part of my 2018 Taiping and Kuala Sepetang trip series.

Bukit Larut, formerly known as Maxwell Hill, is a hill resort to the east of Taiping. Founded in 1844, it is the very first hill resort in Malaysia - even earlier than Cameron Highlands and Fraser's Hill. At present, Bukit Larut is still a popular hiking trail for locals.
Maxwell Hill was named after William George Maxwell (1871-1959), the British Resident of Perak. Not accustomed to the tropical heat, many British officers built their summer houses on the hill to take advantage of the cooler weather. Many of these bungalows remain to this day.
For safety reasons, private cars are not allowed to ascend Bukit Larut. Visitors can either hike up (3 to 5 hours uphill) or ride a Land Rover from the foothill. The Land Rover has fixed departure and return times; the first ascend is at 8:30am.
The round trip ticket is RM10.00 per person. Limited seats are available and prior booking is not allowed. Therefore, it is highly advisable to arrive earlier especially on weekends or public holidays. The ticket counter opens at 8:00am.
The 14-kilometer paved road is narrow and winding. The journey uphill takes almost 30 minutes. The Land Rover only stops at the 11-kilometer mark. There is a rest house and a small café here. Visitors can continue to explore the surrounding areas on foot.
It is quite windy at the summit of Bukit Larut. The daytime temperature is around 20oC. Remember to bring warm clothes if you are not used to cold weather. Bukit Larut enjoys the highest rainfall in Malaysia. Fortunately for us, the weather is fair during our visit.
At 1,250 meters above sea level, the rest area gives a bird's-eye view of Taiping to the west. Further away, one can spot the fishing village of Kuala Sepetang and the Strait of Malacca. The scenery here is simply breathtaking!
Along the paved road are the remnants of picturesque bungalows. Most of these buildings have been abandoned and are in various states of decay. Some of them have been restored by the municipal council and are available for rent. Unlike other hill resorts in Malaysia, Bukit Larut is almost untouched since the British colonial days.
If you enjoy hiking, continue walking uphill along the paved road. A casual walk towards the end takes around 45 minutes. The gradient is gentle so it is fine for most people. As Bukit Larut is located within a permanent forest reserve, there are many species of birds along the way.
Near the end of the paved road is a hidden jungle trek that leads to the Birch Monument. Historians have been debating whether the plaque was referring to James W. W. Birch (1826-1875), the first British Resident of Perak.
A telecommunications tower (1,376 meters a.s.l.) marks the end of the paved road. If you have enough time and energy, you may continue on a jungle trail towards Gunung Hijau (1,449 meters a.s.l.). Remember to allocate enough time for the downhill journey so that you can catch the Land Rover.
Address: Jalan Bukit Larut, 34000 Taiping, Perak
Contact: 05-807-7241
Business hours: 8:00am-5:00pm

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