Maxwell Hill (Bukit Larut), Perak (16 April, 2005)
Maxwell Hill (GPS: 4.86051, 100.75997), also known as Bukit Larut, is located approximately 9km from Taiping. Maxwell Hill is mainland Malaysia's oldest and smallest hill resort in mainland Malaysia. (Penang Hill on Penang island is the oldest hill resort in Malaysia.)
Maxwell Hill stands 1,035m above sea level, and is accessible only by government-owned four-wheel-drive vehicles. A return journey up Maxwell Hill costs an economical RM4, meaning a mere RM2 takes you all the way up the lengthy and headache-inducing hill road. The road twists and turns through lush vegetation, and you can feel the air becoming gradually cooler as the jeep climbs higher. Along the way you should see clusters of hikers conquering Maxwell Hill, a feat that takes approximately two to three hours.
Road up Maxwell Hill (16 April, 2005)
Maxwell Hill History
Maxwell Hill was named after William Edward Maxwell, who was appointed Assistant Resident of Perak in 1875, not long after the murder of British Resident J.W.W.Birch at Pasir Salak. (But even before then, it was known locally as Bukit Larut.)
Maxwell was a gifted Malay scholar who, unlike his peers, was well versed in local customs. His appointment was in a way to soothe the displeasure among Malays and Chinamen in the Larut area brought on by the rather insensitive Birch administration.
The flora of Maxwell Hill (16 April, 2005)
At that time, the British was looking for a hill retreat away from the tropical heat for its senior office, a place similar to Simla in India. Several hillstations were proposed, including Gunung Angsi in Negri Sembilan, Bukit Kutu in Selangor and Gunung Kledang in Perak, none of which served the purpose adequately. After much search, Maxwell discovered that there's a hill right on his doorstep, right within Larut District that has so far missed his consideration. The hill stands 1250m above sea level. The journey from foot to peak is 13 kilometres, making it suitable for the purpose intended. Hence Maxwell Hill was born.
Steps were immediately taken to develop Maxwell Hill, or Bukit Larut as it was then known, and by the 1870's, a number of Mat Salleh visitors have called upon it, among them Isabella Bird and Ambrose Rathborne. In those days, the visitors have a choice of walking, taking a pony, or being carried on a "mountain chair". It wasn't until the mid 1940's that the road was widened and made suitable for vehicles.
That was during World War II, when Taiping was declared the administrative center for Perak and Indonesia by the occupying Japanese forces, the Japanese official made Maxwell Hill his residency. He forced the prisoners of war to build the road up the hill. Although the road was only opened in 1948, three years after the Japanese surrender, much of it was built through the sweat, blood and lives of ragged prisoners of war.
Tim and Chooi Yoke on Maxwell Hill (16 April, 2005)
The cottages on Maxwell Hill all carry their own personalities and names. Today most of these names have been localised, among them The Hut (now Cendana), The Cottage, Treacher (Tempinis), Watson's Rest House (Beringin), The Federal Bungalows (Sri Angkasa), Speedy's Chalet (Rumah Rehat Gunung Hijau), The Nest and The Box. Sad to say, many of these bungalow are in various stages of deterioration, without enough funds or manpower to keep them to their former glory. As you visit them today, you cannot help but imagine better days for these forlorn structures.
Apart from the Telecommunication tower on Gunung Hijau where the Cottage stands, there hasn't been much development on Maxwell hill, apart from the recent interest in tulip cultivation, which, however, is still very much on an experimental scale.
Look-out tower on Maxwell Hill (16 April, 2005)
Colonial-era bungalow on Maxwell Hill (16 April, 2005)
Maxwell Hill Tulip Cultivation
An experiment in tulip cultivation was began in 2004 and continued until around 2011, when it was discontinued. No known reason is presently forthcoming over its discontinuation. The following the shots I took of the tulips in 2005.
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Thank you for visiting my website, Penang Travel Tips. Since starting it in 2003, it has become my own online encyclopedia. My name is Timothy Tye, you can call me Tim. I am a full-time website author writing only my own website, to describe things and places I am curious about. To know more about me, go to www.timothytye.com I have been living at home writing my websites full time since 2007. I describe my alternative lifestyle in my Happy Jobless Guy website.
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