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for cicerone: fraser or cameron in malaysia?

for cicerone: fraser or cameron in malaysia?

Nov 30th, 2005, 06:54 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 3
for cicerone: fraser or cameron in malaysia?

I've enjoyed reading your very helpful tips to other posters re: Malaysia. You seem quite knowledgeable and hope you can help answer some questions about choosing the best hill station for our holiday.

My husband and I are making last minute plans for our first trip to Malaysia from Dec 10-17. We are Americans in our mid-30s and are looking forward to getting away from urban noise, hustle and bustle of Shanghai, most especially all the people! We would like to do some hiking during our holiday but can't decide between Fraser's Hill and Cameron Highlands.

Would appreciate if you can share some local knowledge on the folllowing.

1. What are the differences between Fraser's Hill and Cameron Highlands? We want to spend 2 nights. Each seems to have their own pluses/minuses. From what I've read, appears Cameron has more trails, but Fraser is less touristy. We want both!

2. Will it be difficult to obtain loding reservations for Dec 12-13 at either hill station?

3. Which place is easier to access via public transportation from Penang? We don't plan on renting a car.

I'm trying to finalize our itinerary Shanghai -KL(transit)-fly to Penang -Hill station - Melaka - KL - Shanghai.

If other Fodorites have opinions, feel free.

Many thanks!

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shanghaisista is offline  
Dec 1st, 2005, 02:00 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
From Penang, Cameron Highlands is much closer. I have driven from Penang to CH and it takes under 3 hours. To go to Fraser's Hill would take at least 6 hours, probably more, and if you have to go by public transport, I think you would have to take a bus to KL and then transfer, so it would take all day. You would be better off flying back to KL and taking a bus, as Fraser's Hill is only about an hour or so from KL. Of course the time spent flying and then having to go back into KL to get the bus will probably take you as long as the bus, not sure it is worth it.

I actually think Fraser's Hill is more commercial because it is so close to KL, people go up for the day to play golf and a lot of people go for the weekend. There are many more golf courses in Fraser's Hill I believe, which tells you something. CH also has more waterfalls and the whole tea plantations and strawberry thing going for it, which I personally enjoy.

Now as for Melaka, IMO that is kind of a long way to go from Penang and then back to KL, esp using pubic transport, as you will have to go into KL to get a bus or train. From KL by bus I think it would take 3 hours each way. I would suggest you spend more time in KL, Penang and the whatever hill station you choose, and leave Melaka for when you go to Singapore sometime, as it makes a very nice overnight trip from Singapore. It's a nice drive up the coast from Singapore, and could also be combined as part of a longer trip to the East coast of Malaysia which is really beautiful (but not in December, too rainy). Melaka is tiny and the colonial bits really can be seen in 2-3 hours or so. I don't think it merits a long bus trip from KL, and I don't think you can fly there. Penang (i.e. Georgetown) actually offers a lot more in terms of colonial architecture than Melaka.

I think before Christmas you would not have any trouble getting a hotel, you could even go without reservations if you wanted and I would think you would be fine. Ramadan is over and there are no significant Malay or Chinese holidays in December of which I am away.

I will be looking for restaurant reccos in Shanghai at some point, so keep a good list!!
Cicerone is offline  
Dec 1st, 2005, 02:02 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
I guess I should add that from Cameron Higglands or Penang to Melaka would be something like 9 hours by bus, and probably require at least one change in KL.
Cicerone is offline  
Dec 1st, 2005, 08:57 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 121
for me, fraser's hill is less touristy. it always felt very quiet. i love it.

having said that, i havent been to cameron since i was a kid. most friends from overseas seem to like cameron a lot.

i think both will offer jungle trails and bird watching.

hornbill is offline  
Dec 4th, 2005, 05:19 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 3
many thanks cicerone! hornbill too. shanghai recs available whenever you are.

discovered that the new road to camerons means only a 2 hour - not 5 - bus ride from penang. and the Lakehouse near Ringlet looks lovely so camerons it is. and we'll save melaka for next trip to the east coast (very disappointed that rains rule out our time there.)

my follow-up question is whether we should do a one-way car rental from penang to KL? or use buses all the way?

preference is to bus it since hubby is only manual transmisson driver and uninterested in driving. however, i see that getting around, esp to the trailheads, from the Lakehouse would require depending entirely on taxis. if easily accessible and doesn't require haggling each time, we don't mind.

so, for deciding if we should go public or private, do you know...

1. how hassle free and accessible are taxis in camerons?

2. and apart from the convenience of our own car, wondered if there are interesting places to stop between penang- camerons and camerons-kl?

many thanks!
shanghaisista is offline  
Dec 4th, 2005, 07:58 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
As I recall, taxis were easy to find at hotels, but could be hard to find at the trails, esp at the end of the day. You do have to bargain, but what you can do is find a driver and use him everyday for pick up at your hotel and to collect you at the end of a walk, agree on a flat rate for this round trip, this save haggling twice a day. Get his phone number in case you want to change a pick up time. You can also call him if you end up at a different exit point on a trail (assuming it is not too far by road for him to collect you). Hotels may also offer fixed rate transport to trails and/or certain sites like tea plantations.

I think the bus to Penang is fine as it is only a few hours. However, if you can talk your husband into renting a car to drive to KL, you may prefer this. You would not be tied to a bus schedule and driving would definitely be faster; as I don't know how many stops the bus will make. Also, on the few bus rides I have taken in Malaysia, I have found that they tend to run videos in Malay and at a fairly high volume, which gets tiresome after a bit (maybe they have head phones at this point. . .) OK to Penang for 2 hours or so, but 6 hours to KL?? Anyway, he might enjoy the manual transmission on the mountain roads; but I assume you know that Malaysia is English-rules driving on the "wrong" (i.e. left) side of the road.

I don't recall too many interesting places to stop, esp between Cameron and KL, but the few times I did it I was driving back home to Singapore, not KL, so was not too interested in stopping, just in getting down to S'pore as quickly as possible. I only drove once between Penang and Cameron and really don't remember stopping at all.

Cicerone is offline  
Dec 7th, 2005, 11:04 PM
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Posts: 3
thanks cicerone!

since i'm not a regular at this forum, if i can help you with shanghai restaurant recs, go to www.shanghaiexpat.com, create a login, and private message me at "shanghaisista."

shanghaisista is offline  
Dec 7th, 2005, 11:36 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6
Between Penang & Cameron, do stop by Ipoh and taste the local delicacy that you can find in abundance.
Cheap & nice. Try the sah-hor-fun with bean sprouts & chicken, it's a specialty in Ipoh - a wholesome soupy meal with noodle, greens (bean sprouts) & meat (chicken - the nicest u ever tasted!).
Or try to stop by at the Khong Heng Coffeeshop at Ipoh town, ask the locals, they know where the place is situated at. And remember to try the popiah (spring-rolls), beef-ball noodle, and also the infamous custard caramel. Heavenly!

Again, ask the locals in Ipoh. It's just 3/4 before reaching Cameron from Penang.

Happy trying!
stormtrooper is offline  
Dec 7th, 2005, 11:41 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6
btw, Cameron is a good choice.

as for places to visit along cameron-kl, maybe you should try tis - Gua Tempurung for caving experience (half-day excursion).
stormtrooper is offline  

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