Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bukit Tinggi Trip

Last Friday we took half a day off to visit Bukit Tinggi (literally means Tall Hill in Malay), some sort of highland resort but unlike Genting Highlands or Cameron Highlands, is nowhere as high or as cold.

Years ago, the resort was opened with much fanfare, introducing it's French and Japanese themed tourist spots as the main attractions. So, we thought it's time we pay a visit to check out what the hype is all about.

Although technically located in Pahang, the place is rather near to KL, about 30-40 km from where I live via the MRR2 expressway. However, after going past the unguarded guardhouse, we have to drive for another 20 minutes through a narrow and winding road before reaching the drive-thru ticket booths.

What could have inspired such an explicit warning?

There are four main areas that we wanted to visit: the Colmar Tropicale, Botanical Garden, Japanese Village and a rabbit farm. The RM 10 ticket purchased at the ticket booth includes the entrance for everything except the rabbit farm, which we found out was actually located before the ticket booth.

Colmar Tropicale
The Colmar Tropicale was inspired by the 16th Century Colmar Village in Alsace, France, except it is located in the middle of a tropical forest (hence "tropicale"). There are French themed architectures, carnival stalls and restaurants inside the village and, believe it or not, an arcade center.

The entrance.

French building lookalikes does not a French village make.

Cuckoo Clock Tower.

To mildly put it, it was an underwhelming experience. Giving your restaurants Frenchy names and installing French-like buildings, or even asking your hotel reception staffs to wear French themed uniforms, does not make it a French village. The least you could do is get some people to walk around or man the stalls in French period costumes and maybe, just maybe, speak with an European accent. And where are the mimes?!

Botanical Garden
First of all, we're pretty displeased at the fact that we need to take a 10 minutes hike by foot up a ridiculously steep hill because for some reason, they won't let us drive into the area even though there are perfectly legitimate and empty parking bays up there. The botanical garden is located halfway up the slope, before the Japanese village. It might be associated with the village as there is a Japanese restaurant in the garden.

The entrance.

The botanical garden and it's botanical...things.

At first, the garden looks promising, with a nice pond and a small stream running across the entrance path. Then, as we venture deeper, it begins to appear like a garden in the middle of a jungle, except the plants are labeled with their scientific names. Honestly, we were fully expecting to encounter a wild tiger in there, probably with its scientific name on a tag around its' neck.

Japanese Village
Like it's namesake, a Zen garden-like path leads into the Japanese village features a Japanese tea house and small shack. There are also a small stream and a customary Koi pond. At the entrance was a large signboard outside that awkwardly announces that this is "the world's first Japanese tea house in a tropical forest"!

The tea house

In case you are curious, I think this stream is artificial.

Oddly, we weren't allowed to enter the tea house and they were peddling boxes of green tea satchets which I could've bought from the supermarket for a cheaper price. Other than that, the Japanese Village is by far the best place of the three even though it is relatively the smallest. I would like to say that the Japanese Village alone is worth the ticket price, but the Colmar Tropicale and Botanical Garden left a bad taste in my mouth.

Rabbit farm
The rabbit farm was an afterthought because we only remembered to visit it while on our way back.

Itchy rabbits.

Kung Fu Storks

There were only three other people in the farm, and one of them was a farm keeper. The ticket counter was unoccupied, so we simply waltzed in and nobody seemed to mind. Other than the rabbits, there were also storks, donkeys and know, like a zoo. It was fortunate we did not pay for the entry, the place was practically deserted and was looked literally like a poorly maintained farm than a tourist attraction.

The Verdict
First of all, we visited the place on a Friday morning, so that might explain the lack of other visitors / tourists. But I can't help but feel that what made Bukit Tinggi famous in the first place is no longer there, as if the place has suffered from a budget slash yet there is a new hotel under construction there. If you're planning a visit, you might have better luck on weekends where there might be a crowd to lift the ghost town vibe, perhaps making it easier to ignore the shortcomings that plagues the resort.


  1. Lovely pictures...

    And LOL at the kung-fu storks...:D

  2. I am sorry to hear that it seems you were a little displeased with your trip. But I loved all of the pics! Thanks for your comment on my post about "My Favorite Things".

  3. What a neat visit to Bukit Tinggi! I adore the photos of the French looking village, tea house and the kung-fu storks!

  4. Love the pictures- they look so peaceful. However, I get the feeling that you didn't enjoy the trip... sorry about that. Anywho, thanks for posting about it.

    The Goddess Dionna

  5. Thanks everyone for the comments. I guess it looks more interesting in the pictures after all.

  6. Excellent pictures Pheebs. I've been to Genting and I simply loved it. I call it my visit to 'heaven'.I've been trying to read your blog snce whole week but your homepage failed to load in my browsers. I've eventually managed getting here through BC.

    It feels good to stay in touch.


  7. Genting does look the role doesn't it?

    Thanks for not giving up! :D . I have encountered the same problem with my blog occasionally, but refreshing the browser several times seem to work for me.

    Thanks for the heads up, I'm no techie but I'll try to look into it.

  8. Thanks for the driving tip! We're driving up to KL from SG, then to Colmar the next day, 2 weeks later. Feeling a bit apprehensive and not sure what to expect from the path leading up there. btw is the weather cool?

  9. Hi Reddie, the road leading up the place is a regular 2 lane road, although a windy one at that but relatively smooth. The road up the botanical garden and Japanese village is the steepest, where we had to go on low gear on an automatic sedan.

    As for the weather, it is nothing like Genting or Cameron because it is not that high up. In fact, I think it is just like KL.

  10. Have always wanted to visit. Will take yr advice.
    Thks Pheebs. :-)

  11. No problem. Hope you will enjoy the place more than I did.