Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Maxwell Hill that I saw...

It took years and hundreds, perhaps thousand of Indian laborers working with their bare hands and basic tools to complete the 13 kilometers road that leads to the top of this amazing mountain range. The top most is 1250 meter from the sea level. It is not an ordinary road likes that one see at Cameron Highland and Frazer Hill. The climb was almost vertical with 93 hairpin corners which made it impossible to drive up there using an ordinary car. We were driven up there using the Land-rover, that hardy British made four-wheel drive, an amazing workhorse that could take the hairpin corner with ease. The 13 kilometers drive up to the top took half an hour. The road was narrow and only with the expertise of the driver made it possible to drive both ways. All throughout the ways one see greens of the tropical jungle that had been there for the last 1.5 millions years. Other then the green that is often blanketed by thick mist there are nothing much to see except dilapidated houses that once was the residents and rest-house of the British officers and their families in the hay day of the colonial era.

From what I notice only little repairs are done here and there but mostly all the buildings that I saw are left to the elements and in the process of decay. It looks like the maintenance is a bare minimum. The road looks like it needs a major repair and broadens but it seems it has been like that for years. Had it not been for the wonderful driver that took us up and down the whole trip would be a total waste. Such a gem of a cool resort on the top of the world with cool temperature seems to go to waste. What a waste to our national heritage. Had the place been given due maintenance and the road widens, flower garden maintained it would be a heaven for tourist. The 1.5 million years old forest is already a ready attraction to nature lover all over the world. We should remember our Main Range; the Banjaran Titiwangsa had never been devastated by the Ice Age like that in the western hemisphere, so our forest is actually exactly as it was when the first plants start growing. That is our asset and it would attract visitor from near and afar. Yet it look like nothing serious is been done to preserved this national treasure of ours. Except for the service provide for one to go up and down, very little seem to have been done to preserve this gem of a Hill Resort. Sad indeed, when million are spend on new recreational projects but this one that is so close to the Taiping town has not been given due attention it deserved.

The drive up and down are dangerous and I would advice folks not to bring their children along on such a trip. At present there are nothing to see but the flora and fauna of the tropical jungle. How we wished that they had set a rest site where we could enjoy Teh Tarik in the cool comfort of the green surrounding. The whole areas are suitable for planting of flowers but the only flowers that one sees are the wild flowers or some old one that had managed to survived on its own. I hope that the authority concern would look seriously on the redevelopment of this resort rather then developing new one. Even the resort north of Taiping that was developed recently seem to be almost deserted on the day we visited it; the buildings and the landscaping look like it need a professional maintenance. So I felt that it is wise to spend money on the Maxwell Hill rather then on any new resorts.

The Maxwell Hill project was completed in 1884 and in 1910 it was gazette as a Forest Reserved. I hope that it would stay as a Forest Reserve for eternity. So to nature lover who are interested is just the flora and fauna where time stood-still for millions of years, this is still the place to visit and enjoy the greens as well as bird watching. For the youth a hike up is an adventure not to be missed. On our way up and down we saw a numbers of local hiking and they seem to be enjoying the adventure.

It is now renamed as Bukit Larut but whatever name they choose to replace the colonial name it should not be left to rot and eventually destroyed by the elements. It is indeed depressing to see such a wonderland of nature which was built with the sweats of thousand of laborers is left to rot. Anyway do have a nice day.


Rahman Hariri said...

Pak Idrus

Being a Taipingite myself (born and bred), I would prefer that it stays that way. For one we don't need and don't want another Genting or Cameron on our doorsteps and destroy the tranquility that is Maxwell.

Maxwell should strictly be for the nature lovers and left the way it is (except for may be basic maintenance of the road, the resthouses, the nature trails etc.

Tourists should go there for the greens and the jungle trails and the million year flora and fauna as you have mentioned. It is for the nature lovers.

If they want anything else, then they should go to Genting.

Pak Idrus said...

Rahman Hariri, thank you Sir for the visit and sharing your thoughts on the subject of this posting.

Yes I totally agree with you that this resort should be left as it is for the enjoyment and education of nature lover. But at least the place should be maintained in a professional way. There should be a clean rest-area and amenities that would give some comfort to the visitors/tourists. What I saw on my first visit there is depressing, there was no place for us to relax, the toilet both at the entrance and at one of the bungalow was filthy. I ask to use the office toilet of which they let me use and found that it too was not kept clean.

What I am suggesting is that they should spend money in managing it in a professional way. I do not think it is that difficult to plant flowers and maintain a rest area with clean toilet and maintain the road all throughout the year. What is needed is someone who have passion for the resort to be in charge.

Like you I would not want to see the place to be another Genting. It should stay as it is for nature lover but keeping it clean is of utmost important for everyone. And there is nothing difficult about it.

BTW when was the last time you visited the place.

Have a nice day.

cakapaje said...

Salam Pak Idrus,

Alamak! Malu mau cakap, but I have never been to the hill! Pass close by adalah, but I have never been there! This is a crying shame :(

louis said...

I agree with you completely, Idrus.

There's no reason why an admirable natural environmental resource such as this cannot be preserved while being made more accessible to people.

Visitors who for whatever reason cannot or do not want to be subjected to the rigors, inconveniences and risks of our more spartan brethren such as backpackers should not be deprived of opportunities to enjoy natural beauty.

There has been much progress in developing eco-tourism in such a way as to preserve natural resources. There are solutions that can be copied and improved upon.

Pak Idrus said...

cakapaje, thanks for the visit and sharing your generous thoughts on the subject of this posting.

Well, you should go and enjoy the trip up and down. Or go and stay at one of the Bungalow for a few days and do photography of the floral and fauna and the many insects.

My hope is that they take maintenance seriously and done professionally.

Have a nice day.

Pak Idrus said...

louis, thanks for the visit and sharing your sincere thoughts on the subject of this posting.

Yes what we are asking is not much, the place should be left as it is, not another Genting but the upkeep is of utmost important. We all know what the forest are and in such a cool climatic condition what is so difficult to grow flowers or vegetable to enhanced the surrounding. What is need is a professional gardener who have a passion for his/her works.

Maintenance is an on going job and should be done regularly. What is need is a good leadership of the place and the rest could be done with ease. And of course sufficient fund should be made available for the on going upkeep. Perak is a rich state and the place do not really need a big budget.

Anyway do have a nice day.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Salam, Pak Idrus! What an endearing post and charming photos! Looks as though you are in Scotland or somewhere suitably un-tropical! That cute bird on the red flowering stalk is a Streaked Spiderhunter!

Pak Idrus said...

~Covert_Operations'78~, Ee Lynn thanks for the visit and the good words on this posting.

Well the place need a good up keeping and it would not cost much. What is needed is quality leadership who have passion with this kind of works.

At one of the stop I saw this bird chirping on the branches and took some snap of it and I am happy that one of it turn out OK. How I wish that they have places that we could do photography in leisure. Thanks for telling us the name of that bird.

Have a nive day.

svllee said...

I totally agree with you. I think it does not cost millions to maintain and repair the old bungalows to bring them back to their original state. A hillrest must have facilities to allow visitors to take refuge, refreshments etc and working clean toilets. It's a catch22 thing. If there are good facilities then more people will come. The Perak state is rich and it wouldn't be draining of it's resources.

The other place that is miserably poorly maintained is The Colmar Village.

Pak Idrus said...

svllee, Steven thanks for the visit and the good words on the subject of this posting. Yes what is needed now is proper maintenance. And that does not cost much. But to me it must be done professionally. The right people must be hired to do the job.

I have visited many Theme Parks in the country and stayed at a few and found that most are in need of proper maintenance. Like you said the Colmar is one, the other that I saw recently is the Bukit Merah in Perak.

Well, It is my hope that those in the authority take some interest in the day to day running of the resort, rather just built and leave it as it is. It would eventually rot. Sad but it is true.

Have a nice day.