FRASERS HILL: Located on the Titiwangsa Range at 1,524m above sea level, Frasers Hill is one of the most biologically diverse highland resort in the country.
It is known worldwide as an excellent bird watching spot with over 250 species of local and migratory birds that can be found here.
Added with its cool and placid ambiance and the picturesque colonial bungalows, for the city folks especially, it was once a much sought after weekend retreat after Genting Highlands.
However, over the years Frasers Hill has lost its appeal and statistics indicate the number of visitors has declined.
The statistics indicate that 60,232 visitors came to Frasers Hill last year compared to 5.6 million to Genting Highlands and 401,177 to Cameron Highlands.
One Sunday, the writer took a two hour tour to the hill resort to see for himself what went wrong.
The road leading to the hill resort itself indicates the place has seen better days.
Frasers Hill is located about 104km from Kuala Lumpur and can easily be accessed through reasonably good roads unlike in the early days
The 8km one-lane road known as the Gap, just before reaching the resort, where the uphill and downhill traffic take turns every hour to use the stretch is now dedicated for downhill traffic only while a new road going uphill was opened in March 2006. Thus the traffic flow is smooth. What is lacking then?
Businessman, Eric Thysheen from Holland said the winding road made his son nauseated even though he admitted that the traffic flow was smooth.
I like the atmosphere here. It is very quiet and cool. It would be better if they can improve the road condition, he said in an interview.
During the journey uphill, it was evident that the old spiralling road from Kuala Kubu Baharu was poorly maintained with fallen tree branches on the road posing danger to motorists.
There was also no signage warning motorists on the sharp road curves and the plastic sheets to cover slopes on certain stretches where soil erosion occurred sometime ago had not been removed.
This may cause motorists to presume that landslides could occur anytime and this will freak them out.
An Arab tourist from Medina, Taha Muhammad Abdul Karim, pointed out that the authority must place more signage, especially just after the Kuala Kubu Baharu dam to lure visitors.
At present, Frasers Hill Develop-ment Corporation (FHDC) and Raub Municipal Council administer the town.
An FHDC information and reservation staff member who provided his name as Durai said Frasers Hill had the capacity to accommodate 5,000 tourists at any one time.
It has only one three-star hotel and a few budget hotels, resorts and apartments. A handful of shops and other limited facilities are available.
It obviously lacked the facilities and attractions to lure more visitors. The lack of cleanliness and poor maintenance of the infrastructure portrays a poor image of the place and wont encourage anyone to return.
Local tourist, Allan K.K Toh from Selangor recalled that Frasers Hill used to have eight jungle trails in the early days. Due to poor upkeep only three of the trails remain open to the public.
He also pointed out the place lacks dining outlets, especially non-Muslim eateries with only one operating at present.
When people come here, they want to drink hot coffee and eat good food at a reasonable price.
This will influence their decision to return here in the future, said Toh, who has been visiting Frasers Hill since 1970s.
Furthermore these eateries are only open up to 10pm. Basically, there is no night activity up here.
Several visitors when met lamented that there is hardly any publicity on the attractions available up here.
Many of the visitors related that they were unaware that this place offered various kind of eco-tourism related activities such as hiking, boat riding at Allans Water, archery, horse riding and wood ball and golf apart from bird watching.
On promotion, Frasers Hill Craft and Souvenir Shops employee, Ezanee Mohd Tawil suggested that the authorities should double their effort to promote the place in every town across the country.
They should also consider building more recreational facility to lure more visitors.
We used to have zoo and go-kart circuit. This is especially to attract families with children, he said.
On the amenities, a public toilet open for 24 hours will be useful. At present, the public toilet at the town centre is only open during office hours.
On the whole, Frasers Hill must be rejuvenated and given a new lease of life.
Its natural beauty holds great potential in attracting visitors.
Therefore joint effort by FHDC, Raub Municipal Council, Public Works Department and the private sector is a must for the survival of Frasers Hill. Bernama