Nature Escapes

Go Experience Maxwell Hill-Bukit Larut for a Cool Highland Rainforest Retreat


Colonial era charm, fog-covered forests, and early morning nature sounds, Maxwell Hill-Bukit Larut exudes blissful solitude as Malaysia's oldest and least developed hill station sanctuary.

Built in 1884, this highland retreat remains a montane marvel stuck in a time long passed. The Perak Forestry Department maintains this forest reserve with lush plant and animal life in one of the wettest places in Peninsular Malaysia.

Gunung Hijau ascends to near 1450 meters and the surrounding cloud forests thrive with over 200 mountain rainforest birds and 25 species of mammals.

If you want to really escape the noise and stress of the city, go to Maxwell Hill. Once on top, nature takes over and fills your sights and senses.

Even the 20-minute jeep ride up through hairpin turns and steep terrain, not experienced elsewhere, adds some excitement to the trip.

Forget the tropic heat and relish the tropic thunder. And when the weather settles, sample the natural delights that await each highland adventurer?

  • Wake up to the grunts of agile gibbons answering early morning calls across valley hills.
  • Grab the binoculars and watch montane birds flitter and flash among flowers and fruiting trees.
  • Take a night walk along the road to find plenty of wildlife from rock-hugging geckos to flying lemurs.
  • Hike the forest trails for green crested lizards or Orange-bellied Leafbird sightings, or find pitcher plants atop exposed hills.

Maxwell Hill-Bukit Larut Impressed Tortoise

"Bukit Larut Is One Of West Malaysia's Best, Undisturbed Natural Sanctuaries"

Escape To The Great Outdoors of West Malaysia

Maxwell Hill-Bukit Larut: Walk On The Wild Side

Lizard Rainforest Snake Dusky Langur Rainforest Frog Gecko Rainforest Frog Rainforest Frog Birdwatching Gecko

Nature extrudes from every boulder or buttressed tree. Go out and observe. Especially after a tropical storm when creatures shake off the rain and seek food. Look under rock crevices, scan the tree canopy, tilt your head up and down slope and check out ferns, flowers and knotholes.

Seek the sunshine during the day and find wild things doing the same.

Flying lizards scamper up large tree trunks, tortoises lumber along forest paths and dusky leaf monkeys fling from limb to limb. Early morning hours bring out montane rainforest birds, full of song and flying antics. Spiderhunters, sunbirds and bulbuls parade their colorful plumes only to be outdone by the showy, yellow-crested Sultan tit.

Walk the road cut to see geckos cling upside down on rocks and leaf-looking frogs hiding out on the forest floor.

Maxwell Hill-Bukit Larut: A Curious Common Palm Civet

Darkness brings out a different wildlife menagerie. With a good flashlight and sharp eyes, the same path offers new findings. Civets sneak around the mid-canopy; snakes linger on lateral branches, while frogs and spiders hang out like spectators on leaf outposts.

For a more spectacular display, find a flying lemur. These membraned mammals scurry up thick trunks and glide in silent flight to escape predators.

The message should be clear. Go out and look around. Day or Night.

[Note: All the animals and plants shown here were seen on a 3-day trip to Bukit Larut. Granted there were four of us going out every morning and night.]

Maxwell Hill-Bukit Larut: Small Wildlife Wonders

Tiger Leech Moon Moth Caterpillar

The mountain is full of fascinating plant and animal life. Every day at Maxwell Hill-Bukit Larut brings a new surprise.

On a walk around the resthouse, an amazing Malaysian moon moth decorated the wall like a Christmas ornament. Its yellow and purplish colors a good disguise in the forest. But what struck me the most was its twin tails, a seemingly useless body part except for showing off to females.

Evolution sparks some interesting oddities. Another awesome creature is the tiger leech. Despite deserving its bad reputation as a blood sucker, these body changing, slinky-stretching worms display amazing agility and cool colors.

New time bring the binoculars for birds and a magnifying glass to seek out the small stuff.

Tree Fernl Pitcher Plant Bukit Larut Forest

Maxwell Hill-Bukit Larut: General Information

Contact for Maxwell Hill-Bukit Larut Reservations

  • Bukit Larut Recreational Area Office: Tel: 605 8077 241/243.
  • Book in advance for accommodation at Cendana Bungalow, Beringin Bungalow, Rumah Gunung Hijau and Bukit Larut Rest House. Room rates are variable but reasonable and depend on type of bungalow. Choose between providing all your own food or catering services.
  • Cooking gas rates are RM 15 per day and a set of cookware and utensils is provided. Hot showers at a trickle. Nothing is fancy, everything is basic if not rustic. Please enquire about any special needs.
  • All visitors are transported to their accomodations. No personal vehicles are allowed to drive up Maxwell Hill. All vehicles are parked at the Forestry Department office.
  • Perak Tourist Association: Tel. 605-536-3261
  • Taiping Visitors' Information Centre: Tel. 605-805-3245

What To Expect And What To Bring

  • Warm, pleasant days, and cool nights with misty mornings and drizzly afternoons
  • Temperatures at Maxwell Hill hover around 15℃-25℃, but at night can dip to 10℃
  • Walking for exercise, jungle trekking, outdoor photography, birdwatching at any time
  • Bring hiking boots and leech socks for jungle trails; tennis shoes for road walks
  • Be prepared for sore legs after walking uphill and downhill all day
  • Carry binoculars for birdwatching, monkey spotting and searching for flying lizards and lemurs
  • Carry a magnifying glass to bring small creatures to bigger life, like spiders, caterpillars and leeches
  • Bring rain gear for common showers and dry bags for protection for cameras, videos, etc
  • Bring sweaters or hoodies for chilly evenings
  • Guide books to identify rainforest birds, mammals and reptiles
  • Medical kit for mild irritations from leech bites

Getting There

  • Take the North-South Highway north to the Taiping exit
  • Follow the brown signs for Bukit Larut and Lake Gardens
  • Pass through Taiping town towards the gardens and foothills, keep following the Bukit Larut signs
  • Look for a war cemetery on the right and come to a junction without a signboard
  • Look for the restaurants and parked cars and turn right, the Forestry Department office is next door on the left
  • Park your vehicle in the small carpark to the right near the public toilet facility


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