What we Saw on Fraser's Hill...


People ask us... why do we want to retire to Malaysia. Here is why:


In our never-ending search for the "perfect"  retirement property, and after our successful trip to Malaysia in 2008,
we decided to visit the Highlands of Malaysia in the Spring of 2009 to see if that would suit us.

We had already explored he MM2H program (Malaysia My Second Home) tax implications and qualifications, and determined it was very suitable for us.
We could winter in Malaysia away from the brutal Canadian Prairie winters, and summer in Halifax (away from the brutal Canadian Prairie bugs).

In 2009, after checking out the Genting Highlands (far too commercial for us), and the Cameron Highlands (very nice, but too far from the city and amenities),
we finally visited Fraser's Hill. Just 1-3/4 hours north of Kuala Lumpur.

This is a small community at the top of a hill just across the state border in Pahang. Access is good - roads are all paved.
There is currently only one road up to the Hill and timings for driving up and down are limited, but that will change when the second road is re-opened.

Imagine being able to enjoy every meal of the day - outside!. You'd just need an awning for the rainy days.
The temperature range for the "Hill" is a fabulous 18 degrees to 23 degrees C.
We heard that they'd never recorded temperatures colder than 13 degrees, or hotter than 26 degrees.

Can you imagine never needing air conditioning or heating?

Having been a prisoner of the indoors all our lives - this appealed to us.
In Canada we had the cold to contend with. In Kuwait, the extreme heat.
Here we could choose where to eat and do our activities. The most perfect climate....



The following is an excerpt of our previous reports on the Hill.... From our March 22, 2009 visit.




March 22, 2009

Drive from Cameron Highlands to Fraser's Hill

This map shows the relationship between the Highlands and the road to KL.


At the top of the "Gap". As we wait for the window to drive up to the "Hill".
Fraser's Hill is called the "Little England"


Frasers Hill is small, and not many people live there.


We discovered upon arrival that one of the roads out of the hill was closed for construction - and we had to wait half an hour for the window to drive up to the hill. Odd hours going up - even hours going down. About 8 kms on a single lane, very winding road.


Pretty drive, though. This is the first road up to the hill, and has been stable for a hundred years.
Finally - arriving at Fraser's Hill. Our hotel was the Fraser's Pine Resort.

This pamphlet was obviously made in better days.

We were the ONLY guests here for two nights. The place had been let run down quite badly. All the units needed serious TLC.
The first room they tried to put is in had faulty plumbing and a moldy fridge that didn't work.

The units were all 3 bed, 2 bath, 1000 ft2 - all with good privacy from neighbors and a great view. The place had potential.


An open air reception area. No need for walls in this climate.Looks good from a distance - these units had been sold off for private usage. I'm sure they were in better shape than our rooms.

The view was spectacular.


Our room was on the second floor - on the left We walked around the first day - as always. This nice little golf course was 9 holes and US$8 a round.


It looked relatively well cared for.


The village square. There was a lot of construction going on. I expect this place will boom after the market corrections. After all - only Genting was closer to KL - and the temperatures up here are great all year around. I could see people driving up for the weekend from KL during the summer to escape the heat. A little Chinese tavern we used a lot on this trip. Cold beer and porcine victuals....  And very cheap.

Walking through the village back to the hotel the first day after supper at the tavern.

A of public landscaping done up here. we walked back on a jungle trail


I thought it was great. Alice thought she had the wrong shoes for this kind of hiking.
The paths were good, but still damp after the recent rain.


I couldn't resist adding this photo View from our room of the large patio.
Well designed to give privacy from other units.


A tourist map of the mountain




March 23, 2009

1st Full day on Fraser's Hill


We asked the Hotel management to show us an upper floor flat from our hotel room.
There was a For Sale sign on it - and we were interested in how much these units were going for.

We found out after a couple of days in KL after Fraser's Hill (after a long search for the agent) that it wasn't for sale anymore.
He did us and the owners a great dis-service. The place hadn't been sold, and as of March 2010, it was still available.
Asking 310,000 MYR or about US$90,000. It would qualify for the minimum 250,000 foreigners are allowed to pay for property,
and we could have gotten it for somewhat less than the asking price.
I still think its a bargain.
The for sale sign can be seen at the top of the stairwell here. Just a couple of flights up from our hotel room. The flat for sale was at the top of the complex,
and was a two level unit.
We called the number on the sign. But the agent said the unit wasn't for sale anymore. There would be a climb to reach the unit from the parking area.
Front door Kitchens are all small in Malaysia. Everyone eats out - almost all the time.
The top units looked out over the hillside, rather than a dark slope under the other units. One of the three bedrooms - this one next to the kitchen
Dining Room and Living Room, with a fireplace for the cooler evenings.
Another bedroom on the lower level. The lower level deck. Nothing a good power-wash wouldn't make short work of.
View from the flat for sale. Looking back at the flat lower level deck.

I was impressed by the design here. All the units have been oriented for maximum privacy, in spite of the close proximity.
It is hard for one unit to see over the walls into the other units' decks.

Main floor washroom Master bedroom washroom, on the upper level.
Room for a washer and dryer in the corner.
The upper level deck from the master bedroom. Lots of privacy. Master bedroom suite
Nice view from the Master bedroom View to the stairs down to the lower level.

The units are about 1000 ft2, and about 20 years old.
We could gut the baths and kitchen to bring them up to spec cheaply, and if the price was right - we could find a great winter home for ourselves here.

But it wasn't to be for us.




On our first full day at Fraser's Hill, we decided to see what amenities were available around the Hill for shopping. In case we decided we'd like to live there someday.

So we timed the Gap and Halim drove us over an hour to the nearest town - Raub.


The other road up of Fraser's Hill - closed for repairs right now.
It had washed out after a landslide.
It was a lot further than I thought. It took more than an hour to reach Raub. And it was hot and humid down here.


More colonial style architecture. Their idea of a supermarket isn't exactly a Carrefour or Tesco.
But it could do in a pinch.

This is what I like about Malaysia.

On the left was a Methodist church, next to a Hindu Temple, next to a Chinese Temple.

So many religions living together in relative peace. A nice change from Kuwait.

Our stay in Raub was short and we drove back to Fraser's Hill to see what else was there.



Back up to the Hill....


We stopped at the Jeriau Falls - the only people around today.


A very nice little waterfall - with a natural beach. Obviously set up for swimming.

A very nice little natural beach. The granites of the Titiwangsa mountains weather nicely into clean and angular sands - that have banked up in places like this.

Alice said the water was a nice temperature, too.


More photos of the Falls walk.
Yet another Ye Olde Smokehouse Hotel and Restaurant. Affiliated with the Cameron Highlands hotel, this one is even older and bigger.
We stopped for a nice western style lunch.


Our driver sits outside with a juice for a smoke. Nice view from this place too.


Nice, friendly looking bar in this place. I could be comfortable here.
The whole hill is spotted with these kinds of colonial bungalows. Some old, some new. Most owned by big corporations as retreats for their executives. Lots of privacy and a beautiful setting. I'd have one of these, but they're beyond our budget - even if we could find one for sale.

(Little did we know at the time....)


The Fraser's Pine Resort from the other side of the mountain. Fraser's Hill at dusk.
Google just has lower resolution satellite photos of this area. The Gap road out is the south leg, while the road up is to the north.
The Whole of Fraser's Hill is the small settlement near the top left.



Thursday, February 25, 2009

Last morning on Fraser's Hill

Dawn on Fraser's Hill. The windows and doors open all night with perfect temperatures. I could take this...

We sort of fell in love with the area and the climate. It's close enough to the city too.








Photos taken April 25, 2009 unless otherwise noted


Back to Malaysia for John

This will take some explaining.

On one of my bi-weekly long weekends (I'll be trying to whittle down all the vacation time I'm owed by taking a long weekend Thursday off every two weeks),
I stayed at home and did some research on the internet on properties in Malaysia.

I found this property in Silver Park at the top of Fraser's Hill. The mountain retreat less than 2 hours drive from KL.
The most perfect climate....

Anyway - I contacted the agent and found out as foreigners we didn't qualify for the very reasonably priced flats he had listed.
The Foreign Investment Committee required all foreigners to spend at least 250,000 MYR on property in Pahang - about US$70,000.
And these properties were listed at less than that.

So I enquired about an interesting Bungalow he had listed. It sounded VERY interesting,

Michael gave me the strong message that it could be bought for much less than the 1,100,000 MYR listing price. Something like about +800,000 MYR.
This was for a 15 year contemporary western-style mountain side house on 1-1/2 acres of untouched jungle.

We were so interested that I decided to do more research, and then we decided we needed to see the place.
It was private and seemed to have more than we were originally looking for.

So I left this Thursday and arrived in Fraser's Hill for a tour of the house with the thought we might want to buy it for our retirement.

The following photos were taken on my visit on April 25th, 2009

This time I decided to stay in the best hotel in town - the Smokehouse Inn.
Related to the Smokehouse inn in the Cameron Highlands a month ago - but older and slightly larger.


I took off on Saturday morning after travelling all Friday, and having our driver from last month (Halim) pick me up at the airport in KL
 and bring me up to Fraser's Hill Friday night. For a walk around town before meeting the Real Estate agent to see the house.
 It was about 20 degrees on my walk this morning. Just as perfect as last year.


I was again impressed to see that almost all the public space on the Hill, including along the roads, has been very nicely landscaped. The new playground even sported the re-cycled tire foam play areas under the  fixtures. Very civilized - it makes for a much safer play area.

As we reported last time, there are some 260 species of birds on the Hill. We'd have to become bird watchers up here.


The little food court we never visited on our last visit to the hill.
Very inexpensive and very tasty food.
More views from a second food court. There are two on this hill, not including the two Chinese restaurants.


I could hear the mosque call to prayers, but it wasn't as amplified or obnoxious as those here in Kuwait. The municipal office on the Hill. I met up with Durai - the fellow we saw 5 weeks ago here. He will be an invaluable contact if we move here.


I don't know what this place is called. The shops on the ground level aren't open yet. Should be good in a few months. View up to the Silver Park apartments from the main road up to the hill.

The main road in town skirts around the top of the hill. Views like this are common. This one is close to the Olde Smokehouse Inn.


Then  I went to see the house.....  Pictures posted at the bottom of this page.



Back to the community on Fraser's Hill

After viewing the house for 2 hours, photographing, measuring and videoing everything I could in that time, we went back into town for some lunch.
Just to emphasize just how cheap it is here to live - we had two meals of fried rice (Halal - but still delicious),
noodles and soft drinks for two with a coffee for one - all for 17 Ringgits. That's about US$4.50.....



And now for something very sad.....

One of the appealing things about Fraser's Hill to us was that it had two golf courses when major cities in Malaysia may only have one.
I wanted to see the second course - the big course, on this visit. So Halim drove me past Jeriau Falls and we found the place.


The Fraser's Golf and Country Club couldn't have been much more than 5 years old, and it was closed two years ago.
I guess it was just a little too far out of KL and there weren't enough golfers on the Hill for it to survive.


These models were left in the abandoned club house. They must have spent US$10's of millions on this place. It was absolutely gorgeous.


Only the best materials were used for construction. No expense must have been spared. It is such a shame to see it in this state

There was even a family there when we stopped in - looking around for what they could loot.


The jungle claims back it's own. Broken windows where looters have broken in to steal what they could.


This was once a very nice pool. No sign of the paths to the fairways anymore.


I couldn't make it through the garden path to the first tee.
I was wearing shorts and the grass was hip high....
Beautiful and cool mountain setting.
I hope someone can float this place again.





On our February 2010 visit to the "Hill", we heard that the entire golf course complex had been sold to one of the richest men in the world.
Plans are underway to develop a 5 star hotel and golf resort. And we'll be living right next door....





After the golf course, I went to tour the Silver Park apartments - that we missed seeing a few weeks ago. It was surprisingly larger than I expected.
And very reasonably priced.


I couldn't help but notice the same kind of reinforced concrete column and beam construction technique as on the house I just viewed this morning. Except on much larger buildings. Flats range from US$23,000 for 650 ft2 studio flats, to US$60,000 for 1100 ft2 3 bedroom flats in these buildings. No AC or heat ever needed in this perfect mountain climate.


Very pretty setting. Shame us foreigners don't qualify for these properties.
They're less than the minimum 250,000 MYR the government will let us buy.


Most flats have very nice mountain and town site views.


Most of the units appeared empty.
Either up for sale or just used on weekends by KL people escaping the oppressive heat of the big city on the weekends.


More column and beam construction at the Silver Park apartments.
It made me feel better about the house after seeing these on these much larger buildings.


After a couple of tall Tiger's at my favourite Chinese tavern (outdoors, of course), I walked back to the Smokehouse for a nice roast beef dinner. Even at dusk - the golf course is gorgeous through the jungle foliage.


I can't believe how well manicured the landscaping is on the Hill. It's absolutely pristine.
People pay a fortune for that at home, and don't come close to the beauty they've got here. And at such reasonable prices too....

We could live here for a long time.....






A last morning on Fraser's Hill before returning to KL

As always, I went out for another morning walk around town after breakfast at the hotel. No jungle paths today, though.
Caught these monkeys this morning cavorting on the high wires.


The Shahzan Inn is one hotels we didn't visit on our last trip to the Hill.
So I walked through it today.
About the only souvenir shop on the Hill.
The Japanese (or Singapore) bus tourists were swarming....


A view from the hotel down to the town
 over the Post Office.
At 110 MYR a night - it sounds like a bargain at this hotel.
That's about US$35 a night.


The small golf course in the middle of town is having a facelift of it's club house. Shouldn't be long before they open again. I stopped in this police station yesterday
 - but the cop on duty didn't speak English.


After videoing a drive up to the house to check the building orientation with my GPS,
Halim and I stopped a last time at the Chinese tavern for a light (and cheap) lunch with another tall Tiger,
before catching the noon opening on the Gap back down the mountain.

I was sad to leave. I hope to come back again soon - perhaps as a property owner....



On the way to KL, we took a quick side trip through Kuala Kabu Bharu - the largest town close to the Hill - about 55 minutes away. Even the nicest places in this town pale against the worst on the Hill.
And it was swelteringly hot compared to the Hill.


More shots of Kuala Kabu Bharu. Basic shopping facilities only - but good in a pinch.


I've already thought about our shopping needs if we moved to Fraser's Hill.

Alice and I would dive to KL every week for an overnight stay at a reasonable hotel (about US$80 will get a decent 3-4 star),
take in some restaurants and do our weekly shopping to take back the next day.
That should keep us in stock with everything we need and can't find on the Hill.







And now - a year later....


Photos taken in February 2010 unless otherwise noted


Back to Malaysia to see the House

We also wanted to start the application process for the MM2H visa.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Back to Fraser's Hill

We made yet another trip to Malaysia this week, for 8 days.
The objective was to let Alice see the house we're trying to buy, and do some other dealings related to our MM2H visa application.
We also needed another break from Kuwait - that place is really grating on me.

After a 12 hour trip, leaving at 16:30 in the afternoon on Wednesday on Qatar Airways through Doha, we arrived at KLIA at 09:30 in the morning Thursday.
We had arranged for our favourite driver - Hallim - to collect us at the airport and take us around again this trip. He had driven us around last March, and me around in April.

Our first day was planned to give us an idea what's available in Kuala Lumpur for shopping opportunities we'll need when we move here.
So we asked Hallim to take us to the Mid Valley Mall on the way up to Fraser's Hill. It turned out to be a good first choice, as we saw a lot of what we'll need.
I also tracked our paths on the GPS and watched my City Street Atlas to see how Hallim drove us around.

It turns out KL is an extremely complex city when it comes to navigating the excellent highway road system.
I've never seen such a complicated road system before - so it'll be a real challenge getting around here when I'm behind the wheel.

We'll need a city navigation GPS unit in our car.

Just snapping photos from the car as we drove into KL from the airport. The Mid Valley Megamall boasts 100 acres (???) of shops. It was very large, but I don't think it was quite that large.
We were pleasantly surprised at some of the familiar eateries we saw at the Mall. Just like in Kuwait. I haven't eaten at one of these since Dallas in 1980. Made a big impression on me then, but I doubt its quite so impressive here.
Looks like a good place for lunch today.... We quickly scurried past all the shops we could, just to see what was available.
Quite modern, but a little dated Megamall. With multiple levels and a good variety of shops.
I was looking for one of these on the internet. I have plans for a large spa on our deck. This place caught me by surprise. And it's in our budget range as well. Almost as big as in Kuwait.
At least there's a decent hardware shop here.
Multi screen cinema as well. After a couple of hours of window shopping, we stopped at Finnegan's for some great carbonarra and some pints of Guinness and Tiger, of course.

About the carbonarra. In an Irish style pub.....

We discovered this common fare last in Penang two years ago. Its very popular and surprisingly common.
One of our favourite Italian dishes. Except here we've had the best we've ever had - anywhere!. Including Italy!

The obligatory first photos of us and our pints in the pub....  Alice had the Tiger.

Most restaurants here are wide open to the elements, but it was about 35 degrees out and humid - as it always is in KL.
A little too warm for us. So we hid out farther back in the restaurant, finding a position suitably air conditioned for our tastes.

A Google satellite image of the Mid Valley Megamall. Big place...




After the great lunch, Hallim picked us up at the Mall and took us on the 2 hour drive (from here) up to "The Hill"

One of the modern toll gates on the Federal Highway north.
Just a few cents to drive a good distance on this excellent road.
Some of the apartment architecture we encountered on the way out of the city.
Just snapping away from the car at the countryside. The clouds appeared to be rolling in, however....
We found our timing for the GAP was off by an hour, so Hallim stopped at a Chinese restaurant in Kuala Kabu Baru for us, about 40 minutes from the GAP on the way up to the Hill. These are tall Tigers.... We were amused by the use of a Hennessy box cut open for a napkin holder.
The weather was definitely turning. We had some hard driving rain on the way up to the GAP.

It did make for some pretty photo opps though.

Cars waiting for the 15:00 window to drive up the GAP. Hallim's Perdua. The rain let up just as we arrived at the GAP.


After we checked in at the Smokehouse Hotel, Alice and I released Hallim for the night,
and walked down to the town square and our favourite Chinese restaurant for supper and more Tiger beers.

The Puncak Inn is finally open now. Wandering around the picturesque town center.
The new Golf Clubhouse isn't open yet, though. The famous clock tower at the center of town.

Almost English-like town site at dusk. Very pretty and the temperature was just perfect - as always.
We retired back to the Smokehouse for some wine and quiet time - enjoying the sounds of nature rather than road traffic.







Friday, February 26, 2010

Our first full day on Fraser's Hill

This was the day we were waiting for. Our first trip back to the house since I last saw it in April last year, and we made the offer.

Today is a statutory Holiday in Malaysia, as it is in Kuwait. The Prophet Mohammed's Birthday.
And the Hill was a lot busier that we had seen before. More people from KL escaping the heat and humidity.


Alice enjoying a late breakfast at the Smokehouse Hotel

We should have eaten outside though. Temperature was perfect - as always.


Seriously gorgeous setting for the hotel at the top of Fraser's Hill.
The old Hotel looked a little more run down this trip - but it suited the ambience...
The hotel pub View from our lobby in the Halcyon Lodge



After 2 hours and lots of discussions at the house - Hallim took us up to the food court for some local food for lunch. Then back to our room to talk about the house.

Then at 16:00 we had Hallim drive us up to the SilverPark Apartments on the crest of the hill, to meet some Westerners....

Michael met us again and introduced us to his friends. More people we've now met that swear that Michael is as honest and straight as he sounds.

Roger here is a Brit - now retired for 20 years, he is a professor of Linguistics in England, but has lived in Malaysia decades.
His last job as an advisor to the Prime Minister, and he claims to be largely responsible for the much-improved English being spoken and written in Malaysia in the last 20 years.
There is no "Chinglish" as in Japan or China in Malaysia. We noticed how well everyone speaks English, and how good the signage is.

He's a real character, and we hit it off immediately. A great sense of humour and a real desire to tout the best points of Fraser's Hill to us.
We agreed on everything on almost everything because that's what we've seen as well.

I think Alice was a little more comfortable about moving up here after this meeting as well - since she spoke to Zee - Roger's wife.
Also a professor of Linguistics, still working in KL, but spending as much time as possible on the Hill.

I was keen to get another side of living up here on the Hill. Preferably from someone from the same side of the world as us.
It looks like we'll be the first North American's taking up residence on the Hill - which just means we're the first from Canada or the States to discover the place for retirement.
That we know of, anyway.



Roger and Zee have a great view from their flat in SilverPark. And the flat is only about 1/7th the cost of Kamsiah. But Zee is Malaysian, and she qualified to buy a property like this. As foreigners, we'd be limited to places 250,000 MYR or more - like the house. These flats are about 160,000 MYR, or about US$45,000.
The dusk mist coming in around the Hill from Roger and Zee's flat.
The Hill is seriously gorgeous.....
Dusk at the Smokehouse Hotel tonight.





Saturday, February 27, 2010


An obligatory farewell shot of Alice and I before we locked up and left.

The mountain mist was rolling in to Kamsiah Just as we left until January now.




Back to The Smokehouse again


I discovered that they had Tetley's in a widget can at the hotel. The garden was a nice place to enjoy it and the view.

And some of the great nature....

We bought some souvenirs at the new mini-mall just down the road. Overlooking the Shahzan Inn and local Mosque
The Hill is a lot busier today because it's Saturday.
Many people drove up from Singapore and KL to enjoy nature and the cooler temperatures.





Sunday, February 28, 2010

A day off on Fraser's Hill

Michael the agent left the Hill and we released Hallim for a day as of last night, so today we had a free day to enjoy our future winter home.....
We stayed at the Smokehouse Hotel. Last year I reported that the Fraser's Hill Smokehouse was younger than the Cameron Hills Smokehouse Hotel, built in 1937. I was wrong....

This hotel was built in 1923 as a rest home for Great War veterans, in the cool Highlands, away from the tropical heat of the lowlands.

We walked to the Abu Suraidi Trail today, passing Alan's Water. A man-made reservoir lake at the top of the Hill.
Now used for recreational boating after a major refit last year.
Small, but nicely done.
Walking to the Abu Suraidi Trail that I did alone on my visit last April.
Roger had told us the signs up here had lost letters - I guess this was an example.
A little bit of the jungle tamed just enough for us city-folk to enjoy. That's how I like nature.

We walked from the trail's end back to the town center, and posed at the famous clock tower.

Here I am posed how I hope to pose, in uniform playing my pipes someday.
I expect with all the tourists snapping photos everywhere up here as it is - I'd get some shots taken if I were to try this.

A sign of the bungalows (including ours) in front of the golf course. Another irresistible sign.
From the Shahzan Inn to the town center Another well built and laid out children's playground.
We tried the Kindersley Trail today. One we hadn't tried before. It was short, but interesting.
A dead tree had fallen over on the little shelter built for hikers, exposing the root ball. A lesson learned...  Top any dead trees before they fall over and increase erosion. The other end of the Kindersley Trail. It needs some letters too.
Walking around more bungalows on the other end of the hill. Very British setting and architectural styling's.

No rain today - just some beautiful mountain mist floating over the Titiwangsa mountains.


This is a seriously gorgeous place. I'm in love....
At the end of a bungalow garden. The tree ferns only grow at higher elevations here. I love this type of jungle. Partially tamed....
More garden flowers by a bungalow
The top of the gap with all the traffic waiting for the noon window down.
This will all be history after they re-open the other road in June.
Walking up to the Hemmant Trail, we passed the pretty little 9-hole golf course.
Postcard type vistas at every turn.
We didn't see this last year. This is the horse riding paddock and the small archery range that add other activities for the Hill's visitors.

Looking over the golf course to the SilverPark Apartments at the very crest of the Hill.

More of the golf course This sign needs letters too...

Alice on the Hemmant Trail. A lot drier than last year when we tried it. Still very pretty.


Gorgeous wild flowers on the trail. A few steeper portions, but there were ropes to hang on to.
Exiting the Hemmant Trail from the other end.
The letters are still intact at this end. We stopped for some decent fish and chips at the Scott restaurant here. Another old bungalow developed as a Smokehouse affiliate in the town center. We told them they need better signage - we didn't know this was a restaurant at first.

Alice with a Tetley pint in the Scott restaurant. Very colonial styling.

Through the window looks right into our favourite Chinese restaurant.

Relaxing after some heavy hiking today. Heavenly beer too....



Tandas Awam!!!
That's what the sign says. It means "Public Toilet".
The town management has even managed to make that common utility look pretty up on the Hill.







Monday, March 1, 2010

A last morning on the Hill, and then a drive to KL

We have business in KL starting this afternoon, so we had a relaxing morning walking around the Hill before Hallim came to collect us.
We had given him yesterday off to spend with his family in KL.

Alice hiking on pavement this morning.


Back to the town center More pretty flowers
We saw this Chinese couple golfing. We'd seen them the other day - each just carrying three clubs - no bags.
In this case she was looking for his ball that had rolled into the channel. She managed to retrieve it before it washed away.
I could see this as an unusual trap - since some balls are bound to roll down the slope into the drainage channel.
The telecommunications towers at the crest of one of the hills. the cell phone coverage up here is excellent, and Michael demonstrated a very good Wi-Fi connection the other day. Much better than in Kuwait. The back of the post office. We mailed Philip some cheques from here today. The service looks like it'll be a lot better than what we're used to in Kuwait.
A departing shot of the Smokehouse Hotel as we headed back to KL.
Just waiting to become grease spots on the highway. Lots of monkeys up here - these below the gap on the 2 hour drive back to the city.



Our GPS tracks from this trip. A lot of driving, but it looks like such a small area.
Singapore is about a 6 hour drive away.

Our Tracks from KLIA in the south, to Fraser's Hill in the north.












Our Fraser's Hill Property Valuation

The Property I viewed on April 25th, 2009


I took a two day trip to Fraser's Hill in Malaysia to view a property I found listed for sale on the internet.
It looked very interesting to us because of the western-styling, the privacy afforded by a large lot, and the price.

Posted on this web page are the photos I took of the visit of the best things about the house.



A Google Earth satellite image of Fraser's hill with roads over-lain. Kamsiah faces south-east - and is where the red dot on this map indicates it to be.

An even closer view. It's a shame the photo is so low resolution - but some of the development on the hill is visible.

As always, I've built a large series of web pages featuring many more photos of the house.
I've split them into the good aspects of the house on one page, and the bad and ugly aspects on a second web page. They are linked here.




There is a lot to like about this property. It suits our desired lifestyle in Malaysia.
The design is contemporary - not unlike what we designed and built in Calgary, coincidentally - also in 1994 when this property was built.

The following photos show what I saw on the property April 25, 2009

The curb appeal of the house is limited to the road-level garage. Parking for two cars in the garage, two outside the garage, and at least 3 more on the road. The garage roof is a high-quality metal (steel or aluminum - I suspect aluminum). Condition appears very good, although a lot of leaves have accumulated on all the roofs on the property.
The railings in front of the garage are a high-quality wood, with a pleasing design style. Very solid even after 15 years. The concrete pad is also very solid. An interesting little overhang by the garage door for viewing the house down the hill. Very solid. Intercom on the wall.
Inside the garage. Good quality steel twin roller door. Concrete slab appears to be in excellent condition. The roof shows no signs of leaks. Good condition, large louvered glass windows face east-South-East, as does the house. Little of the house visible from this vantage point. Large double door as entrance to the path to the house.

The view of the house from the stair-well down from the garage.
Not everyone likes the seclusion and hidden aspect of the house, but it appeals to us.

I liked the steel railings - but they seriously need a good cleaning and re-finishing.
I did not like the stairwell down from the garage and re-design of this stairwell or an alternate approach to the house will be needed for us.

The path lights are a nice touch. Good, competent concrete and brick pathway down to the house. The garage on stilts looks very sound. No apparent signs of strain on this quick, visual inspection. An assessment by a qualified structural Engineer would be needed for our satisfaction that the structure is not in jeopardy of collapse.
The path lights will need cleaning and re-finishing attention. The remaining walk down to the house is very attractive.

Another view of the house from a closer vantage point.

I appreciated the efforts to maintain the trees during construction. This took a lot of care and foresight on the part of the builders. The guest wing from the main entrance. Good quality brick work. Solid looking reinforced concrete beam and column structure.
As on the garage, the roofs on the house are all heavily littered by dead-fall leaves. Good quality brickwork on the main living wind of the house.

The entrance is very attractive, if not a little dark. I might have opted for a larger double door, with partial privacy windows for lighting.
 Very attractive ceiling - still in good condition. Railings in good condition - less staining that exposed railings elsewhere on the house and garage.
Attractive and good condition ceramic tiles. Good quality iron security doors in good condition.

The guest wing entrance from the main entrance.
In this sheltered position, the railings are all in good condition, but will need re-finishing.

Upon entering the main house from the main entrance - the first view of the great room is very attractive.
The large picture windows give the appearance of being outside - a very appealing aspect to us.
Just the effect we tried for on our Calgary house, but in a much more challenging climate than Fraser's Hill.

The front entrance from inside the great room. A good quality door in good condition, as with the door to the storage area. Fireplace and picture window facing north.
Nice jungle canopy view from the picture window next to the fireplace. View of the deck on the south side of the house through another large picture window. I liked the wrap-around decks.

A view of the great room from the fireplace side. Halim looking in the storage room.
Over-hanging "study" is a nice touch. The wood ceilings are very attractive and appear in good condition.

It looks like all concrete wall construction in the house. Difficult to change, but great for thermal mass to moderate any temperature swings.

Ceiling fans are always a great idea for air circulation. We use them all the time.

The vaulted wood ceiling is very attractive.

The deck on the north side of the house is a good size, but needs attention. The central deck is also large and inviting. Perched 35' in the air into the tree canopy is very appealing.

Another view to the east-south-east of the central deck. We would consider a spa on the deck if a structural Engineer approved it.

A view up to the over-hanging "study". We would consider some design changes that would place the dining room below this overhang, requiring moving the lighting. A view from under the over-hanging "study" to show the ceiling details.

Another ceiling view of the great room.

Although very small, the kitchen appears functional without much more attention needed. Some of the kitchen counters. The cabinets all need a thorough cleaning and painting in the case of the lower cabinets.
The sink and fixtures look to be in good condition. The Formica counter top is functional and in good condition. The lower cabinets all need re-finishing inside. Probably a good cleaning and some paint.
The other side of this small galley kitchen. Gas cook top looks to be in good condition. All cabinets again need re-finishing inside. I was surprised at how much was left behind by the owners in these cabinets.
The 24" fridge seems to be clean, but without power to the house - I had no way of knowing if it still worked. Most likely a more energy efficient model would be needed. A built-in microwave and oven unit appeared to be in good condition.

Without power, I couldn't comment on the appliances or the water heaters in the house.

The laundry room at the end of the kitchen. I would consider a re-design of this space as I think there is a little more hallway space than is really needed. The vertical windows do not open, but do have good security grates on the inside. A nice touch for natural lighting and a glimpse of the jungle outside. The pantry storage room looks good, but need's re-finishing. Three more vertical grated windows for light.

The guest wing sitting room. A nice idea, but we'd probably re-task this space as our internet room.
Good wood vaulted ceilings, a nice window into the adjacent bedroom, and another door onto the south deck.

Another view into the guest sitting room. Good tiles and general condition. Nice wood vaulted ceiling in the guest sitting room.


the guest bedroom is small, but functional. We would probably use this space for some other purpose than a bedroom. the guest wing bedroom has another nice canopy view from it's window.


The guest wing bedroom bathroom.
 Decent fixtures in good condition.
Large shower stall in the bathroom.
We like the rain-shower shower fixture.


The guest wing bedroom ceiling and windows into the sitting room (left), and onto the deck (straight). The outside door from the guest wing sitting room onto the south deck.


The south deck and guest wing sitting room door. A good place for barbecue storage - but the BBQ would need to be shifted out from under the overhang before being fired up. The south deck serving the guest wind side of the house.


Window into the guest wing sitting room from the south deck. Another vantage point view of the south deck looking towards the great room and central deck.


The wood rails look to be solid and well-made. They need to be since it's a 35'+ drop to the ground below. The south deck from the great room side.

Another view of the central deck. All the railings look to be solid and safe, but all need re-finishing.

The tree canopy view to the north-east from the central deck.

A view back to the great room from the central deck.

The south deck from the central deck. Some of the foundation columns visible from this angle.

the metal roof looks to be in very good condition. Lots of life left in it - but it could use a brushing off. I don't know whether or not the rotting leaves  and peat that forms from them will affect the metal roofing as it does with ceramic roofing. A view from the central deck to the main wing bedrooms. I would consider a cantilevered deck for the main floor end bedroom if approved by a structural Engineer.

Another view of the tree canopy from the central deck.
The view of the surrounding mountains is obscured by the heavy tree growth, but there are occasional glimpses between the trees.

A view of the north and central decks from the great room. the wooden double-double door set would need to be replaced for a more open vantage.
We would consider good sliding doors with bug screens to keep out unwelcome flying visitors.

Another view of the great room ceiling. Nice use of dark wood and white painted concrete.

With the main entrance to the left, this view is of the stairwell to the second floor, and the entrance to the main floor bedroom hallway. the main floor bedroom hallway. Nice wood ceiling treatment.

A view back to the great room from the bedroom hallway entrance. Floor tiles all look to be in good condition.

the 1st main floor bedroom is small but quite functional. Looking back to the hallway from the first bedroom.

the view of the tree canopy from the first bedroom windows.
Facing east-south-east - this will catch the morning sun, as well as affording a nice mountain view sliver.

No sign of any window coverings. No rails for curtains or blinds.

Rather than having closets in the bedrooms, the builders opted for these nice 2' by 4' hardwood wardrobes. They need oiling, but appear to be in good condition otherwise. The shared bathroom between the main floor bedrooms is a decent size. I'm not too fond of the colour, though. Although women might think otherwise. The plumbing fixtures all look to be in good condition.
Smaller shower stall with rain-shower shower head. No shower curtain rails. Tiles and toilet in the bathroom appear to be in good condition.
Good awning window in the bathroom for light and air. Dedicated 5 gallon water heater for this bathroom. No way to see if it was working or not.
The main floor bedroom hallway also has the great vertical windows for light, with metal security grates on the inside. The second bedroom on the main floor is larger than the first, and has opening windows on two sides. This would be our guest bedroom if we bought the house.
Other vantage points of the second bedroom. Facing the bedroom hallway entrance. Me reflected in the mirror. Cross-flow ventilation from all four sides of the room possible - this would be a very comfortable room.
I especially liked these vents. They're visible from the outside at the top of the coursework of bricks filling in the lattice of cast-in-place reinforced concrete beams and columns. They're screened only - no glass. A testament to the moderate temperatures of Fraser's Hill that they don't need to be closed off. Floor tiles in both main floor bedrooms look to be in good condition.
Back to the great room - this is the entrance to the stairwell to the second floor. A view to the first landing on the stairwell. Well-made, good, solid hardwood. Featuring some large planks - this is a nice feature for the house. Very little re-finishing work needed here. View towards the second landing.
From the second landing of the stairwell, looking up towards the "study". Another view from the second landing. Nice ceiling view. Carpeting starts at the top of the stairwell.

A view from the hallway at the top of the stairwell down to the great room.

A view from the top of the stairwell towards the "study".
A little overhanging deck that can be used as private space, all the time affording a view and the feel of inclusion with the rest of the house.
We did much the same in our Calgary house.

The wood work appears to be in good condition. Little re-finishing required here.

The two level "study". Just enough room for a chair or two. The "study" overhang looking down to the great room. I would use this space for my music if we bought the house.
Looking over the overhang railing down to the great room. And to the north towards the fireplace showing the stairwell to the left.
View from the study towards the stairwell and master bedroom. Nice railings and a good vantage point for the ventilated picture window on the left. The "study" sports a nice triangular fixed picture window, just for light.
A view of the fixed picture window above the fireplace. Just for light. From the top of the stairwell into the master bedroom. All carpeted from here on in.


Last view down to the great room from the master bedroom entrance. View down the stairwell to the second landing from the master bedroom entrance.
The master bedroom door is an outdoor door with a window. Not unlike the windowed French doors we put on our Calgary house master bedroom. The master bedroom vaulted wood ceiling. All looks to be in good condition.

The first view into the large master bedroom suite. Washroom to the left, deck door to the left.

Another 2' by 4' hardwood wardrobe. Screened for moths with a heater inside. It needs oiling. The master bedroom bathroom. Similar to the other bathrooms in the house.
Decent toilet and sink-vanity treatment. All looks to be in good condition. Couldn't tell if this was a low flush volume toilet.
This bathroom has a nice bathtub - that also looks to be in good condition. I was a little disappointed to see the shower head wasn't a rain-shower type. Opening awning windows in the master bedroom bathroom.
The vaulted wood ceiling in the master bedroom bathroom with a dedicated water heater. Not sure if this is such a good idea in a high humidity setting such as a bathroom. Another view towards the water heater.
Back in the master bedroom, these are the opening casement windows closest to the door. They appear to be in good condition, but like all the other windows in the house, need exterior and interior re-finishing. The master bedroom bed space. Might be a challenge to fit a king-sized bed between the fixed vertical windows. No window coverings in this private space, but not likely needed.
The master bedroom vaulted wood ceiling looks attractive and in good condition. Looking towards the master bedroom deck and sitting area.
The master bedroom sitting area. Room for a couple of chairs and perhaps a small table. I would consider a decorative electric fireplace for ambiance in the other corner. the door to the outside deck from the master bedroom. One of the many dehumidifiers in the house. Also a suspended TV from the wall at the end of the bed.
A view towards the main house from the master bedroom sitting area. The master bedroom deck is small and intimate.

The view out the 7' fixed picture window in the master bedroom - to the east-south-east.
No window coverings so this will get a lot of morning sun.

Nice view of the tree canopy.

The intimate master bedroom deck. Good ceramic tiles on the deck.
A view down to the main house foundation columns from the master bedroom deck. Everything looks good from here. Another view of the latticed reinforced concrete foundation columns and beams from the master bedroom deck.

The 7' wide fixed picture window in the master bedroom. In good condition, but needs re-finishing inside and out, as do all the windows in the house.

That concludes my summary of the best photos I took of the house.





The following plans and plats were obtained from the agent for the house.

This is an un-scaled image of the floor plan for the main floor of the house.
The great room in the center, and the main floor bedrooms to the right, and guest wing sitting and bedroom to the left.

I appreciated how the builders kept the mechanicals of the house on the slope side of the structure (top of this image),
and took full advantage of the available tree canopy views from every possible vantage point.
 A contemporary styling we like.

This is the floor plan for the second floor - but just of the master bedroom. the overhanging "study" and hallway should have been included on this plat.

This is an image of the survey plat for the 1-1/2 acres of land. A very steep slope - the contours are 2 meters.
Land like this is difficult to build on and has limited use except for a house built like this. Kudos to the builders for making such great use of the land.

This is a schematic cross-section taken from the agent's sales documentation. Not to scale, but it does show the construction concept of this tree house hideaway.