For some of us lucky ones, heading to colder climes during the year-end is a tradition. Of course, this year, most travel plans have gone out the window (thanks, COVID-19). Safe to say that, for most of us, it’s one of the first times we’ve been completely unable to travel in a year. But that doesn’t mean you can’t completely enjoy the festive feels the year-end brings. Actually, you can enjoy them all year round since our weather hardly changes!
From nippy weather to European architecture, here are six locations throughout peninsular Malaysia that you can visit for all the winter feels:
SnoWalk, i-City Theme Park, Shah Alam
Not too far off from Kuala Lumpur (KL), SnoWalk is a part of the i-City Theme Park located in Shah Alam that’s been touted as one of the Top 25 Of The World’s Brightest, Most Colourful Places by CNN Travel. While most of i-City is decked in resplendent LED and digital lights, what sets SnoWalk apart from the rest of the amusement park is that the themed area is covered in at least 100mm of snow on the ground and remains below 5o Celsius at all times.
But what sets it apart from other themed snowy locales in the country is that it was landscaped by a team of 30 ice sculptors from Harbin. Yes, the same Ice City in China that hosts the yearly Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. Sprawled over 50,000 square feet of ‘Arctic’ space, expect to see 100 tonnes of ice sculptures too. Oh, and did we mention the numerous ice slides? SnoWalk has only just reopened, so now’s a good time as ever to drop by!
Snow World, Resorts World, Genting Highlands
Part of Resorts World, this wintry wonderland boasts temperatures as low as -3o Celsius, so you’re guaranteed to forget about the heat and humidity just down the hill. This European-themed winter village also features life-like snowfalls, changing day-to-night sceneries, Toboggan slides, and spaces where you can build your own snowman. Sounds like a fun day out indeed!
Fraser’s Hill, Pahang
A quaint mountain village in the state of Pahang, Fraser’s Hill is known for its flora and fauna, along with its several nature trails. Although not freezing, the weather up here averages at a pleasant 19o Celsius, with the early mornings and nights getting rather nippy and breezy. Quite like a London summer. The fact that it’s just over 100 kilometres away from KL also adds to the appeal of this quiet, hilltop respite. It’s really just the perfect place to unwind and spend quality time with friends or family.
Cameron Highlands, Pahang
Beat the heat at Cameron Highlands, an area so chilly that they’re known for their juicy strawberries and crispy fresh vegetables that thrive in the cooler clime. Although not freezing, temperatures on this hilltop average in the low 20s, with lovely breezes come evening.
The unique appeal of Cameron Highlands is also that this hill station is brimming with colonial buildings kept alive as stunning hotel properties. One such institution is The Smokehouse Hotel & Restaurant – a Tudor style home built in 1939. Besides this, one of the best things to do here (aside from chomp on the local produce and lavender ice cream) is to sit by the live fireplace of the hotel lounge at the beautiful Cameron Highlands Resort.
For such a tiny town, Cameron Highlands sure does have plenty to offer with numerous farms, flower fields, tea plantations, museums, and restaurants around. If you’d like to know more, just read our detailed city guide for Cameron Highlands here.
Berjaya Hills, Pahang
Officially known as Bukit Tinggi, the Berjaya Group have pretty much taken over this highland and transformed it into a quaint French town. A haven for Francophiles, head over to Colmar Tropicale for those Christmas market vibes only a European Christmas market like London’s Winter Wonderland can give you. After all, it was modelled after the actual French village of Colmar.
For an upscale tropical rendition of a French manor, head over to The Chateau Spa & Organic Wellness Resort just next door. This holistic retreat is a 5-star enclave that boasts award-winning world-class spa facilities with plush interiors and impeccable 7-star service.
Whichever resort you choose to stay at, Berjaya Hills has a plethora of things – flying fox, paintball, golf, equestrian activities – and natural beauty to enjoy. Head over to the beautifully-landscaped Japanese garden if you’d like a taste of wintry Asia instead.
Bukit Larut, Taiping
Last but not least, there’s Bukit Larut. Still often called by its previous (more popular) moniker of Maxwell Hill, this hill resort in Perak was established in 1874, making it steeped in history. It was named after British Malaya administrator George Maxwell before being renamed to Bukit Larut in 1979. Perched at over 1000 metres about sea level, Maxwell Hill doesn’t get as cold as the other locations on this list but is still a cool enough respite from the extreme heat and humidity of Malaysia’s big cities.
Of course, venturing up top the hill rewards visitors with splendid views of Taiping town. With regards to staying here, there are a number of old bungalows available for rent, a hostel, as well as a resort. The cooler climate also makes Maxwell Hill a popular destination for nature activities like hiking, exploring the flower gardens, and bird-watching. Which makes sense considering how the local biodiversity here is so wide – accounting for 20.4% of the overall highland plant species found in peninsular Malaysia. So think of a trip here like a hike through a North American forest (except maybe with more bugs since we’re still in Asia after all). Happy holidays!