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One of the great experience of travelling in Malaysia is a great network of freeways connecting major cities of the country.
In the last couple of years, I have driven around twenty times to Genting Highlands on various occasions and absolutely enjoyed the drive to the top of hill resorts climbing around 1800m.
Kuala Lumpur can get hot and steamy in summers and to find a relief from the summer heat the best option is to spend a cool and enjoyable evening in the highlands.
Genting Highlands, Bukit Tinggi and Fraser Hills are the nearest hill stations near Kuala Lumpur. Genting is around 80km from KL City and driving time is around 1 hour.
If you are passionate about driving, this is definitely the trip for you as the road climbs up the hills gradually getting steeper towards the end. On the weekend nights, you will observe plenty of speeding along the road as peoples on bikes and sports cars try to make it to the casinos on the top of the hills.
Drive on the freeway towards Kuantan. Follow E8 towards the state borderline with Pahang. Follow the signs to Genting Highlands. A road exits near Genting Sempah and takes you up the hill towards Ghotong Jaya. Batu Caves should be your first stop on the way to Genting as this lies at the outskirts of the city and has very easy access from the freeway. The Batu Caves is a place of worship for Hindu Community with a couple of hundred steps leading up to the top of the mountains where you will find caves with karst formation. This is an interesting area to explore if you like visiting temples and places of worship.
A 30-minute stop at Batu caves is more than enough to explore this location. Vendors sell fresh coconut water and Indian food near the parking area.
This little town is at the bast of the hills and offers plenty of budget accommodation, a bus stop, cafes and service station. The restaurants are open till late so you can get something to eat on the way or driving down to KL. Local Nasi Kandar restaurants serve curries, rice dishes, parathas and Teh Tarek (Malaysian Styled Tea). I have always stopped at Gotong Jaya to take a break and have some hot tea Tarek before heading back to the Kuala Lumpur.
An alternative way is from Batang Kali if you have come from the freeway from Ipoh or Kuala Lumpur. This is a relatively long way. The road from Batang Kali emerges near the roundabout at Ghatong Jaya.
Take time out to explore Strawberry & Lavender Farms near the main commercial area of Ghotong Jaya.
Buses from KL stops at the base of the cable car stations. In 2018 the chairlifts are replaced by cable cars that take you to the top of the hills to Awana Resort.
The return ticket from the cable car is around 10RM. This is a great way to explore if you do not want to bother about finding parking in the casinos.
Awana Cable Car
First World Casino, parking is a multi-storey car park with free parking. However, make sure you take a picture of the location where you have parked your car as later on your way back you will not be able to find your car easily because of the sheer size of the carpark.
Driving from Kuala Lumpur to Genting Highlands Resort
If you plan to drive up, most the time it gets very foggy on the hills and you will be required to park at a distance from the casinos. It is suggested to park your cars at the base of the hill and use lifts to get to the casino.
The lobby of First World Hotel, Genting Highlands
Bukit Tinggi is another interesting place to visit with a resort (Tropicale Colmar) designed as a replica of 18th century French Village. The resort has an amazing ambience, with moat built around the main structure with goldfish swimming in the water.
Tropicale Colmar At Bukit Tinggi
There is a watchtower in the village commanding amazing view of Berjaya Hills. This is an amazing retreat with spa and golf facilities. Bukit Tinggi is popular with people seeking escape from busy city life and recovering and rejuvenating in the calm environment of the Berjaya Hills.
View of Bukit Tinggi from the Clock Tower
Another benefit of driving to Berjaya Hills is that you will get to see plenty of other interesting places like Japanese Garden near Bukit Tinggi. The Japanese Garden is a place to meditate and relax while enjoying the beautiful tea ceremony at the Tea House in the Gardens. This location is 10 minutes driving distance from Bukit Tinggi and has a relaxing Spa. Make sure to book in advance when planning to travel to this part of Berjaya Hills.
Welcome Message at Japanese Tea House
At reaching on the top of the road in Genting you can turn left near the entrance of the Casinos to loop around to the entrance area of First World. Alternatively, you can drive up to the multi-story car park behind the hotel. This is the easiest way to get into the lobby area of the First World Hotel.
First World claims to have the over 6000 Rooms that makes it the biggest hotels in the world in term of capacity. The ground floor area has a large number of restaurants serving Malay, Chinese, Indian and Fast Food. KFC and Macdonalds are located in the First World Hotel Lobby Area.
Tip: Obtain a local directory or Map to get an idea on directions as you are most likely to lose your way in the corridors if you are visiting for the first time. Be very careful with kids as the building are connected with a large number of lifts, escalators and pathways leading up to "Children Indoor Theme Par" and the latest shopping centre at Awana Resort which is opened in 2018