My mum had cataract surgery a few weeks ago. She’s been feeling cooped up in the house, so we took her for a short getaway to the hills of Pahang. Our first stop was Colmar Tropicale French Village in Bukit Tinggi, which is about an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur. It’s a perfect place to visit over the weekend, since it’s quite close to the city, but far enough to be a relaxing retreat.
Owned by hospitality and entertainment conglomerate Berjaya Group, the Colmar Tropicale is a small enclave on top of the hill fashioned after a ‘French’ village. The moats have mallards and ducks, as well as black and white swans. There is a spa near the village, and the buildings are made to look like old castles and turrets.
Despite being quite high up in the hills, the place was sunny and warm – not much different from KL. By the time we got to the village, I was hot and sweaty. Global warming has not been kind on Malaysia’s mountains and hills. I think it’s partly due to deforestation and rapid development. It’s not so bad in Bukit Tinggi, since the resort is run by one private company, but in places like Cameron Highlands, a lot of land is being cleared by companies cashing in on the tourism and agricultural boom. More hotels, more farms, more ‘gardens’. A lot of news exposes have been done on illegal logging and the rape of the hills, but as usual, money wins in the end..
But I digress.
Colmar Tropicale is small, with two rows of quaint-looking French-themed buildings, a watchtower and a ‘drawbridge’. The hotels are inspired by medieval designs, with suits of armour, wooden counters and charming old-style paintings decorating its walls.
At first glance, it does look like a charming little French village -colorful windows and tiled, slanting roofs. And then you have the ‘ketupat’ light decorations from Hari Raya that have yet to be taken down.. :P
There are some chic cafes, French restaurants and bakeries scattered all around the area. But typical of tourist traps, everything is super pricey.
A ‘wishing well’ which I did not throw any coins into lol.
There seemed to be some team building/treasure hunt going on, as groups of people wearing the same type of T-Shirts were seen racing around the place, pointing and looking at maps.
Tucked at the end of the street is a small funfair-like area with game booths where visitors can try to win stuffed doll prizes.
View from halfway up the watchtower at the far end of the street. It’s about five storeys high and offers nice views of the valley below.
View from the top.
There is not a load of things to see or do here, but it’s good to stop by for an hour or two. Also, pretty photos! If you’re around the area, there are other attractions like an Adventure Park, Japanese garden (we’ll be headed there next!), mini zoo and a temple which you can complete within the day.
Visitors to the Bukit Tinggi resort have to pay an entrance fee, which is RM13 per pax. Entrance to the Colmar is included, as is a visit to the Japanese Garden/Botanical Garden. Not sure about other attractions; you may have to pay separate fees.