Last Updated on 21 October 2022
Bukit Tinggi, also known as Berjaya Hills, is a stone’s throw away from Genting Highlands and a convenient spot to visit if staying up on Genting like we did. Situated at an elevation of 800 m, the weather on Bukit Tinggi is cool enough for a pleasant stroll at any time of the day.
The entrance fee to get into the attractions at Bukit Tinggi is RM19 per person and the opening hours is supposedly 9am to 6pm. After paying for the entrance fee at the guardhouse, we continued our drive up to the Botanical Garden and Japanese Village, but we were stopped half-way at a road-block and were told that the road leading to the gardens was not open until 10am. We had little option but to park at the Colmar Tropicale carpark and take a stroll around the vicinity to pass time while waiting.
Along the tree-lined road leading from Colmar Tropicale, the Oriental Magpie-robin (Copsychus saularis) came out to greet us with its melodious singing voice.
A pair of Asian Red-eyed Bulbuls (Pycnonotus brunneus) were chasing each other from tree to tree…
…while the Orange-bellied Leafbird (Chloropsis hardwickii) came out to give us a furtive glance, before disappearing into the foliage.
The Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) – who, like us, was a visiting tourist – was enjoying his breakfast so much that he totally ignored us when we walked right up to him.
After taking some time to swallow his food, he happily wiped his beak on the branch and looked completely satisfied.
A common resident of the Malaysian forests is the Himalayan Striped Squirrel (Tamiops mcclellandii), who was engaging in his daily acrobatics exercise.
Just then, we heard the wistful cry of a Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela) echoing in the hills. Peering up into the sky, we spotted it thermalling high high up.
Along the long and winding road leading up to the Botanical Garden, a loud and alarming howl brought us to a halt. A quick scan in the trees revealed a Siamang swinging from branch to branch and howling with all his might. It was the first time we had set eyes on this endangered ape in the wild, so you can imagine our excitement.
There was not just one Siamang, but a group of them answering each other’s call. Their resonant howls reverberated all through the valley, we felt like we were in the zoo. Their large gular sac (throat pouch) – almost as big as their head – is what allows them to make such an impressive and amplified sound.
When we arrived at the Botanical Garden carpark, the calls of the Red-bearded Bee-eater (Nyctyornis amictus) grabbed our attention. We quickly spotted a pair of them perching high up in the trees. Before we could get a good look, they flew off and continued laughing at us with their deep hoarse voice going “Muahahaha..muahahaha“.
The Botanical Garden can be accessed via a 1-km footpath that meanders through a nicely manicured jungle. The garden is wild enough for the birds and other wildlife to thrive in yet not too wild for the general tourist to enjoy.
Another visiting tourist of the garden was the Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica), who had taken a liking for a particular branch and made it his permanent feeding and resting spot.
Around the surrounds of the garden, we spotted several other resident birds, including the Sultan Tit (Melanochlora sultanea)…
…and the Scarlet Minivet (Pericrocotus speciosus).
We had heard from local birders about the existence of a birding port outside the Botanical Garden where the famed Mountain Peacock-pheasant (Polyplectron inopinatum) is known to roam. And so we went on the hunt for this port hoping for a glimpse of the elusive pheasant. There, a hide had been helpfully set up for the birders to wait for their target.
Alas, we were not granted audience by the Mountain Peacock-pheasant, as we had failed to come bearing gifts. A lone Tiger Shrike, however, took pity on us and came out to flash us a grin before taking off.
As we wandered out of the bird hide, we stumbled upon the entrance to the Japanese Village.
Suddenly we were transported to another land, another country, where zen gardens, rock pools and koi ponds were a common sight.
While walking around and trying to soak in the zen atmosphere, we suddenly saw a large shape causing a tiny commotion in the tree. It was the famous resident of Berjaya Hills, the Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros), who also happens to be the national bird of Malaysia! What a fascinating sight to clap eyes on!
While the hornbill was busy picking tiny – in comparison to its size – berries from the fruiting tree, many other birds were also enjoying the juicy fruits from the same tree. The birds we managed to catch with our spy cam included the Sooty Barbet (Caloramphus hayii)…
…the Yellow-crowned Barbet (Psilopogon henricii)…
…the Red-throated Barbet (Psilopogon mystacophanos)…
…and the Stripe-throated Bulbul (Pycnonotus finlaysoni).
Back at the garden entrance, we spotted a family of Dusky Leaf Monkeys (Trachypithecus obscurus) enjoying an all-you-can-eat leaf buffet while nursing their babies.
Also commonly seen roaming the roads of the hills are the Pig-tailed Macaques (Macaca nemestrina), who seemed almost as numerous as our Long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis), but way bossier.
It was heartening to see the Whiskered Treeswift (Hemiprocne comata) come out to bid us farewell as we made our way back down the hill.