The Gap Resthouse

The Gap is the name given to the highest point of the pass which cuts through the Titiwangsa Mountain Range on the road linking Kuala Kubu Bharu (in Selangor) with Raub (in Pahang).

The Gap is situated at about 800 metres above sea level and from here a narrow single track road winds its way up a further 400m or so to cool hill resort of Fraser’s Hill.

The Gap Resthouse

For more than 100 years, a fine stone-built Tudor style Resthouse has stood at this spot offering accommodation and refreshment to travellers. In fact the Resthouse is even older than Fraser’s Hill which was not really developed as a hill resort until the 1920s.

A travel guide book from 1913 wrote:

Here begins to blow a breeze which starts in the China Sea and is going to end in the Straits of Malacca. It is deliciously cool and the views of both sides of the ridge along which the road runs are magnificent. The Gap resthouse should be reached by 3pm and there will perhaps be time for tea and to admire the roses and dahlias which grow so well at this height.

The road to Fraser’s Hill is so narrow that they used to operate an alternating direction system so that on odd hours the road was reserved for traffic going up and on even hours for traffic coming down.  Travellers who mistimed their arrival at the Gap might find the road closed, leaving them with an hour to kill. No doubt the Resthouse picked up a lot of business that way, as a convenient place for travellers to wait and enjoy a cup of tea.

A few years ago however a second Fraser’s Hill road was opened and now the old road is permanently open for ‘up’ traffic and the new one for ‘down’ traffic. Since travellers no longer need to wait, this may have affected business.

Going UpComing Down

The Gap Resthouse remained a popular hotel right up until the 1980s and 1990s and was run by the Government. Bird watchers in particular liked to stay here. A few years back it was ‘temporarily’ closed for renovation but for some reason the work was never completed and to this day the building is abandoned and under threat from the elements. I note that the nearby Hing Kee Coffeehouse, which would have catered for those on lower budgets than the Resthouse’s target market, has also closed down. This building is for sale or rent if you are interested in relocating to this beautiful location. Some renovation needed!

The former Hing Kee Coffeehouse is for sale.

Here are a few photos of the Gap Resthouse interior taken in January 2013.

The Gap Resthouse

The building looks structurally sound and solidly built and the roof appears intact. 

It gets cool enough for a log fire here in the evenings.

Henri Fauconnier, in his book The Soul of Malaya, writes about this resthouse:

best and most unlooked for of welcomes – tall flames were dancing in a fireplace.

F. Spencer Chapman also refers to this place in The Jungle is Neutral, his famous account of guerilla warfare against the Japanese.

The rooms have generous proportions.

This heritage building can still be saved and restored to its former glory provided action is taken now. Hurry before the climate and vandals take it beyond repair.

The Gap Resthouse - in need of sympathetic restoration.

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3 Responses to The Gap Resthouse

  1. Sean L says:

    I remember having a meal at the turquoise coffee shop whilst waiting for the gates to open in 1998. It is sad to see the resthouse in this condition. In 2010, the resthouse still had all of its doors and windows. Now when you wait for the gate to open, there’s nothing to do but stare at the deplorable condition of the Gap.

  2. betty Thorpe hintz says:

    I don’t know the Gap, unfortunately, as it looks lovely. But I do know Fraser’s Hill very well and certainly recall the hours for Up or Down. We would stay in the gov. Rest House in Seremban and have an early breakfast next day in order to make the 10:00 am upward trip. We stayed in gov. cottages, all equipped with cooks and amahs, and all nice. Ah, the good old days!!

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