Mention Genting Highlands to Malaysians, and the first few things that would probably come to their minds are — the casino, the theme park, and the opportunity to dress up in winter fashion in this tropical country. This hill resort is located atop the Titiwangsa mountain range in the state of Pahang, more than 1700m above sea level; and is therefore blessed with fresh mountain air and cooling weather. After all, the name Genting (or 云顶, pronounced yun-ding) means ‘above the clouds’ in the Chinese language.
The mountain range surrounding Genting Highlands is covered in lush vegetation, but I honestly didn’t know there was the opportunity to hike these forests. So imagine my surprise when during a media trip with Resorts World Genting, I was brought for a nature walk. And the trail has an interesting name too — it is called the Fashion Forest.
What is the Fashion Forest?
The Fashion Forest covers a main trail of 350m; and a side trail of 150m through the 130 millions years old rainforest of the Titiwangsa mountain range. It is run by Resorts World Genting and Treks, a consultancy that designs nature activities and programs in Genting Highlands. The Fashion Forest trail begins at Awana Hotel Genting’s Longhouse (accessible by road), and ends at the Awana golf course. The guided nature walk begins every morning at 9am-11.30am, and costs RM75 (~US$16) for adults, and RM65 (~US$14) for kids. You can register for the walk at the hotel reception.
The aim of Fashion Forest is to combine nature with digital technologies. There is no better way to create more awareness about our rainforest without the risk of destroying it than by sharing it on social media; and no better way to get instant information during the walk than by obtaining it straight from the web. The man behind Treks and also our guide for the day, Eddie Chan, was very enthusiastic in sharing this modern educational concept of the Fashion Forest. He constantly emphasized that internet connectivity is available all throughout the trail.
What to Expect at the Fashion Forest?
From the start of the walk until the end of the trail, Eddie was extremely detailed in explaining the many things to expect at the Fashion Forest — constantly pointing out the scenic galleries, information signs and visual aids (that comes in the form of rectangular Natgeo frames) that helped us focus on a certain view of the forest. His explanations can get pretty lengthy at times, but it was still fascinating to hear how he likened the trees to supermodels living amongst us; all posing on the forest floor that acts as their very own runway. Thus the name Fashion Forest.
The Fashion Forest trail is a moderate walk so it is suitable for everyone, from families to groups. The trail is pretty easy to walk on as the forest floor has also been cleaned and cleared — but of course, proper walking shoes are still required. And don’t forget those insect repellents!
What to See at the Fashion Forest?
The Fashion Forest is located at about 750 to 1,200m altitude, and is therefore an upper dipterocarp forest. It was written on one of the signboards in the forest that some of the species of trees found in this forest are like the Meranti (Shorea), Damar Minyak (Kauri) and Bintangor — used for timber and plywood. There are also super giant fig trees, and 12 different rattan trees.
The forests of Genting Highlands is great for spotting birds; and they do offer some specific bird programs as well. There are 5 different species of hornbills found in these forests, including the Great Hornbill; as well as Serpent Eagles and the Blythe Hawk. We were lucky to have spotted an eagle flying high in the sky, but that was the only wildlife we encountered during our walk. I really wanted to spot a Black Gibbon — apparently they can sometimes be seen crossing the roads. That would have been a sight!
My Experience at the Fashion Forest
Treks has great visions and plans for the Fashion Forest to bring nature to more people via digital technologies. In the near future, you can expect quick information with just a scan of a barcode tagged on the trees — just use your phones to learn more about the many plants and trees in the forest. Some of the trees have already been tagged; but of course, there are more facilities in the works. During our visit, we were also encouraged to sign a Celebri-Tree pledge to plant a tree in someone’s heart — an initiative by Treks to help spread the love for our mother earth.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to walk the entire trail; so we could only experience a small portion of what the Fashion Forest has to offer. Maybe in the future when everything is up and running, I will return for a full nature walk in the rainforest of Genting Highlands.
How to Get to the Fashion Forest?
During my media trip with Resorts World Genting, we stayed at First World Resort on the top of the hill. To get to the Fashion Forest, we took the Awana SkyWay (cable car) down from the SkyAvenue Station (1725m above sea level) to the Awana Station (1105m above sea level). The trip costs RM8 (~US$1.8) and takes about 10 minutes. The gondola flies over the theme park and Chin Swee Temple, and offers breathtaking views of the rainforest below. There are also glass-floor gondolas available for RM50 (~US$11) per person. From the Awana Station, it is a quick bus ride over to the Awana Hotel Genting, where the Fashion Forest is located.
From Kuala Lumpur, Genting Highlands is about an hour’s drive away — and public transport via bus or taxi is widely available.
Find out more about the Fashion Forest Walk by visiting the Treks website at treks.events; or you can email them for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*She Walks the World visited the Fashion Forest as a guest on a Media Trip with Resorts World Genting. As always, all opinions stated here are my own.
*All prices stated are accurate at the time of writing in January 2017.
*Photos by Michael Marvin Photography are watermarked.