By now, we had been in Malaysia for over three weeks. That’s over three weeks of 38°C weather – sticky, humid, need-to-shower-twice-a-day-maybe-three-times-some-days weather. It was time for a break. So we ran for the hills. Well, we ran for the hill station of Malaysia: the Cameron Highlands.
In the 1930s, the Cameron Highlands was developed into a hill station (or a summer retreat) for the British stationed in Malaysia, who wanted to escape the intense Malaysian heat. Stationed around the highest point in Peninsular Malaysia that’s accessible by car, the average daily temperature is 18°C.
The Cameron Highlands are made up of several small towns. We stayed in Cameron Highlands for a few days and set up camp in the main town, Tanah Rata.
We rented a motobike on our first full day and decided to take the main highway and explore the nearby towns.
The Cameron Highlands is known for their tea plantations and there are several scattered around the area, mainly owned by duopolies: BOH and Cameron Valley/Bharat tea plantations.
We were advised by locals to check out the Cameron Valley tea plantation just south of Tanah Rata. There are two tea houses, go to the second one if you are going south from Tanah Rata – the views are better.
Cameron Valley/Bharat tea plantation had a small, quiet cafe that overlooked the tea fields and served freshly brewed tea and warm scones. It was a huge difference from the tourist-rammed restaurant at the BOH tea plantation so I can definitely see why the locals recommended it.
The day started off cloudy but the sun started peeking out soon after we finished out last scone. By the time we made it down into the tea fields, it felt like a beautiful spring day.
We motored by a kitschy little memorabilia museum called the Time Tunnel, which was crammed full of collectibles and paraphernalia from what life was like in Malaysia prior to World War II. We spent an hour or so getting lost amongst all the vintage displays and reading through all the various exhibits on the history of Cameron Highlands.
Even though, during the day, the temperature can climb up to 25°C, after the sun sets and mist crawls in, the temperature dips into the low teens – making it perfect weather for hotpot! In the Cameron Highlands, they call it Steamboat. No matter what you call it or where you have it, it’s always delicious.
The following day, we booked a day tour with one of the many tour companies in town and checked out a couple of the other local tourist hotspots:
The BOH tea plantation & tea fields
The supposedly easy jaunt through the Mossy Forest…
…that required tricky climbs down moss-covered vines and tree trunks…
…and face-to-face encounters with carnivorous plants…
We stopped by the butterfly museum. Where we saw 2 butterflies and then an endless number of creepy looking insects…
We heard the place to be on a Saturday night was the night market in Brinchang. Even though it was raining, locals and tourists were out in full force.
We noticed a certain theme amongst food items:
Of course no night market is complete without huge vats of rice and noodles.
We enjoyed the cool mountain air and tea & scones the most. And it was nice to be covered in sweaters, as opposed to just sweat, for a few days.