The Cameron Highlands, Malaysia: Running for the Hills

BOH tea fields, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

The gorgeous tea fields in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

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.

Tanah Rata (Cameron Highlands, Malaysia)

The main town of Tanah Rata

Father's Guest House (Cameron Highlands, Malaysia)

We stayed at the clean and friendly Father’s Guest House. Would definitely recommend this guest house.

We rented a motobike on our first full day and decided to take the main highway and explore the nearby towns.

Motorcycling around the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Our ride for the day

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.

Cameron Valley tea fields (Malaysia)

Taking in the views over Cameron Valley tea fields

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 tea fields (Malaysia)

Enjoying the views from the cafe

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.

Tea and scones (Cameron Highlands, Malaysia)

Warm fluffy scones, clotted cream & fresh strawberry jam

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.

Cameron Valley tea fields (Malaysia)

Wandering amongst the tea fields at Cameron Valley

Cameron Valley tea fields (Malaysia)

Basking in the sun and taking in the views

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.

Time Tunnel (Cameron Highlands, Malaysia)

The entrance to the Time Tunnel memorabilia museum

Time Tunnel (Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia)

Awesome vintage memorabilia all over the walls

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.

Hotpot (aka Steamboat) in Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Steamy, savoury hotpot (aka Steamboat) in the town of Tanah Rata

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

BOH tea fields, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Beautiful view of BOH tea fields in the morning

BOH tea fields, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Our guide teaching about the process of harvesting tea leaves

The supposedly easy jaunt through the Mossy Forest…

Mossy Forest (Cameron Highlands, Malaysia)

An “easy stroll” through the Mossy Forest

…that required tricky climbs down moss-covered vines and tree trunks…

Mossy Forest (Cameron Highlands, Malaysia)

Jason went down first, so he could catch me in case I slipped off the vines

…and face-to-face encounters with carnivorous plants…

The carnivorous plant in the Mossy Forest (Cameron Highlands, Malaysia)

The carnivorous plant (a.k.a Pitcher Plant, Monkey Cup) in the Mossy Forest – not big enough to eat people…just bugs.

We stopped by the butterfly museum.  Where we saw 2 butterflies and then an endless number of creepy looking insects…

Leaf bug (Cameron Highlands, Malaysia)

A bug pretending to be a leaf!

Handling scorpions (Cameron Highlands, Malaysia)

My husband pretending to enjoy holding the poisonous scorpion

Saturday night market in Brinchang (Cameron Highlands, Malaysia)

Locals and tourists jammed into the Saturday night market in Brinchang

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.

Meat on a stick (Cameron Highlands, Malaysia)

Meat on a stick

Strawberries on a stick (Cameron Highlands, Malaysia)

Strawberries on a stick

We noticed a certain theme amongst food items:

Honeycomb on a stick (Cameron Highlands, Malaysia)

Even honeycomb on a stick

Of course no night market is complete without huge vats of rice and noodles.

Humongous woks of noodles and rice (Cameron Highlands, Malaysia)

Humongous woks of noodles and rice

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.

Rolling mountains (Cameron Highlands, Malaysia)

Rolling mountains and cool misty air