After five days of heat and crowds in Kuala Lumpur, it was nice to escape the city and spend a couple of nights in the cooler countryside of the Cameron Highlands, known for its tea plantations and strawberry farms.
Two nights here was plenty of time for us to visit a couple of tea plantations and strawberry farms; those who stay longer often hike the nearby trails in the Mossy Forest, but with Borneo fresh in the memory we thought we’d have a little break from hiking!
The first thing we noticed here was the weather which was lovely and cool; still T-shirt and shorts weather in the day but in the evening I had to dig my hoody out for the first time in a few weeks. Our bus dropped us off in the main town of Tanah Rata, which was small & quiet but very friendly and contains all of the essentials, including our accomodation for the next two nights.
The attractions here are not in walking distance; in addition, there are no Uber’s or Grab’s, and everything goes through taxi’s which run from a small station in Tanah Rata town centre. The fares are all fixed so there is no bartering or haggling to be done here. In addition, the drivers are friendly, and patiently chat to each-other whilst waiting for the next fare. This was a nice break from our previous experiences of having to negotiate hard with drivers (I recall our friend Uppal in Sri Lanka telling us that 90% of drivers are dishonest!)
A trip to the next town up of Brinchang was MYR10 (AUD$3); from there a number of places were walking distance away, including Big Red Strawberry Farm, and the interesting Time Tunnel Museum, which we were able to visit on our first day.
The tea plantations were a bit further afield, so for our second day, we hired a taxi driver (again a flat fee, MYR25 an hour for a minimum of three hours) to take us to Boh Tea Plantation, which was a wonderfully photogenic spot in the hillside.
On our way back, we visited our second strawberry farm, Raaju’s. As the strawberries here are planted in hydroponic containers under cover, strawberries can be grown all year round with less reliance on the weather. For MYR30, we were able to pick 500g of our own to take away with us!
Our final stop was the Sam Poh Buddhist Temple, which was located just outside Brinchang and well worth popping in quickly as it was on our way back into town.
The food here is also very good; there is a bit of Indian influence here so on one of the evenings we were able to grab a delicious curry. On the second night we tried a ‘curry bread bowl’, effectively a butter chicken cob loaf – delicious!
Overall Cameron Highlands had a good balanced feel to it; it was warm, but not too hot, touristy, but not too touristy, and fairly well priced, especially compared to Kuala Lumpur where we’d just come from. A great stop over for a couple of nights before we headed back to the bus station and on to Penang.