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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Top 15 things to do in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia



Top 15 things to do in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia


Cameron Highlands is located in Peninsular Malaysia and is the smallest district of Pahang on the north-western corner of the state. A distance of 85 kilometers from Ipoh and about 200 kilometers from Kuala Lumpur. 

Our mode of transportation for this trip is the night bus starting from Golden Mile complex in Singapore all the way to Cameron Highlands. It's a tiresome travel so better equip yourself with a neck pillow or a small warm blanket for the long ride ahead. There are a few stopovers for bladder break along the way, yet try to drink less water for a more comfortable ride. The bus took off around 11 in the evening and we reached Cameron Highlands by 8:30 in the morning the following day. We took a cab to our hostel, most of the cabs don't run on a meter so the driver asked for 10 MYR for a less than 30 minutes ride which was just fine for four sleepy travelers. 


How to get there: Singapore to Malaysia

Meet-up point: Golden Mile Complex
Night Bus bound for Cameron Highlands 
Bus fare: 90 SGD ( roundtrip )
Travel time: 10 hours or more (depends on the traffic)

Taxi Fare to the Hostel: 10 MYR 

Check in CH Travellers Inn
Address: Tanah Rata, Pahang, Malaysia Phone:+60 19-440 1116
3 Days 2 Nights ( Bunk Beds ) with light breakfast : 30 SGD



1. Unguided Trek
Tanah Rata Path 10 to Gunung Jasar to Smoked House and back to Tanah Rata.

Get Lost and Have your own Adventure! We had breakfast the moment we arrived in Cameron Highlands then went back to our hostel for an early check in and had a long nap. Early afternoon we were already feeling energetic and adventurous so we decided to go on a trek on our own. We ask a travel agency for the nearby route around our area, purchased a map, some snacks and off to make our own adventure. The agent told us there will be signs in the area and w me did find it. However, the signs were ridiculously funny: one was just a white banner cloth dangling in a tree, a yellow ribbon with markings and an arrow engrave on the rock. 


The hostel is around Tanah Rata so we took Path 10 which starts from the City Apartments, pass by a Garden that leads to the Top of Gunung Jasar. We crossed a weather tower , made a turn around the mountain and made it back to civilization. Getting lost really made the trek more interesting. Once we were back on the road we decided to have a tea break as it was starting to rain and we needed some rest too. When you're up in the mountains expect some drastic weather changes so make sure you have a raincoat on hand. 

Fact: Jim Thomson is an American Researcher and businessman who helped revitalize the Thai silk industry . One day he was out in the woods on his own and he never came back. A rescue team was dispatched to find his whereabouts but all efforts failed.  
All throughout the trek we talked about him, with his lost it motivated us to be on the right track. My British friend volunteered to be the ahead of the pack to scout the right trail, unsurprisingly a minutes walk lasted for an hour ahahaaa. Being lost in the forest was actually the fun part of the trek. Important thing is we got back to civilization, so always have a handy map with you. I've even ignored buying a map for the trial 


2. Fancy Tea Break

Smoked House
Location: By-The-Golf Course, Tanah Rata, 39000, Pahang, Malaysia Phone:+60 5-491 1215
Food ranges from 10 MYR - 50 MYR

We deserved some good food after hours of trekking in the forest. This restaurant was a great sign for us it meant that we're on the right track on getting back to Tanah Rata. Good thing too that we decided to have some tea and snacks after the trek as it started to rain. 

The interior decoration of the place looked quite relaxing, it even reminded me of a nursery song entitled "In a cottage in a Wood." Just as the song says "In a cottage by the woods", it truly depicts the restaurant's environment. I always have songs in my mind playing on its own, funny as it seems even children songs is on the playlist. 


3. Book for a guided Tour
The next day we booked a guided tour, we did it online or you can booked the tour right there in Cameron Highlands. There's plenty of travel agency to choose from, even certain restaurants offer package tours too. All of them are selling the similar tours and prices, just a slight difference with the timings.

We choose to See the Sunrise over the wide expanse of  tea plantation in the early morning. Pick up time around 6 am and off we drove in a white Range Rover to Sungai Palas Estate to see the rising sun. It's quiet cold in the early morning so bring along a jacket to keep you warm during the tour. I choose my windbreaker jacket and a bonnet for the activity, its light and I can conveniently tie it around my small bag as the weather gets warmer in the afternoon. 

Sunrise Tour: 30 MYR
Nature Tour: 50 MYR-70 MYR
The tour package includes short trek in the Mossy Forest, Watch Tower, Tea Factory, Butterfly Park, Strawberry Farm, Market, Time Tunnel Museum and in the Chinese Temple.


4. Mossy Forest

Be mystified with the wonders of Nature. 

Enter the world of the Lord of the Rings. 

I love our tour guide he didn't bring us to the touristy Mossy Forest Boardwalk instead we trek inside the forest itself. We looked rugged enough for an adventure and I bet he knew were craving for the real exposure to nature. The trek started along the road which what seem like a rabbit hole where it leads us to the enchanted forest. The tree's were tall, slender and touching each others branches with overgrown mosses and some are just dangling in the air. 


5. Watch Tower

The tower is just a few minutes away from the trekking site, a great view of the mountains. We even found Jim Thomson's last message to the World. Bare in mind this is not a legitimate information about the lost hiker (blink).  


6. Tea Factory
Address: Boh Tea Estate, Ringlet, Pahang, Malaysia

Our next stop is the Boh Tea Factory where we learned a brief process of making tea. The place smelled of cut grass a scent I truly love despite others referring to it to have a pungent smell. 

We had our breakfast in the tea shop which was crowded with tourist, afterwards  bought some packed tea souvenirs and milk tea sachets. Breakfast: 10 MYR-30 MYR. Tea Products: 20 MYR-80 MYR.


7. Butterfly Park

We drove further down the road, passed by the sunrise viewing area and the endless sea of tea plantations. 

The Butterfly Park is located in 43rd Miles,, Kea Farm, 39100, Pahang, Malaysia
Entrance fee: 1O MYR
The package we purchased took care of all the entrance fee hassle and transportation from one tourist point to another. 


8. Strawberry Farm
This tour is not what I really expected, I thought we will be visiting a wide area of strawberry plants instead it was a just 3 row post of unripen strawberries. There was another viewing area of the farm but there's an entrance fee to get inside. 

They sell strawberry jam and fresh strawberries in the souvenir shop nearby the farm. It a must to try to this heart-shaped red fruit , the sweetness is quiet different from the once in the supermarket and with a twinge of sourness to complement the taste. 


9. Check out the day and night market

Afterwards we proceeded to the nearest market to check out the locals selling fruits and vegetables. They also sells goods like clothes, toys, household necessities and souvenirs. I bought a maroon poncho for 20 rinngit and that kept me warm on our night stroll in the city. 


10 . Time Tunnel Museum


Address: Cameron Highland, 39000 Brinchang, Pahang, Malaysia

Take a ride back to time where a mosquito spray is name as Ginger Beer and nonsmokers are well respected. 


11. Sam Poh Temple 

Address: No. 41, Jalan Kuari, 39100, Tanah Rata, Pahang, Malaysia
The only Buddhist Temple in Cameron Highlands. 


12. Take A Nap
This is one thing that I really needed and falling asleep in a cold environment is such a piece of cake. The warm bed sheet and soft comforter really adds up to the relaxing feeling of being in bed. It makes you just want to stay there for the rest of the day while waiting for tomorrow to come again. 


13. Massage
I wouldn't leave without a massage when I'm on a vacation. This is a must for me. An essential activity to end all my trips abroad, despite the cold weather that won't stop me from stripping my clothes for a relaxing massage.  Good thing my friends are supportive with my addiction. Price ranges from 150 MYR-250 MYR.


14. Food trip

We got to try a variety of dishes in Cameron. The famous Ayam Bakar was a great stopover for lunch before heading to the Butterfly Park. 

The are Indian Restaurants all around the place so we decided to give it a try. We tried their Chicken Murtabak and Prata with condensed milk. 

Having a Steamboat gathering is a must-try in Cameron too. It's a great way to beat the cold and to bond with new found friends. 


15. Jungle Bar

The bar is situated in Tanah Rata, inside Daniel Lodge. It's not easy to find this place just follow a series of backpackers hostel and ask a local or tourist for direction.

The best way to end the night is to have a bottle of cold beer with friends. We bought some marshmallows and sat around the bonfire as the rain showered the night. It was  a perfect way to end our trip.
Cold Beer: 9 MYR

The next day we went back to Singapore. Our online bus booking includes a return bus ride to SG, better have it booked ahead of time to avoid the hassle. The bus pick-up point was in Copthorne Hotel which was 30 minutes away from our hostel. We took a cab to get there but we got caught in a  traffic jam. I'm was really surprised about the terrible traffic they have, I guess I was expecting a less crowded feel in a rural place like Cameron Highlands. The city life and the tourism industry is really catching up. The taxi was really moving slowly, so when we got to a familiar point, we quickly paid the taxi fare and walk run to the hotel. 


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