A few months ago, about the Cameron Highlands I put down in my diary the words ‘This is not what you will expect it to be, whatever that is’. While reading this sentence, memories float back to me. Yes, the plantations are as stunning as on the pictures, but there’s more to the Cameron Highlands than tea fields…!
18 march 2015 – 2,5 day
This village amidst of the tea plantations and an impressive dense jungle, is surprisingly busy and developed. High up in the mountains, Malaysia’s architecture takes whole different forms. Buildings are designed to keep the cool air outside (or inside?) and therefore you will find a lot more concrete around yourself then you would have seen the past days, weeks or months travelling through Asia. Welcome to an Austrian wintersport village Malaysian style. A buzzing boulevard runs along the main street, filled with restaurants and shops. There’s no need to look for another village while staying in the Cameron Highlands. Tanah Rata will suite you in all your needs. From here, a lot of tracks to plantations and through jungles take of. We stayed in KRS Pines, which we booked through Agoda. The staff is very friendly, the garden is nice, the rooms are very basic.
Around Tanah Rata
In every hostel around Cameron Highlands, they can inform you well about the possible walks and tours. You will see that everything here is set up for the (mainly local) tourist money flow. No shortage in Bee/Strawberry/Lavender farms with a high entertainment edge. I enjoyed the following sights around the area:
One of the two most popular tea plantation fields in the area. Absolutely stunning views! You can also enjoy the Cameron tea with pie in the restaurant overlooking the field. Although busy with tourists, they don’t get in your way for gazing and shooting pictures between the bushes. You get here by walking along the main road downwards (50 min).
Boo Tea Plantation
The other plantation. Little harder to reach, but maybe even more pretty than the valley. You can take a tour here (including a visit to the fabric) or go here by yourself, which is an experience on itself. From Tanah Rata you can take the local bus to Brinchang. The busdriver drops you off at the beginning of track no. 1, which is the trail you need to hike up for about 1,5 hour. A little challenging, but not too hard at all. The surrounding is very impressive!! At the top of the trail, you follow the road down for ca 15 minutes and you are at the ‘Mossy Forest’. Might be interesting to take a look, we skipped this because we could join a Malay family driving down the road to the tea fields. The ride took about 15 minutes. If you have to walk, it can be about 45 min I guess to reach this beautiful landscape. From Boo Tea Plantation it’s 45 minutes down the road to the main way. From here, we took a taxi back to Tanah Rata (30 min, 20R).
Being a little creative, you can make your own tour by adding tracks together. Walking from 4 to 3 to 5 and back to the main street is a nice tour of 2,5-3 hours. To find track 3 after finishing the paved track 4, can be a bit hard. Make sure you find the golf course and walk around it anti clock-wise. In about 10 mins, you will see signs to ‘OCBC’ and ‘Arcadia’ on your right hand. This street you walk into and keep to the left side all the way up. Next to the ‘Arcadia’ villa, or whatever it is, starts the very beautiful and peaceful jungle track no 3. Halfway this track, you can take no. 5 which brings you back to Tanah Rata. The last trails are clearly marked and indicated. I really enjoyed finding my way through the untouched forests. They are very green and pretty.
Getting to Tanah Rata
It’s not hard to get here. The major bus companies all drive here daily. I took a bus from Komtar bus terminal in Georgetown to Tanah Rata for 40R, booked through the website easybook. It’s necessary to book in advance! The drive takes about 3 hours. Between CH and Taman Negara national park run tourist mini-buses. They cost about 60R pp.