Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Population: 38,000
History: Discovered by Sir William Cameron in 1855
State: Pahang
Trivia: Cameron Highlands is about the same size as Singapore

 

Cameron Highlands, an agricultural paradise and home to several tea plantation fields and farms, this peaceful resort is located in the state of Pahang along the Titiwangsa Range 5000 feet above sea level.

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Aside from the breathtaking, scenic views and the serenity of nature, the cool climate is also one of the main reasons why the town within the mountainous region has a flourishing agricultural landscape. It is also the drawing point for me to decide on this venture over 675 km from Singapore.

Touring around

If you are looking for a quick tour at an affordable price range, the Countryside Tour itinerary covers most of the main attractions i.e. The Butterfly/Reptile Park, Honey Bee Farm, BOH Tea Plantation, Rose Valley, Strawberry Farm and the Buddhist Temple.

Out of these, personally, I felt that there are three attractions highly worth mentioning:

Butterfly/Reptile Park
I was greeted by the fresh and cool atmosphere when I stepped into the park. I must say I was pleasantly surprised when the guide told us that the butterflies roam freely. Unlike the common ones that one encounters, they are very trusting to strangers allowing themselves to stick on to you. So, do not be alarmed if the gardener cheekily place a winged creature on your shoulder:)

Venturing deeper in, the serenity of the park turns into a colourful garden of hydroponic blossom. Rows of unique species of flowers of different shapes fill your senses with awe, and a sense of serenity in this garden. For such a calming place, one might feel inclined to want to linger a bit longer. Besides flora specimens, there are also interesting fauna such as giant beetles, vipers, monitor lizards etc, all housed in their respective glass tanks, with the exception of rabbits which are kept in their cages.

BOH Tea Plantation  
It offers a breath taking view 2000m above sea level, the land is vast with lush greenery filling one’s horizon with an endless sea of green tea plantations. The gentle warmth of the morning sun combined with the cooling breeze, the picturesque scene is completed with the endless blue sky. Words and photos aren’t enough – one must be there to experience it.

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Tea time at BOH Tea Plantation cafe:

boh tea cafe

Rose Valley:
Home to over a hundred species of exotic flowers, including the Butterfly Jade Flower and the Blue Rose, the multi-level garden is designed perfectly for a princess in a dreamland. Expect scents of different flowers as you stroll through a dazzling array of colourful flowers. We had a good time exploring the beautiful garden – the serenity is real. It kind of reminds you of the Flower Dome in Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, doesn’t it?

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Be sure to pick up some of the fresh, organic sweet corn cobs on your way out of the Rose Valley. They’re extremely affordable. In contrast to the unappealing paleness of the corn, arguably it is the best sweet corn I had ever tasted! With every bite, its juiciness enveloped my mouth with heavenly sweetness. Heck, I could eat it everyday.

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Don’t be fooled  by its pale appearance – its taste packs a punch!:)

Food
Cameron Highlands, like many popular tourist spots in the world, it offers a wide range of food from different cultures. Brinchang is known for its Chinese food mainly and it includes steamboats at an affordable price. As well as local Malay cuisines, Tanah Rata is more accustomed with foreigner and Indian delicacies.

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If you are still not accustomed to the chilling atmosphere, you need something hot to warm you up. Cameron Organic Produce Steamboat Restaurant, located just across the street opposite hotel (Rosa Pasadena). Choosing from three kinds of soup (Set A: Chicken Soup includes seafood and chicken, Set B and C is vegetable soup and mushroom, mainly for vegetarians). They are all fresh and organic and each set is recommended for three people but do not be fooled by the modest menu as each portion is actually quite huge! It comes at an easily affordable price of 23 Ringgit per person.

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Our oh-so-satisfying lunch

Missing Chinese food? Step into Delicious & Happiness Kitchen, a street behind Cameron Organic Produce Steamboat Restaurant. If you have been craving for pork for a while, you will be delighted to know that you can eat to your heart’s content – choose from 10 different kinds of pork as well as other kind of meats, seafood and vegetables.

As usual, expect big portions, so do not over order (unless you can really eat!). The quality of the food is above average and it is easily affordable at 10-12 Ringgit per plate. I recommend their Thai sauce fried chicken cutlet as it comes with an abundance of its special sauce which will wow your taste buds with its sweetness and mild spices. As I chewed on the crispy skin, the tender meat that greeted me was a delight.

Overall, the trip was satisfying. The folks there are pretty generous and happy, maybe because life move at a slower pace and generally, one’s expectations of life is not as high as compared to city life. I felt that the bonds between the people there are deeply connected. The villagers really help one another out in times of need and also even in business because of the system of the close-knitted community. For travellers, it is rather safe, but still, always keep a lookout because low crime does not mean no crime!

Mr. Raju Tour Review (excellent recommendation!)

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Mr. Raju striking a friendly pose

Because of his excellent services rendered to my family during our trip, I will be doing a special coverage on Mr. Raju, who toured me and my parents on April 2017.

Mr. Raju has been bringing tourists around since 1990 and knows his way in and around Cameron Highlands. Running a freelance agency with his friend, he does a wide spectrum of services including taxi transportation, sightseeing tours, 4×4 vehicle, accommodation (guest house, hotel, apartments, bungalows), trekking and F&B catering – in short, everything is customisable upon the customer’s request.

Perfect for people who are new and needs recommendations but does not like to follow strict timings from tour companies as well as veterans backpackers who seek flexible activities in smaller groups. Whether you prefer travelling on foot, a trip via heavy 4×4 truck or a cup of tea in the sunrise view, Mr. Raju can accurate your request with safety and satisfaction.

Upon his recommendation, we visited the Peak of Gunung Brinchang Mountain 2000m above sea level – which was one of my places of request. An additional charge of 80 Ringgit is required for Gunung Brinchang peak and mossy forest (which is located at the same place) due to the challenging navigation uphill ranging 10km away. Mr. Raju explained about the history of Gunnung Brinchang and offered to slow down for us to snap photos of cabbage farms on the way up. Atop, he waited for us as we ventured into the Mossy forest which offers a breathtaking view of the clouds.

On top of Mossy Forest highest peak:

mossy

On the way down, Mr. Raju shared an advice – avoid going up the mountains in the afternoon as traffic will start to pile up. Also, if you’re thinking of going up the mountain trail, you might want to consider a 4×4 truck as it is best suited for the rugged road due to its wheel traction and heavyweight for stability. We visited the BOH Tea Centre again for tea because I particularly enjoyed the view there.

Next, we stopped by Honey Bee Farm again for more shopping before moving on to the Time Tunnel Museum where Mr. Raju accompanied us for a bit. The museum comprises of antique equipment and shacks used by people of the early ages in Cameron Highlands, which is not too different from other places. The museum is also notably famous for the framed picture of Singapore founder Lee Kuan Yew and his son, Lee Hsien Loong when they first visited Cameron Highlands.

time tunnel
Traditional wooden houses interior in Time tunnel museum

Our last stop at the Siam Poh Buddhist temple was a short but memorable one before driving back to the hotel concluding the tour.

Once again, a big thanks to Mr. Raju for the wonderful experience and tour around! You can make reservations at raju7sk@gmail.com or +6 013 529 6200 or enquire for more details.

Here are some more photos Mr. Raju would like to share (credits go to Mr. Raju):

 

Travel Story Contributor:
Justin Toh
Singapore

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