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fieryfox Cameron Highlands - A travel report by Farizan
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Cameron Highlands,  Malaysia - flag Malaysia -  Pahang
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fieryfox's travel reports

A tropical retreat tucked in the Pahang Highlands

  10 votes
Page: 1 2
Cameron Highlands is a popular weekend destination among city dwellers of Ipoh, Penang and Kuala Lumpur. It offers a scenic drive through lush rainforests found in the highlands of the Titiwangsa Main range away from the concrete jungles of the city.


View of Farms, Terraces, Homes and the Highlands in the Background
View of Farms, Terraces, Homes and the Highlands in the Background
The Cameron Highlands is 5000ft above sea level and is located about 200km from KL and only 120km from city of Ipoh. The strange part about getting to Camerons is that although it is perched on one of the highest peaks in the state of Pahang, until recently, it is only accessible through roads in Perak ie from the North South Expressway exit in Simpang Pulai or Tapah. Driving from KL will take approximately 2 1/2 hours and about 2 hours from Simpang Pulai. In the last couple of years, a new route to Cameron Highlands was opened. Now it is also accessible through the Gua Musang highway which grants access to East coast dwellers as well.

Cameron Highlands was discovered by an English surveyor in the late 19th century while Malaysia was under British rule. William Cameron identified the area and figured that the cool climate was perfect for tea cultivation, a highly sought commodity at the time. He then established one of the first tea plantations and later others followed. Throughout history Camerons is famed for it's tea - Blue Valley, Boh Cameronian are some of the famous brands from here.

Today, Cameron Highlands thrives on Agro-tourism. The landscape is now filled with orchards, vegetable farms, flower terraces and nurseries. It is also possible to observe aborigines communities and interact with them if you wish. You can buy exotic fruits or plants or buy buckets of fresh vegetables for only RM10. The weather is nice and cool and the people are friendly - they are the true attraction of Cameron Highlands.

Favourite spots:
View inside the Nurseries
View inside the Nurseries
The journey up to the highest point in Cameron Highlands will take you through several small villages and towns. The 3 major towns are Ringlet, Tanah Rata and Brinchang. Brinchang is located at the highest spot and this is where the tourism activity is concentrated in. It appears to be a small, quiet town on weekdays but becomes overly congested on the weekends. It has all the amenities, such as banks, taxi stands, cafes, restaurants, convenient stores etc.
I stayed overnight in Equatorial Resort and its just a few minutes walk to Kea Farm Market and the Mossy Mountain. It is possible to drive up to Mossy Mountain but I recommend a 4 wheel drive to do it. If you're fit and adventurous, you can even hike up the Mountain - it is only a 9km climb.
Flower Nurseries and self-plucking strawberry farms are very popular tourist spots.
The Cameron Valley is also a very popular stop. Many visitors take a guided tour into the tea plantation to see how tea is made.

What's really great:
The Olde Smokehouse
The Olde Smokehouse
I especially liked the scenic view from the hilltop in Brinchang. The Equatorial resort is surrounded by beautiful gardens and are really great for vivid photography. I enjoyed the scenery and the weather was perfect! There is slight fog in the morning but it clears quickly.

I also really like the visit to the Olde Smokehouse. It's a beautiful English cottage that was turned into an exclusive hotel. It houses many trinkets from the past and has a beautifully landscaped garden. A photo opportunity not to be missed and certainly one for the album.

The other memorable experience for me is stopping for Devonshire Tea. It would be great if you could stop at the Blue Valley Plantation but too often it is crowded with tourists. I settled for an afternoon at the Vintage Cafe in Brinchang. It's secluded but quaint. The Food is tasty and the price is more than reasonable. Best of all, the memories will last a lifetime.

Sights:
Undulating Highlands
Undulating Highlands
My personal favourite is the view of the Undulating Valleys on the way up to Tanah Rata- way before the appearance of Farms, orchards or signs of human activity. I enjoy the rainforest scenery, looking at mountains and beautiful flora, fern trees wrapped in the mist. The view is priceless!

There are many waterfalls in Camerons and they are perfect picnic spots. The gushing waters are crystal clear and truly refreshing. Lata Iskandar is very popular amongst tourists but unfortunately the beautiful surroundings are interrupted by unsightly stalls and hawkers that try to sell their wares to visitors of this waterfall. It is possible to hike up to the top of the waterfall but be sure to be properly geared to do so. The footpath are often slippery due to frequent rain in the area.

Accommodations:
Equatorial Highlands Resort, Brinchang
Equatorial Highlands Resort, Brinchang
There are many hotels in Cameron Highlands but the nice and cozy ones are a little bit pricey. The Equatorial Resort is located at one of the highest spot in Cameron Highlands, hence the prices are steep especially during holiday seasons. However, you can be assured a very pleasant stay, the rooms are tastefully decorated and are very comfortable. It offers a scenic view of the undulating valleys and gardens below from the balcony. Other notable hotels are the Heritage Hotel in Tanah Rata, The Olde Smokehouse and the Strawberry Park Resort. The Lakehouse resort is also a popular hotel but is located about 21km from Brinchang. It faces an artificial lake (formerly a dam) and is surrounded with highland rainforests.



Bed and Breakfast are also available if you are on a budget, a list of available accommodation can be obtained at the Tourist Information Centre.

Nightlife:
Yummy Food at the Equatorial Coffeehouse
Yummy Food at the Equatorial Coffeehouse
The Restaurants in Brinchang and Tanah Rata are open until about 10pm or until the last customer steps out. There are also convenient stores that are open 24 hours as well as 24hr Automated Banking Facilities. So if you're bored with your Vision four tv Channel you could take a drive down into town. In some of the hotels, like Equatorial and Cameron Highlands Resort there is live entertainment in the coffeehouse and Lounge. Feel free to explore and ask around at the hotel reception for lively nightspots near you!

Hangouts:
Vegetable Market at Kea Farm
Vegetable Market at Kea Farm
To summarise the popular farms amongst visitors, here are a few places to explore. The main activity here is Agro-tourism where you can either buy seedlings, plants, cactus, flowers and vegetables.

Rose Center and Rose Valley, Cactus Valley, Honey Bee Farms, The Central Market, Agrotechnology Park and Tea Plantations in Blue Valley and the Galleria Time Tunnel.

There is also Public Golf Course Club for ardent Golfers.



Restaurants:
Vintage Cafe in Brinchang
Vintage Cafe in Brinchang
There are many eateries in Cameron Highlands but the places are spread in Tanah Rata and Brinchang. In Tanah Rata there are a few notable ones that are popular with visitors and tourists, such as The Secret Recipe, The Schawing House, Restaurant No. 14 and the T. Cafe. There are many stalls along the Shoplots selling Malay and Chinese Food too.



In Brinchang, The Coffeehouse in Equatorial offers a great variety in their menu but they are quite pricey. Great choices in Western and Oriental Cuisine. There is Buffet Lunch and Dinner Too. Other places I would recommend is the Vintage Cafe. It's on the First Floor and really secluded. The menu has a good mix of western and local cuisine and the food is indeed very tasty. The price is very reasonable - you can get lamb chops or fish and chips for only RM18. Pancakes are great and you can have it maple syrup or ice cream. Definitely recommended for their Devonshire Tea!

Other recommendations:
Brinchang Coronation Park
Brinchang Coronation Park
If you have a few days to spend in Cameron Highlands and favour Outdoor adventure jungle walks there are many hiking trails in Brinchang and Tanah Rata to explore. You can get a Jungle Trail List from Tourist Information. Some of the popular trails are the Trail blazing up to Gunung Brinchang by car and to the Mossy Mountain and Robinson Waterfall Trail that leads up to Tanah Rata. Proper shoes and attire is needed as the trails are not well defined and the unpredictable weather can turn the trails into a muddy and slippery path. There are also camping sites at FRIM and Gunung Brinchang.

Published on Thursday October 9th, 2008


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Thu, Nov 13 2008 - 05:48 AM rating by gloriajames

great read! 5*

Thu, Nov 06 2008 - 06:11 AM rating by rangutan

Great! Cameron Highlands is to Kuala Lumpur is like Bagio is to Manilla, in the tropics yet cool climate at high altitude....

Wed, Oct 15 2008 - 12:49 PM rating by jorgesanchez

Very complete, rich and delicious report with lots of information.

Sun, Oct 12 2008 - 08:50 AM rating by marianne

Very nice to read. We went to Cameron Highlands and I took the same picture as you did of the Old SSmokehouse. I was a bit disappointed with the Cameron Highlands as it was so built up, I thought it would have been more rural. Yet, It was good to read about it as our visit was a few years ago.

Sat, Oct 11 2008 - 07:12 PM rating by krisek

Amazingly, it looks almost like a piece of landscape somewhere in England! I have never heard of Agro-Tourism in Asia.

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