Situated 4 hours by road, north of the concrete jungle of Kuala Lumpur, a lush, green area of scenic mountains known as the Cameron Highlands awaits any traveller looking to get out of the boisterous essence of a big city. It’s a place on the northern backpacking route from Malaysia to Thailand and has much to offer for those who prefer the smells of the rainforests over the architecture of a skyscraper.
Several buses that run daily will get you to the Cameron Highlands from KL TBS Bus station (Bandar Tasik Selatan train station), and the cost of the journey is roughly 35 Ringgit ($11 AUD). The journey is quite picturesque however can get a bit windy once you hit the mountains. As soon you hit the mountain regions you can immediately notice the vast difference in scenery. Tea plantations cover the hills like perfectly formed hedged mazes, there are forests as far as the eye can see and the air is fresher, and a little cooler, which is a perfect change to the constant humidity of Malaysia. As a nature lover myself I’ve come here to escape the city and immerse myself in the greenery that envelopes these highlands, and put together a list of what other surprises this place has to offer.
It’s a trekker’s paradise
The Cameron Highlands offer a range of stunning jungle walks to suit all levels. Trek to Gunung Brinchang, the highest peak of the highlands (2000m) for panoramic views of the area. For something simpler, trek to Robinson Falls for some perfect photo opportunities and natural surrounds. I quite enjoyed the Jungle Trek 3, which is about a 2.6km intermediate trek where you’ll find yourself in the heart of the jungle, with nothing but nature and the sounds of the tuneful birds that call this place home.
You can find the list of treks available here
They grow an abundance of fruit and vegetables in the highlands
The geographic location of the Cameron Highlands makes it one of the best climates in the world to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables. The fertile soil in the region grows much of Malaysia’s strawberry supply, as well as other veggies such as tomato, cauliflower and cabbage. While you’re here you can visit a strawberry farm and even do your own strawberry picking. I loved the EQ strawberry farm, which also made the most delicious home made strawberry sugar-free ice cream.
They serve locally sourced produce in their restaurants
Being a nature lover you would know that sourcing local produce is a great reduction in environmental impact. With such an array of delicious fruits and vegetables it’s no wonder many of the local eateries source their produce from the local markets, where a majority is grown on the highlands. There is a lovely café in Tanah Rata called the Lord’s Café that serves delicious locally made strawberry scones and local tea. They also sell a range of handmade crafts with the profits going back into the community.
Another great eatery is the Cameron Organic Steamboat restaurant in Brinchang who source a majority of their produce from a local Organic Farm, and have won many awards for leading the way in Organic growing practices. If you’re after a vegetarian meal I highly recommend the FU Guang Vegetarian Fast Food restaurant in Brinchang. A sizeable plate of vegetarian food will set you back 5 Ringgit ($1.59 AUD) and it is also a place where you can fill up your water bottle with filtered water after a trek. Bargain!
The Tea Plantations are just gorgeous
One of the iconic things to do while in the Cameron Highlands is to visit a Tea Plantation. The stunning green scenery that covers a majority of the highlands are the tea crops, which are harvested daily for making and sending tea to many parts of Malaysia. The views of the tea plantations are one of the most spectacular things about the highlands and there are a few plantations you can visit while enjoying a locally grown and brewed cuppa.
The Boh Plantation is probably the most famous, and also the most touristy, but here you can see how the tea is made and find out the extended history of the company who have participated in a lot of environmental awareness programs such as the New Hope for Orangutan’s project. There is also the Bharat Tea Plantation with breathtaking panoramic views of the tea crops where you can relax and have some tea and scones in the afternoon while admiring the view.