Earlier this year, my parents travelled from the UK to visit me in Singapore. Unaccustomed to the tropical heat, I planned a road trip into the cooler climes of Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands.
The Cameron Highlands are named after British explorer William Cameron, who mapped the area in 1885. During the colonial era, the British turned it into a mountain resort for those stationed in Malaya – a place to escape from the hot and humid tropical climate.
Rolling hillsides carpeted with lush greenery make for Teletubbyland-like scenery. With temperatures rarely going above 30°C, the air is fresher and cooler than surrounding lower lands. But what are my top 5 things to do?
1. Visit Boh Tea Plantation
Upon entering the Boh Plantation, you’re greeted with the sight you hoped for when you booked the trip. It’s vibrantly green and beautiful, the postcard image of the Cameron Highlands.
Do the free factory tour to see how they make their tea. It’s not too long, but pretty interesting. Afterwards, visit the cafe which has wonderful views over the plantation to try some loose leaf tea and cake. The well stocked gift shop offers lots of good gift options.
Boh is the largest black tea manufacturer in Malaysia. The Company produces 4 million kgs of tea annually which translates to about 5.5 million cups per day. This represents about 70% of all tea produced in Malaysia.
2. Go on a forest hike
There are a number of well-known forest trails through the Cameron Highlands. We didn’t find it particularly easy to get good quality information about them – how long they take to walk and which ones were closed, for example. After speaking with our hotel manager, we selected a route and set off.
Once on the trails, they are numbered, and fairly easy to follow. As a warning though, these are not a stroll in the park, they are full on forest hikes! Take water and strong shoes, you’re going to be climbing and scrambling on some challenging terrain!
3. Get pancakes at Yong Teng cafe
For breakfast, head into Tanah Rata and find Yong Teng cafe. The owners are deaf and mute, and the friendliest people ever. We spent nearly every morning here feasting on banana pancakes and French toast. Don’t forget to wash it down with a strong kopi. A perfect start to a day full of exploring!
4. Pick and eat strawberries
The Cameron Highlands are something of a strawberry growing hub. They are the only place in Malaysia with the right climate for growing these juicy delights. After gawping at the price of strawberries in Singapore for a few months, they were a welcome sight.
There are plenty of strawberry farms to choose from, so spend half a day picking a gorging on delicious fruit. Be sure to pick up a jar of local jam.
5. Have cream tea
It sure is quaint and harks back to colonial times, but it’s part of the fun of the Cameron Highlands. Many of the buildings are reminiscent of Tudor England, and the food lives up to the image.
With such an abundance of fresh strawberries, how can you resist a proper cream tea? For those of you new to this delicacy, you can learn the etiquette from the Cream Tea Society – oo er!
What else do you love about the Cameron Highlands?