Cameron Highlands - A Great Escape
That is one word that would most certainly sum up Cameron Highlands. For me
a quick trip to the highlands is the best way to, quite literally, cool off-
both from the hectic buzz of Kuala Lumpur and its hot humidity. It is
popular even among Singaporeans and its cool clean air also makes it a
lovely romantic getaway for honeymooners.
A Walk Back in Time
When you are in Cameron Highlands it is easy to make-believe that you are in
England. It isnít just the overall Ďfeelí of the place- some of the old
buildings, particularly the bungalows, are literally reminders of its
Cameron Highlands was first discovered in the late 1880ís by a British
colonial government surveyor, William Cameron, during a mapping expedition.
British planters soon came to recognise its potential as a tea plantation-
tea being a coveted commodity at the time. It also became popular among the
British as a place to escape the heat of the lower grounds of Malaya, as the
country was known at the time.
Strawberries ĎNí Cream, Scones ĎNí Tea
Even to this day it is still known for its tea plantations and strawberries-
something you wouldnít be able to get anywhere else in Peninsular Malaysia.
In fact, it is common knowledge that Cameron Highlands is the biggest tea
region in the country as well as one of the main suppliers of fresh
vegetables and fruit, which are found in abundance in its night or morning
I personally love being there on a Saturday evening when peddlers
sell delightful snacks such as corn-on-the-cob or my personal favourite,
deep-fried oyster mushrooms- delicious on a crisp cool evening. The stalls
also sell everything from strawberries to cacti as well as the usual
trinkets for tourists.
Although there has been quite a bit of development in the highlands itself
as well as its surrounding areas, this has not detracted from its natural
beauty. Whenever Iím there I always take the opportunity to not only soak in
the surroundings, I also make it a point to visit any of the tea plantations
and just sit in the sun, eating scones with cream and sipping freshly brewed
tea. One could even see how tea is processed if one wishes to.
And For The More Adventurous...
Cameron Highlands is on the Titiwangsa Mountain Range- what is known as the
spine of the Peninsular. Hence its jungle trails and mountains make it an
ideal spot for those who are more adventurous and want to break a bit of
sweat. Iím less outgoing but I do know that there are probably 10 different
and beautiful jungle trails you can choose to take, the Parit Waterfall
Trail being one of the more popular ones as it is not too difficult and has
pretty picnic areas where you can rest after your walk.
As for mountains, you can take your pick of Gunung Brinchang, its highest
peak, or the smaller mountains, Gunung Berendam and Gunung Jasar. Whichever
you choose, the hike up is worth it for the beautiful view that awaits at
the end. Guides are available for hire at a small fee, or just take a map
and try your luck although the former option would be better if youíre
unfamiliar with the terrain.
There is plenty of accommodation in Cameron Highlands, both in and outside
the town centre. However, it would be advisable to book in advance
especially during Malaysian and Singaporean school holidays to avoid having
to rush your journey. Most of the accommodation would generally be full by
mid-afternoon during peak season, so itís a good idea to plan your trip
properly especially if you are travelling with young children or senior
citizens. If youíre used to warmer weather, remember to be prepared as it
can get quite chilly especially on a rainy evening.
What I love most, though, is that I can choose to stay in one of the
apartment hotels or an old bungalow and make believe Iím in another place
and time. Whether youíre lazing on the hills or trekking through the jungle,
thereís something almost mystical about its beauty. As I said earlier-
Highlands Hotels here