The Cameron Highlands were somewhere that I’d been looking forward to visiting for months, ever since my friend told me about how beautiful they were. My anticipation only intensified when I realised that my Vietnamese visa expired sooner than I realised and I thus had to leave with no time to see the lush greenery of Sa Pa.
I got the bus to the Cameron Highlands from the Perhentian Islands. This meant a 7am wakeup, followed by a choppy boat journey next to a creepy guy from Sudan who had been following me around for 3 days, a long wait in the heat for the bus, and then a 6 hour bus journey to the highlands.
Luckily, I had lots of podcasts to listen to and the scenery was beautiful, so I actually quite enjoyed the journey (after waving goodbye to Mr Sudan, who refused to leave until I’d taken about 5 selfies with him).
On arrival, my two travel buddies and I checked into our guesthouse. We’d decided to treat ourselves to a private room, and so for the first couple of hours we napped/watched TV and read, before heading out for a bite to eat and retiring early to bed.
The next day, we got up bright and early because we’d booked to go on a full day tour.
First stop was Boh Tea Plantation. The Cameron Highlands have a number of tea plantations but Boh is the most famous, and most visited. That said, our driver knew exactly where to take us to ensure it would be quiet, and so after an interesting lesson about how tea is made, we were free to wander around the plantation for a while.
After we wandered around for a while, we went to the on-site cafe. Of course, it would have been rude to spend all morning at a tea plantation and not drink some tea, so we bought ourselves a steaming cup each. It would have been nice to enjoy a cake and take in the gorgeous views even more, but unfortunately by the time we’d made it to the front of the queue, it was time to go, and so we climbed back into the Jeep, careful not to scold ourselves as we went over bumps in the road.
Next was a quick stop at a viewpoint before heading to Mossy Forest, where we had about an hour to explore. Mossy Forest is pretty cool. Most of the walkway is planked, but you are also able to go off track and explore the more ‘Lord of the Rings’ side of the forest. Unfortunately there were far too many people for it to be a truly enjoyable walk but it was still cool to see.
Next stop was lunch, and our guide dropped us off at a tiny roadside cafe that he assured us had top notch cheap food. Matt and I sat with the other people in our tour group, an older couple from the Netherlands and a young Swiss couple, and sure enough, the char kway teow they served us was delicious and quickly became my go-to dish for the rest of my time in Malaysia.
We then headed to one of the many strawberry farms, which I had been really looking forward to, but was actually pretty disappointed about when we arrived at the farm. We were able to pick the strawberries if we wanted, but they were very expensive and the farm itself was essentially just a few rows of strawberries and a dingy cafe selling a few strawberry flavoured cakes. I bought a strawberry cheesecake because I felt like I should, but being that I’m not even a fan of strawberries, it didn’t go down too well!
The next stop, however, was much more up my street.
We got to spend an hour in the Butterfly Farm. Now, while the butterflies themselves did nothing for me, I loved exploring the rest of the farm and seeing the other creatures, from snakes, to stick insects, from chipmunks to raccoons, huge beetles, lizards and more.
After that, it all seemed to go downhill. It felt as though the tour company were desperate to pack in as many activities as possible, and so the end part of the day was…lacking, to say the least.
After the Butterfly Farm we went to a “time tunnel” museum, which was basically a really long corridor of junk (think old Coca Cola cans, advertisements for cigarettes and comic books). I still fail to see what relevance this place has to the Cameron Highlands, or even Malaysia in general. I spent about 10 minutes feigning interest and then went to sit in the Jeep.
Our final stop was a quick 20 minutes at the market. Now, I’m not trying to be snobby here but I’ve been to a lot of Asian markets and this was by far the worst one. All it seemed to sell was vegetables and strawberry souvenirs.
If you want some spinach or a plastic strawberry keychain then you’re in luck, otherwise do not bother with this market. Waste of time.
And so that concludes our tour!
Our third and final day in the Cameron Highlands was a lazy one, spent drinking beers, eating Indian food and watching documentaries. A perfect way to spend a day, if you ask me!
But enough about me! Have you ever been to the Cameron Highlands? If so, what did you think? Did you explore with an organised tour group, like us, or did you create your own adventure?
Let me know in the comments below!