The Cameron Highlands.
In the mountains 214 km’s north of Malaysia’s capital city Kuala Lumpur the Cameron Highlands are a strange mix of mountainous farms, factory’s, temples, plantations, shanty towns, garages and jungles that seem to quilt the mountains as far as the eye can see. Producing a massive amount of Malaysia and the rest of the worlds grown produce the Highlands are nearly two and a half times the size of Singapore. Things like strawberry’s, lemons and limes, cactus’s, bananas, honey and exotic flowers are grown here but the main export from the Cameron Highlands is Tea, South East Asia’s largest tea plantation is in the Highlands.
I dont know if it was just me but i found the Cameron Highlands a seriously weird place to be! You arrive in the mountains and realize that unlike most other parts of Malaysia, the place is freezing! vests and shorts were sharply replaced with sweaters and jeans and air conditioning replaced with extra blankets. But it didn’t bother me, don’t get me wrong the place was awesome. Everywhere that you look you see something out of the ordinary, for example there is hundreds of old school British Land Rovers all over the place which are painted all different pastille colors and used as farm vehicles to carry produce from the farms to the towns. The Taxi’s here are pretty much all vintage Mercedes and again much like the land rovers there are all painted a mix of aqua blues and off yellows. There are novelty oversize fruit and vegetables with smiley facial features dotted around the hills and crazy Aboriginal elders who still hunt using blow pipes. The main town in the Cameron Highlands is called Tana Rata and it pretty much looked how id image a 1940′s Swiss ski resort to look in mid spring? Imagine the contrast between Jungle canopies and 40′s style European made hotels mixed with traditional back alley Asian food halls and markets. Something felt altogether a bit weird about it all. But like i say…it was awesome. You can do things like catch a ride in an off roaders land rover then walk through rugged jungle for 2 hours in search of the worlds largest species of flower (pictured above.) Blow pipe shooting with the local Aboriginal dudes is also pretty fun! But if your not feeling quite so adventurous you can just go check out the 100′s of farms and plantations and try some of the local stuff. At the end of the day the Cameron Highlands for me were just a really cool place to kick back and relax for a few days and escape the heat of the rest of the country, fill my body up with much missed fruit and tea and then carry on out of the highlands back to the paradise islands that Malaysia has to offer. Deffinatly worth a visit.
If you do find your self in this part of the world then be sure to try a Strawberry shake from the farms and go say hi to Jay Jay at the travel shop. Interesting dude with so many storys to tell but dont play him at pool as you will more than likely loose. As far as places to stay go there is alot to choose from. Don’t make the mistake i made by staying in a hotel that was more like a retirement home but you might wanna check out Daniels Lodge here it’s got a pretty awesome bar and all the other back packers seemed to be staying there.