Cameron Highlands a cool getaway
Cameron Highlands is the other cool getaway in Malaysia, beside Genting Highlands. Its about 1,500 metres above sea level within the Titiwangsa Range. It is known for its strawberries and lately you can find strawberry farms everywhere up here. The name Cameron came from the person who discovered it. It was discovered by an English Surveyor named William Cameron. It soon became a place where the British Expatriates went to escape the heat of the lowlands.
Recently there are numerous routes built to reach Cameron Highlands. My favourite is by the comfortable road via Simpang Pulai. This route is less winding and on some parts there are two lanes for slow moving lorry. But don’t get too comfortable when driving down as at some parts of the way there are sharp turnings. I have seen a number of drivers landing in the ditch because they were too fast and don’t have time to slow down when the turning comes. Otherwise it’s a very comfortable road. One more thing to watch is the turning up to Cameron Highlands. There is a T junction, if you go straight you will go to Gua Musang. You have to the turn right towards Kampung Raja. The landmark is a tea plantation called the Blue Valley.
Where to go in Cameron Highlands
Upon reaching Cameron you will find numerous Strawberry Farms littered around. This is due to its cold climate that is suitable for this little fruits. They are easy to spot because there are huge signboards with directions all along the way. You can even have the experience of picking your own strawberries. Some of the popular ones are Raju’s Hill (his strawberries are popular, that you have to go early because they are normally sold out 4.00pm) and The Big Red Strawberry in Brinchang Town. But just note to get to the Big Red Strawberry, there is a steep climb up the hill.
Nowadays it looks like strawberry is the icon of Cameron Highlands, cause you will find lots of shops selling merchandise that is strawberry based like fridge magnets, key chains, pillow and so on.
William Cameron saw potential in this valley, its cooling climate, rich soil and moderate sunshine for growing tea. There are many tea plantations with teashops where you can sip a cup of tea with a couple of scones. My favourite is the Sungai Palas tea shop. It is sort of hanging over the tea plantations, so you can have a cup of BOH tea and a couple of scones while enjoying the breathtaking view of the greenery below. There is also a factory where they produce the tea leaves that you can walk through with one of their guides. Some of the machinery here are really old but in good working order. The factory is a good place to bring your kids, to show them how tea is made. You have to park below and walk up. There are two ways up, one through the tea plants but this way is a bit tough for the elderly. The other way is by a paved road but not too scenic as the first. There is also a souvenir shop selling BOH’s tea products and souvenirs. Don’t forget to bring your camera because the view is excellent. Avoid weekends and public holidays if you don’t like crowd cause this place gets really crowded. FYI the teashop and factory is closed on Mondays.
The Time Tunnel in Cameron Highlands is also known as the Local Museum. You won’t find the usual historical items on display like other museum. What you will find here is artefacts that will bring a sense of nostalgia to you. You will find antiques that you might have used before or toys that you might have played. There is even the tin aerosol spray that we had to refill it and spray around the house. The Time Tunnel is located between Brinchang and Kea Farm at a place called Kok Lim Strawberry Farm.
Flower Gardens in Cameron Highlands
The cooling weather makes it an ideal place for growing flowers too. You will see flowers growing beautifully everywhere. There are large farms planting flowers to be exported overseas. There are places where you can see hibiscus as big as your face.
So naturally you will find flower gardens everywhere. One of them is the Rose Garden in Kea Farm. It used to be my wife’s favourite place to bring her friends or family where they come up here. There is a variety of roses and also other flowers. Now she prefers the Taman Agroteknologi Mardi.
Taman Agroteknologi Mardi
This Flower Garden is located 1km away from the town of Tanah Rata. Taman Agroteknologi is actually a research centre for Mardi. Now they have made it into a park. As the Cameron weather is cooling you can actually take a slow walk from the Tanah Rata bus station to this park. The entrance fee is RM3.00 per person. When we go there we spent almost two hours walking around. Reason is the flowers are planted spaciously not clustered like some of the flower garden around here. Among the major attractions are the English Garden, strawberry garden, vegetable and flower gardens and the sale centre. If you need a drink and don’t want to leave there is also a cafeteria there. I liked it because the gardens are grown beautifully and not clustered, so even there is a large crowd inside it doesn’t seem to be crowded.
When you need to escape the heat in lowlands, come up to Cameron Highlands to enjoy its fresh air, strawberries, flowers and coolnest. In my next post I have posted my reviews on some of the hotels in Cameron Highlands. So bookmark this site for more of my Travels at Malaysia.