LAST_UPDATETue, 15 May 2018 11am

Things to Do in Cameron Highlands

"Have you ever drunk tea on top of Cameron Highlands? People say tea tastes better up there (Cameron Highlands)". Those were the words of a relative who visited this writer who was warded in a public medical center in the city recently. Hence, after being discharged from the medical center, this writer decided to take a trip to the hill resort accompanied by his family and relatives.


Cameron Highlands, located on the Titiwangsa Range, is among the three popular hill resorts in the country – the other two being Genting Highlands and Fraser's Hill. The writer’s intention was to taste tea on top of this hill resort apart from visiting the tea gardens there.



Going Up the Hill


There are two routes up the hill resort. The first route up is from Simpang Pulai. The road is in good condition and cuts through the Perak-Pahang border. Once into the Pahang side, visitors have reached Cameron Highlands, which is the smallest district in Pahang. The second is the older and more torturous road from Tapah that snaked up the hill. Along this Cameron Highlands-Tapah road you will encounter many lorries carrying vegetables and other agriculture produce from the many farms in Cameron Highlands to be distributed to the other parts of the country.

"Let's stop at a tea house," a relative said.

So all three cars made their first stop at a Bharat Plantation tea house just a few kilometers from Kampung Raja. The tea tasted good, albeit at RM3 for a cup and RM16 for a pot.

"There are several huge tea plantations in Cameron Highlands, operated by two companies – Boh and Bharat", said a worker at the tea house.



Accommodation and Facilities for the Disabled


The three towns in Cameron Highlands are Brinchang, Tanah Rata and Ringlet. There also settlements at Kea Farm, Tringkap, Kuala Terla and Kampung Raja. Accommodation is no problem in Cameron Highlands. There are a number of hotels and lodging houses as well as private apartments for hire there. Among the hotels are Strawberry Park Resort, Titiwangsa, Equatorial, Heritage, Lakehouse and Rossa Pasadena.

However, only two of these hotels – the Equatorial and Heritage – have lifts and facilities such as rumps for wheelchairs of the physically disabled. This writer and his family decided to stay at the Greenhill Apartments in Tanah Rata and much to his surprise there were still a number of units available despite it was the eve of the Chinese New Year.

The most important town in the Cameron Highlands is Tanah Rata. There are banks, fast food outlets and many shops as well as food courts here. Many of the best chalets and hotels of Cameron Highlands are also found here. Robert Wong, a tourist from Singapore said that his family had decided to spend the Chinese New Year in Cameron Highlands to escape the hectic city life.

“The cooler temperatures in Cameron Highlands are ideal for tourists and there are beautiful gardens to explore here," said Wong.

The relaxed pace of life in this hill resort is contagious, and tourists quickly see the value of taking it slowly. After a day spent exploring sites here including taking a walk through a tea plantation or visiting a butterfly farm, tourists can head to an English-style pub and indulge in some good British food.".

There are many colonial-style buildings in Cameron Highlands. This highland paradise still retains much of the charm of an English village.



Tea Plantations


There are two tea plantation operators here. One is the world renowned Boh, which has huge tea estates in Habu and Sungai Palas, totalling 3,237.6 hectares and the other is the Bharat Group which produces tea under the Cameron Valley label. Bharat's tea gardens are about 809.4 hectares in area.

This writer decided to visit the Boh tea plantation in Habu, located between Tanah Rata and Ringlet. This plantation is situated about seven kilometers from the main road and the way up is along a steep and torturous road sometimes which allows only one car to pass through.

The road is flanked, initially by vegetable farms. Further up, a sea of tea plants can be seen down in the valley and up on the 'rolling hills'. Right on top of the hill is located a tea house and a tea processing factory operated by Boh. This writer wasted no time in visiting the tea house to sample the tea drink there. There are souvenirs available in the form of tea products.

The tea houses operated by Bharat are much easier to access as they are located next to the road. There are two of them between Brinchang and Tanah Rata. Indeed tea tastes better in Cameron Highlands as this writer found out. It must be due to the climate and the cool breeze.

There are many blends and flavors of tea in Cameron Highlands. Among them is the raspberry, strawberry, peach, cinnamon and cardamon flavored tea. There are also the 'songket' label by Boh and 'Earl Gray' under the Cameron Valley range (Bharat).

And yes, tea tastes better on Cameron Highlands.

"There are many things to see and do in Cameron Highlands," said Mike Richards, whom this writer met in Malaysia's premier hill resort. Richards, who last visited this highland resort two years ago, said despite the temperatures here are slightly warmer now, Cameron Highlands is still cool.

Located on the Titiwangsa Range, the temperature in Cameron Highlands can drop to 16˚C or lower at certain times.

"You can't beat the weather up here. Cameron Highlands is Malaysia's largest highland resort. We enjoy walking through lovely little villages, the butterfly, strawberry and honey bee farms. There are also huge and sprawling tea plantations," he said.

Malaysians are familiar with the Boh range of tea while Bharat markets its tea under the Cameron Valley range. Drinking tea is popular here, among locals and tourists alike.

"Actually for the locals, having this beverage is more of a tradition. however tourists say that the tea beverage tasted good here, as compared to the lowlands," said resident and grocery shop owner Chin Leong.



Flowers & Vegetables


Cameron Highlands is a 'cool getaway' from the heat in the cities and that is one of the main factors that attract visitors particularly those from the cities and other lowland areas in the country. Due to its cool climate, Cameron Highlands is a primarily agricultural domain. You will find an abundance of vegetables and fruits farms here and the lovely sight of extraordinary flowers that you cannot see flourishing elsewhere.

Ahmad Bahrain, a resident of Ipoh, said his family visited Cameron Highlands regularly to buy the fresh and cheap vegetables.     The vegetable market located meters from the Equatorial Hotel (near Brinchang town) is 'overwhelmingly' popular with visitors. At the market, particularly in the morning during the weekend and public holidays, it is common to see vehicles bearing outstation registration number plates parked on both sides of the road.

At the market, 10 packets of various types of fresh vegetables sell for RM10. There are fresh strawberries too, selling as cheap as two packets for RM15. Most of the tourist spots are located around the route to Blue Valley. Visitors will find the markets, vegetable farms, flower gardens, bee gardens and butterfly gardens along this route. The road also branches out to the Sungai Palas Boh tea plantation and visit the tea-processing factory to have a cup of tea while enjoying the breathtaking view of the plantation.

Cameron Highlands is made up of three main towns followed by smaller settlements - Ringlet, Tanah Rata, Brinchang, Kea Farm, Tringkap, Kuala Terla and Kampung Raja.

In Brinchang, the night market which is open every Saturday night and during holidays features all kinds of vegetables, flowers, fruits and other products of the highlands. This place can get really crowded during the weekends and holiday season.



Private Apartments


Visitors should not worry about getting accommodation here as there are many hotels as well as lodging houses and private apartments. Apartment owner M Krishnan said the private apartment units are fairly priced. Each of his third-floor three-room units, located in the Greenhill apartments in Tanah Rata, is going for RM150 on a weekday and RM180 on the weekend. Each of the apartment is equipped with a refrigerator, television as well as the necessary facilities apart from having two bathrooms – comfortable indeed for one who has a huge family.

With all the attractions and facilities available, Cameron Highlands reigns supreme among the list of holiday destinations in Malaysia.

- Bernama



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