For almost a century, Cameron Highlands in Malaysia have hosted countless tourists from all over the world. The cooler climate is what attracts most visitors, which has also contributed to a thriving vegetable and tea industry that’s not found anywhere else in Malaysia. Combine some unusual and unique wildlife, an uncanny resemblance to the British countryside and one of the most enigmatic mysteries in the history of Malaysia and it makes an interesting and fascinating destination.
Temperate Climates and Tea Producing Plantations
The area covered by Cameron Highlands is twice that of Penang Island and it has some of the oldest resorts and one of the largest hill stations in Malaysia. The cleaner and cooler air found at higher altitudes prompted both Malaysian and British residents to flock to Cameron Highlands in the colonial period. The Malaysians used this opportunity to take a break from the stifling heat while the British built golf courses and retirement homes. Farmers worked on growing strawberries and lettuce while holidaymakers chose to relax. It wasn’t long before the tea-loving British realized that the temperate climate of the Cameron Highlands was excellent for cultivating their favorite drink.
Today over four million kilograms of tea is produced by BOH Tea, which is one of the three plantations found in Cameron Highlands. Organic onions, carrots and cauliflower are grown by modern-day farmers and they are sold in villages by vendors.
The Finest Resorts in Malaysia
In 1885 William Cameron, British land surveyor, stumbled upon these highlands that were home to some Senoi Orang Asli settlements. It didn’t take long for the British to realize the commercial potential of the highlands, after Penang Hill and Maxwell Hill. Named after their founder, the Cameron Highlands became a ‘health hill’ in the 1930s for the British residents. The average height is about 1200 metres, which provides a climate similar to summer in England. Most visitors enjoyed the climate and spent their time picking strawberries, sipping tea and pruning roses.
How to Get to the Cameron Highlands
As they are quite popular amongst tourists, getting to Cameron Highlands from Penang or Kuala Lumpur is very simple. The journey is three and a half hour long from Kuala Lumpur is made regularly by buses. You cannot travel there by train. You can travel till Ipoh and then take a bus from there. Once you have reached the Cameron Highlands, you can get around in a couple of ways. You can opt for the shuttle bus, taxi or on foot. The fastest and most convenient way of traveling is via taxis.
Where to Stay
There are three areas in which Cameron Highlands are divided, which include Brinchang, Tanah Rata and Kea Farm. In the first two areas, you can easily find budget-friendly accommodations, such as guesthouses and hostels. The main road is also lined with a bunch of resorts from the colonial-period.
What to Do
More than two-thirds of Cameron Highlands are covered by thick forests and the remaining is agricultural land. The eight surrounding mountains are penetrated by more than a dozen color-coded trails. Trail number one takes you up to Cameron Highlands’ tallest peak, Mount Brinchang at 2,031 meters. The other trails lead to vantage points, waterfalls and otherworldly Mossy Forest. You can also see some rare plants that are not found elsewhere. There are also English-style tea rooms to be enjoyed, which resembles the ones in British Malaya. Strawberry farms and tea plantations are a must-see for every visitor who comes to Cameron Highlands. You should definitely have a cup of tea when you visit a tea plantation.
Those who are interested in learning the area’s history will find a memorabilia museum like the Time Tunnel and several more. The Cameron Highlands also offer plenty of activities for those who like hiking and exploring. The trails lead people to secret waterfalls and there is a lot of wildlife to be found as well. You will also appreciate the religious diversity of the area as there are Hindu temples, Buddhist temple and mosques as well. In fact, all of them sit almost side-by-side.
You will have plenty to do in the Cameron Highlands and the weather is also pleasant, which has made it a popular destination for tourists.