Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia.
Trip Start Nov 07, 2007
1Trip End Nov 09, 2007
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Day 2 was more concentrated on the other two towns above Tanah Rata i.e. Brinchang and Kea Farm. Raining throughout the day therefore making it difficult to go to more places. Anyway, most of the places listed on the maps...even the farms have now become so commercial that you would need to pay an entrance fee of RM3 to RM20 to visit. The greatest fee was from the Strawberry Farms which said visit and pluck yourself...but under the circumstances that only 2 pax allowed and a minimum of 1/2 Kg of strawberrys need to be plucked for a fee of RM20. Even food in normal restaurants are very expensive...but thats understandable as their cost is higher due to transportation cost.
Cameron Highlands is the smallest district in the state of Pahang which is located in the north-western corner of the state. One of the wonders of Malaysia, it is the largest and most famous hill resort in the country. This highland paradise still retains much of the charm of an English village.
Being a primarily agricultural domain, you will find an abundance of vegetables and fruits farms here. Cameron Highlands is also the leading producer of flowers and tea in Malaysia. Be prepared for a lovely sight of extraordinary flowers you won’t see flourishing elsewhere in Malaysia! Located on the Titiwangsa Range at about 1500 metres above sea-level, the temperature here can drop to 16 ˚C or lower at certain times.Cameron Highlands is made up of 4 main townships followed by smaller settlements at different elevations. The first town from the south is Ringlet, followed by Tanah Rata, Brinchang, Kea Farm, Tringkap, Kuala Terla and Kampung Raja.Ringlet
If you're driving via the old road from Tapah, this is the first town you will reach. Located at an elevation of 1,200 metres above sea-level, Ringlet is one of the main agricultural hub for the highlands. Bertam Valley which is located about 5km away is one of the main flower and vegetable producers in Cameron highlands. You wont find any hotels here in Ringlet. The nearest hotel is the LakeHouse which is less then 10 minutes away. This is also the place to fill up on fuel if you're low on supply.Tanah Rata
Further up is Tanah Rata which is about 12 km’s (20 minutes drive) from Ringlet. This is the administrative capital of Cameron Highlands where the government offices, hospital and the district police station is located. The main bus station is also located here and this is where you would be able to get your transportation needs within and out of the highlands sorted out. Most of the chalets and backpacker's accommodation is located here in and around Tanah Rata, Almost all the jungle trekking and waterfall trails starts from here.Local tours and transfers out of Cameron Highlands can be obtained from the various tour operators in town. Money changers and internet cafe's can also be found here. Tanah Rata would be a nice place to enjoy the highlands, especially during the weekdays. It is much more quieter compared to Brinchang where most of the big hotels and restaurants are located.
BrinchangNext is Brinchang which is about 4 km’s (10 minutes drive) from Tanah Rata. This is where you will find most of the hotels and restaurants. The night market which is open every Saturday night and on 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. Traffic jams and parking problems can be a nightmare during this time. Next to Ringlet, this is the only other town with petrol stations so keep your fuel tank in check. Kea Farm, Tringkap, Kuala Terla & Kampung Raja
Beyond Brinchang, the road leads to all the way to Blue Valley. Most of the tourist spots are located around this route. This is where you will find the markets, vegetable farms, flower gardens, bee gardens and butterfly gardens. The road also branches out to the Sungai Palas tea plantation from here where you can visit the factory or have a cup of tea while enjoying the breathtaking view of the plantation.If you continue on the main road heading north, it will be downhill from Kea Farm onwards. You will see vegetables farms all the way from here to Tringkap and beyond. Tringkap is a small farming community where you can find stalls along the road selling local produce. Fifteen minutes away is Kuala Terla, another small farming community. Kampung Raja is the last town on the map. Since the opening of the Simpang Pulai road, this town has become the gateway to the highlands from the north. From here, you can head west to Ipoh or east to Gua Musang in Kelantan. The weather in Cameron Highlands is temperate/cool all year round. The temperature here ranges from a minimum of 14o C to a maximum of 28o C. Rain is common throughout the year although the monsoon season is from Nov-Feb. The dry season is from Feb-April.
In the recent years, the temperature has been rising and it can get really hot in the day. The coldest time of the year is between December-February where the temperature can drop to 10o C at certain places.MonthMean Temperature oCMean Number of Rain DaysDaily
The only way to get to Cameron Highlands is by road. Until a few years back, you could only get to Cameron Highlands from the south via Tapah but since the opening of the new Simpang Pulai road, traveling to the highlands has become much more easier. You can also get here from the east coast via Gua Musang in KelantanSelf drive
From the South via Tapah (Old Road)
- Cameron Highlands is about 300kms from Kuala Lumpur and it takes about 3 hours to get here via the North-South Expressway (NSE). If you are driving from Kuala Lumpur, find your way to the NSE by following the signs to Ipoh. Once you're on the expressway, keep on driving north for about 1.5 hours until you reach Tapah.Take Exit 132 and you will be at the Tapah toll booth. Once you have paid the toll, turn left at the traffic lights and from here onwards you will be on the long winding road to Cameron Highlands which is about 60 km's away. If you're driving from the north just take Exit 132at Tapah and follow the same direction. It takes an average of 1.5 hours to reach Tanah Rata from Tapah. Please note that there is no petrol station this point forward until you reach Ringlet so if you need to fill up, you'll have to head to Tapah town. Driving Tips :
- The toll rate from Kuala Lumpur (Jalan Duta Toll) to Tapah is RM19.40. The last rest area along the expresswy is the Tapah Rest Area which is about 3 km from Exit 132.
- The road from Tapah to Cameron Highlands is narrow and has a lot of sharp bends. If you have passengers who get motion sickness, its time to get those plastic bags out (just in case).
- There will be lots of heavy vehicles going up and down this road so be careful especially when you are overtaking. Most local heavy vehicles will give you the signal to overtake when its safe so be patient. Its also common courtesy to let the vehicle behind you overtake you if you're driving slower that vehicle.
From the north via Simpang Pulai / Ipoh (New Road)
- Now that the new road from Simpang Pulai is open, more people are using this route to get to the highlands. The road condition is much better here than the Tapah route and it only takes about 45 minutes to get to Kampung Raja from Simpang Pulai.Take Exit 137 (Simpang Pulai) and turn right at the traffic light right after the toll booth. Turn right again at the next traffic light about 200 metres away. You are now on the way to Cameron Highlands. After about 1 hour, you will reach the Kampung Raja junction where you will have to turn right from the new road into Kampung Raja town. You're now in Cameron Highlands and you can just follow the main road to your destination. Brinchang & Tanah Rata is about 25-30kms from here.Driving Tips :
- If you are driving from the south, this route would be longer if your destination is Tanah Rata or Brinchang.
- Driving up this road is a pleasant experience as it gives you some great views of mountains.
- Since the roads are less winding, people tend to speed here but watch out for the sharp bends at some stretches.
- There is limited mobile coverage along this road.
No trip to Cameron Highlands is complete without a trip to the tea plantations. This is one of the main attraction that's got to be in your "must see" list. You can visit the factories to learn about the tea making process and you can also sit down and enjoy a cup of tea at the cafe. The view overlooking the plantations is beautiful and perfect for the picture album.
The 3 most famous tea plantations are :
- Boh Tea Plantation
- Sungai Palas Tea Plantation
- Cameron Valley Tea Plantation
Strawberry farms can be found almost everywhere in Cameron Highlands. All offer locally grown strawberries and home made strawberry jams and a very cheap price. Some strawberry farms will let you pluck your own strawberries and charge you according to the weight. Here is a list of some of the popular strawberry farms in Cameron Highlands :
- Big Red Strawberry Farm
- Healthy Strawberry Farm
- Kasimani's Strawberry Farm
- KHM Strawberry Farm
- Raju's Hill Strawberry Farm
Vegetable farms are located throughout the highlands and most of the farms allow visitors in. Drive up to Tringkap or Kuala Terla to get a roadside view of the larger vegetable farms .Due to the increasing tourist arrivals, there have been more smaller farms cropping up all over the highlands. These farms produce everything from flowers and vegetables to strawberries. These are primarily for walk in tourists. The other bigger farms which produce vegetables for the nation's consumptions are usually not on the tourist map and are located in the interiors or Kuala Terla and Bertam Valley.Time Tunnel Gallery - The Local MuseumTake a peek into the past of Cameron Highlands through photographs. This is a "must visit" if you want to learn about the history behind Cameron Highlands.A lot of the photos depicting the past are from personal collections of the locals who's been here since the pre-war days. You can also see some of the familiar items from the yesteryears.
Cameron Highlands is the leading producer of fresh flowers in Malaysia. Most of the flower nurseries are centered around Bertam Valley and all along the way from Brinchang to Kg.Raja. At the flower gardens and nurseries, be dazzled with the mix of colors and species being grown here. The common flowers grown here are roses, carnations,chrysanthemum, dalia, geranium, fuschia and gladioli. You can buy cheap flowers at these nurseries or any market around the highland.After visiting the fruits and vegetable farms, you might want to buy some. The market is a good place to look for everything under one roof. The main day market is located around Kea Farm but you can also find many of them all along the main road from Ringlet to Kg.Raja.On Saturday nights, the weekly night market comes to life in Brinchang. This is where you can find all the produce of Cameron Highlands sold in one place. You can get everything cheap here if you know how to bargain. This is also a place to get some good "pasar malam" food.
There are three honey bee farms in the highlands where visitors can get learn about bees and honey production You can also buy various honey products here.The popular Bee Farms are :-> Ee Feng Gu Honey Bee Farm (near the Kea Farm area)
-> Highland Honey Bee Farm (along the road to the Boh Tea Plantation)
-> Cameron Tringkap Bee Farm (Tringkap)Seeing a butterfly in the open is a rare sight these days. Get a change to see many different species of butterflies which used to be a common sight in the highlands many years ago. A walk through an enclosed area where each species of butterfly is happily floating around in a lush, plant-filled garden is the highlight.There are two butterfly farms in Cameron Highlands and the are both located around the Kea Farm area.