Situated 1,500 meters above sea level, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia’s largest and famous highland resort. It is surrounded by lush untouched greenery with a climate reminiscent of a cool spring day, is the perfect place to recharge your batteries and gain sweet relief from the pressures of the city especially with the one you love.
Photo by akijinn
Cameron Highlands is the smallest district in Pahang, Malaysia, which is one of the wonders of Malaysia. Moreover, this highland paradise still maintains the charm of an English village.
From strawberry farms to tea plantations and butterfly parks to the mossy forest, Cameron Highlands has it all. Being a primarily agricultural domain, you can get to see an abundance of vegetables and fruits farms here. As the leading producer of flowers and tea in Malaysia, Cameron Highlands occupies you with a lovely sight of extraordinary flowers that you won’t see flourishing elsewhere in Malaysia.
Photo by khairilfz
This highland paradise is made up of a series of little townships which include Ringlet, Tanah Rata, Brinchang, Tringkap, Kuala Terla and Kampung Raja. Ringlet is the first town you reach (if you take the Tapah route), which is one of the main agricultural hubs in the highlands. Tanah Rata is the administrative hub of Cameron Highlands where most of the government offices and most of the chalets, lodges and backpacker’s accommodations are located. Another must visit town in Cameron Highlands is Brinchang, which is about 10 minutes drive from Tanah Rata, where you can find most of the smaller hotels and food outlets. Many tourist attractions located within walking distance from the town and the famous Night Market is also there. This town can be very crowded during the peak holiday season.
Why Not Go
You shouldn’t go Cameron Highlands if you really can’t stand with coldness. During the day, maybe you still wear shorts and t-shirt only but there is dramatically change in temperature in the late evenings and even cooler at night. Cameron Highlands is mostly cooling throughout the year and it might get very cold at night especially during the rainy season.
For international tourists, the attractions lie in the nature of heritage and serene environment as well as the rustic living in a highland town which is very differ from a cosmopolitan city.
For local visitors, Cameron Highlands can provide you a welcome retreat from the madness of city living and heat of the tropics. You may spend your vacation in the cool and a beautiful place where lush landscapes and peaceful sceneries abound in the green environment.
Actually, the combination of Cameron Highlands’ wonders of nature and the cultural richness provide an unforgettable experience for anyone who is willing to visit this amazing destination in Malaysia.
Photo by chiammingjer
As the hallmark of fame, tea plantations are the main tourist attraction of Cameron Highlands. Tea plantations carpet the surrounding valleys in a fine layer of yellow green tea leaves, and most of them are open to tourists and visitors to purchase tea bags and watch the workers there plucking tea as well as enjoy a simmering hot cup of tea with scones. Tea was the reason why a British government surveyor, William Cameron saw potential and founded this valley, which eventually became Malaysia’s top highland holiday destination and Cameron Highlands was named after him. Three most popular tea plantations are Boh Tea Plantation, Sungai Palas Tea Plantation and Cameron Valley Tea Plantation.
Besides that, Cameron Highlands is the only Malaysia’s holiday destination where strawberries are grown and harvested commercially. Strawberry farms can be found almost everywhere in Cameron Highlands and all are open for visitors making them one of the top tourist attractions. The farms offer locally grown strawberries and home made strawberry jams or tarts at a reasonable price. You even have the opportunity to pluck your own strawberries in some strawberry farms. The best season to enjoy strawberries is the driest month which is from April to June. The popular strawberry farms in Cameron Highlands are Big Red Strawberry Farm, Healthy Strawberry Farm, Kasimani’s Strawberry Farm, KHM Strawberry Farm and Raju’s Hill Strawberry Farm
If you want to know more about the history behind Cameron Highlands, Time Tunnel Gallery (the local museum) is a “must visit”. Photographs that depict the past are from personal collections of the locals who have been there since the pre-war days. You may also find out some familiar items from the old days.
In these modern days, seeing butterflies flying around you openly is rare. Chances to see different species of butterflies flying around you are available at Cameron Highlands’ butterfly farm and butterfly garden. Experiencing a walk through an enclosed area where each species of butterfly is happily floating around in a lush, plant-filled garden is the highlight of the butterfly garden.
Best Time to Visit
Best time to visit Cameron Highlands is during the off peak season. Cameron Highlands is normally very crowded during the school holidays, weekends and festive holidays. You might be caught in traffic jam around the towns and the tourist spots during the peak season. Besides that, it is also advisable to visit at Cameron Highlands on weekend night, so that you can visit the famous night market at Brinchang.
The weather in Cameron Highlands is cool throughout the year. The temperature there ranges from 14 degree Celsius to 28 degree Celsius. Rain is common all the year round even though the monsoon season is between November and February. However, the dry season is between February and April. If you really plan to enjoy the coldness in Cameron Highlands, you may make your way there between December and February. By the time, the temperature there can drop to 10 degree Celsius at certain places.
Where to Stay
Accommodation can be easily found around a few major towns in Cameron Highlands such as Ringlet, Tanah Rata and Brinchang. It is available in every class, for every budget and every taste. You have a wide range of choices, which includes Hotels, Guest Houses, Apartments and Bungalows. From inexpensive guest houses with only bed and breakfast, intimate and cozy country lodges, to luxury accommodations at the five star hotels, in town or in the quiet countryside, Cameron Highlands has it all, but you might be encountered some problems in the peak seasons. During the peak seasons, the number of rooms available might be not enough and the price might boost up dramatically. Hence, book your room, apartment or chalet earlier to avoid sleeping under the stars when you travel there. For luxury, the best is to stay at the Smokehouse which is one of the popular landmarks in Cameron Highlands. For cheaper options, you may refer to backpacker inns or lodges and the best is Cameronian Inn due to its rates and facilities provided.As for large families or groups, Royal Lily Apartments are recommended because it is located just five minutes walk from the town center and its rental rate is negotiable (RM230-RM320). Below is a list of popular hotels and chalets with their contact numbers.
Photo by chiammingjer
Tanah Rata is quieter and less crowded even during the peak season, it is the best place to stay. Avoid staying small chalet as amenities are not provided much there. For your information, I have once stayed in a small chalet due to its cheaper rate. The water heater in the rest room is spoiled, so can you imagine how cold the water is especially at night?
Where & What to Eat
The Boh Tea Plantation in Sungai Palas, Brinchang, you must not miss out this all-in-one tourist café. This cafe is situated within a complex that has a shop, exhibits and a tea factory next door. The cafe is also perched on top of a hill, so you can have an amazing view of tea fields below when enjoying the tea with sandwiches, pies, cakes and other snacks.
Chinese food in Cameron Highlands is a must try if you are a first timer. This is because the Chinese restaurants offer a wide variety of dishes cooked in various styles from spicy to sweet, you can choose whatever that you like. Don’t forget to have steamboat in cool, it will be a very different experience.
If you like Indian food, you can’t miss out Sri Brinchang restaurant which offers a wide range of delicious Indian food at reasonable rate.
Don’t forget to try the strawberries ice-lolly too!
There is not much thing you can do at night in Cameron Highlands unless you have interest in exploring Malaysia’s wildlife. Wildlife such as snakes, lizards and frogs are in their element at night, so you may heed into the forests to begin your exploration and discover more on diversity of flora and fauna.
My to do List
– Visit the tea plantations
-Visit flower nurseries and strawberries farm
-Visit the famous Cactus Valley in Brinchang
-Visit the ‘Pasar Malam’ which operates every Friday and Saturday (the stalls are set up at 4pm)
– Trek to Gunung Brinching
– Have a short walk to Robertson Waterfall
It is strongly recommended that you have your own transportation to travel to Cameron Highlands since no car rental services are available in Cameron Highlands.
The best way to get to Cameron Highlands is by road travel, but be careful when driving to Cameron Highlands especially if you are a first timer. There are many trucks and buses on the roads along the ways. Overtaking can be a challenge especially if you are going to Cameron Highlands from Tapah. If you have not confident, just follow the vehicle in front you at a very low speed. Normally the local trucks and buses will give you signal to overtake when it is safe enough. Besides that, you need to be careful of the small rocks and tree branches along the roads.
Avoid travelling alone at night if you are not an expert in driving especially for first timer. And please take note that there are no street light all along the way and it might be a long drive.
There are two ways to go Cameron Highlands:
i) From the South via Tapah
Cameron Highlands is situated about 300km from Kuala Lumpur and it will take you about 3.5 hours to get there via the North-South Expressway (NSE). If you are driving from Kuala Lumpur, please follow the sign to Ipoh along the NSE. Keep on driving until you reach Tapah which will spend about one and half hours. Turn into the Tapah and Cameron Highlands exit (Exit 132) and exit NSE through the Tapah toll booth. Then turn left at the traffic lights. From there onwards, you will be taking the long winding road to Cameron Highlands which is about 60 km away.
Prepare some plastic bags in your car especially if you have passengers with motion sickness. Since there are a lot of heavy vehicles going up and down the road, be careful especially when you want to overtaking. Be careful and be patient all the way. And remember it is common courtesy to let the vehicle behind you to overtake you.
ii) From the north via Simpang Pulai / Ipoh
There is another new road opened now, which is from Simpang Pulai. The road condition is much better than the Tapah route, so it is recommended to take this route if you are first timer and this route will take you about 45 minutes only to get to Kampung Raja.
Remember to exit the North-South Expressway at Exit 137 (Simpang Pulai) and turn right at the traffic light right after the toll booth. Then turn right again at the next traffic light which is about 200 meters away. Follow the signs to Kampung Raja or Cameron Highlands along the way. Around one hour later, you will reach the Kampung Raja junction where you have to turn right into Kampung Raja town. Then you can just follow the main road to your destination likes Brinchang and Tanah Rata, which is about 25-30km from there. Don’t worry; driving up this road will definitely be your pleasant experience. Be careful of the sharp bends at some stretches. Note that there is no mobile coverage along this road up to now. Make sure that you have at least half tank of fuel before you start your journey from the expressway exit.