06.02.2012 - 09.02.2012
The Cameron highlands was the next destination on our trip through Malaysia. I hadn't heard a great deal about it before coming to Malaysia, apart from some information given to me by the guy who I cancelled my car insurance with before I embarked on my travels.
The Highlands are home to some of Malaysia's highest points, as well as being home to perfect conditions for certain fruits and vegetables which would often not be suitable to grow in the stifling conditions of South East Asia. Obviously being high up results in greater precipitation and moisture in general, as well as a far more cooler environment.
Once we arrived in the town of Tanah Rata, We were a little bit confused to where to stay, the towns we had passed through and Tanah Rata were all very busy due to the Muslim holiday which was being celebrated, Muhammed's Birthday. Luckily two travellers noticed us looking bemused and pointed us in the direction of a little guesthouse called Twin Pines. It wasn't much to look at, and once the room had been evaluated against the price we realised we shouldn't complain. It was £7 for a three person room per night, bargain, even if you couldn't stand properly because of the sloping roof!
We ventured straight out to wander round the small town, not a great deal to see, but we stopped at a curry house to get a late lunch. The Highlands look and feel what I can imagine Scotland might look like if it was relocated to the tropics, and it's population swapped for Asian people, primarily Indian. The buildings actually looked a little Scottish too, but it may have been my imagination. After we had eaten we decided to book a tour so that we could see some of what the highlands had to offer, particularly the tea plantations, and tea pavilion, I had my hopes set on having a cream tea!!!
The next day we were picked up in an ancient Land Rover, being driven wildly. The car, an antique of a vehicle screamed up the road and out popped an Indian chap in big 'wellies' with a bottom lip like the character Bubba from the film 'Forrest Gump'. After picking up the rest of the tour group he headed for the first stop, the butterfly farm. It was an interesting mix of wildlife and plants that could be found in and around the highlands. The butterfly's were the largest I had seen, not shy off dinner plate size some of them.
After a look round the butterfly farm 'bubba' took us to the second highest point in Malaysia, or so he said, apparently it's the highest point accessible to a vehicle. There was a look out tower which offered amazing views of the surrounding countryside.
Coming down off the highest point in our roaring land-rover he stopped off at an area known as Mossy Forrest, we took a very short trek through the undergrowth, he explained that in the tropics forests can only be found at this sort of altitude due to the heat, hence why it's normally jungle in the tropical areas. He explained that there was little animal life found in a forest mainly just plants and fauna, which also meant no mozzies or leeches.
The roads coming off the highest point were manic, tiny little mountain paths packed with cars because of the national holiday. While we were stuck in traffic our guide said we could wander along the road in the direction of the Tea pavilion and factory, walking the winding but clogged roads of the plantations. Eventually after stopping at an area which had a group of houses and only just constituting a village we waited at a children's playground for our guide to pick us up. Now comes the most important bit, the cream tea, I was particularly hungry so also had a tuna sandwich, like a true English gent, and scoffed it down like a true rabid animal. The factory was closed due to the public holiday, which was annoying, so we headed for the Bee farm and strawberry farm, located in separate areas I must add, otherwise it would be chaos!
We were given the option to trek back ourselves from a neighbouring town, the Highlands also being a massive destination to those who enjoy a bit of a walking holiday. We set off on a long trek through the forest on our own, up and down muddy hillsides in dense foliage, across babbling brooks and over felled trees for a good couple of hours almost until we decided to take a different route back to civilisation, it was massively enjoyable bit harder than expected. In typical form we realise once back at our hotel we got dropped off at a different point to what we expected and had taken one of the most difficult treks!
The following day we took a walk to see some water falls, which were close by, admittedly I wasn't that impressed, I think you can do others if you pay for an excursion to some of the more protected and impressive ones, but it still made for a pleasant walk, however, we were quite warn out after the pervious days activities.
(an electrical storm rising up over the highlands, the pictures do not do it justice, it was like God was having a rave!)
The next day we boarded a bus for Kuala Lumpur, and waved goodbye to the beautiful highland landscape and the cooler climate to head to the hustle and bustle of the Malaysian Capital.