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Traveling

Cool Climate of Cameron Highlands June 19-23, 2016

Cool Climate of Cameron Highlands

GPS waypoint: 4°28'14.0"N 101°22'34.0"E
Location: Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

1600 MASL (meters above sea level)
From Penang, the next stop could have been Langkawi Island to the north, or Perenthian Islands to the east or Cameron Highlands to the south. En route to Kuala Lumpur where I was to take my flight out of Malaysia, Cameron Highlands was the logical destination as it was along the way. Travelers from Cameron talked about treks on tea plantation but somehow, no one mentioned the cold climate at 1,100 - 1,600 meters above sea level. It was freezing - a sharp departure from the hot and humid climate of Penang.

Tanah Rata - Brinchang
There are 2 townships in Cameron Highlands where travelers stay - Tanah Rata and Brinchang. They are only 4 kms apart and there is only one road connecting them. You would think there are plenty of public transportation plying that route, but no! There are no buses and the only way to get there is by a MYR10 taxi. In protest, I hitched both ways, and got a ride - but it took quite a while as hitching is not part of the Malaysian culture.

  • Tanah Rata - is the business center where the bus terminal is, the post office and some tourist offerings like hotel and tour agencies. There is the night market for sumptuous eating, but it's not as busy as Brinchang.
  • Brinchang - this is the more touristy area with hotels lined up one after another. They have a bigger night market. This is where you want to book your hotel. Buses coming from Penang will pass by Brinchang first before making its stop in Tanah Rata.
Cool Climate of Cameron Highlands
hitch hiking between Tanah Rata and Brinchang

Yoga
While walking around Brinchang, I chanced on a yoga studio. It's ran by June, a local from Ipoh who is devoted to her Sivananda practice. We had tea and talked about yoga and destinations in India to deepen the practice. She scheduled to have me teach a class the following day. It was all good until I realized my visa expiration was due - I had to leave for Kuala Lumpur to catch a flight out of Malaysia. I feel bad not being able to teach that class. Thank you for the offer June!

Foodscape
Although not at the level of Penang, the food scene in Cameron Highlands isn't too bad. There is a good mix of Chinese, Indian and Malay food at the night market. The chicken sate is particularly good specially with the peanut sauce. Despite Ramadhan, there was still plenty of open food stalls for good eats.

A Day in Cameron Highlands
I used my entire 4 days on my laptop getting productive on such a pleasant alfresco area breathing cool mountain air. I did a few walks around town, even hitch hiked to Brinchang to check out the scene and lavished good eats at the night market. There are various numbered jungle treks which you can do without a guide. But apart from all that, much of Cameron Highlands's itineraries are centered on packaged tours - farm tours, tea plantation tour, jungle tour, etc. Tours can range from MYR 25 to up in the 3 digits.

Ending Thoughts
The biggest draw of Cameron Highlands for me is the climate. You don't find many places in Southeast Asia along that hemisphere offering such cool mountain weather. You don't even have to do anything touristy. Just being there for the climate is rewarding enough.

--- TheLoneRider

Next stop: Kuala Lumpur

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

  • Tanah RataTanah Rata
  • BrinchangBrinchang
in the morning, Cameron Highlands is draped by fog morning scene slice of life in Tanah Rata putting on layers of clothing and a toque
at Daniel's Lodge where I get a comfortable working area women doing Tai Chi by a park the sign and trail mark for the jungle walk the jungle walk proved too brushy and too wet from the morning dew
vast open school ground Brinchang is a more developed tourist destination than Tanah Rata the barbeque guy fanning his fire busy market scene in Brinchang
the pancake guy meeting June, Brinchang's only yoga teacher hitching a ride on a motorcycle this guy's chicken sate was a killer
more bbq offerings at the night market in Tanah Rata hungry folks out for a bite food vendors abound with their specialties Pasembur is filling meal
everey culture has its own version of fried chicken Tanah Rata seems to be more Muslim and Indian while Brinchang seems to be more Chinese the roti guy deep fried goodness
refreshments at MYR 2 restaurants lining up the main street in Tanah Rata many food choices from this guy's table the main drag in Tanah Rata
kid learning the tricks of the trade from his Dad capitalism in full swing at Daniel's Lodging....MYR 15/night...not bad at the bus terminal waiting for my ride to Kuala Lumpur

Cameron Highlands Cost Index

backpacker places (US$1 = Malaysian Ringgit 4.04 = Php 46.46 as of June 23, 2016)
  • MYR 15 dorm bed at Daniel's Lodge in Tanah Rata
  • MYR 15 haircut
  • MYR 55 Taman Negara Tour
  • MYR 125 Perhentian Island Tour
  • MYR 25 Countryside Tour - tea farm, strawberry farm, honey bee farm, Market Square, Buddhist temple, Cactus Valley, Insect farm
  • MYR 88 Rainforest Adventure Tour - aborigine village, blow-pipe hunting demo, waterfall, jungle trek, butterfly & insect farm, tea factory, Rafflesia (giant flower)
  • MYR 65 Rainforest Jungle Trekking, 3-4 hours
  • MYR 10/hour or 50/day fat bike rental
  • MYR 25/hour taxi hire, min 3 hours
  • MYR 50/8 hours motorcycle rental
  • MYR 2.75 1.5 liter drinking water
  • MYR 60 one hour body massage
  • MYR 5 average night market hawker meals
  • MYR 10 taxi from Brinchang to Tanah Rata and vice versa
  • MYR 22.40 non-aircon economy bus from Cameron Highlands to Kuala Lumpur
  • MYR 35 express a/c bus from Cameron Highlands to Kuala Lumpur
  • MYR 32 express a/c bus from Cameron Highlands to Penang
  • MYR 125-140 express a/c bus from Cameron Highlands to Singapore

Cameron Highlands FYI / Tips

  • the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are in Brinchang

How to Get to Cameron Highlands from Penang

  • instead of doing multiple transfers if you do it on your own, you can book it with your hostel for MYR 45 including hotel pick-up by taxi, transfer to the big bus at Comtar, 4 hours, departing at 8:30 and arriving Tanah Rata 12:50.

Things to do, Places to go in Cameron Highlands

  1. jungle walk - the established walks are numbered. It's free and you don't need a guide. With the rainy season, the trails could be brushy
  2. tours - there are many packaged tours offered from visiting tea plantations, jungle treks, strawberry farm visits, honey bee farms, etc. The main activities in Cameron Highlands are centered on these packaged tours
  3. night market - eat and feast on the Indian, Malay and Chinese food selections at the night market
  4. Thompson Falls - many eating places too

Malaysia Blogs by TheLoneRider

    Cameron Highlands

  1. Cool Climate of Cameron Highlands June 19-23, 2016
  2. Kluang

  3. Overnight in Kluang, Malaysia Aug 13-14, 2016
  4. Kuala Lumpur

  5. Funky Flow Yoga with Lora Lorenzo at YogaOneThatIWant Studios July 27, 2016
  6. Deja Vu Kuala Lumpur with Karine July 21-26, 2016
  7. Layover in Kuala Lumpur June 22, 2016
  8. The Kuala Lumpur Experience Jan 21 - Feb 20, 2015
  9. Police Harassment in Kuala Lumpur Feb 17, 2015
  10. Visiting Batu Caves of Kuala Lumpur Feb 18, 2015
  11. Walking Tour of China Town Feb 5, 2015
  12. Breaking New Ground in Kuala Lumpur Jan 21, 2015
  13. Malacca

  14. A First-Timer in Malacca July 28-Aug 8, 2016
  15. Art Scene of Malacca August 6, 2016
  16. The River Charm of Malacca August 5, 2016
  17. About Malacca July 28, 2016
  18. Penang

  19. Penang (Malaysia) Immersion May 27-Jun 19, 2016
  20. Exploring the Emergent Cafe Culture of Penang Jun 18, 2016
  21. Encounters with the Guru-Types of Penang Jun 17, 2016
  22. Overnight Camping at Turtle Beach Jun 10, 2016
  23. Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation in Penang Jun 10, 2016
  24. Daytrip to Batu Ferringhi Jun 9, 2016
  25. Savouring the Food of Penang May 27 - Jun 6, 2016
  26. Surreal Glow-in-the-Dark 3D World at Dark Mansion June 3, 2016
  27. The Animated Street Art of Penang Jun 3, 2016
  28. Exploring the Lush Greenery of Botanic Gardens May 29, 2016
  29. Up up and Away to Penang Hill May 28, 2016
  30. About Penang May 27, 2016



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June 19-23, 2016

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