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.
hitch hiking between Tanah Rata and Brinchang
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!
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.
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.
Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
- Tanah Rata
backpacker places (US$1 = Malaysian Ringgit 4.04 = Php 46.46 as of June 23, 2016)
- dorm bed at Daniel's Lodge in Tanah Rata
- Taman Negara Tour
- Perhentian Island Tour
- Countryside Tour - tea farm, strawberry farm, honey bee farm, Market Square, Buddhist temple, Cactus Valley, Insect farm
- Rainforest Adventure Tour - aborigine village, blow-pipe hunting demo, waterfall, jungle trek, butterfly & insect farm, tea factory, Rafflesia (giant flower)
- Rainforest Jungle Trekking, 3-4 hours
- fat bike rental
- taxi hire, min 3 hours
- motorcycle rental
- 1.5 liter drinking water
- one hour body massage
- average night market hawker meals
- taxi from Brinchang to Tanah Rata and vice versa
- non-aircon economy bus from Cameron Highlands to Kuala Lumpur
- express a/c bus from Cameron Highlands to Kuala Lumpur
- express a/c bus from Cameron Highlands to Penang
- express a/c bus from Cameron Highlands to Singapore
- the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are in Brinchang
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- night market - eat and feast on the Indian, Malay and Chinese food selections at the night market
- Thompson Falls - many eating places too
- Cool Climate of Cameron Highlands June 19-23, 2016
- Overnight in Kluang, Malaysia Aug 13-14, 2016
- Funky Flow Yoga with Lora Lorenzo at YogaOneThatIWant Studios July 27, 2016
- Deja Vu Kuala Lumpur with Karine July 21-26, 2016
- Layover in Kuala Lumpur June 22, 2016
- The Kuala Lumpur Experience Jan 21 - Feb 20, 2015
- Police Harassment in Kuala Lumpur Feb 17, 2015
- Visiting Batu Caves of Kuala Lumpur Feb 18, 2015
- Walking Tour of China Town Feb 5, 2015
- Breaking New Ground in Kuala Lumpur Jan 21, 2015
- A First-Timer in Malacca July 28-Aug 8, 2016
- Art Scene of Malacca August 6, 2016
- The River Charm of Malacca August 5, 2016
- About Malacca July 28, 2016
- Penang (Malaysia) Immersion May 27-Jun 19, 2016
- Exploring the Emergent Cafe Culture of Penang Jun 18, 2016
- Encounters with the Guru-Types of Penang Jun 17, 2016
- Overnight Camping at Turtle Beach Jun 10, 2016
- Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation in Penang Jun 10, 2016
- Daytrip to Batu Ferringhi Jun 9, 2016
- Savouring the Food of Penang May 27 - Jun 6, 2016
- Surreal Glow-in-the-Dark 3D World at Dark Mansion June 3, 2016
- The Animated Street Art of Penang Jun 3, 2016
- Exploring the Lush Greenery of Botanic Gardens May 29, 2016
- Up up and Away to Penang Hill May 28, 2016
- About Penang May 27, 2016
June 19-23, 2016
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