- Encounters with locals
- Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
- Hiking / Trekking
- Culture (paddy field, coffee, tea ...)
I met a Malaysian traveller in Laos and he suggested I head to Cameron Highlands, so as to see another side of Malaysia than its big towns and major tourist attractions. The bus journey gave me a taste of what was to come: forest and jungle in the mountains, the smell of tea and fresh air... something I missed since arriving in Kuala Lumpur.
I wanted to tour Cameron Highlands' tea plantations that stretch across the horizon and listen to tea gatherers' tales as they huddled in little huts. I wanted to lose myself in a butterfly sanctuary and enjoy some calm.
The plus side: the fresh air and unusual setting.
The downside: Guided tours - nothing to write home about and you're obliged to follow others.
When the temperature in the plain becomes intolerable, nothing will recharge your batteries better than a stay in the Cameron Highlands . On arrival after a chaotic journey by bus, I was surprised by the towns of Tanah Rata and Bringchang which both look a bit like the ski resorts that were built in the 1960s. Very quickly though, I was able to escape from the bustle of town to go walking in the environs towards Robinson Falls. Some paths are technically easy and can be negotiated on your own. For those of you who enjoy longer walks , it is best to get in touch with a local guide.
Beyond Sultan Abu Bakar lake, I went to visit the BOH tea plantation, the one that you drink in all the hotels in the country. The journey by taxi is incredible even when it is misty. Once there you can visit the factory, savour a cup of tea or simply walk amidst the tea plants.
I spent two nights in Cameron Highlands and it was the ideal place to unwind in a natural setting. On the first day I visited the Boh Sungei Palas tea plantation, the biggest in the region. The view overlooking the tea plantations was grandiose and the colour a near fluorescent green.
You can go on a guided tour of the plantation. Before leaving, make sure you have a cup of tea whilst admiring the view of the plantation - a magic moment.
On the second day I headed to the ethnic village of Orang Asli, where I was greeted with open arms. It was a superb welcome in a village where you can take music lessons and learn traditional dances. To end the day, the village chief asked if I wanted to take part in a quick blowpipe competition.
I came away with some unforgettable memories of this beautiful region and I highly recommend any nature lover pays it a visit.
Even though the area attracts tourists, the welcome you'll get is spontaneous and natural; the local residents seem to take pride in giving visitors a taste of their daily life. Something you really should do during a trip to Malaysia.