For a respite from the sweltering weather, Cameron Highlands’ cool and sometimes chilly weather makes it the choice destination for a weekend getaway for people residing in Malaysia and Singapore.
Getting There via Route 59
The best way to reach it is by car. There are 2 roads leading up to the highlands. If you are coming from South of Malaysia, the nearest road will be Taman Tapah (Route 59). This is a two-way road, which means the lane is narrower and on a crowded weekend or public holiday, expect slow traffic. During off-peak season, there are hardly any cars. If you loved cornering sharp turns like we do, then this is the road to satisfy that adrenaline rush.
Shortly after entering Route 59, you will come across a waterfall. After a long drive, the cold water is very inviting for tired feet.
It is also a good picnic place to munch on local snacks sold by stalls at the entrance to the waterfall. Our top must-eat is the fried sweet potatoes (there isn’t anywhere else that sell this except here). The second runner-up is the fried Chempedak (Chempedak is a tropical fruit that taste just as good without frying). Finally, how can anyone not buy fried banana fritters from a goreng pisang stall. All snacks are fried on ordering. But the wait is worth it. There is also drink stall selling fresh coconuts to quench your thirst. After this stop, there is no other point of interest till you reach Cameron Highlands.
Getting There via Route A181
The other road that leads to Cameron Highlands is via Kampong Tanjong (Route A181). It is approximately 20 km away from Route 59. This will be the nearest road if you are coming from the North of Malaysia. This 4 lane road has wide lanes and smooth curves and turns. Comfortable for people with motion sickness. Though many delivery trucks plough through this road, it isn’t a problem.
Where To Go
Coming from Route 181, as you near the summit of Cameron Highlands, you will be greeted with strawberry farms. You can visit the farms, buy fresh strawberries (personally I find it too sour) or if you prefer something savory, go for the chocolate-coated ones.
Continue down the road, you will pass by a bee farm. If it is closed, no worries, there is another one further down the road. You can visit the farm and buy fresh honey including the ones with honeycomb in it here.
Besides the bees, don’t forget to roam around the garden to sort out other interesting produce like this one here…
BOH Tea Centre
Drive on for another 5 mins, there will be a split road. Take the right turn and drive on for another 15 mins to reach BOH Sungai Palas Tea Centre. No visits to Cameron Highlands is complete without visiting BOH Tea Centre. They are a major tea manufacturer in Malaysia with tea plantations spanning the whole of Cameron Highlands.
Here, visitors can relax with a cup of BOH tea while enjoying the crisp air and vast view of BOH’s tea plantation. Or, you can also join the short tour to understand the manufacturing process of BOH tea (register and pay first before going for your cuppa as there are fixed timings for the tour).
Drive back on to the main road and turn right to continue the journey. You will reach the Butterfly Garden in 2 mins. The garden is divided into 2 sections. In the open garden, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of bright and exceptionally huge flowers (imagine each flower is as big as your face!).
In the enclosed area, visitors enter into the world of butterflies.
There are also interesting poisonous or dangerous insects on display.
Cameron Highlands Resort
There is a wide range of hotels to suit all budgets in Cameron Highlands. One of the best had to be the 5* Cameron Highlands Resort. The room is huge, comfortable and tastefully decorated. Located conveniently on the main street (opposite the golf course), even a late night out will not be a problem.
Food wise, if you’re into fine dining, then this is the place to be. Alternatively, try out their afternoon tea set. It is excellent and extremely relaxing with live piano music and view of the golf course.
😳 Oops! we’re almost done with the bowl of fresh strawberries…
Main Square of Cameron Highlands
As you drove away from Cameron Highlands Resort, you will pass through the main square of Cameron Highlands. Both sides of the road are lined with shops. It is also the place to get your petrol pumped. We wouldn’t recommend dining in any of the Chinese restaurant (looks more like coffeeshop) here. Most of them are unhygienic, the food tasted horrible and expensive. You can get better food for the same price in any of the hotels. We especially like the food at Century Pines Resort. They offer excellent services, good food and fantastic atmosphere.
Chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
At the end of the square is the Chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the only catholic church on the highlands.
BOH Tea Garden and BOH Chapel
Continued down the road for 15 mins, turn left into Jalan Boh, drive for another 15 mins and you will reach the other tea centre of BOH Tea. Being quite a distance away from the main tourist area, this cafe exert an entirely different atmosphere from the tea centre at Sungai Palas. Sipping tea while overlooking mountains after mountains of tea plantation, we felt that we’re lost in a world of its own!
On our way down, we spotted a narrow, sandy road leading into the valley. Curious, we went ahead to explore it. It led us to the BOH Village where the BOH tea plantation workers lives. The village is out-of-bound to outsiders but not the BOH Chapel. However, it is only opened during time of service.
Brinchang Night Market
As night falls, head to the Brinchang Night Market for delicious local food, snacks and shopping. The market is held every Friday and Saturday. Best time to visit is around 8 pm when all the stalls are ready. Majority of the stalls are dedicated to food (try out the mouth-watering fried squids….its the best we ever had). Vegetables and fruits stalls took up the rest of the space. If passion fruit is in season, get your hands on some. These fruits are packed with vitamin C and are really cheap here. There is also a honey stall that specialise in honey with honeycomb.
Throughout the whole of Cameron Highlands, there are numerous farms and marketplaces selling locally grown vegetables and fruits. One interesting item is dried tea compost. It is an organic fertilizer supposedly very good for plants. It comes in a big bag and cost about RM5. We bought a bag to try. Unfortunately, due to the humidity back home, the compost did more harm than good to our indoor plants.
Overall, Cameron Highlands can be easily covered in 2 days, though 3 days would be ideal for a more relaxed pace.