My next stop in Malaysia was the Cameron highlands. I remember looking into going here back in 2011 when I thought I might make it to Malaysia after Thailand but I didn’t get that far in the end so it was good to be finally going!
It was a 4 hour journey from KL and the coaches in Malaysia are very nice and have good air con.. so good that you actually need a jacket.
Arriving in the town that I was staying in in the Cameron highlands I found it seemed a very bleak place. Just one road with some shops and restaurants and then many hotels surrounding it but all quite outdated. Although travellers do come here its more popular for Malaysian and Singaporean locals to escape the heat and head into the Countyside with a cooler climate.
The guesthouse I stayed at was nice (Fathers guesthouse) and had the best reviews but the 10 bed dorm room was pretty shabby compared to some I had been in on this trip but luckily I was only there for 2 nights.
I had booked a full day trip so we left at 9.00 the next day in a jeep with a couple of other people and headed into the rainforest. The trek to find the Rafflesia flower (the largest flower in the world!) was a total of 3 hours and to start with the guide told us how hot it would be, how hard it would be and how much we would get bitten.. This guy was a motivator alright! :/
I did get bitten about 6 times by Mosquitos within the first 10 minutes despite having spray on so I had to put a long-sleeved top on which was extremely hot but luckily no more bites! The trek wasn’t actually that bad. It wasn’t as strenuous as the one I had done in Sumatra but it was also a little boring. We made it to the flower though.
It was strange as it was just there among the trees and so huge but it also looked so fake and has a kind of rubbery feel. These flowers take 15 months to grow and once they are fully grown only survive another 5 days which I didn’t realise (and I then found out if we were coming a week later that a flower was growing a lot closer to the road so the trek for those people would only be an hour rather than our 3 hours!) it was good to see and I’m glad I did it as I wanted to see one but it was a bit of a mission just for that.
After the walk back to the jeep and some lunch the next stop were the tea plantations which the Cameron highlands are famous for. We stopped off on the side of the road by the plantations which were hugee! As far as you could see was just neatly planted tea leaves and this wasn’t even the biggest plantation in the country. The air up there was also so fresh and this is the appeal to a lot of people as a lot of people from Malaysia and the local countries come here on holiday.
We then went to the tea factory and cafe. We were explained the stages of the process and saw some of the processes in a factory. It is definitely a hard job. They have migrants from Nepal out in the fields picking the tea leaves using big shears, they used to do it by hand and because of this and because it was so hard a lot of Malaysians refused to work there which is why they now have migrants working and the machines used in the factory are the same machines that were initially built in 1935!! They were definitely built well!
The tea produced there is only for Malaysia and Singapore and isn’t exported at all. The reason is that the tea gets brought and is in demand enough just for these 2 countries so there’s no need to export as they don’t seem to have much left over.
We then went to the cafe to have a cup of tea. The guide recommended a strong tea to us and told us to wait 3 minutes and then pour it and drink. I forgot this and poured it as soon as I sat down so it wasn’t too strong but still nice (I have also got used to drinking tea without milk now!) but when I went to pour the remaining tea because it had been sat in there for over 5 minutes it was way too strong and I couldn’t even drink it!
I’m glad I went to the Cameron highlands as I had known about it for awhile but I was glad to leave early the following morning to Georgetown!