cameron highlands malaysia tea plant plantation

Cooling Down in Cameron Highlands

Up narrow winding roads, through clouds, we climbed more than 3000 feet above sea level, into the lush green hill area of the Cameron Highlands. We were drawn to the area after reading about the fairytale-sounding Mossy Forest and the acres of lush green tea plantations…plus it was between Taman Negara (our last stop) and Penang (our next stop) so it was a perfect pit-stop. And pit-stop it was, short and sweet. With only one night there we had to make the most of our time. Knowing we hadn’t pre-booked accommodations, our driver took us to where he stays when he’s there with his family, a really lovely place called De’Native Guest House. A combination of an old home and newly built bamboo shacks, you can opt for dorm room or private with en suite – we took one of the picture perfect shacks. Lovely grounds to look at by day (lots of flowers) and fun set up at night (a fire pit, outdoor bar and karaoke area was quite conducive to conversation with fellow travellers).

That evening we had dinner and booked a tour for the next morning. A guidebook said “steamboats” are a local eating experience not to be missed, so we made sure our appetites obliged. A portable stove and large pot of boiling broth is placed on the centre of your table and plate after plate of raw food is brought for you to cook in the liquid to your liking. Where we went the experience of it trumped the taste – we weren’t able to select which food it came with and the set selection was a little heavy on fish balls and rubbery seafood.

steamboat food cameron highlands malaysia

We figured since our time in Cameron Highlands was very limited, a half-day excursion was the best way to cram in as much as possible and not risk missing the bus out. Our package included a tour of Boh tea plantation, hike through the mossy forest, the butterfly park, a strawberry farm, and a guide no one in our international group could understand. But the latter was no matter because the stunning scenery didn’t need interpretation.

There were tea plants as far as the eye could see…

cameron highlands malaysia tea plantation

The mossy forest really did seem out of Enid Blyton or Brothers Grimm…

cameron highlands malaysia mossy forest

cameron highlands malaysia mossy forest

The forest also was home to some cool looking carnivorous pitcher plants…

cameron highlands malaysia pitcher forest

The butterfly park was full of fluttering colours…

cameron highlands malaysia butterfly

…and gross bugs.

cameron highlands malaysia beetles

All the beauty aside, one of the standout aspects of the Cameron Highlands was that it was the first non-AC induced chill we’d had in months! I needed a sweater again and it was fantastic. Granted, it was around 12 degrees – which, considering the winter Toronto had may seem like a heat wave, but for us it was cold bliss. After a whirlwind 24 hours, we were off again: next stop Penang!

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