Cameron Highlands: Cuppas & Cakes
KL behind us we began a long windy bus ride, ascending through the jungle to arrive by 6 in the Cameron Highlands… OR, as the case turned out to be, we’ll arrive at 10pm tired & hungry after sitting on the side of a road in the middle of the jungle, in the pitch black for 2 & a half hours!! The longest travel delay so far, in BY FAR the most developed country! The word ‘irony’ seems to fall short. We found a hostel in the main hub of Tanah Rata… into the only room left due to oue late arrival… & slept like babies!
The Cameron Highlands is an acclaimed area in central Malaysia which took shape during the British colonial rule. In the late 19th century British planters shot the region to fame when they discovered the rich fertility of the mountain slpoes. It is overwhelmingly dominated by the production of T–E–A!… Obviously, it was Brits! Sooooo many months without a decent cuppa!! The wait was over for this Brit. The highlands are also well known for butterfly & strawberry farms so it attracts a much older demographic than our previous destinations. But we were more than happy for a relaxing day or so mixing it with the elders. We caught a taxi to the main town of Brinchang, a few miles up the mountain’s main road. Our mission was to make a stop at each of the 3 claims to fame of the Cameron Highlands.
STOP 1 – Strawberry Farm. We did envisage skipping through furrows of fruit, picking the biggest & best strawberries we could find… but the prices were extortionate (well, for our budget they were extortionate) so we just ambled around before making our way further up the hill.
STOP 2 – Butterfly Farm. It was an absolute nightmare to try & get a taxi, & the walk was a good few miles uphill which we didn’t have time for. We convinced a taxi to take us half way up the hill, then we walked the remaining mile to one of the larger butterfly farms. There were whopping winged creatures everywhere accompanied by a few snakes, lizards & beetles. It wasn’t too impressive to be honest but the flowers were ginormous.
…& trying to count the stick insects killed 10 minutes.
We then walked on to the day’s main event…
STOP 3 – Tea Plantation. No taxis would take us to the plantation because they said the traffic was too bad. Despite us politely pointing out that the job of a taxi driver is to drive people regardless of this, & they would be adequetly remunerated for the journey, we reluctantly began the 3 mile walk. Not a lot, but tierd heavy legs & an uphill gradient make things harder & timing was an issue. We made it to the BOH tea plantation, sat down & had a well deserved cup of tea & a sarnie. The views looking out over the rolling hills were stunning. A crescendo of neverending tea leaves across the countryside, swelling & surging for miles. A brief & seemingly insignificant 30 minutes of rest & we were up & at it again, dragging our sorry legs back along the winding roads. It turns out theres not a lot to do at a tea plantation! The walk back was VERY long. It was 3 miles to the nearest town, & a further 4.5 miles to our hostel. We found much needed boosts of morale along the way. The first was passing hundreds of cars on our way out of BOH. The roads were chock-a-block & we had a new found appreciation for the taxi drivers’ reluctancy in driving to the plantation. We made good time downhill & took a ‘booster break’ on the way for another cup of tea & a scone. It wasn’t quite PG Tips but it tasted damn good to my tea-less taste buds, deprived for so long of my normal nectar!