Mystical. That’s the word that floats to the forefront of my mind whenever Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands stirs me into a dreamy revere.
It’s my one word summary that’s typified by the serene events that unfolded upon arrival when I was showing my Instagram followers the balcony view from my Deluxe Room at Cameron Highlands Resort.
A fog drifted up the highway and seeped through the trees to shroud us in a matter of moments. Within seconds I’d instantly switched from being in my colonial five star setting to being the star of somewhere reminiscent of Twilight’s Forks. The swiftness and vast difference stunned me into silence.
Being left in awe happened a lot to me up in the hills of Cameron Highlands.
An untouched jungle vibe still has a hold over Cameron Highlands despite new age developments creeping up the lofty hills. It is home to Malaysia’s indigenous people, the Orang Asli, who still live off everything that nature provides. Fruit picked straight from the jungle’s plants are sold on roadside stalls which wild dogs roam around unbothered by the threat of traffic.
As some of you have probably picked up at this stage of our ‘follow my travels’ relationship, me and that forever companion of mine are avid coffee drinkers, but I was a tea convert during my time up in the mountains as those velvet tea plantation landscapes are just a sight to behold.
Tea was the only thing on my mind. To walk through the manicured hill sloped fields was akin to a fairy-tale and the valleys are a full lush bounty of evergreen.
There are other things to do in between frolicking through Cameron Highland’s tea plantations and here are my highlights of Cameron Highlands:
Where I Stayed:
Would I Stay Again:
Cameron Highlands Resort is the only place I’ve ever stayed when I’ve been in Cameron Highlands and I don’t have any hesitation of staying there again. You can read my reasons in full on my dedicated blog post review but I will say that by booking directly with the resort, you are really maximising the value of your stay.
Where Did I Eat:
I found the food was so fresh wherever you ate at Cameron Highlands. Everything is sourced from the local highland farmers and I enjoyed all of my meals at both in the resort and out of the resort.
Naturally eating in the resort is a little pricey, though, out of interest I did wander around and found that the prices mirrored nearby hotels and resorts that aren’t quite as glamorous as Cameron Highlands Resort. As a reward for booking directly with the resort, my package included a free steamboat meal at their restaurant, Gon Bei San.
Breakfast was also included in my package so I had a full hot and buffet breakfast every morning, including on my own balcony, which costs an extra RM10 to enjoy.
There’s plenty of places to eat at Tanah Rata and I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch at the Indian mamak, Restoran Sri Brinchang, which came highly recommended to me by the locals. The food is extremely cheap and it’s delicious with locals and tourists mostly opting for the authentic banana leaf curry.
Dinner typically follows lunch as the next meal for most people but in the colonial themed highlands there is the quaint act of Afternoon Tea.
Cameron Highlands is famous for their plump strawberries and you can taste the resort’s own freshly made preserve free strawberry jam on freshly baked scones between 3-6pm along with finger sandwiches and other delicacies for RM110 for two people.
When dinner did come around, I returned to Tanah Rata and dined at The Barracks, which is one of the highest rated restaurants in Cameron Highlands on Tripadvisor. The open aired garden with ceramic stools and tables is reasonably priced and I tried their special Barracks Breadbowl Butter Chicken Tikka (RM20), which is exactly as it sounds with the food placed inside an edible bowl of bread.
What Did I Do:
On my way up to Cameron Highlands I stopped off at the Lata Iskandar Waterfall. Water calms me and I find gushing waterfalls tranquil, though that peace was shredded upon the sight of a massive spider that resembled an alien face hugger – nuff said!
After miraculously surviving that standoff with that giant spider, I arrived and immediately pampered myself at Cameron Highlands Resort’s award-winning Spa Village. I can’t tell you offhand how much it cost as one spa treatment is part of the package when you book directly but if you’re staying at the resort, you should indulge!
From the resort, I rented a taxi for four hours, which cost me RM120. The minimum amount of time you can hire a taxi is three hours and it costs RM30 per hour. Our driver Raja Nada was fantastic. He understood my Instagamming needs and enthusiastically drove me around to the best and little known Instagrammable spots and patiently waited as I got my shots and took in the breath-taking panoramic views of the rolling tea plantations.
I visited BOH Tea Plantation after, which in all honesty, was lovely but not as nice as the sights I’d already seen courtesy of my taxi driver. However, you can sit in there in their fenestrated café and gaze out of their windows with a great cup of tea while soaking in the views.
To top our four-hour trip around Cameron Highlands off, we dropped in to the Butterfly Farm, which, for RM6 each, is a very easy activity to do. Tread carefully through while admiring the various large butterflies because they’re resting throughout their habitat, including on the ground. There’s not just butterflies there as the farm contains insects, snakes, birds, and gardens.
How Did I Get Around:
To get around Cameron Highlands, there is no Grab or Uber. You could rent a scooter to get from place to place, which will cost you RM50 for a half day (5 hours) / RM80 for a full day (10 hours), travel by the lone public bus that goes from one end of the highlands to the other, or as we chose, taxi. The taxis are all set prices, which are determined by the location. There’s no meter or negotiating. For us to get from Cameron Highlands Resort to Tanah Rata cost us RM15.
How Did I Get To Cameron Highlands?
Prepare your stomach if you’re susceptible at all to any twists and turns because it’s quite a journey to get to Malaysia’s highlands. With four of us travelling, we decided to travel up to Cameron Highlands from Kuala Lumpur by Uber. This cost us RM200, which was very reasonable, though you may struggle to find such a driver willing to make the long journey.
We returned to Kuala Lumpur from Cameron Highlands Resort by bus. I highly recommend this being the mode of transportation you choose because it’s easy, there’s plenty of leg room and the buses are equipped with comfortable reclining seats. The tickets cost us RM35 each and you can buy them at the bus station in Tanah Rata.
Things to Know About Cameron Highlands?
Temperatures range in Cameron Highlands and it can get quite cool at night. Bring a cardigan, a thin jumper, or a shawl and a pair of jeans.