A Travellerspoint blog

A Cooling Respite.

The Cameron Highlands.

View Malaysia Christmas 2018 on irenevt's travel map.

On Boxing Day we headed off to Bandar Tasik Selatan (BTS) by train to get to the bus station and catch our pre-booked transport to Tanah Rata in the Cameron Highlands. When we arrived at BTS, I foolishly joked to Peter: "I hope we have come to the right abbreviation." He took a quick look at our bus ticket and said: "Oh my God, we should have gone to Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS). "There was precious little time to sort things out before departure, so we sat down at the train station in despair wondering what to do. Then we checked the map and discovered BTS is the train station for TBS, so we were in the right place after all. I am so not fond of abbreviations!!!!

Panic over, we walked to the bus station. We had to go to a booth and exchange our internet booking print out for tickets, then we passed through the ticket barrier to the platforms. The bus arrived on time. It was operated by CS Travel. It was very comfortable and the journey was pretty pleasant. It took around four hours. There was no toilet on the bus, but we stopped at services once. After the services, our driver pointed out that the next hour and a half would involve winding round and round on a narrow country road up the mountains. He informed us we had all been provided with sick bags and asked if anyone wanted more. He was not exaggerating; it was a rather twisty and scary ride. The driver had to keep blasting his horn to warn descending drivers of our approach on blind bends. At one point a landslide had blocked our side of the road and we had to drive on the wrong side - horn blaring at full blast. As we neared Tanah Rata the heavens opened and torrential rain began battering down. We started to wonder if the Cameron Highlands had been such a good idea after all.

We were staying in the Heritage Hotel and knew it was a walkable distance away, but due to the torrential rain we took a taxi. It cost ten ringgit. The Heritage Hotel is a mock Tudor building set on a hill overlooking the town of Tanah Rata. Our room was large and it had a balcony with a good view over the town.

Our Room.

Me on our balcony in the rain.

Peter on our balcony.

The Heritage Hotel.

Christmas decorations in our hotel.

The hotel provided free Cameron Highlands tea so we had a cup and waited for the rain to stop then walked down our hill into town. It was so not like Malaysia with decidious trees and giant ferns and cool weather. Everywhere was cool and damp.

We were looking for a tour office and there were lots to choose from. From reading up on the area, I had worked out that a trip up Mount Brinchang to see the sunrise, a walk in the Mossy Forest and a trip to the BOH tea plantation was the way to go. We eventually settled on Hilltop Travel and Tour. We tried to book the sunrise tour, and while we could, we were strongly advised that with the current weather there was unlikely to be a sunrise. I asked if they thought the hike through the Mossy Forest would be too strenuous for my husband who walks with a stick. We were told not strenuous but very, very slippy due to all the rain, so after much friendly debate, we were persuaded to book the cheapest tour on offer. Not exactly hard sell. It was a half day morning city tour. We would be picked up from our hotel at 8:45 next morning. The tour was a very cheap 25 ringgits.

We walked back to our hotel and ate dinner there. We went into the main restaurant, looked at the menu, decided on our food, placed our order, then asked for two beers. We were told as the restaurant was halal, we would have to go to the bar if we wanted alcohol. We said: "But we also want to eat." We were told: "No problem you can eat there." We entered a completely empty bar with no-one serving then our waiter from the next door restaurant appeared, confirmed our order and brought us beers. Our waiter was a very pleasant and friendly Nepali. I ordered Char Kuey Teow, a flat noodle dish from Penang. My husband had a club sandwich. The portions were small but the food was good.

Dinner in the bar.

After dinner we were tired and headed to bed. Next morning we awoke to find it very cloudy, the tour agency had been right there was no sunrise. We were collected on time from our hotel, then set off to pick up a group of six more people. They were very late and our tour guide got quite annoyed. Eventually we were ready to go. Our first port of call was Taman Rama Rama - The Butterfly Farm, we paid an additional seven ringitts each to visit it. The worst part of it was the butterflies they were dull coloured and stayed completely still, high up on the walls. Apart from the butterflies, it was quite good with lots of lovely flowers, snakes, lizards, spiders, beetles, hamsters, turkeys and a mammal that I think was a red panda.

Entrance to the butterfly farm.

In the butterfly farm.

Peter in the butterfly farm.

Snakes in the farm.

More snakes.


More lizards.


Striped squirrel.

Red panda.


After leaving the butterfly farm, we drove to the BOH Tea Plantation. I would say that this was the highlight of the tour as it was very beautiful.The BOH Tea Plantation was founded in 1929 by J.A. Russell, a British businessman, who had lived in British Colonial Malaya from the age of six. Prior to getting into work with tea, he had worked in tin, rubber and railways. The plantation is wonderful to look at with lots of different shades of green and brown where the tea has been pruned. As well as stopping to take photos over the plantation, we had a look, from a distance at the owner's house, manager's house and workers' village. Then we went to the cafe, souvenir shop and factory area of the plantation. It was busy with a big queue of people waiting to buy tea and cakes. We did not join them. We just took some photos and bought some packets of tea as gifts. We would have liked to do the factory tour, but did not have time.


A view over the BOH tea plantation.

Cafe at the plantation.

Misty morning at BOH.

Above the workers' village.

Flowers at the plantation.

Next we went to the honey bee farm. This was free entry and had shops selling honey and honey based products, a cafe and a large colourful garden filled with bee-hives and flowers. It was very peaceful to walk there as the day got warmer and the gentle drone of bees buzzed in the background.

The honey bee farm.

Honey products.

Honey products.

The gardens.

After the honey bee farm we were taken to the rose and orchid garden. This also had a seven ringgit entry fee. This was a huge garden area with some roses, some orchids, vegetables, goats, turkeys and lots of different flowers. The most impressive flowers here in my opinion were the wonderful huge hibiscus flowers in red, peach, yellow and pink. The owners incorporated a lot of old tyres into their garden either as makeshift plant pots or painted and made into models. Well seen that Malaysia produces rubber. Every time I tried to photograph the goat it tried to eat my camera.

Entrance to rose and orchid farm



Me with the hibiscus.

Tyre snowmen.



Next we went to the strawberry farm. There is an area where you can walk among the strawberry plants taking pictures, but most of the strawberry growing areas are out of bounds. The strawberry farm sells: strawberries, strawberry jam, strawberry tea, strawberry cakes and strawberry ice-cream as well as strawberry patterned clothes, strawberry key-rings and so on. We decided to share a big bowl of strawberry ice-cream. It was very tasty but very sweet and we were glad we had not opted for one each. We also bought some strawberries to take back to our room.

Entrance to strawberry farm.


Strawberry ice-cream.

After the strawberry farm we visited a local market. We wandered around the stalls selling fruit, vegetables, cooked food, clothes, souvenirs and so on and we also visited a colourful garden and guesthouse nearby.

Local market.

Colourful garden.

Last stop on our tour was the beautiful Sam Poh Buddhist Temple located in Brinchang. This is a very well-kept and peaceful temple with many large golden statues on display.

The Buddhist temple.

The Buddhist temple.

The Buddhist temple.

We were really tired by this stage and were happy to go back to the hotel for a nap and more strawberries.

Later we walked into Tanah Rata and wandered around the restaurants and shops, then we had a stroll in the park. We encountered a strange fruit and vegetable sculpture that the local children had turned into a playground.We had chosen the Travellers' Pub to go for drinks and dinner. However, although they had a food menu, there was no-one working in the kitchen that day so we just had a beer then returned to the hotel for a buffet dinner.

Tanah Rata Park.

Playground sculpture.

Drinks in the bar.

Next morning we woke to a lovely sunrise which we watched from our balcony. Later we walked to the bus station and boarded a bus for our five-hour journey to Penang Island.


Posted by irenevt 04:22 Archived in Malaysia

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