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Discover Cameron Highlands, Pahang

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Cameron HighlandsCameron Highlands (3 May, 2016)

 Timothy Tye

Discover Cameron Highlands, Pahang is a travel guide to the biggest highland retreat in Malaysia. Cameron Highlands (GPS: 4.47212, 101.38014) is located about 20 km east of Ipoh and about 150km north of Kuala Lumpur. Although located in Pahang, Cameron Highlands is more easily accessed from Perak. Cameron Highlands has an average height of 5000 ft (1,500 m) above sea level, and enjoys a cool climate. Temperatures in Cameron Highlands is usually no higher than 25°C but rarely falls below 10°C year round.

Main Towns in Cameron Highlands

The following are the towns and agricultural settlements in Cameron Highlands.

Map of sights in Cameron Highlands

Sights in Cameron Highlands

  1. Bharat Tea Plantation (GPS: 4.45736, 101.36585)
  2. Cameron Highlands Butterfly Garden (GPS: 4.5076, 101.40751)
  3. Cameron Lavender Garden (GPS: 4.52687, 101.4266)
  4. Cameron Square (GPS: 4.50821, 101.40792)
  5. Convent Tanah Rata (GPS: 4.47078, 101.37411)
  6. Ee Feng Gu Bee Farm (GPS: 4.50893, 101.40857)
  7. Gunung Brinchang (GPS: 4.51777, 101.38286)
  8. Gunung Irau (GPS: 4.51696, 101.36209)
  9. Lakehouse Cameron Highlands (GPS: 4.43097, 101.38709)
  10. Lata Iskandar (GPS: 4.32544, 101.32432)
  11. Mossy Forest (GPS: 4.52386, 101.38099)
  12. Multicrops Central Market (GPS: 4.4949, 101.39305)
  13. Rose Valley (GPS: 4.51236, 101.42857)
  14. Sam Poh Temple (GPS: 4.48875, 101.39064)
  15. S'Corner Central Market (GPS: 4.50193, 101.40238)
  16. Sungei Palas Boh Tea Centre (GPS: 4.5161, 101.41608)
  17. The Smokehouse Hotel (GPS: 4.48406, 101.37868)
  18. Time Tunnel Museum (GPS: 4.49715, 101.39528)
  19. Unc Sam Farm (GPS: 4.49491, 101.39328)

Categories of sights in Cameron Highlands

360° View of Cameron Highlands on Google Maps Street View

Cameron Highlands was named after William Cameron, the government surveyor who explored it in 1885 and cleared the jungle for development. The average height of Cameron Highlands is 1524m, with the highest point, Gunung Brinchang, standing at slightly over 2000m. The mountain, topped by a transmission station, is accessible by car. There are three towns in Cameron Highlands, namely Ringlet, Tanah Rata and Brinchang.

Cameron Highlands is probably the only place in Malaysia to see tea plantations and strawberry farms. Tea cultivation was introduced to Cameron in 1929 by John Archibald Russell, who established the giant Boh Tea company. In its wake are the strawberry farms, flower nurseries, butterfly farms and golf courses. Recently, as Malaysians develop a penchant for hiking, trails are established to explore Gunung Brianchiang and Gunung Irau, as well as into the mossy forest.

Cactus Valley, Cameron HighlandsCactus Valley, Cameron Highlands (24 April 2004)

This may sound surprising to you, but until recently, my only visit to Cameron Highlands before this was as an infant. I was too young to remember that but for the photographs. Although a trip to Cameron is considered "no big deal", it some how eluded me all these years until April 2004.

On this trip, we took the new road to Cameron, staying at a guest house in Brinchang, a scruffy settlement anchored to the side of the mountain range. At night, the square in the middle of town is turned into a pasar malam. From our base in Brinchang, we visited the flower nurseries and strawberry farms. We drove to the Boh Tea plantations. Boh has two huge plantations, one in Brinchang and another further down in Tanah Rata, while another company, Bharat operates the third in Cameron. In my opinion, the most beautiful is the Boh Estate at Sungai Palas. With my powerful telephoto lens, I can pick out tea-pickers in the undulating sea of tea bushes, an truly marvellous sight.

Inside an orang asli hutInside an orang asli hut (16 September, 2005)

The girls in the group had a ball at the flower nurseries and strawberry farm. And they had the chance to do what girls do: shop. With flowers and tea and strawberries and honey, Cameron Highlands offers everything to satisfy jaded urban visitors like us. I persuaded the girls to make the trip to Gunung Brinchang (Mount Brinchang) as well as to visit the mossy forest. We engaged the services of Suresh, a knowledgeable ecology guide to help us better understand the workings of the mossy forest. He explained to us the different forest plants, such as the jungle bell (Didymocarpus), the Kacip Fatimah (Labisia) which is said to have medicinal value for womenfolk, and the White Star (Argostamma), a poisonous plant with lovely white flowers.

Suresh also explained to us why there are no mosquitoes on top of Gunung Brinchang. It all has to do with the ecology. Or to be precise, the chain of life, and how the existence or non-existence of one life affects another. If we had more time - and inclination - we could also trek to Gunung Irau nearby. We could see it from the top of Gunung Brinchang, and on that clear day, could see all the way to Ipoh.

In the mossy forest of Cameron HighlandsIn the mossy forest of Cameron Highlands (2 April, 2004)

To complete our sightseeing, we visited the Old Smokehouse near Brinchang and the Tudor-style Lakehouse near Ringlet. These luxurious English inns, with their ivy-covered stone walls, fire place, and timber frames, offer us a glimpse of the moneyed lifestyle. And as for me, for now, it remains no more than a glimpse.

The panoramic view in Cameron Highlands is certainly breathtaking, as seen from the photograph above, taken in the morning at the Sg. Palas Boh Tea Plantation, on our way to Mount Brinchang.

Tim and Chooi Yoke with the hydrangeas in Cameron HighlandsTim and Chooi Yoke with the hydrangeas in Cameron Highlands (7 May, 2005)

Visiting Cameron Highlands

If you are coming from the south, such as from Kuala Lumpur, exit the North-South Expressway at Tapah (Exit 132) and follow directional sign to Cameron Highlands, 60 km in the northeast direction. Along the way, you will pass by the Lata Iskandar waterfalls. If you are coming from the north, ie from Penang, exit the North-South Expressway at Simpang Pulai (Exit 135) and take the new road to Cameron Highlands.

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