Cameron Highlands in Malaysia – It’s Tea Time

Soft hills with juicy green tea fields, fresh strawberries and gorgeous flowers – all this can be found in the highlands of Malaysia. More precisely, we are talking about the Cameron Highlands. These are not only Malaysia’s main tea-growing area, but also a popular place for day trips by tourists and locals. Even on a backpacking trip through Malaysia, the tea fields should not be missed.  

By the way, you should not confuse the Cameron Highlands with the Cameroon Highlands. These are not in Malaysia, but in Cameroon. This can lead to confusion when researching on an English blog.  

What and where are the Cameron Highlands?

The Cameron Highlands are located in the Sultanate of Pahang in western Malaysia. The Highlands lie at an altitude of about 1500 metres and are therefore cooler than the lower regions of the country. Incidentally, the Cameron Highlands are named after William Cameron, the British surveyor who first measured them. Today, they are an important economic area in Malaysia, on the one hand because of the flourishing agriculture, on the other hand because of tourism. Therefore, it is not surprising that hotels are mushrooming in the Cameron Highlands.

Cameron Highlands Getting There

The Cameron Highlands are somewhat remote.The journey is usually direct to Tanah Rata, the largest town in Pahang and the centre of the region. Tanah Rata also has the nearest bus station in the Highlands. However, this should not hide the fact that Tanah Rata is a larger village at best. Tanah Rata and all the other villages lie along a main road leading into the region.

The best way to find connections in Malaysia is to use the App Rome to Rio. However, you can better check the current timetables in the App Easybook. There you can also buy tickets for the buses.

Travel Ipoh -Cameron Highlands

The nearest major town to the Cameron Highlands is Ipoh. Buses run from the bus station there between 8am and 6:30pm about every hour. The bus station in Ipoh is located just outside the city and is best reached by GRAB. The bus station is called Terminal Menu Raya or Ipoh Amanjaya. From there, take the bus to Tanah Rata and get off at the last stop. Note that if you are doing a day trip from Ipoh, the last bus back to Ipoh leaves Tanah Rata at 18:00. Also, depending on traffic, online bus journey times may not be correct. The 2h 20min journey time can easily become more than three hours with some traffic.

Arrival Penang – Cameron Highlands     

The best way to get to the Cameron Highlands from Penang is also by bus.The journey time in normal traffic is about 5h. However, this journey can also be considerably longer if, as is so often the case, it is a bit busier on the single-lane country road in the mountains. However, the direct bus only runs a few times a day. The alternative solution is to take the train to Ipoh and from there take the bus to Tanah Rata. The train to Ipoh takes 1h 46min. From the train station you should take a GRAB to the bus station.

Arrival Cameron Highlands – Perhentian Islands     

The best way to reach the Cameron Highlands from the Perhentian Islands is also by bus. However, as you cross half the island, the ride from Kuala Besut to the Cameron Highlands takes 7h.

Arrival Cameron Highlands – Kuala Lumpur

Besides Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur is also a good base to visit Cameron Highlands. Moreover, Kuala Lumpur is also the place where most tours to the Cameron Highlands are offered. By car or tour bus, it takes 2h 35min (with good traffic) to get to the Cameron Highlands from Kuala Lumpur. The distance is about 200km. The regular buses, however, if you want to go to the Cameron Highlands without a tour, take just under 5h.

Cameron Highlands weather

The Cameron Highlands are, as their name suggests, a high area in a mountain range. This makes the weather there much cooler than in the tropical rest of Malaysia. Rainforest grows in the area anyway, of course. As Malaysia lies on the equator, temperatures vary little throughout the year. The average maximum temperatures during the day are around 21°C. However, lows can drop below 10° at night. However, when we visited Cameron Highlands (11/2019) we had unexpectedly warm temperatures of around 28° and bright sunshine. The weather forecast for the Cameron Highlands also proved to be extremely unreliable.

It rains often and a lot in the Cameron Highlands. The top month is October, with an average of 25 rainy days and 335mm of rainfall.December to March and June to August average less rain, making them the best time to visit the Cameron Highlands.

Cameron Highlands Accommodation    

In the Cameron Highlands, there are countless hotels along the main road. Some are huge bed bunkers, others ruined buildings that were never completed. To spot really nice hotels you have to search a bit. But with a bit of luck you can find nice offers for less than 15€ a double room. There are also several hostels in the Cameron Highlands. If you want something more luxurious, you can also choose a resort. These are mainly found around the region’s large golf course.

Cameron Highlands attractions

The Cameron Highlands are most famous for their tea plantations. tea plantations. But on hikes and tours you can still discover one or two other highlights of the region. You can find out more about hiking in the Cameron Highlights below. below for more information.

Tea plantations and tea houses

There are two major plantations in the Cameron Highlands. The Cameron and the Boh Plantation each with its own tea house. The Cameron Plantation is closer to the main road and is therefore often visited by tourist buses. Boh Plantation is a little further out. Both plantations are wonderful for photos.

We visited the Cameron Plantation. However, we went through the plantation from the back. The way there is along a tarred road through the forest. Tourists rarely get lost in the back part of the plantation. However, the path here is partly just a flooded trail (if you walk the diversions through the settlement, the path is better). The fields of Cameron Plantation cost 3 MYR entrance fee. That’s about 70ct.

  • Boh Sungei Palas Tea Estate
  • Boh Tea Garden
  • Cameron Valley Tea House
  • Cameron Bharat Plantation

Strawberry Farms

The strawberry farms in the Cameron Highlands are more seasonal attractions. They also have attached cafes and you can pick strawberries. The Raaju’s Hill is more of a rustic strawberry farm where strawberries are grown under plastic. The Big Red has an attached nursery and seems a bit fancier. When tour buses come, both farms are often full. Those who are only here as holidaymakers as Europe should consider visiting a local strawberry farm.

  • Raaju’s Hill Strawberry Farm
  • Big Red Strawberry Farm

Beehive farms / apiaries

Bees are also farmed in the Cameron Highlands. Whether the farms are really worth a visit, however, is questionable. In the meantime, the facilities are a bit outdated. Many visitors found them quite nice, but 20 minutes would be enough. However, the honey there is supposed to be very tasty

  • Ee Feng Gu Honey Bee Farm
  • Cameron Tringkap Bee Farm

Butterfly Farm

The butterfly enclosure makes up only a small part of the Butterfly Farm grounds. There are also a few other greenhouses and enclosures with other animals such as turtles, iguanas and insects. The facility is a bit outdated. However, the rather poor conditions in which many of the animals are kept do not make the butterfly farm a top destination.

  • Cameron Butterfly Farm

Waterfalls

The most beautiful thing about the Cameron Highlands is the nature. Whoever has time should definitely go hiking in the beautiful area.Whoever is looking for a highlight for the hike besides tea plantations can visit one of the waterfalls in the region. These are not overly large or extraordinary, but nice to refresh yourself a bit on hikes.

  • Lata Iskandar Waterfall
  • Robinson Falls

temple

As in most places, there is a Chinese temple in Tanah Rata. Chinese temple. If you have time and have not yet visited a Chinese temple temple yet, this is a nice opportunity. However, if you are travelling from Ipoh we recommend to visit the temples there.  Ipoh has amazing temples!

  • Sam Poh Temple

Museums

The museum in Tanah Rata is a bit like an antique shop. It is lovingly furnished, even though many exhibits are not in perfect condition. The theme of the museum is the history of the Cameron Highlands region. For visitors interested in history, it is a nice destination.

  • Time Tunnel

Cameron Highlands Walks

If you want to go hiking in the Cameron Highlands, there are a few a few routes to choose from. The typical trails can be found on a map map that is availa ble in most hotels. Accordingly, the routes marked on this map on this map are also more touristy. However, there is nothing to search for your own (paved) routes on Google Maps and explore the Cameron Highlands on your own. Small side roads with hardly any traffic are often well suited as hiking trails.

Then, however, there is a lot to discover.Dense jungle and even cloud forest, for example, adorn the slopes of Mount Brinchang. The Mossy Forest is particularly well-known.

Tips on walks in the Cameron Highlights

Bring plenty of water. On many routes there are no options to buy drinks on the way.

Wear good shoes. It gets slippery quickly, especially on the paths through the cloud forest. Many paths are also very muddy after rain. Waterproof shoes are therefore an advantage.

The trails are generally poorly signposted or not signposted at all. Therefore, official guides are recommended for many tours. In any case, you should at least download offline maps (Google Maps or Maps.me) for the Cameron Highlands onto your mobile phone to be able to navigate even without sufficient mobile internet.

Stay on the trails.It is not a good idea to walk cross-country through the rainforest. There are snakes there and if you get hurt or lost no one will find you.

Eine gute Übersicht der Wanderwege bekommt ihr auf der www.hikebikemap.org, die auf OpenStreetMap basiert

Trail 1 up Gunung Brinchang

Trail number 1 leads up to the summit of Gunung Brinchang (2,032m), from where there are great views over the Cameron Highlands. The start of the trail is in the village of Brinchang. The hike takes about 3-4 hours if you can find the trail. It is not very well signposted. As it is mainly uphill, the hike is quite challenging. Alternatively, you can drive to the summit. Many use this option and then hike downhill. In addition, you can also take a guide for the hike.

Trail 2 from Sam Poh Temple

The second trail also starts in the village of Brinchang, more precisely at the Buddhist temple there, the Sam Poh Temple. It leads for about 1.5 hours downhill and uphill through the countryside until it finally meets up with trail number 3.

Trail 3 from golf course

Trail number three starts at the large golf course in the Cameron Highlands and leads from there for about 2.5 hours uphill to the summit of Gunung Berembun (1,841m)

Trail 4 from Forest Department

Trail 4 is a comparatively easy trail. It starts at the Forest Department and leads from there to the waterfall called Parit. The trail takes about half an hour. Trail 4 is followed by Trail 3 and is popular with hikers on Trail 3 as a way back to town.

Trail 5 from Mardi Tanah Rata (I)

Trail 5 starts at the Mardi Agro-Technology Park Tanah Rata. It takes about one hour and then also ends at Trail 3, which you can then follow either into Brinchang town or up Gunung Brinchang mountain.

Trail 6 from Cameron Valley Teahouse

This trail starts in the tea plantations, specifically at Cameron Valley Tea House 1 and goes up from there to Mount Gunung Jasar (1,670m). There the trail meets the Trail 10.  As this trail is also not signposted, it is somewhat difficult to find.

Trail 7 from Mardi Tanah Rata (II)

This trail also starts at the Mardi Agro-Technology Park and leads from there up Gunung Beremban. There it meets Trail 3and Trail 8. It takes about 2 hours.

Trail 8 from Robinson Waterfall

Also Trail 8 climbs the Gunung Beremban. It starts at the Robinson Waterfall. The hike takes about 3 hours from here.

Trail 9 from Tanah Rata via Robinson Waterfall

Trail 9 starts in Tanah Rata and then goes via Robinson Waterfalls to Robinson Weather Station. The hike to the end takes about 1h.

Trail 9a from Robinson Fall (II)

This is the alternate end of Trail 9 which splits off at Robinson Falls. A hike of about 2 hours will take you to the BOH Tea Plantation.

Trail 10 Tanah Rata to the Gunung Jasar

This trail can be combined with Trail 6 for a nice half-day hike. The tail starts in Tanah Rata and leads from there to Gunung Jasar.If you don’t want to return to the village, you can also continue on Trail 11 at the end of Trail 10.

Trail 11 Alternative to Trail 10

Trail 11 is a alternative to Trail 10 that parallels Trail 10 climbing the mountain at the bottom of Gunung Jasar. Trail 11 climbs Gunung Perdah instead and meets Trail 12 there, but to our knowledge it is closed.

Trail 12 out of service

Closed

Trail 13 Tanhan Rata to Trail 14

Trail 13 connects Holliday Inn to Trail 14 in a hike of about 1.5h. The trail can be in poor condition and may be difficult to find.

Trail 14 Through the forest to Gunung Mentigi

This trail starts virtually in the middle of nowhere. It takes 4 hours through the forest, including cloud forest and up Gunung Mentigi (1,535m). The trail ends at the road to Tanah Rata. From there you will have to hitchhike or see about hailing a bus or taxi to get back to town.

Cameron Highlands Tips  

The Cameron Highlands is a popular destination not only with international visitors to Malaysia, but also with Malaysians themselves.As a result, it gets much more crowded than usual on weekends, public holidays and school holidays. It is worth visiting during the week.

Tanah Rata is only a small town. To see the main highlights of the area, one to two full days absolutely suffice. The towns themselves in the Cameron Highlights are not that worth seeing.

There is no GRAB in the Cameron Highlands region. Taxis are expensive by Malaysian standards. However, the attractions themselves are quite far apart. A cheap tour can therefore be worthwhile. If you are here for two days, we would recommend a cheap tour on the first day and a hike in the tea fields and forests of the region on the second day.

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