8/17/2013

Cameron Highlands

Recently I went on a 3D2N trip to Cameron Highlands with 4 other friends, we booked a 3 bedroom apartment at Syam's Apartments at Tanah Rata. The journey up was approximately 2 hours long; 3 of us reached earlier and walked along the bustling main street. We had tea at the Lord's Cafè: the scones was incredibly cheap and the cake was delicious! Still full, we walked a bit more before going for a body and foot massage. I suppose the center was opened to soothe weary feet! 
Passing waterfall on the way up
Different hiking trails
Garlic bread
Simple ambience
Original hash brown
Scone
Egg sandwich
Strawberry cheese
The Lord's Cafè
Assorted tea
Strawberry scone
Twilight

Later 2 more friends arrived and we had some mamak food for dinner before settling in and sleeping. The next morning we went to the Lord's Cafè again and after a hearty breakfast, we set out for a morning hike to Robinsons' Falls. Tip: Please check the trails with the tourism office (near Maybank). Do ensure that they know that you're going on a trail and seek advice on the suitability of the hike for your group. We didn't know the trail well enough and embarked on a 4-hr adventure instead of a 1.5 hr walk to the waterfall and back! 
Cheese omelette
Sign to the Falls
I wouldn't know where I'd end up if I slipped down here
Lush greenery
We'd to crawl over and under many fallen logs like this
First sight of farmland...and civilization!
Asparagus shoot
Hibiscus
Me & mint!
Watercress oh nom nom nom
Eggplant
Wild berries

The greenery around us was so beautiful and lush, we were happily snapping pictures, making our way to heaven knows where then the path got narrower and less clear. Soon we were fighting our way through the shrubs and the thick foliage, we got nicked and scratched as our excitement slowly dimmed with worry. Plus the "path" became slippery, one of our friends missed a step and he'd to grab a branch to stop sliding down! Luckily we met a local hiker who guided us out of the forest and into a charming hillside farming village. There were rows of asparagus shoots, eggplant, mint and a pond brimming with watercress. Apparently this farming area is not open to public hence the quaint village life was not touched by commercialization. This is where I felt the lifestyle of the local farmers was most strongly captured as there's no shops catering to tourists here. We got a cab back to town and gobbled a very well-deserved lunch at Hill Station Cafè.
Strawberry and mango lassi
Spaghetti
Cheese tosai
Tom yam and char kuay teow
Roti canai
Calamari rings
Fog rolling in

We showered and slept in until dinner time. We headed to Brinchang for steamboat dinner at Cameron Organic Produce. We chose the seafood and the vegetable set, everything was so fresh; the vegetables were so crisp and the seafood was so juicy! We then walked over to the pasar malam and bought some colored guava, sweet corn and honey. We got back to the apartment, did some packing then enjoyed several rounds of Jenga with wine and beer. 
Seafood and chicken
Tiger beer yeah!
Assorted mushroom and tofu
Eggs and bihun
Jellyfish!
Fresh veggies
Traditional steamboat
Honey

The next morning, we walked down to the local shop area and had breakfast at May Flower Restaurant. They serve steamboat but we opted for Chinese style ala carte dishes. 
Mixed vege rice
Raw garlic and cili padi
Char kuay teow
Singapore bihun
Fried mushroom

We packed up and returned the key to the landlord then headed back down to KL. We passed by one of the many big markets and bought some vegetables, strawberry jam and fruits to bring home. We stopped by the popular Boh tea plantations and had tea time there. The scenery was lovely; I imagine it'd be better at sunrise. We also stopped at the Strawberry Farm (unfortunately I left my phone in the car so I didn't take pics) and had strawberry sundae -- super delicious treat waiting out the drizzle.
Mushrooms...man the smell!
Tea, tea, tea!
Boh tea plantations
Cakes and teh tarik yum!
Entrance to the Strawberry Farm

It was a great weekend getaway and I would like to return and try hike up Mt. Brinchang -- it's said that we can see the Straits of Melaka on a clear day. I will definitely return to Cameron Highlands! I hope the state government will ensure sustainable development of this lovely place; there were many reports of illegal logging and overdevelopment causing loss of green habitat and polluted water. Cameron Highlands should be protected as it's truly beautiful country that we should be proud of. 

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