Fun Things To Do in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Cameron Highlands
Cameron Highlands, a mere 200 km from Kuala Lumpur, is a popular tourist and locals retreat in Malaysia.   It is roughly the size of Singapore with an altitude of 1500M above sea level affording a lovely cool climate and nice respite from the heat of most of Malaysia.  It also makes it the highest point in Malaysia that can be accessed by roads.

The highest density of land rovers on the road, some are very old!
Tip:  If rain is something you are trying to avoid, then do not go to the highlands during April, Sept., or Oct.  These are the rainiest months and during these  months, you can expect the rain to begin by 12pm and continue for the bulk of the day.

Beautiful sky after the daily rains
The Cameron Highlands is most often accessed by bus, but you an also opt for minivan or car.  We traveled by bus out of Penang.  They run several times a day and even more often out of Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, or overnight out of Singapore.  The VIP buses are very comfortable and cost roughly $15 US per person out of Penang.  It is a windy road past Ipoh so if you are unfortunate like me and are afflicted with motion sickness, grab your seabands or Dramamine before you reach the hills.

Town of Brinchang 
There are 3 main towns in the Highlands; Brinchang, Tanah Rata, and Ringlet.  Most tourists head to Brinchang and/or Tanah Rata as they offer the best proximity to most attractions as well as lodging and food options.  There is even a KFC in Brinchang and a Starbucks in Tanah Rata!

The following is the list of fun things we enjoyed on our 2 week trip, it is by no means a complete list as there are so many different types of activities to pick from!

Tea plantations
Cameron Highlands is best known for it's incredible tea production.  The landscape is filled with rolling fields of beautifully manicured tea plants giving off a slight aroma as you walk through.  We chose to tour the Boh plantation at Sungei Palas and we were able to couple it with a trip up to Gunung Brinchang.  The views are amazing and the entrance to the plantation is free, as is the tour through the factory where you can learn firsthand what goes into tea production.  There is also a store and restaurant so you can sample some of their fine products, although none of that is free!

Gunung Brinchang and the Mossy Forest
The highest point in Malaysia that is accessible by car although it's a one-way sized road that is made to handle 2-way traffic leading in some locations. The summit is 6,666 feet above sea level and offers amazing views of untouched layers of smokey mountains, strawberry farms, and the Brinchang village.  Once you reach the top, there is a 15m observation tower you can climb for unobstructed views.  They are also constructing a new tower that should offer a different angle of the view which they said will be ready in the next few months.

Tip:  A taxi ride to the summit should be discussed before leaving.  Were were able to secure 120 RM ($40) for a trip up the mountain, to the mossy forest and the tea plantation, and then back to Tanah Rata.  You can take a tour as well but that would have been more costly for our family.  When you pay per person it is often cheaper to go with an all in one option like a taxi.

Just down the road from the observation tower is the entrance to the Mossy Forest.  This is a beautiful jungle unlike any I have seen before.  The ground is a pillowy carpet of moss and the trees are covered in amazing vegetation.  You can spend as little or as much time as you want exploring.  Going with a guide is a great opportunity to learn how to survive in the jungle using various plants that you encounter (including one that they make Viagra out of which the tour guide called the "Superman plant").  Also be prepared to get dirty, below all that moss is a muddy mess!  Many on the tour went barefooted at the guide's request and they happier for it.

There are no shortage of strawberry farms where you can enjoy a full array of strawberry treats, pick your own berries, and witness first hand how strawberries grow.  Our favorite was the Big Red Strawberry farm in the center of Brinchang.  Here, you could pick your own, eat strawberry cheesecake, drink shakes, and see how the strawberries, as well as various types of lettuce grow hydroponically.  Another great choice is Healthy Farm located between Brinchang and Tanah Rata.  Both are free of charge to enter and they let you freely explore the grounds.


Strawberries all grown above ground

Plenty of opportunities for silliness
Cactus farms
The Cactus Valley just below the Big Red Strawberry farm was also amazing.  Beautiful flowers, large and small cacti of various species, some over 60 years old, and a maze of beauty that kept even my 4-year-old mesmerized.  Again, there is no charge to enter the lower half of the garden and take pictures, but to access the whole farm you will need to pay 4 MR (about $1.20 US).  Well worth it for the photography alone.

Prickly pear

There are over  2000 different species of cactus

Cactus Valley had more than just amazing cactii
Bee farms
EE-Feng Gu bee farm was not terribly exciting, but still worth the trip as the entrance is free.  It was slightly disappointing that the highly advertised bee maze (yeah not sure what that would have been anyway but it sounded interesting enough) was closed, seemingly for good.  Overall it was a fun afternoon perusing the grounds, watching the bees, photographing the beautiful flowers and learning all about how bees make honey!

Parit and Robinson waterfalls
Both waterfalls are very beautiful and easily reached via the paths in Tanah Rata.  Parit waterfall can be found by a walk along Path 4, just behind the large children's playground in town.  Also of note, just past the falls you continue on to reach Parit tower where you can enjoy stunning views of the area.  It is an easy walk even for children.  Robinson waterfall can be accessed via path 9, also in the center of Tanah Rata town. This is also a short walk easily done by even small children.  This is definitely a unique attraction when planning your vacation packages.

Parit waterfall

Robinson waterfall
Also available to see are the Rose center, butterfly gardens, time tunnel museum, and many adventure tours including one to see the Rafflesia, the world's largest flower (if it is in season).  A quick walk through Tanah Rata and you will find several tour companies who can help set up a variety of tours to suit your needs.

Final tip:  Be sure to head to Brinchang for the night market on Saturday. You will find trinkets, fresh fruits and vegetables, Western and Malay food, chocolate dipped strawberries, and possibly the entire population of the town so be prepared for a crowd.  It was one of the nicest markets I have been to in SE Asia and that is saying a lot!

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  1. Take tips from the post to know all about the fun things to do while on a family vacation