More than just tea and strawberry

CAMERON Highlands has always been Malaysians’ favourite family holiday destination, with its farmlands and nurseries, museum and tea centres, golf course and nature.

And of course, its all-year-round spring-like weather, thanks to the elevations (ranging from 800m to 1603m from sea level) it is on.

But there are so much more than just these typical attractions

The tableland, which is actually one of the country’s oldest tourist spots, has more signature attractions than just the straight-forward visits to tea plantations and strawberry farms.

GO FOR A HIKE

With 70% of its total area is still covered with forest, nature-adventure in Cameron is a pretty cool and interesting venture.

Even though it’s not as popular as Cameron’s tea and strawberry, jungle lovers will be pleased to know that there are actually 14 “official” jungle trails in Cameron.

These trails are rated from easy to very tough, from easy 1-2 hour loops for the whole family to tough and very tough hikes to Cameron’s accessible mountain peaks like Irau, Jasar and Beremban for experienced hikers.

But one forest “trail” one should not miss is the mystical Mossy Forest. It makes a beautiful introduction to the forest in the highlands without stepping on the forest floor.

VISIT THE LESS-CROWDED TEA PLANTATION

Usually the visit to Mossy Forest is paired with a stopover at the vast tea plantation that flanked the narrow road that connects the forest’s entrance and the main road.

While there is an official entryway to Sungai Palas Boh Tea Estate located at the other side of the plantation, the one along the narrow road gives a hands-on feel to visitors. Albeit, the lack of human-comfort facilities like a viewing spot, benches, toilets and even parking space.

But the opportunity to see the estate workers going about their business is way better than the sight of rolling hills covered with tea trees from a viewing deck.

STAY IN A COLONIAL HOUSE

Being one of the country’s oldest tourist destinations, Cameron Highlands is not short of accommodation, from branded hotels and resorts to apartments and bungalows.

The choice is big, from high-rise, purposely built hotel and apartment buildings to charming English-style bungalows that come with landscaped gardens and lawns.

Okay, for your next Cameron holiday, why not staying in a colonial-themed lodging instead? If you’re not a homestay kind of traveller, and prefer staying in a full-service hotel, there’s a handful of hotels housed in English-style houses. Try The Lakehouse Cameron Highlands, Planters Country Hotel or famously known as The Bala’s Holiday Chalet or The Smokehouse Hotel & Restaurant.

TAKE THE LESS-TRAVELLED HIGHWAY

Not many know that there is a third access road to Cameron Highlands besides the two already-popular routes via Perak: the old and winding route from Tapah and the newer and wider highway from Simpang Pulai. The 79km Federal Route 102, a.k.a Pos Betau-Lembah Bertam Road starts from Ringlet and ends at Felda Sungai Koyan in Raub, Pahang. Though a bit longer route especially for those returning to Kuala Lumpur, the road is significantly quieter than the older routes but has better view and driving satisfaction. Look out for the picturesque sight of Ulu Jelai Hydroelectric Dam and Power Station.

GO CRAZY WITH STRAWBERRY

Like tea, you can’t separate strawberries from Cameron Highlands. Like or not, strawberry is part of any Cameron visit, either you purposely include it in your itinerary in the form of farm visit or food tasting or accidentally “bump into” it at the markets or restaurants. If these still can’t get you over the dainty fruit, try getting your hands “red” by signing up for a strawberry jam making class. Hotels like The Lakehouse Cameron Highlands and Avillion Cameron Highlands do offer strawberry jam making classes.

By : Zalina Mohd Som – NST

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