This post your guide to visiting the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia.
Visiting this area can be done on route from the capital of Kuala Lumpur to the islands of Penang in the north.
We travelled by coach from KL up through the twisty road of the jungle to the township of Tanah Rata. Here is what you need to know whilst you are in the region.
For me, one of my most favourite parts about this region was the much cooler climate. In comparison to the sweltering capital city and the humid blistering hot sun of Penang, the Cameron Highlands make a refreshing change.
The region is mountainous and temperatures rarely exceed 30°. The area is around 1300-1800 metres above sea level making it a much more tolerable destination.
I visited during the month of March and temperatures were around 24° through the day. Peak season for this area is from May through to September.
How to get there
Malaysia is well connected with bus links, we travelled from Kuala Lumpur by bus to the town of Tanah Rata.
The roads are quite twisty, from personal experience I’d recommend you stock up on travel sickness medication!
From Kuala Lumpur:
Departures from Terminal Bersepadu Selatan bus station.
Journey time from KL took around 4 hours. Bus tickets can be purchased online. Unititi Express has 4 daily departures at 8:30am, 10.15am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm.
Prices start from around 40MYR per person.
I purchased my tickets from Bus Online Ticket because you can choose your seat. I purposefully chose a front seat to avoid travel sickness..
Unititi Express and CS Travel are the only two operators offering buses from Cameron Highlands to Penang. Their fare for the bus from Cameron Highlands to Penang is at RM 32.00 per ticket for Unititi and RM 35.00 per ticket for CS Travel. The price varies slightly with seasons.
The duration required for a bus from Cameron Highlands to Penang is about 3 hours.
Things to do
BOH Tea Plantation
No trip to the Cameron Highlands is complete without a trip to the Best of Highland Tea Plantation.
The historical Boh Tea Plantation was first established in 1929 by J. A. Russell, a British-born British-educated businessman during the British colonial occupation of Malaya (now Malaysia).
BOH has two Tea Centres located in Cameron Highlands. One is located at Sungai Palas Estate and the other at BOH Tea Garden (near Ringlet). The Sungai Palas Tea Centre offers a magnificent view of the tea garden and architecture, whereas BOH Tea Garden Centre gives you more of a country (heritage) feel.
We visited the The Sungei Palas Tea Garden.
It is also home to BOH’s first tea factory which was built in the 1930’s and is now a facility that educates visitors how BOH make their best teas.
When you arrive you can join a free factory tour, these tours are every half hour and you can see the tea making process from start to finish. You can see how to tea process begins, and how the packaging process happens.
Once you have finished the tour you can wander around the lush grounds, before enjoying a browse in the gift shop and enjoying the tea products in the cafe.
The café, which is comprised of a balcony and terrace, offers spectacular viewpoints for visitors to indulge in while sipping on a cup of tea. I can highly recommend you try the mango iced tea!
You may notice an abundance of strawberry farms in the Cameron Highlands, the climate makes for perfect growing conditions.
All of the strawberries in the area are naturally cultivated and organic, and they taste amazing!
You can pick your own punnet of strawberries and just pay for what you pick. If you are travelling with children, this would be a fun, budget friendly activity to do! Most of the farms have small shops where they sell strawberry flavoured goods including jams and strawberry tea and chocolate. Some of the farms also have a cafe attached to them so you can enjoy your pick with some cool ice-cream sundaes.
The strawberries are grown inside greenhouses using the hydroponic system and bloom all year round. There are many farms to choose from, we used a local taxi firm to drop us off at the nearest one and when we travelled in early spring we had the whole place to ourselves.
Well known farms include: Big Red, Kok Lim and Raju Hill.
A useful strawberry farm location guide is here.
Time Tunnel Museum
Time Tunnel Cameron Highlands is a fascinating museum containing a vast horde of memorabilia, artefacts and collectables from days gone day.
The collection has been curated by Mr. See Kok Shan, a local Cameron Highlander with a passion for collecting old stuff pertaining to the Cameron Highlands’ early days and Malaysia’s history.
The collection includes original photographs, an old barbers studio, vintage furniture, old school posters and advertisements and general set ups.
The museum was opened in 2007 in a kind of metal warehouse adjacent to a strawberry farm ( Kok Lim) on the main road on the outskirts of Brinchang.
Entrance fee to the musuem is 6RM (adult)
The Cameron Highlands has an extensive hiking network of 14 well known trails surrounding the main town of Tanah Rata. You might not necessarily need a guide, but be aware that some of the paths are uneven so always inform your hotel/hostel if you plan on trekking that day. Also be prepared for rain!
An easy route is to Parit Waterfall (part of trail 3), around 30 minutes in total and ends in Tanah Rata.
Start the path directly behind Century Pines Resort, which takes approximately 30 minutes to reach the waterfall. The trail is clear and well defined, but you can get a trail map from the local tourist information centre. On the way there you can appreciate the native flora and fauna.
If you want a more challenging route, take a trip up to Brinchang Mountain. Standing at 2,032 metres (6,667 feet), it is the Cameron Highland’s tallest peak.
Trail 1 (moderate difficulty) leads from Brinchang town to the summit taking approximately two and a half hours.
The trail network was originally used by the military in the 1960’s in order to patrol the borders of the state against Communist forces.
If you are an avid hiker and want further details on each of the routes I recommend Bucketlisty’s post here.