Sometimes it just happens. Expectations of a destination are too high. In principle, one should free oneself from expectations, but that is another story. Anyway, this time our expectations were too high. And so it happened that we were sitting in a street bar in Malaysian Tanah Rata, spooning our (mediocre) Indian curry with ice-cold hands and wondering what was bothering us about this place.
Here in the Cameron Highlands which is at about 1.500 meters above sea level, tea has been cultivated for almost a century. The cool climate up here in the hilly highlands is ideal for farming. When we saw the impressive photos of the tea plantations before our trip, it was clear: This is where we have to go. Our summary? The Cameron Highlands are impressive, no doubt, but…
1. Cameron Highlights: What bothered us Point number 1 (and that pretty much says it all): We don’t like artificially hyped things. By “things” in the case of Cameron Highlands we mean the myriad plantations built around the town of Tanah Rata: Butterfly Farm, Honeybee Farm and not to mention the dozens of Strawberry Farms.
Allegedly Asian tourists are crazy about snacking on strawberries straight from the field. You can’t blame them. But honestly, that was just too much of a good thing! Incidentally, the honey sold at Honeybee Farm came from China. At this point at the latest, we just wanted one thing: Get out!
Our tip: Concentrate on the tea plantations themselves and the beautiful nature. Some tea plantations are also hyped, but in any case a lot more worth seeing than the puny strawberry “fields”.
Point number 2: The Monster hotel buildings don’t fit into the landscape that nicely. In fact, looking at them makes us want to vomit. The tourists have to be accommodated somewhere, we are aware of that. But we think it could be done differently. Unfortunately, nature has been badly affected in many places. The rainforest has to give way to artificial plantations and huge hotel buildings – a sad sight.
Point number 3 (and then we’ll stop with the negative Energy – after that it will be more positive, I promise): It was just too cold for us. The Cameron Highlands can’t do anything about that, no. But we actually managed to freeze in Southeast Asia.
One could argue that the view of the tea plantations is magnificent and the landscape is phenomenal. Absolutely right, she is! The tea plantations are really beautiful to look at. We don’t want to talk you out of traveling to Cameron Highlands either. However, we cannot write a blog article about Cameron Highlands without making this criticism.
2. Why the Cameron Highlights are still worth a trip In terms of scenery, the Cameron Highlands are probably one of the most beautiful places in all of Malaysia. The sight of the extensive, gently undulating nature is breathtaking. Juicy green tea plants as far as the eye can see – wow! We are not surprised that the Cameron Highlands are one of the highlights in Malaysia for many.
If you are sitting in one of the many tea plantations and sipping a cup of tea with relish (we will come to our tips later ), then you can even hide the negative experiences quite well.
The vegetation in the Cameron Highlights is also unique apart from the tea plantations: For example, there is the so-called Mossy Forest , So Moss Forest. The hiking trail through the Mossy Forest is lined with moss-covered trees and countless tropical plants – what a nature experience!
And countless other paths and hiking trails lead through the jungle of the Cameron Highlands. For adventurers and nature lovers, the Cameron Highlands are quite a paradise – provided you ignore the tourist hotspots!
3. Our tips for the Cameron Highlands We would do that differently the next time we visit Cameron Highlands We would book a great tour in advance Our mistake: We took a moderately good mood Have taxi drivers drive you from tourist station to tourist station. By the time we got to the Honeybee Farm (remember: with honey that also comes from China!) our spirits were low.
Originally we wanted to rent a scooter, but unfortunately that turned out to be more difficult than expected. Not only were there no automatic scooters, but renting them was quite expensive and a motorcycle license would have been required.
So for our next trip we would look for a well-rated tour ahead of time To take care of. We recommend, for example, tours from Eco Cameron Travel & Tours or Cameron Secrets.
If you “only” want to be on the road with one driver, then we recommend that you determine and identify the individual stops beforehand. We made the mistake of “just letting our driver do it”. By the way, we paid 25 RM per hour, so about 5 to 6 euros.
We would take enough warm clothes with us Sounds strange, but it’s true: We were pretty cold, especially in the evenings, and would have liked to have had an extra sweater with us. We underestimated how cool 10 to 10 degrees to the touch , if you are used to tropical temperatures.
We would visit Mossy Forest Unfortunately we missed the Mossy Forest when we visited the Cameron Highlands. When we look at photos of this natural gem, we get quite annoyed about it. Hence our tip: Don’t miss it!
We would also like to find out more about additional hiking routes. We only did some short walks and no real trekking through the jungle. That should be pretty great though – next time!
The most beautiful tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands One thing is certain: no trip to the Cameron Highlands would be complete without a visit to a tea plantation. There are countless – some very famous and touristy, others little visited.
BOH Tea Plantation: Without a doubt the top dog in the Cameron Highlands. There are two major locations: Sungei Palas Tea Garden north of Brinchang and BOH Tea Garden southeast of Tanah Rata. (Good to know: Both locations are about an hour’s drive from each other.)
Bharat Tea Plantation: Also counts among the most important tea plantations in the Cameron highlands The associated tea is the well-known “Cameron Valley Tea”. On the road south of Tanah Rata are two teahouses of the Bharat Tea Plantation where you can sip a cup of tea with a beautiful view.
Our Hotel tip for the Cameron Highlands Unfortunately, it is not that easy to find unique, special accommodation in the Cameron Highlands Find. The landscape is (as already mentioned several times) dominated by huge hotel buildings – not cool. We prefer small, individual, personally managed accommodations and during our research came across the accommodation called Heahtitude, which we can highly recommend.
This is actually a hostel. There are only four rooms: Two double rooms and two quadruple rooms, all with shared bathrooms. That’s not usually our case, but believe us: The design and the location make up for it immediately! In addition, the hosts are incredibly friendly and helpful and have great tips up their sleeve.
The accommodation is close to 20 Kilometers outside of the main town of Tanah Rata – but that doesn’t matter, because the location is really nice. Our conclusion: The best choice for Cameron Highlands, if you don’t mind that this is a hostel and therefore very family-friendly.
You can book accommodation here: Heahtitude
Travel Guide : Our tip If you are still looking for the right travel guide, then we have a tip for you: Stefan Loose Travel Guide Malaysia. Stefan Loose travel guides are always our first choice for Asia. They are well researched and just right in terms of scope. They are also primarily aimed at individual travelers.
You can buy the travel guide here: Stefan Loose Travel Guide Malaysia
Transparency: Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form from so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!
Have you ever been to Cameron Highlands? Have you perhaps had similar experiences? How did you like it? We look forward to your additional tips!