Cameron Highlands Travel Guide
Sitting 5,000 feet above sea level, the Cameron Highlands have long been a beloved getaway for Malaysians and travellers tired of the equatorial heat at sea level. Up here, temperatures in the low 20’s (Celsius), daily downpours, and tea plantations will be features of your visit.
Just be sure to pack a sweater – the mercury can dip into the low teens (Celsius) at night, which can be bone chilling to travellers acclimated to the tropical heat.
While most of the attractions in the Cameron Highlands revolve around its farms and mountainous landscape, there are a few points of interests worth visiting for the cultural traveller. Start by dropping by the grounds of the Sam Poh Temple, a Chinese Buddhist temple which stands out from the surrounding green landscape.
Within, you’ll find various statues representing deities worshipped by Chinese Buddhists, and you’ll be treated to amazing views of surrounding tea plantations and the town of Brinchang below. As one of the most peaceful spots in the area, it is a wonderful place to mediate if you need to bring some balance back to your day.
While Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism are the primary religions of Malaysia, pockets of Christianity do exist throughout the country. The Cameron Highlands are one of those places where this faith has a foothold, with the impressive Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel being physical proof.
Located in Tanah Rata, its design is simple, but if you are looking for a quiet place to pray, or a spot to observe the Sabbath on Sundays, it serves both purposes well.
Feel like taking in the work of local creatives? Take in a private collection of exquisite wood carvings at the Mah Meri Art Gallery. Featuring sculptures crafted from wood by the Mah Meri tribe of Western Malaysia, it will give you a glimpse of a disappearing culture and way of life.
Not just another chintzy attraction in a region that has plenty of them, the carvings displayed are recognized by UNESCO as artifacts of genuine cultural significance. While you will have to pay a 35 ringgit admission fee to see them, their quality makes it well worth the cost.
If you are looking to have a bit of fun while learning about how things were a generation or two ago, you’ll enjoy paying a visit to the Time Tunnel Museum. Situated in Brinchang next to the Kok Lim Strawberry Farm, it shows off memorabilia, photographs, and other artifacts that will take you back to the Malaysia that existed prior to the Second World War.
Schoolhouse implements, a mock-up of a barber shop, First Nations artifacts, an old-school coffee shop, an expansive photo gallery, and an exhibit on the life of Jim Thompson are just a few of the highlights of this attraction, so check it out when in the Cameron Highlands.
The hills of the Cameron Highlands are carpeted in tea plantations, creating photo opportunities that make a trip here worth it on this count alone.
While there are many farms you can visit with a tour or on the back of a rented scooter, we recommend dropping back the Boh plantation if you are pressed for time. After getting more share of pictures of tea plants coating the undulating hills which surround the compound, head inside for a tour of the factory.
Here, harvested leaves are broken down by machines to release their inner juices, making it easy for them to turn hot water into what might be your favourite beverage. Afterwards, head to the cafe, where you can buy a pot or cup of tea to go with an assortment of sweet treats – we liked the strawberry shortcake!
During your trip up Mount Brinchang (the highest peak in Peninsular Malaysia at 6,666 feet – no, that’s not a misprint), take a short walk along the boardwalks of the Mossy Forest. An ecosystem that differs greatly from the steamy jungle of the lowlands on either side of the hydrological divide it sits atop, you’ll find plenty of temperate greenery that thrives in constantly cool, wet conditions.
A quiet place that offers excellent views when the mist parts, it is a world away from the busy streets of Tanah Rata below.
The cool weather which predominates in the Cameron Highlands makes it an ideal place to grow temperate fruits and vegetables. You’ll find plenty of this region’s most popular export at the Big Red Strawberry Farm.
Here, you will see how these juicy berries are grown hydroponically in this area’s moderate temperatures and gentle sunshine, and you’ll have an opportunity to consume strawberry themed desserts after your tour has concluded. Succulent lovers aren’t left out, either – cacti are grown alongside the berry planters as well.
Finally, don’t leave the Cameron Highlands without going on a hike through its backcountry. After arriving, obtain maps which contain numbered trails – past visitors recommend #1 and #10 among the many available options, as the former takes you past visually stunning tea plantations, while the latter will take you into what remains of this region’s temperate jungle.
Just stay on the path – Jim Thompson disappeared on a walk in the Cameron Highlands in 1967, never to be seen again – it would be a shame if the same happened to you.