Cameron Highlands and Tanah Rata

I’ve landed in a lovely spot here in Tanah Rata, Daniels also known as Kang Traveller Lodge. It’s off the main street, very quiet, loaded with friendly staff and travelers with a great lounge area. The lounge area is covered and comes with free WiFi so I’m sitting at a grand table typing away and catching up a bit.

My first night here, I hooked up with Luke and Zoe and talked about doing a hike. Well, we did a hike yesterday, or the hike DID us, I’m not sure which. Looking at a map and getting information from locals, it sounded like a nice jaunt. Take the local bus, tell them to let you off at the tea plantation area and you walk up the road. It’s about 1 1/2 hour walking. Getting on and off the bus was a piece of cake. Up the road, we turned off walking toward the Boh Tea Plantation. What an amazing experience! This is the location, of three plantations, that has the processing facility. Walking up the hills, watching the tea plantation suddenly take form, watching the workers in the fields harvesting the crop, all that was an amazing experience!

Tea HarvestingTea Plantation

And for those of you digging out of a couple feet of snow, even though it is the coldest place in Malaysia here in Tanah Rata, you’ll get a warming feeling from all the lush green. These hillsides are harvested by hand where it is steep. Where it levels out some, they use the machine that’s in one of the photo’s. Processing the tea on site, it’s absolutely fresh. We walked into the tea processing place and it smelled so fragrant, the richest black tea smell I’ve ever experienced. Through with the processing facility, we went to the cafeteria, ordered three different teas and sampled them together. Here’s a link with information about the tea processing:

Boh Tea

We left by bus at 8:30 in the morning thinking it would be a three or four hour adventure. It was close to 6:00 when we finally returned to the hostel. Yes, a full day of walking and exploring and taking in the scenery. There is no way to have the same experience by bus or tour. Smack in the jungle, surrounded by trees and vines, mist blowing through the trees, climbing higher and higher by the step and taking the wrong path for about 30 minutes, what a great experience!

Boh Tea PlantationTea PlantationTea Harvest

We finally reached the “mossy forest” and I’ve attached some photo’s. From there, we continued up another couple kilometers to the tower on top of Gunung Brinchang. The mist momentarily parted and we could see the valley floor below. The peak here is about 6,600 above sea level which is really quite high for a country surrounded by beach.

At this point, I must have been really tired! It was now around 1:00 and we were preparing to slither down the jungle trail. I didn’t even think to take any pictures of the descent hanging onto tree roots to keep from falling into the jungle. It was actually a lot of fun as there were lots of places to hold onto and after 1 kilometer, the ground was not as soupy wet and the terrain leveled some. Eventually, we got back to road and started into town.

Because it’s a school holiday, the road was absolutely jammed. We were walking faster than traffic so decided to skip the bus and trek on back. I stopped at one of the night market booths and bought some tempura yams which were great. On the way down, we saw the top of the Buddhist temple so detoured there. Then we got off the highway and onto a trail system that wandered around the back of the golf course and through the forest. We popped out on a street lined with strawberry farms so took a walking break to have some outrageous fresh strawberry ice cream with fresh strawberries on top and strawberry sauce as well. How decadent! (I walked back up today for another helping!)

We got back to the hostel just before 6:00 muddy tired and hungry. I went back to my favorite Indian restaurant while they headed off for a dinner of Chinese food. This area is known as the “bread basket” of Malaysia and is where most of the fresh vegetables come from. Anything you order with vegetables is great!

Now, I’m off to load my backpack and get things ready for tomorrow. I’m on the 7:00 am shuttle for Penang which will arrive around 4:00. Since I don’t have reservations, I’ll wander through the area near Chinatown and find a place for the night. More later!

Made it to Cameron Highlands

After an early morning walk through the jungle, I packed and took the boat across the river to Mama Chop Restaurant. Breakfast concluded, those of us catching a shuttle bus chugged up the steep hill for the bus stop. At that moment, I was envious of those with wheelies!

My first shuttle left at 10:00 for the jetty where this portion of the adventure began. I was able to sit up front so had ample leg room and a great view of the road ahead. Animal crossings here are different than those in the US. Within a few miles, we saw a wild boar cross the road just in front of us. A few miles later, it was a monkey with her infant clinging to her body. A few miles later, we left the forest for the land that’s been cleared and planted for palm oil production. Miles and miles of perfectly lined up trees are certainly no substitute for real jungle!

The next shuttle was absolutely full. Because they were fully loaded and my pack was the last one to be put on, I was put up front once again but with both my loaded backpack and my travel pack. Normally that would have left me with a lot of space but this was a bench seat with a short driver. My knees were up against the dash for the next three hours!

Travel paths already crossing, I saw familiar faces at the jetty and two of them got on the shuttle with me, Zoe and Luke from Australia who started a “round the world” trip November 30th. We are staying at the same location in Tanah Lot. So much for reservations as my confirmation for a room disappeared. Fortunately, they had two beds left and I got one of them in the dorm.

Tomorrow, I’ll hook up with Zoe and Luke for a hike to one of the Tea Plantations, to one of the highest peak in the area (they hope to continue on up to the highest), a visit to the moss forest, and a return for lunch. I’m already spoiled as I found a wonderful Indian food restaurant tonight and may not want to wander off to another tomorrow? I think I’ll have a breakfast to load up before going hiking!

I’m learning about photo’s and haven’t been changing them to the proper size so they are taking forever to load. I’ll work on that and get some posted. Lots of stories floating through my head that I’ll post when I settle a bit more.

Angels keep showing up along my path! I think of something that would be nice to know or have help with and POOF, someone shows up. It happened moments ago when Christian and I were visiting and I told him about my website. His occupation: developing websites. He came over and gave me a couple tips for things I’ve spent the past month and a half trying to figure out! More stores like that coming soon.

I’ve also had a couple questions about MYR (Malaysian Ringit) and how they translate compared to US dollars. I’ll take a couple photo’s of bills that are common and share various expenses so you can get an idea.

Cheers for now!