CAMERON HIGHLANDS, KEA FARM, TEA PLANTATION, TIME TUNNEL MUSEUM, & WATERFALLS - TANAH RATA, CAMERON HIGHLANDS, PAHANG, MALAYSIA. Monday 27 February 2010 - .
Having not gone to sleep until after 2.00 am because the water heating pipes pass through our room and were clanking and gurgling away for ages, we were woken at 6.00 am by the call to prayer from the local mosque which sounds like it is just beneath our window. At least it meant that we were up and about at a reasonable hour to start our day in the Cameron Highlands!
Located in the state of Pahang, Cameron Highlands is Malaysia's largest hill station. Standing at an elevation of 1524 metres above sea level. It has a consistently cool climate that never ranges beyond 20 degrees celsius. It was first discovered in 1885 by William Cameron, a British surveyor in the government service. He stumbled upon this "fine plateau shut in by lofty mountains" (his words) during an expidition survey of the mountain range for map-making of the Perak/Pahang border. It remained untouched until the early 1920's, when the narrow bridle path leading to the mountains was widened and improved. This led to the
development of the hill station now known as the Cameron Highlands.
Our first stop was the Cameron Butterfly and Insect Farm at Kea Farm. This was absolutely brilliant. The butterflies were stunning and were all native to the Malaysian Rain Forest. We gate crashed another British couples private tour and were shown a vary rare golden chrysalis tucked away under a leaf. We would never have spotted it ourselves. We strolled amongst the butterflies for a while before proceeding to the outside area.
Here we saw rabbits, chipmunks, various different types of snakes, man-faced beetles, giant snails, millipedes, frogs and toads. However by far the most interesting were the insects ranging from Rhinosorous Beetles to various rainforest dwelling insects which disguise themselves as leaves, twigs and tree mush from the forest floor I suppose we would collectively call them stick insects although they are not all like sticks! One of them was called the Walking Stick Insect and there was another one called the Moving Leaf Insect - can't remember the rest too many. M bravely held a bright green enormous beasty. When the guy got it out of the cage to give it to M it screamed
its head off really loudly - you wouldn't have believed it could make so much noise. After several aborted attempts to keep it still on M's hand the mandatory snap was taken.
After we left the farm we drove to the BOH Tea Plantation. We drove through the hills covered in tea bushes. It was absolutely stunning. We followed the road through the plantation up to the highest point in Malaysia that is accesable by car. It was extremely hairy; the roads were single file and very poor. We had to reverse several times to let other vehicles pass but we made it to the top - only to turn round and repeat the whole process to descend back to the road. Nevertheless, the drive took us into primary Malaysian rainforest which was beautiful and very interesting.
We turned back towards Brinchang (where we were staying) and came across a roadside eatery where M had chicken and D fish with rice and spicy veg, washed down with a Tiger - all for next to nothing again. Next door was a museum called the Time Tunnel Museum. This is the first memorabilia museum in Malaysia. Opened since February 2007,
it's the brainchild of 45-year-old See Kok Shan, an avid collector who believes that all that's old is gold. It was fantastic and lots of the exhibits reminded D of when he was growing up - right down to an old delivery bike that was the same as he used to ride when he delivered groceries in Stockport. There were some very interesting exhibits explaining what happened in Malaysia during WW2 and other key points in the history of the country.
After the museum we made our way down the hill to the town of Tanah Rata where we parked the car and walked to the Robinson Falls. This was a rather spectacular waterfall in the middle of the jungle. The walk to the falls took approximately 15 minutes. Further on from the falls was a marked path for Jungle Walk No 9. We followed this for a time before turning back and returning to the car. We didn't see another soul on the whole walk.
After the Robinson Falls we proceeded back towards Brinchang where we stopped and made a dinner reservation at the Old Smokehouse Inn. This is a 1930's mock tudor building. Despite being fairly
modern it had very authentic tudor features. This is the 'Raffles' of Cameron Highlands and is THE place to eat.
We then continued back towards the Parit Falls. We parked up and walked to the waterfall. Not as good as the Robinson Falls but pretty nevertheless. We then went to a Strawberry Farm before returning to our hotel for a rest before dinner. The heavens opened that evening and neither of us had seen rain anything like it. The noise was incredible, a hugh non stop roar. It eventually died down and we did a dash to the car to go out for our meal at the Smokehouse. It was excellent. M had lamb and D had a T Bone steak and we both had our first glass of wine since leaving the UK. We returned to the hotel replete and very tired. A really good day.
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