Published: December 15th 2008November 18th 2008
After the expense that was Singapore we were looking to save as much money as possible. So the thought of shelling out 30 quid each to get there wasn't the most enticing - there must be a cheaper way. As it turned out there was but it wasn't easy. We first had to get the public bus across the causeway back to Malaysia - which we stupidly decided to do at half 5 on a Friday (the same time as probably the
whole population of Singapore - it's cheaper to live in Malaysia on the weekend apparently). The crossing actually involves 3 buses meaning you have to lug all of your stuff through both the Singapore and Malaysian immigration. We got to Johor bus station about half 7 and brought tickets to Tapah - a town 50km short of our final destination Tanah Rata - leaving at half 9 due to arrive there about 6. The super powerful air con meant it was like sleeping in a freezer but we did manage a few hours sleep. About half 5 the bus stopped and the driver told us we had arrived - he duly chucked us off and sped off into the
distance. You would expect a bus to drop you at the bus station but not this one, he kindly dropped us at a petrol station about 4km out of town. Luckily the toilet attendants spoke English and said if we waited an hour they would drop us into town. So we pulled into this car which was already half full with packets of crisps, and set off in the direction we had come from. he dropped us off and then we had to wait till 8.15 for the 2hr bus to Tanah Rata.
17 hours, 5 buses and a very generous lift later we had arrived! It turned out we had saved about 20 quid which we went on to spend on beer that night to get over the journey!
We hadnt got anywhere booked to stay so we spent the first hour and a half walking around town looking at rooms. We decided on Hilview Lodge but we couldnt have the room we were showed because he then booked it for someone else, so we settled for a downstairs room with no view. We moved upstairs the 2nd and 3rd nights and shared a bathroom (much better
and cheaper). After the ordeal that was getting there we both passed out and the next thing we knew its was 5 and it was lashing it down with rain. It was fair to say the Cameron Highlands hadnt made the best first impresion on us.
That night we went out and had a decent feed of peranken food (which is quickly becoming our favourite type) and then went to the only pub in town. We watched the United match and met a guy nfrom manchester, then off to bed.
We got up late the next day and went off to do one of the walking trails. We chose the shortest looking one. It took us past a waterfall but their was loads of rubbish and brought us out near the golf course. The trail took us 45 mins but we spent most of that checking for bugs. After the leech incident we have decided we are not jungle people!
We then went to a strawbery farm but only the shop was open - they did do good icecream though. Then jumped in a taxi just as the heavens opened again. When we got back to town we went to the internet cafe to try to upload some photos, this is where we discovered the card was faulty - the less said the better.
The cameron Highlands is famous for tea plantations and Marissa really wanted to visit one. So off we setr about 11ish and got the bus to the next town along. We needed to get a taxi from there. However it turned out neither of us had read the Lonely Planet closely enough because the plantation we were heading to was closed on a Monday.
After consulting the Lonely Planet we saw there was another plantation about 3km away. The taxi drivers wanted an extortionate amount of money so we set off on foot. It turns out the LP is a little bit off with their distance and after walking for about hour and a half along this road we gave up and headed back. Tempers did get a little freyed and we now own one less umbrella. On the way back we stopped for tea and scomes at a hotel run by the rudest man in Malaysia. We got back to our hotel now pretty fed up with the Cameron Highlands and decided we would leave the next day.
Things did pick up later when we went out for some indian food. Marissa had a banane leaf meal where they place a large banana leaf on the table and then cover it in rice, four kinds of veg, popadoms and your choice of curry - all for a quid fifty! We went back to the hotel and watched a Daniel Craig film called ‘Archangel’ which was surprisingly good. Then had an early night ready to catch the bus in the morning.
Looking back it was only due to bad luck that we didnt like the Cameron Highlands. Its a lovely place, though they are doing their best to ruin it by building way too much which not only ruins the scenery but causes loads of landslides.