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Published: April 20th 2007
Boh Tea Plantation The Bus ride
Not only the view but also the smell was amazing.
Besides being booked onto the wrong bus (not 24 but 36 seater) and being sent from one unknowladgable person to the next I got onto the bus to Cameron Highlands which is a 4 1/2 hour bus ride (was told 3 1/2) away from Kuala Lumpur. I was proud to achieve this in Europe daily task, which develops in the busy Kuala Lumpur Busstation to an unforgettable experience. Stalls offering fresh fruit cut in bite-sized pieces (guess with little teeth it is difficult to bite from a fruit) such as Mango, Pineapple, Apple and other fruits I am not sure what they were such as a combination of a pear and apple, very juicy though. Everywhere you will find busy sales people from bus agents trying to sell you even a second ticket. Do I look like 2 people? And finally not to forget you will find many travellers, searching their way around (which is quiet difficult when there is no signs on the street in front of the station), waiting with motionless faces for their bus or eat, whatever is offered on the stalls and quick eat stands. All in all an ant-hill and I
A hostel for only 10 Ringits (1,20Pound) per night for a single bed room.
was stuck within...
My journey to the Cameron Highlands was a hilly and very curvy one, making me wonder on every turning whether the tyre I was sitting on will stay on the road or slide down the steep hill. The bus wasn't full and because of my troubles I was offered 2 seats (again am I looking like I have a twin behind me?), which to my delight proved to be fairly comfortable (not like the one I had booked though, with a TV 😞), had air conditioning and some more space behind me for my everso big backpack (that reminds me that I need to chuck some things out, my back started to hurt during the ant-hill race). Also I travelled with a majority of other tourist that make me think whether I will go to second Mallorca. Thana Ratha
On the way to Thana Ratha in the Cameron Highlands we passed vegetable farms, a deep jungle and little villages with wooden houses on stilts. I have to admit that when I saw the sign of my next stop my stomach started to look forward to some hard ground and little movement -motion sickness.
Only windy roads can lead to such a view...
I arrived at a small bus station in a small town with small shops, small hostels and small people (here in Malaysia I am sometimes counted as tall!) At first sight block buildings ruin the feel of a cosy stay, especially with started developments, which suddenly have been stopped. One of those supermarkets carcasses was just in front of my hostel - Twin Pines (have not found the pines yet), the cheapest accomodation I had so far offering a small room with a matress to sleep on.
On my arrival a keen sense of wanting to be active lead me to a few trip agents, where after some research I booked a full day trip exploring my ever so loft tea and going on a jungle treck. I remembered how great it is to travel in Asia a day trip costing 13 pounds in a 4 wheel drive with another 6 people instead of 60 pounds with a bus load of other tourists. My ambitions however did not go that far to book a bicycle. In the tourist information office (a little cube in the middle of the street) I found mountain bikes, which on second look still were
Katja and Tea
Everyone, who knows me, knows how much I love tea. This is the perfect place to be.
wrapped in their packaging, making me wonder if anyone would be so brave to conquer those hills and windy roads. Wonderful Cameron Highlands
As impressed as I was by my breakfast a pancake with banana and highlands honey the punctual pick up at 8:45am from my hostel followed the lead with a welcoming smile from the days guide Robin (indian heritage). I jumped into the middle seat of this green monster of a car, just to break another piece of it - the window when trying to pull it down. David do you remember our trip to Germany Lorenz-Bahlsen. Just like that, the window just dropped and did not want to move in any further way - just sitting and laughing at me, when I confessed my doing to the smiling Robin.
Anyway, there is so many stories to tell about travelling by yourself and not being able to hide behind someone elses back or getting reassurance from a loved one. But that makes the fun of adventure 😊.
The day was wonderful, incorporating all elements that I love and can not live without. One of them is tea - here just black tea but
A cup of tea
Mh, fresh picked tea - black tea with lychee and rose taste, can you smell it?
still tea (sorry for being so precise but I am very distinct in which teas I like). The first stop, after picking up the same tourist I shared my last bus with (what a coincidence), was the so called Boh Tea Plantation. Oh no I lie, we went to a hillstation first, see I can't get my mind of tea. But I will come back to it in a bit.
Mt Gunung Brinchang with its 2,031m height made an impressive drive up some more slopes and a wonderfull view over the Highlands. Did I mention before that on the way to the Highlands I felt a pressure developing on my chest. This is how high I was, that high that my waterbottle constantly popped whilst driving on the day trip, trying to balance pressure. Anyway, after taking pics from a lookout points we were lead into the jungle. The real jungle. Just look at those pictures that I have taken. Here we encountered plants that smell like Tiger balm, wild garlic and ginger, antiseptic plants and insect eating ones, like the pittcher. Another of my senses was taken aback by all the smells, especially when I smelled Cinnamon, mh,
Wild Ginger Flower
Mh, fresh picked tea - black tea with lychee and rose taste, can you smell it?
directly from a wild bark of a tree.
After getting a first feel for the jungle we finally went to the tea plantation. Yes, whereever you look you see tea plants and smell a sweet flavour of black tea (like when opening a box of tea, just a bit sweeter and fresher). A factory tour, showing the 4 stage process of putting it through the oxidation process, rolling it and drying it we were treated with a big shop and tea cafe, laying over the tea plantion, not only offering great views but also tasty teas. Did you know that tea plants/trees can get over 100years old and can be harvested 3 years in a row as they grow constantly fresh leaves. After those 3 years they are pruned and start growing after a few weeks new leaves, for us to savour. Also I found out that green tea is made of the same plant. (hat was an eye opener) The process differs in leaving out the fermentation process, so the green leaves do not turn into copper colour and develope the stronger and more caffein taste.
I refusingly left the tea behind, but quickly was rewarded
This beautiful Pittcher flower has a sticky liquid inside catching insects that want to drink out of it.
with the next plantation tickling my taste buds - strawberries. Jam, I ate lots of them. They are a bit more sour here than what I am used to from Europe but still made my day. Now it was time for a quick brake before we should start a torturing track. We were dropped of in front of a chinese stall, where I had some thin noodles with veges. Revived by the food we went on the slopy roads to an Aboriginal village, from where two further guides lead us for a 3 hour harsh walk partly in the sun, partly in the jungle, over wabbling bamboo bridges, slippery slopes (one women even dropped out as it was too much for her) and water - just to find a flower calles Raffleflower. This football sized flower just blooms for 10 days and is difficult to find througout the year. That is why local Aboriginis specialise in searching for those to earn money. To be honest the flower as you can see on the picture looked very plastic to me. I wondered a few seconds if I had fallen into a tourist track. But I was ensured it wasn't like that
An amazing amount of cactus farms can be found here. Antoine, dass waere super shopping fuer Dich.
at all. 😊 After some more sliding down muddy and slippery walks I dipped into some cooling and refreshing water, just like in the movies with a waterfall.
After a long and straining day, I was invited by my newly found friends to eat dinner - a chinese hot pot/steam boat, which this area is famous for. You get bubbling hot broths to put all kinds of food in. Luckely we did not have anything strange like snake or balls.... The combination of exhaustion and a nice meal made me fall asleep early that night - a content sleep in the cold highlands.
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