When I hopped on the minibus to the Cameron Highlands friday morning I found out that I was the only passenger, so it was a very enjoyable and scenic four and a half drive. I thought I would try the Twin Pines guesthouse first, which turned out to be the right decision because I got a nice comfy little room for a very good price. I really like this guesthouse, everything is very clean, there is a tv room with cable, it is quiet, and the staff are very friendly. I had a look around town, and to me it seems a lot busier and more developed than when I was here ten years ago. I really enjoyed being back in a cooler climate where I could walk around quite comfortably without sweating all the time. In the afternoon I caught a taxi with a guy I met from Switzerland (Michel) to the next town Brinchang to have a look around, and then we walked the 4kms back to Tanah Rata where our guesthouse was located. There are a lot of good restaurants in town, and in the evening I had a nice chinese meal.
On saturday morning I went
for a little walk to Parit falls which is only 15 minutes away. After lunch I met up with Michel again and we decided to tackle one of the trails that went by the larger Robinson falls. The trail was a nice hour or so walk through forest until we reached a small road that went up to one of the tea plantations. After a couple of kilometres we were getting a little tired so we thought we would try hitching. Straight away we got a lift on the back of a jeep to take us the remaining few kilometres. The scenery was very pretty, being surrounded by tea bushes so we decided to have a hot chocolate before hitching back. We were very lucky again to find a lift in the back of a pickup truck all the way back to Tanah Rata. That night I decided to stay up to 4.30am to watch the Champions League final which turned out to be a very entertaining game. Sunday I slept in to midday and then it rained most of the afternoon so I only had time to fit in a small walk.
Monday morning I decided to catch
the bus to Brinchang after my 70 cent breakfast of roti canai and coffee. I got off the bus in town and then walked past a lot of the tourist stops such as the butterfly park, strawberry farms, cactus farms, nurseries, etc. I decided not to go into any of them because they weren't interesting for me and there were a lot of malay tourists being school holidays. I took a turnoff and walked about 5 kms to the BOH tea plantation. It was very scenic but also very touristy with probably a few hundred people visiting the 2 hours I was there. I met Michel there and on the way back we hitched a ride to Brinchang, and then walked a trail passed the Parit falls to get us to Tanah Rata. Once in town I noticed some teenagers playing basketball so I joined them in a pickup game for about an hour.
Tuesday I walked 5kms down the main road towards Ringlet so I could have lunch at one of the tea shops that look out over the plantations. I met Michel there and after we had eaten we started walking towards Ringlet which was still about
8kms away. We had gone about 500 metres when a couple of families we had spoken to at the teahouse offered us a lift, which we accepted. We had a look around around Ringlet and then the lake just north of town, and then tried to hitchhike back to Tanah Rata. For once we had no luck, and after about an hour ended up catching a taxi back to our guesthouse.
Wednesday I took off about midday to do a couple of trails to the west of the town. The first trail (no.10) was quite easy to follow, and I only saw one person on the route, a guy collecting insects. The trail ends at an electricity pylon on top of a hill, then I wasn't sure which trail was no.12 the one I was looking for. So I picked the one going in the direction I wanted to go and luckily about 45 minutes later I came to the Orang Asli village I was looking for covered in a fair bit of sweat. From here it was a short walk to the golf course where I sat down for a while hoping that my tshirt would dry a
little. After about half an hour I walked the few kms back to Tanah Rata and rewarded myself with strawberry scones with cream, apple pie with ice cream, and a mango juice.
Thursday I headed back to the first tea plantation I visited to take some photos. I was fortunate enough to get a ride the last 5kms and then another couple offered me a ride all the way back to Tanah Rata. The following day I paid just over $40 to hire some clubs and play 18 holes at the local golf course. I shot 105(34 over) which wasn't very good, but I thoroughly enjoyed playing and walking around this scenic course. On saturday I hiked to the top of Mount Brinchang with an Australian girl Elise, who I had met at the guesthouse. It was a little bit strenuous but not too bad, and once at the top we had some nice views of the surrounding mountains. Again we got a couple of rides most of the way back to Tanah Rata and walked the rest of the way past the Parit Falls. Sunday I had a very easy day doing very little, and in the evening
I stayed up to watch the French Open final between Nadal and Federer. Monday and tuesday was mostly raining but in the afternoon me, Michel, and Azman (a young guy from KL) went to an Asli village for a couple of hours and talked to a few of the locals.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here in Cameron Highlands mainly due to the weather being cooler, a great guesthouse, good company, nice scenery, and a few nice tracks to walk. Tomorrow I am off to Penang.
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