Tea Time - Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

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January 10th 2017
Published: December 23rd 2016
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Walking to the bus terminal in Kuala Lumpur I showed up and purchased a ticket ($RM30) bound for the Cameron Highlands. Around four hours later I had arrived into the town of Tanah Rata. The Cameron Highlands is made up of eight districts and townships (Tanah Rata being the largest) and is the main tea producing region in SE Asia. Strawberry farms and bee farms also abound the hillsides, and the mountains are covered in dense alpine rainforest. At an average elevation of 1,400 meters I felt cool temperatures that I hadn't experienced in over a month. It was a nice respite and I was eager to explore it all.

You basically come to the Cameron Highlands for three reasons - the cooler temperatures (which I was happy to have, I had not been in a pair of pants or shoes in over two months and the constant heat was driving me a little off the edge), jungle trekking, and tea plantation tours. My first day I wanted to embark on a long hike through the jungles and on top of the mountains. I hadn't met anyone at the hostel and was just about to be resigned to go alone when I overheard two travelers talking about hiking. I introduced myself and our group of three was set to go the next morning. Kris was a German guy who has traveled completely overland (no flights) from Germany on his way to Australia. He had some rad stories about living with the nomads in Mongolia. Diana is originally from Hungary but lives in Hong Kong running her own language school and was on holiday in Malaysia. A very intelligent girl who has traveld the world over and I enjoyed hearing of her adventures. Really super nice people and great to hike with. After getting lost a few times we finally found our trail and had a great day trekking through the jungles.

After making our way to the highest point we descended down the hillsides amidst the beautiful tea plantations of the area. The plantations are laid out in a grid-like fashion and seeing massive hillsides covered in the tea plants was quite the site. Dark and neon greens pop in the sunshine and this was a really enjoyable stroll. Once at the bottom we hitchhiked our way back to town and it was time to wash off the mud and sweat of the day.

In the morning Kris went his own way and we said our goodbyes. I was keen to rent a moto to ride in the mountains and was able to talk Diana into joining me for the day. We took the winding roads though the mountains to the Boh Tea Plantation for a tour and walk through the grounds. The tour was not so exciting. Basically the leaves are picked, crushed, and dried. I did not need a tour to tell me that, but at least it was free. The real star here is the plantation itself. Walking amongst the crops and taking in the views was a great way to spend the afternoon. Just like that my time in the Cameron Highlands was finished.

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