About the Cameron Highlands
The Cameron Highlands became a favorite for the English in the 1800s, who used it as a place to escape from the heat and later on to produce tea. As a result, English style tea-rooms and mansions are now present in the highlands.
Best Things To Do in Cameron Highlands
Escape the heat of Penang, or the busy streets of the capital Kuala Lumpur, by visiting the highlands. Besides the tea plantations and hiking trails, Cameron Highlands attracts many local and Chinese visitors at the gardens and museums. However, these are all set up for tourists and not attractive at all. Spend one or two days in the Cameron Highlands with the following things to do.
The BOH Tea Plantation
The Cameron Highlands is the largest tea producing area in the whole of Malaysia! BOH Tea Plantation, meaning ‘best of highlands’, is one of the most famous and largest tea plantations in Southeast Asia. The 8,000-acre plantation was founded in 1929 by a British businessman named J.A.Russell.
Walk between the tea hedges, along the walking route, and take part in the tour of the tea factory. Finally, get a delicious cup of tea from the teahouse overlooking the plantation. Beautiful!
How to get there:
Getting around the Cameron Highlands can be arranged through your hotel. Otherwise, you can take a taxi or the local bus which leaves approximately every hour and travels from one side of the Highlands to the other. If you’re comfortable riding a scooter, hiring one is a great way to take in the beautiful twists and turns of the roads on your way to the plantation, which is situated in Brinchang.
Jungle Trails: The Jim Thompson Mystery Trail
Set against the neat structure of the tea plantations, is the wild and dense Malaysian jungle. A great thing to do in the Cameron Highlands is to hike one of the many jungle trails that worm out of the towns and go up into the mountains.
The Jim Thompson Mystery Trail is the most popular of these. Jim Thompson was a well-known businessman who was walking in the Cameron Highlands in the ’60s when he mysteriously disappeared. He was never found and there are many theories as to what happened. This trail, led by experienced guides, is a great way to learn about its history while discovering some of the spectacular nature.
You don’t need a guide for the mountain trails, however, if you are interested in learning about the impressive local flora and fauna, a guide is essential.
The story behind the farms in Cameron Highlands
Usually, we from Salt in our Hair would advise more ‘things to do’, however, the jungle trails and the tea plantations are the only real and natural experiences in the Cameron Highlands. And they are great!
The Cameron Highlands has a handful of flower, strawberry, and cactus farms who all want a cut of the tourism boom. We have been told (and seen ourselves) that the majority of these farms are illegally tapping water from the jungle. This harms the jungle, so we decided not to support these practices and to tell you this important information.
Best time to visit Cameron Highlands
The temperatures in the highlands are always pleasant and mild, with an average between 21-25 degrees. The best time to see the tea plantations at their finest is during the monsoon season from November to February, however, rain is normal throughout the year.
The best time to visit the Cameron Highlands is from February to April.
How to get to the Cameron Highlands
The easiest way to reach the Cameron Highlands is via bus or private car service from Kuala Lumpur.
By bus to Cameron Highlands
The journey time, by bus, is just under 5 hours and there are numerous buses leaving every hour from Kuala Lumpur.
Alternatively use a private car service like Joyzride, which takes the hassle out of traveling and has a slightly shorter journey time of 3-4 hours.
Book your private transfer via this link and get 20 MYR off.
Please note: The roads twist and turn as you approach the Highlands, so prepare yourself if you struggle with car sickness.
Where to stay in the Cameron Highlands
The 3 main towns that make up the Cameron Highlands are Tanah Rata, Brinchang and Ringlet. A variety of low range- mid-range accommodation is available in each of the three, so choose your location based on the sights you would most like to see. For example, Ringlet is closest to the BOH tea plantation, whereas, most of the waterfalls are situated closer to Tanah Rata.
The true Cameron Highlands experience can be found at the Cameron Highlands Resort, a colonial-style mansion, with beautiful interiors in keeping with the history of the area. The service is exceptional and the staff go above and beyond by putting on experiences such as the ‘Jim Thompson Mystery Trail’ and ‘Signature Picnic Experience’ at BOH tea plantation. It is also home to the Jim Thompson Tea room, the closest you’ll get to a typical English afternoon tea outside of England!