Malaysia’s largest hill-station area, the Cameron Highlands has become a popular tourist destination for many reasons. Serene tea plantations, lush jungle scenery, the refreshing cool breeze and strawberry farms lure visitors away from the sweltering heat and up into Malaysia’s mountains.
We recommend hiring a car and driving up from Kuala Lumpur, the journey takes around 2-3 hours and once out of the traffic in KL it’s an easy drive. Buses are also popular and cheap but not having your own transport makes it more difficult to explore the area once you are there.
It’s easy to spend a couple of days in the highlands relaxing with a pot of tea and a gentle hike through the countryside. Numbered jungle trails wind their way through the hills and tea plantations in fuzzy collection of summits, brick paths, and barely-noticeable dirt tracks.
Tanah Rata, the largest township of the Cameron Highlands is located 10km north of Ringlet or 2km before Brinchang, it is the main highland resort destination and administrative center. Tanah Rata has the most facilities and is also the main transportation hub receiving buses from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Penang.
We recommend a stay at the Cameron Highlands Resort, with Tudor-styled cottages and a view of the 18-hole golf course, it is perfectly situated for explorations and invigorating countryside hikes.
View over the golf course, Cameron Highlands Resort
These are best organised by the hotel and will include transport if necessary and an English speaking guide. We thoroughly enjoyed our treks organised by the Cameron Highlands Resort, our guide was knowledgeable, funny and introduced us to the mystery of Jim Thompson's infamous disappearance.
Mount Brinchang, at an elevation of just over 2000m is the highest peak in the Cameron Highlands. An observation tower at the top provides panoramic views of the Titiwangsa Mountains, it is worth a visit and you should be able to organise one through your hotel.
Parit Falls are reached by an easy hike, start on trail number 4 just north of Century Pines Resort in Tanah Rata. From here it is a short walk to the Parit Falls. The park near the falls has seen better days, but cross the car park and continue walking north. The trail finally passes through a small community and ends at the golf course opposite the Cameron Highlands Resort.
The Sam Poh Temple just south of Brinchang is worthy of a visit. You can enjoy a stimulating walk to the Sam Poh Temple by starting with trail number 4 past Parit Falls, then continue on the road north (turn right) on the golf course to trail number 3. Alternatively if you are staying at Cameron Highlands resort, simply cross the road to the Golf course, the trailhead is located behind Arcadia Bungalows.
Cameron Highlands - and the house where Jim Thompson once lived.
On the trail in the Cameron Highlands
No trip to the Cameron Highlands is complete without a visit to the tea plantations. This is the main attraction; with scenic views of the mountains you can also tour the factories and learn about the tea making process before sitting down for a cup in the café.
BOH is the leading tea grower in Malaysia, they have 2 plantations in the highlands - the Main Boh Plantation and the Boh Sungei Palas Plantation. The main Boh Tea Plantation is situated in the south between Ringlet and Tanah Rata. It is less crowded but has a great view of the terraces. Boh Sungai Palas Tea Plantation is further north from the mail plantation. Popular with tourists, it is located close to Gunung Brinchang on a hilltop amidst rows of tea bushes – a beautiful setting.
Heading towards Tanah Rata from the old Tapah-Cameron Highlands road you will not miss the picturesque Bharat Tea Plantation, which covers a series of rolling hills. Located 5km before Tanah Rata, Bharat which was established in 1933 is the second largest tea producer in Cameron Highlands. The plantation has two tea houses both serving fresh tea, a selection of cakes, scones and strawberry jam, as well as English biscuits!