Oh hi there! It’s been a while, I know. I’m currently in Langkawi, Malaysia and there’s something about the island lifestyle of beach-eat-sleep that left me feeling less than motivated to open my laptop. Instead, I’ve been sleepily lazing away the days, trying to catch a tan and reading books for the first time in months. But as it’s been so long since I’ve written any new travel content that, on our last evening here, I thought that I would sit down on the front porch outside our room, watch the grass turn golden in the setting sun and share a beautiful part of Malaysia with you.
While I was researching Malaysia, I was surprised to learn that it seemed to have everything going for it. Cosmopolitan cities, tropical beaches and lush forests. A quick Google search showed that the Cameron Highlands was instantly eye-catching for the latter so, after landing in Kuala Lumpar the night before, we set off to the bus station for the three hour journey that would take us up into the hills.
The cooler temperatures were instantly noticeable when we arrived at the town of Tanah Rata. Don’t get me wrong, it was still hitting 26 degrees but with none of the near-unbearable humidity of elsewhere in Malaysia. It’s the only place where we haven’t been desperate for A/C! It also gets more rain but we found that on the whole, it was perfect weather for exploring the countryside.
With its whitewashed buildings and tranquil side streets, Tanah Rata almost feels like a pretty Welsh town – if you were to replace the seaside fish ‘n’ chips with lots of Indian food! We felt instantly at home there and even befriended the most gorgeous locals on the streets one afternoon…
It took some work to tear ourselves away but we had some exploring to do. There are so many quirky attractions in the Cameron Highlands that you can spend countless days visiting fruit and vegetable farms, traditional villages and of course, taking on jungle treks. We opted for a relaxing half day tour that included a short forest trek as well as a couple of local attractions.
For our walk, we went up to the ‘Mossy Forest’, named for the huge patches of moss growing across the branches and tree trunks. In the parts where the forest cleared to reveal a misty horizon, it looks surprisingly similar to Blue Mountains just outside Sydney. There’s something special about seeing nothing but trees stretching out before your eyes. It was much less a real hike and more of a nice walk across a wooden boardwalk but enjoyable all the same!
I’d read great things about the freshly-made strawberry produce at the fruit farms in the Cameron Highlands so, while the cheesecakes looked incredible, I cooled down with a shake while posing for a classic Instagram snap…
The undeniable highlight however was looking out over the gorgeous tea plantations. The undulating hills look eerily like New Zealand’s North Island! But here in Malaysia, the hills have been used to grow tea for decades including at the BOH factory. We stopped off to see how Malaysia’s number one tea brand created their product from field to packet and couldn’t resist enjoying a cheeky scone in the restaurant.
I just wanted to stick in a cheeky accommodation recommendation to finish off. We were looking for somewhere on our South East Asia budget (£10 per night) and did notice that the prices were a little higher here than elsewhere. In the end, we somewhat cautiously opted for TJ Lodge after seeing mixed reviews online. Thankfully, the facilities were pretty good despite the super basic rooms and tiny shared bathrooms. There was a huge spacious kitchen and two comfy lounge areas so if you’re looking for accommodation in Tanah Rata, it’s definitely a guesthouse that I’d recommend considering.
We hadn’t planned to visit Malaysia but visiting the Cameron Highlands alone was enough to make me glad that we did. I’m absolutely loving the country so far and can’t wait to share it with you over the next few weeks. Thanks for sticking with me through the absences and digressions into political rants – I’ve been unable to stay on topic lately! But there will be plenty more travel and lifestyle content coming your way this month so follow me on social media for the latest updates…
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