Travel guide for Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

 

Cameron Highland is a high estate located just about 200 km from Kuala Lumpur. Being one of the highest region in Malaysia, this place has cool weather and charming tea estates. The bungalows, gardens, and golf course are the reminiscence of the British colonisers who would come to the highland for relaxation. Check further post for things to do in Cameron Highlands which can be wrapped up in about 2-3 days if you are on a roll.

SEE

Gunung Brinchang: Ideal way to start morning at Cameron is with hike to Gunung Brinchang, which is mainly a road walk and is not very tiring due to the lovely weather. The panoramic view at the peak which is at 6666ft and is worth every step. I had the opportunity to be among the clouds and aah that feeling of mist on my cheeks. You may hike up on your own or opt for an guide which is more recommendable.

Mossy Forest: After the hike at Gunung Brinchang, Mossy forest was our next destination.  Every plant and branch is covered with moss. The forest gives us the feeling of jungles from King Kong movie – dense, mossy all over and creepers everywhere. But there were no reptiles or insects and I presume its mainly because of the therapeutic plants which grow in abundance here (the Cajeput tree from which famous Tiger balm is made, grows here).  One can also spot Pitcher plants in abundance here, but do not touch them as some variety of this plant are carnivorous. You will be lucky to spot Giant Rafflesia, an endangered flower which claims to be the largest flower in world, in this forest. Make sure to go only with a local guide or you may get lost in the forest.

Tea Plantation: Cameron highland has excellent weather for tea plantations here and ‘Boh‘ at Sungai Palas is an ideal estate to breathe in some tea vibes here (also it is the biggest). I find tea estates very romantic as there is vastness of the estate which is so green and the chill in the air makes my bare shoulder tinkle. At Boh tea plantation we took a tour of the tea factory and then got ourselves comfortable  to sip some lovely tea with sumptuous little cakes. Make sure to buy little tea boxes for yourself and friends and family.

Starwberry farm: Raju’s strawberry farm seems to be pretty famous as it was confirmed by a local person and various portals in my research – and since its strawberries it couldn’t go wrong for us in anyway. Go around and pick strawberries with your lovelies and then enjoy the joys of your pluck. Though I found this to be a bit expensive activity which costed 35RMs (for 1/2kg I guess). But I think the price is more for the experience than for the strawberries. You can find quite some local fresh fruits and vegetables shops very close to Raju’s strawberry farm.

Bee farm/ reptile farm: There are many farms that breed bees and other reptiles as well. Its a good place to look at gorgeous butterflies and vibrant snakes and hedgehogs at such farms. Its a fun activity for a reptile lover or to show the kids around.

Cactus Valley: Walk along the lovely terraces to see the varieties of flowers and vegetables and off course cactus. They are all in abundance and will stimulate all your sensory organs. I went little crazy at the site of cactus varieties.

Robinson Waterfalls: Jungle trail number 9 leads to Robinson Waterfalls – a serene place to relax and soak in the air. These are impressive falls especially in rain time (September to January) and its an off beat trail as well.

Kea Farm Market: Take a walk at this farmer’s market and buy yourself some fresh fruits. If you are in strawberry season, then you’ll find them everywhere while they will be cheaper at such farmer’s market.

Tip: For about 40RMs/ 8 hours there are motorcycles available to go around the city and relax at our own pace. Though I wouldn’t recommend taking them when going to any uphill areas. The engines might not be powerful enough to take you through high elevations.

EAT

Steamboat cuisine: Best way to enjoy this dish would be to go brunching with friends and family – because its like potluck. You wont regret trying this dish. This dish has variations in various Asian countries such as Hot Pot in China. You may try this at Cameron Organic Produce Steamboat Restaurant and Ok Tuck Restaurant.

Steamed corns and sweet potatoes: How awesome are these to just keep nibbling while roaming in streets of Cameron and that chilly weather. I was amazed to see the amount of sweet potatoes sold and consumed here.

Ye Olde Smokehouse: If you are craving for some smoked food, then this place is right for you as it serves some good meat.

Curry House: Malaysia is a home to many Indians (mainly Tamilians) hence Indian Masala Chai was need of the hour to let my taste buds feels closer to home. This is also a good place to try some kebabs and other nibblers.

Uncle Chow’s Kopitam: Cool hangout place to snack and sip coffee among the locals visiting this place.

Fruits: I love trying local fruits while I am visiting the country. It gives me good insight of the vegetation and natures’ delight in form of fruits. Must try fruits at Cameron highlands are strawberries, langsat, red and white guavas (jambu batu), rose apple (jambu merah), and love fruit which I shopped at the Kea farm market

SLEEP

There are tons of budget hotels and BnBs in Tanha Rata, Cameron Highlands. Just take a walk in the area and try your luck at multiple inexpensive stays. As most of these places either shut or change names so its difficult to keep track of them by their names. For stay options on a little expensive side (which isn’t really very expensive either) try Copthorne Hotel, Century Pines Resort, and Lakehouse Hotel. I really liked some Airbnb options such as this, this, and this.

We stayed in Farm View apartment which is hosted by Dennis Hong and I must say it was a delight staying at this Airbnb. The house is really amazing with lovely farm view. The house had all possible things available for tourist to live in comfortably. Dennis has a really interesting way of handing over the keys to its customer and I stop at that for you to experience it yourself, if you happen to stay here.

Tip: While selecting the stay options you either choose hotels in Tanha rata area which is like the main area to hang out and spend evenings or hotels in Brinchang area which is closer to tea estates and peaks and really quiet area. As the distance between the two is almost about 5kms, both areas give a little different feel.

Best season: Since Cameron Highlands is mountainous, its really cool for most of the season. To enjoy cool breezy weather January to April is a good time and to enjoy sunny weather May to July is a good time. Spetember onwards there are heavy rainfall making the temperature dip even below 10C during night – having said that flora and fauna is at its best during this time.

Here’s a little virtual tour of our trip along with the tourist map:

Hat, simple sandal and map is all I need

Elevated roads and green all around

Beautiful cacti

Akhil being silly at the cactus farm

A table for two

Lavender farm

View of Boh Tea Plantation – till your eyes can see

Vibrant butterfly

View from Gunung Brinchang peak at 6666ft – those are clouds

Waiting for clouds to touch my face

Mossy forest

Enjoying footpath golf outside a cafe

Street food at Kea farm market

Strawberry farm just took it all literally

Check out other posts on our Malaysia tour.

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Bohemyan Blue, Alibaug

Entrance of the cafe

This is a new section that I have been meaning to start, for a simple reason – my love for cafes. There is something so soothing and so comfy about cafes. Cafes can be romantic and can be so solitary. Cafes can be place to laze and place to amaze. Cafes can be a place to take break and can be a place to work. Cafes can be a place to bump into new people and can be a place to meet old friends. Cafes can be a place to have hear-felt discussions and can be a place to break commotions. Cafes can be a place to try new pies and can be a place to savor all time favorite pies. Cafes can be a place to just sit and write your heart out and can be a place to shut up and listen your mind out.

About the cafe:

Bohemyan Blue cafe has a soothing feeling as its been built inside the bungalow with the proud owners living on the 1st floor of the property. The entrance welcomes with lovely clay toads and pots and lots of greenery around. The property is surrounded by big trees providing natural shade and comfort. I did spot some DIY around – they have antique sewing machine converted into table to dine upon. One thing that I found here in abundance, apart from trees, warmth and happy staff smiles, were hammocks. I mean literally they are everywhere, giving a complete “susegat” vibe.

Bohemyan Blue houses a cafe, a shop and a stay. They have “villas”, which are about two minutes walking distance from the cafe. The villas are basically the luxury tents with loads of greenery around. The entire place stands true to its name – Bohemian. You will site lots of cotton fabrics with Indian motifs spread around either as table runners or as bed sheets or as curtains or as mere decor. Giving the homely feeling to the entire space. One of the draws in the villas is the open air bathroom, its like bathing with nature.

The food has a good blend of Indian spices with fusion recipes. My most favorite was raw papaya with carrot salad which was tossed with sesame oil and roasted peanuts – the flavors were infusing my mind and heart. I also tried some Thai curry with rice, lemonade and home made malai kulfi.

Their story:

The cafe is the owners house which has been converted into a cafe and shop. From my brief interaction with one of the owner I got to know that the cafe was his wife’s dream. Mr. Albert mentioned to me that about 25 years ago his wife, who I gathered is an artist, had told him that she would like to start her own cafe. And here they were fulfilling that dream together. It was really touching.

 

Virtual tour of the cafe:

Front side of the bungalow. Notice the little clay toads adorned on the roof

Entry way to shop with some cafe tables outside

Cafe set up in soothing pergola at the back of the bungalow

Villa for stay. Lovely combination of cotton sheets and straw thatched roof making it all cozy from sun.

Lovely rocking chair made in their wood-shop. Yes, they make most of their furniture.

Villas and cottages for stay

Another cafe near the villas. What a lovely touch of marigold flowers.

Cute shop which is filled with lovely cotton clothes, hats, breezy dresses, artifacts, umbrellas, candle stands, etc.

There are pretty flowers almost everywhere. Feels so welcoming.

Do you know of such unique cafes’ that you think I should visit? Please do tell me.

 

Things to do at Changi airport (Singapore)

 

Singapore Changi airport

Layover is usually the most boring aspect of travel. I recently had a trip to Thailand and had a layover at Changi airport in Singapore. I was dreading and almost cursing myself for booking a flight with 10 hours of layover. If you travel often, you would know 10 hours is a long time to kill at an airport.

And then we landed at Changi. Firstly the airport is huge with 3 terminals which is connected by a shuttle train. Yes, a train specially to travel between the terminals. Now most of the airports do have shopping options to kill your time. However, at Changi they sure do entertain in various ways. Each terminal is different with unique themed gardens, lounging areas, snooze areas, fun zone, pool to soak in, theater, game zone, and some more crazy tech experiences.

At the end of my trip I wanted to spend more time at the airport and experience it all.

Shuttle train to travel between terminals

Shuttle train to travel between terminals (my postcard from singapore)

Orchid garden

Orchid garden

Orchid garden

Orchid garden

Pretty china wares to shop

Pretty china wares to shop

Soak up in the pool and Jacuzzi for a small price with a complimentary drink by your side - layover just became so awesome

Soak up in the pool and Jacuzzi for a small price with a complimentary drink by your side – layover just became so awesome

Butterfly garden

Butterfly garden

Butterfly garden

Butterfly garden

my original plan to kill time

my original plan to kill time

The traditional Kaya toast and coffee as breakfast combination

The traditional Kaya toast and coffee as breakfast combination – must try

Theater inside the terminal

Theater inside the terminal

Sunflower garden

Sunflower garden – very soothing place to read

Free Singapore city tour in shuttle bus. You only need a valid Singapore visa. I missed out on this one.

Free Singapore city tour in shuttle bus. You only need a valid Singapore visa. I missed out on this one.

Game zone - they give you a X-box as well

Game zone – there’s an X-box as well

Blue lagoon garden - do make a wish in the wishing pond

Blue lagoon garden – do make a wish in the wishing pond

I am definitely coming back for a layover!