Cameron Highlands, in bahasa called ”Tanah Tinggi Cameron” is one of Malaysia’s most extensive hill stations. The size of Singapore, it occupies an area of 712 square kilometers (275sqmi). To the north, its boundary touches that of Kelantan; to the west, it shares part of its border with Perak.
Situated at the northwestern tip of Pahang, the “Camerons” is approximately 90 kilometers (56mi) from Ipoh or about 200 kilometers (120mi) from Kuala Lumpur. It is the smallest constituency in Pahang.
Discovered by Sir William Cameron in 1885, the outpost consists of three districts, namely Ringlet (5,165 hectares), Tanah Rata (2,081 hectares) and Ulu Telom (63,981 hectares). Its eight sub-districts are Ringlet, Tanah Rata (the administrative centre), Brinchang, the Bertam Valley, Kea Farm, Tringkap, Kuala Terla and Kampung Raja. All are at different elevations ranging from 1,100 meters (3,600ft) to 1,600 meters (5,200ft) above sea level.
The mean annual temperature of the retreat is about 18°C (64°F). During the day, the temperature seldom rises above 25°C (77°F); at night, it rarely drops to as low as 9°C (48°F) at the higher reaches.
The resort has a diverse population of more than 38,000 people. It comprises Bumiputra (Malay (7,321); others (5,668)), Chinese (13,099), Indians (6,988), non-Malaysian citizens (5,193), and other nationalities (202). Most of the residents here are entrepreneurs, service industry employees, farm workers, retirees or government servants. The languages spoken are Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and English. Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Christianity and Sikhism are the main religions of the haven.
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Developed in the 1930s, the tableland is one of the oldest tourist spots in Malaysia. Apart from its tea estates, the plateau is also noted for its cool weather, orchards, nurseries, farmlands, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, wildlife, mossy forest, golf course, hotels, places of worship, bungalows, Land Rovers, museum and its aborigines (Orang Asli).
The Cameron Highlands can be accessed by road via Tapah, Simpang Pulai, Gua Musang or Sungai Koyan. Tapah and Simpang Pulai are the two approaches from Perak. Gua Musang and Sungai Koyan are the entryways from Kelantan and Pahang, respectively.
There are few places which you need to visit or do when you are at Cameron Highlands. The most attractive place is tea plantations. No trip is call complete without a trip to tea plantations. You can visit the factories to learn about the tea making process and you can also sit down and enjoy a cup of tea at the cafe. The view overlooking the plantations is beautiful and perfect for the picture album.
If you like to eat strawberry, don’t forget visit the strawberry farm. The climate in Cameron Highlands is excellent for year-round strawberry production and this has encouraged many farmers to cultivate this fruit. In fact, strawberry production is such a big business over here. The people of Cameron Highlands have associated themselves very closely with this fruit. Hotels are named after strawberries, clothes come in strawberry prints, and there are strawberry toys, strawberry souvenirs, even pillows, strawberry farm visits, strawberry jam, ice cream and a whole range of Malaysian food fashioned with this berry.
Most strawberry farms are concentrated at Tanah Rata, Brinchang and Kea Farm. During higher production season from May till August, many of these farms offer strawberry picking by hand to attract visitors. Visitors wishing to indulge in this activity are charged between RM50 to RM60 a kg of fruit plucked.
Three of the most popular strawberry farms where visitors can do interactive visits are Big Red Strawberry Farm in Brinchang, Kasimani’s Farm close to the Golf Course and Raju Hill Strawberry Farm near Kea Farm.
Meanwhile, there have another attractive places which you can visit – vegetable farm. It’s located throughout the highlands and most of the farms allow visitors in. Drive up to Tringkap or Kuala Terla to get a roadside view of the larger vegetable farms.
Due to the increasing tourist arrivals, there have been smaller farms cropping up all over the highlands. These farms produce everything from flowers and vegetables to strawberries. These are primarily for walk in tourists. The other bigger farms which produce vegetables for the nation’s consumptions are usually not on the tourist map and are located in the interiors or Kuala Terla and Bertam Valley.
If you want to explore the real Cameron Highlands, then a visit to the Time Tunnel Gallery is a must for you. Take a peek into Cameron Highland’s past through the old photographs and stories that many people do not know about. A lot of the photos depicting the past are from personal collections of the locals who’s been here since the pre-war days.
You can also see some of the familiar items from the yesteryears. For those who grew up in the 40′s to 80′s, this will be a walk back in memory lane. It is a unforgettable and sweet memories for the visitors.
Local produce markets can be found all over the highlands and these are one of the spots tourists flock to get everything under one roof. There are many of these markets sprouting over the past few years and almost all are located along the main road so you can’t miss them. The most popular tourist market is at Kea Farm but you can also find some smaller ones almost everywhere you look.
KEA FARM MARKET
Kea Farm Market is a highly popular among local tourists for its highland vegetable produce. Kea Farm is a bustling open market in Cameron Highlands, located 3km north of Brinchang town. This vegetable and fruit market along the highland’s main road is located close to the Copthorne Hotel (formerly Equatorial Resort). Here, farmers sell the best of their products throughout the day, offering to buyers cabbages, fresh carrots, an assortment of other highland greens, corn, strawberries, flowers, souvenirs, honey and potted plants.
Kea Farm at an altitude of 1610 meters above sea level (5282 feet), is also the highest village in Peninsular Malaysia, and lies close to the popular Sungai Palas Tea Estate and the highest mountain in Cameron Highlands, Gunung Brinchang (2031 m). Some other tourist attractions within its vicinity include Rose Center and the Butterfly Garden.
On Saturday nights, the weekly night market comes to life in Brinchang night market. This is where you can find all the produce of Cameron Highlands sold in one place. You can get everything cheap here if you know how to bargain. This is also a place to get some good “pasar malam” food. The Night Market will be open daily during the school holiday and public holidays.
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The mossy forest is an amazing nature Cameron Highlands is bestowed with is indeed the main reason for its touristic appeal and top in its natural attraction list must surely be its Mossy Forest. Depending on its location, this forest may also be called Cloud Forest, Elfin Forest, or Upper Mountain Forest with all displaying similar characteristics and vegetation that can only be found in a constantly cool, windy, wet, and misty environment.
In Malaysia, the Mossy Forest occupies the ridge and valleys at elevations above 1,800 metres where it is constantly shrouded by mist and lower clouds with temperatures ranging between 10 to 18 degrees Celsius. The Mossy Forest of Cameron Highlands is located at the ridge of the 2032 metre-high Mount Brinchang, the highest mountain in Cameron Highlands. Here, the view of the hills and valleys below and the plains at the distance are magnificent and sunrises and sunsets are amazing.
For those who dare venture at night, the sight of the stars and Milky Way above on clear days and the lights of Ipoh city far below, are exhilarating sights. Distance views apart, the forest here is simply enthralling with a thick layer of softspongy moss draping every tree and the ground as well. The trees here are also stunted, rarely above 10 metres tall and mostly of the laurel family with rhododendrons which are showy when in bloom, tiny orchids, pitcher plants and other epiphytes, thriving in this environment.
The Mossy Forest of Brinchang is actually one of the easiest spots in world to access a mossy forest with a tarred road reaching right to the peak of the ridge here. There are daily guided tours to the mossy forest organised by various tour operators in Cameron Highlands who will take tourists through the forests using a 400 metre long wooden walkway which was specially built through the forest for a very up, close and personal view of this natural wonder.
One of the attractive places are Lavender Garden. Opened in 2013, Lavender Garden which is Cameron Highland’s newest attraction is located just before Tringkap town when travelling from Simpang Pulai. It is a floral themed park with cemented terraced hill slopes where ascending row upon row of flowers are grown, offering a dazzle of colours for visitors to admire and photograph.
The lavender itself isn’t as plentiful as one may expect with artificial lavender scent permeating the air at the entrance but live lavender plants can be seen planted in a large plot at the centre of this park. There are also many types of flowers grown here such as gerberas, camellias, roses, peonies and yellow daisies.
An apiary and a small gift shop selling lavender products are among the other offerings while potted lavender plants are sold for RM15 each. Visitors can also self-pick daisies for RM2 per stalk or 6 for RM10. There is a gift shop selling lavender products and a cafe offering good strawberry milk shake, and Lavender ice cream for RM5.50
The centre opens daily and charges RM5 per adults and RM3 for children.
The star attraction at the Agro Technology Park in MARDI Cameron Highlands must surely be its pergolas of Butterfly Jade Vine and Lady Slipper vine, both displaying spectacular cascading flower trusses.
The Lady Slipper vine or also know as Clock Vine or Doll’s Shoes is a native to India and its spectacular yellow and reddish-brown flowers that hang in pendent racemes are exotic indeed. Even more exotic looking are the turquoise claw-shaped flowers of the Butterfly Jade Vine which resembles a butterfly when two flowers are put together. The pendent-like trusses can carry up to 75 or more individual flowers and can reach up to three metres long.
Other lovely and showy display of blooms enticing visitors for a photo or two are its colourful busy lilies, roses and dahlias. The centre also grows and displays a variety of other exotic sub-tropical flowering plants, herbs, highland fruits and vegetables including strawberries, and potted plants for sale.
MARDI Cameron Highlands was established by the Malayan British administrators in 1925 and was then known as the Federal Experimental Station for agricultural produce. The Agro technology Park is located within the station and was officiated in2003.
The park houses some of the oldest tea bushes in the country which was grown here during experimental stages when the plant was introduced in the country in 1925. It also has experimental greenhouses for temperate fruits such as apples and persimmons.
The Agro technology Park which is about a kilometre from Tanah Rata also boasts an English Garden, strawberry farm and production centre, vegetable and cut flower production, green house research facility and the sales centre. It even offers accommodation in the form of ‘English Cottage’.
Visiting hours are Monday to Thursday from8.00am to 12.45pm / 2.00pm to 5.00pm and Friday 8.00am to 12.30pm / 2.30pm to 5.00pm. Entrance fee to the park is RM3 and can be purchased at its information centre.
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