Cameron Highlands

Bianca in front of the tea plantationThursday evening we headed for the Cameron highlands. Initially I planned that we would start a around half past four from PJ. Since PJ is a little remote from KL, it is no problem to reach the North-South Highway from there. But Since Christian and Bianca didn’t manage to collect the car in time they got stuck in the daily KL-Traffic, which starts jamming the whole city after 4 o’clock. So they reached PJ at 10 to 8, and we finally started our tour at quarter past eight (Quoting the movie “Der Schuh des Manitu”: Jetzt geht jeder nochmal auf’s Klo, und dann reiten wir los!). The journey on the Highway was smooth, and not too much traffic on the road. But fun started almost immediately after the exit for Tapah. The winding road, which leads up the highlands to Tanah Rata is not much fun driving - Especially at night time. At the steep curves you won’t gain any advantage by being able to recognize the lights of oncoming traffic, and crash barriers seem not to be invented in Malaysia, yet. At half past eleven we finally hit Tana Ratah, and found our hostel almost immediately.

Tea fieldFriday we had a whole day scheduled for the Cameron Highlands, but there is more to see there than just for one day. We had chosen to take a guided whole day tour. So we started at the 9am with a visit of the smallest part of the Boh-Tea plantation

, which also included a visit to the highest spot in the area and a walk into the mossy forest. We drove a little more up the Highlands and entered the area of the tea plantation after Brinchang. The road leading up to the mountain top and the plantation was a really narrow one and Kumar our guide used his signal on every curve to signalize, that we were driving, to any oncoming car. After reaching the first fields of the plantation we got the chance to take a few beautiful pictures of the fields, and learned about past and presence of the Boh tea estate.

Our guide Kumar describing algaeOur next station was the top of Brinchang, and we were told that we would have a chance to have a view out until to the ocean (on 20% of all occasions). Unfortunately we hit the remaining 80%(!) and we could only see the nearest valley on from one side of the viewpoint, and the London tower bridge on the other one. It was still nice impression.

Heading down the hill again, we stopped somewhere in between, to hike through a little trail, were a the special features of the mossy forest were explained to us. On some points it was just too much input, and the lack of English vocabulary concerning biology and plants handicapped us a little bit, but since our guide was very patient in explaining things even a few times, we understood the most of it.

Different kinds of tea at the gift shopBack at the jeep we headed for the of the tea plantation, there we could see step by step how the tea was processed, we also now know the difference between Chinese tea, green tea and black tea - which depends on the fermentation (actually oxidation) time of the tea leaves until they are dried. After the factory tour, which didn't take too long, we had the chance to taste the different kinds of tea, and - of course - buy some of the different flavors as a souvenir. Quite a good promotion, you even pay to taste the products at the small café, and afterwards you just have to buy some since the tea is fantastic. After learning so much about the tea, and wandering the beautiful fields no one can resist in getting some of the tea for home use. But we were told that we could buy the tea later in town, too - so we decided that we didn't want to carry some tea at this time.


Before starting our afternoon tour we went back to Tana Ratah, to have some lunch there. Our guide brought as to a cheap Indian restaurant - so nothing really special for me (since I get food like this every working day at Phileo Damansara). But for Bianca and Christian it was more interesting trying different dishes.
Village of the natives hidden through treesThe main event for the afternoon was a visit to a village of Malaysia’s natives. Those natives are the Orang Asli and some of them are still living in a very traditional way. So we had a point on our tour every tourist visiting a country with jungle might want to check out - see natives, who actually survive in the jungle. On our way to the village we got some sweets for the Orang Asli kids, and of course got some mor photos on the way. Not too far away from reaching the Orang Asli village we already saw some of the kids, taking a bath in the fresh water of some river.

Bamboo BridgeTo get to the village we had to cross an interesting bridge, and on the other side we were immediately welcomed by a crowd of kids, who seemed quite happy to get our sweets. It was not yet time to stay with them or visit the hut of the chief of the village. We started for some more jungle first. Since we were now in some lower altitude, there were many new parts of the vegetation to explain in that part of the rainforest. At the end of the trail we were following appeared a beautiful little waterfall. Here we could use the fresh water to get some refreshment - and of course plenty of time to get pictures again.


KidBack to the village we were invited into the hut of the chief and had some nice talking there about the life of the Orang Asli, and we learned what they do for their living (actually they don't seem to be too ambitious - they just live from one day to the next and do only the immanent things they need to survive.) After leaving the hut we got a chance to practice the use of the blowpipe with the chief and our guide. We were not very accurate at start but only aiming on a distance of five meters we managed do hit the old sandal, which formed the target, at our later tries. The probably most exciting part was to watch the children of the village playing afterwards. We were granted time to take a look around and the kids were just cute. ("Ach guck mal is der niedlich" to quote Bianca).

More tea plantationThe way back took us through some other part of the tea plantation. We wanted to view the sunset from some view point at the southern Boh tea plantation. But the weather was not with us, and we got only clouds. At least we had some more biological insights - and who wouldn't want to see a poinsettia which grows like a tree.
Back at fathers guest house it was already late and we were really up for some dinner. Luckily the meals are really ok there, and we got some good dinner.

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  1. Sabine says:

    *Hm, klingt richtig idyllisch...
    Da werde ich mir doch gleich heute abend mal in Ruhe die Fotos ansehen (lückenlose Doku?).

    Ich hoffe, der Rest des Trips war dann auch noch schön.

    VG aus BA-Süd,
    Sabine

  2. Jürgen Hösch says:

    *Die Highlands sind in der Tat sehr idyllisch :-) Schade, dass wir da nur so wenig Zeit hatten. Kann mich gut in die Lage er englischen Kolonial-Leute versetzen die dort in den Bergen eine Ausflucht von der Hitze gesucht haben.
    Nachdem sowohl Christian als auch ich fotografiert haben, kann man glaube ich schon von einer ziemlich lückenlosen Doku sprechen.. Die Bilder von den Highlands und Penang sind mittlerweile alle online. Lake Temenggor und die Ost-Küste folgt noch heute Abend oder morgen früh. Dann gibts auch die weiteren Berichte :-)

    Grüße

    Jürgen


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