Strawberries, Tea, and a Rainforest

I thought the bus ride from Krabi to Penang had been bad until I climbed into our transfer to the Cameron Highlands. As the name suggests, Tanah Rata (the town we are booked to stay in) is high, way way way above sea level. How do you get to such a high place? On windy roads. It doesn’t help the car sickness.

When we arrived in Tanah Rata, the town we were staying in in the Cameron Highlands, we noticed that it was cold. Such a relief considering we opted to stay in the cheapest hotel there by miles that had neither air con or a fan. It did come with an awesome film channel though! The area has a high Muslim Indian population following the introduction of the tea plantations, so the curry houses in the area had to be tried. I think that the curry I had on the first night might have been some of the best curry I have ever had!

The following morning saw the rainforest trip, and the walking boots. It was pretty much the only reason that I packed them. I was ready for a hard days walking and trekking through warm sweaty rainforests, and was quickly presented with a Jeep that would take us nearly anywhere, and the need for a jacket. The rainforest near Tanah Rata and B.O.H plantation is a cloud forest, so it was fairly cold. It was perfect to walk through, and felt like an enchanted forest straight from Middle Earth. It was amazing.

The summit was a tad disappointing, because the cloud was in and we could see absolutely nothing, and barely feel our fingers and toes. That said, the views on the way up and down were great, so I’m still pleased we went all the way up. The walk/trek on the way back down into the cloud forest was great. The guide was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable that it made the trip that much more enjoyable and interesting.

The first stop on the route had been the B.O.H. tea plantation, which was an impressive stretch of farmland that just rolled over the hills. We got to explore it at the beginning of the day, and then go to see the factory where the plants are dried and altered to make the tea. It was fascinating to find out that the different tea types everywhere in the world are all made from the same bushes; the differences is all in the factory production methods.

The other thing that the Cameron Highlands has to offer is strawberries. They farm them everywhere alongside the tea plantations. I may have been almost half way round the world, but I still enjoyed proper strawberries and a cup of tea (the strawberries weren’t as good as home though). Malaysia is a shoppers paradise, so after the obligatory stop at a market where we bought some dried fruit, we returned to our hotel, went for another curry at a different place, holed up in a Starbucks to abuse their wifi, and watched Maleficent.

It’s a shame such a good day was sandwiched by two awful bus journeys. I hope no bus journey ever comes close to the one from Tanah Rata to Kuala Lumpur. I had a sick bag in front of my face for the majority, couldn’t move, and Jade was so desperate for the toilet she was crying. Exactly, a nightmare.

It still hasn’t put a dampner on what is fast becoming my favourite place.

 

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