Cameron Highlands Trip

It’s been awhile since I last visited Cameron Highlands. In fact, I think I’ve only been to Cameron Highlands once in 2007. And now, this is the second time, I stepped foot at Cameron Highlands. Many of my friends commented that, it’s no longer cooling in Cameron Highlands, found it to be dusty and dirty and too packed with holiday makers. Well, against all good intention advice, I planned my family trip up there anyway, since my third aunt – who is a “tai kam cher” and she has been going to Cameron Highlands numerous times for work and never pleasure, I thought it would be a good time to bring her there. Also my sister has promised to take Ern Ern for strawberry plucking. And it’s my sis’ birthday!

We chose to go on a Sunday as we were trying to avoid the crowd on Friday to Saturday. Well, it proved to be a good choice. But then, on Sunday, most of the holiday makers were making their way home, and there were some jams near the pasar malam curved road. After that, it was all smooth going.

02 Lata Kijang

Lata Kinjang, the waterfall before reaching Tanah Rata

03 Lata

The crystal clear waters!

We went in two cars as Ern Ern has a class at 3 pm. So they joined us later after that. Since we were early, we decided to check out some of the places of interest so that, we would be able to save time tomorrow. At the same time, we picked up a strawberry strudels from Strawberry Moment shop, nearing Simpang Pulai. The Strawberry Moment’s cafe in Brinchang is already closed so, the only place you could get the strawberry strudels is from the main manufacturing shop located on the way towards Simpang Pulai.

01 Cameron Bharat

 We stopped by this beautiful Cameron Bharat tea plantation and had tea before going to our apartment.

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 Saw these lovely hydroponic vegetables at Avant Chocolate – Strawberry Moments

I’ve listed numerous restaurants for our meals there. The restaurants are not very packed but unfortunately, we couldn’t get parking spot. We ended cooking most of our meals in our rented apartment at Iris House. It was a good thing we brought along our own steamboat pot and ingredients!
We rented an apartment in Iris House – named Teaz Apartment, which is privately owned. It’s clean and the owner is clear with his instructions. So, I think if I ever go to Cameron Highlands again, I would rent the same apartment.
When we were there, it was quite cooling as it rain a little. It was nice to sleep at night because it was cooling without air conditioning. I stood out the balcony for awhile to breathe in all the good fresh air that we city folks are lacking!

I guess one do not need a map when in Cameron Highlands. Basically, it’s just one road from the winding road up from Tapah and going down to Simpang Pulai, another winding road. We didn’t go to cliche places like Time Tunnel because I think my late grandma’s house has more old antiques compared to the shop. Haha. We just went to Healthy Strawberry Farm to pluck some strawberries, eat strawberries popsickles – God! They are delicious!

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Lovely cactus at Strawberry Healthy Farm near our apartment

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 Boh Plantation, endless greenery!

We visited the Boh Plantation at Sg. Palas – which is quite a nice place to visit – unfortunately it rained while we were there.. and I made it just in time to the top before it started to pour!

A tip though, if you have elderly people above 60 visiting Boh Plantation, you will be allowed to drive up to the station directly and skip the 10 minutes walk up the stairs. We didn’t know, so my mom and my third aunt decided to sit this one out. The climb wasn’t too bad.. if a buffalo like me can climb uphill, I guess you could too!

Also, due to lack of tea produce – must be due to the torrential rain, the manufacturing plant is closed. We still could go in to see how tea leaves were being processed but we decided to skip it because of the rain. After that, we visited the “Bee Farm” opposite the road.. which is such a run down place.. and basically, there’s nothing there to look at. Since it was already late afternoon, we decided to go for early dinner.

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 Utmost favorite.. flowers at Kea Farm, Brinchang

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 Cheap strawberries… Rm18 for 2 boxes at Kea Farm Brinchang

On our way back to our apartment, we stopped by Kea Farm. I remember coming here the last time and we rather fascinated with the freshness of the vegetables. This time round, the corns on sale didn’t look as appealing as they were many years ago. In fact, we bought some corn from a trader and somewhat got cheated because the corn cobs he was selling were not fresh at all! I miss the really colorful flowers in pots. Probably went to the wrong side of Kea Farm.

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 While waiting for dinner to start in an hour’s time… kill time taking photograph

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 This is really good! Pumpkin with butter crisp.. at Golden Ship Restaurant, Ringlet

Oh well, we went to Ringlet to have our early dinner. Since the restaurant was not open yet, we waited till 6 pm for the restaurant to open. We could have gone on a ride to Ringlet to check out the roads that our company built – the Ringlet. But it was raining, so we just had some snacks and coffee at the food court nearby before dinner. After dinner, we went back to our apartment to rest.

15 Daisies

I love gerberas!

Next day, upon checking out, we went to the Avant Grand chocolate farm again – where I got the strawberry strudels. They have hydroponic plants there, which are as pretty as a big green rose. There is a small flower farm there so we took some photographs here. We also stopped by the Lavender Park. Entrance fee is RM5 for adults and RM3 for children below 12 years old. Senior citizens get in for free! After a short visit, we headed to Ipoh for late lunch before we parted ways back to Kuala Lumpur and to Taiping – to send off my aunts back to Port Weld and heading back to KL again there after..  that explained the backache I am having right now.. the long road rides. Sigh.

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 We stopped by Ipoh for lunch, before parting ways to KL/Taiping

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 Eating nga choi gai!

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Taiping’s Cashier Market

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 My favorite order in Taiping Cashier Market, the teow chew styled fishball char kueh teow!

50 Favorite Shots VII

….Every picture tells a story. Here, I present to you my favorite 50 shots taken around Malaysia….

Since my lap top was stolen, I would try my best to recall what I wrote on these photos. Sigh.. I seriously dont remember what I had written.. so, please bear with the lack of descriptions.

Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia. This was my first time to Cameron Highlands. I saw the pictures in brochures and heard of many tales of how cold and wonderful Cameron Highlands is. There wasn’t much scenery in CH as I hope it would be except for the small plot of tea plantation.

#31 A Room with a View. A colleague’s home in Cameron Highlands surrounded by acres of land of fruits and vegetables. Hibiscus is Malaysia’s National Flower.

#32 Pick Me! One of the many potted flowers for sale in local markets.

# 33 You’ve Got Mail. House number 103.

#34 Potted Beauty. One of the many potted plants for sale in local markets.

# 35 Three steps one bow. Saw this monk performing the ritual – three steps one bow. It was difficult to get a proper shot without having legs as background as there was a beeline of devotees waiting to see a monk who claimed he could heal diseases with his blessings.

FEI CHAI GANG RETURNS

I notice that; whenever I said something I vowed not to do.. I ended up doing it.

Despite still suffering from incessant cough (well, I got better – now I only cough at night), I went all out for the weekend: feasting on durians, piggin’ out, and reading till my eyes popped out. Well, at least I didn’t go boozing.

It is not a good idea to go boozing if you are traveling uphill to Cameron Highlands. You don’t have to drink too much to puke your guts out. By traveling uphill on the long and winding road, it is good enough to send anyone with a weak stomach rushing for the sick bag. It is funny that the first thing a fellow colleague greeted us was not – Hello! Welcome to Cameron Highlands! Instead, he said – did any one of you puke?

None of us vomited if you must know. But a few of us got really sick and dizzy. It is always good to sit at the front passenger seat or drive if you have a weak stomach.

And it is not a good idea either to pig out just before you travel to Cameron Highlands. My seven colleagues and I did everything wrong. (This is the new fei chai gang. The previous fei chai gang decided to semi retire for health reasons (semi means – they might return). Since I am the president and this position is for a lifetime, I had to look for new recruits. After all, this is what this blog is all about, ain’t it?).

Yummm!!

We stopped by Bidor to sample the famous duck leg wan tan mee. It was indeed superb. The wan tan mee itself is not bad either. We ordered everything there is on the menu – well, more or less. We had the duck leg wan tan mee, wan tan mee, roasted pork and duck and fried yam stuffed with pork.

Jambu air, jackfruit, petai & mangosteen and dragon fruit

Bidor is a small quiet town. Other than the duck leg noodles, it is also famous for its jambu air and petai. Along the main road, you could see hordes of traders trying to sell their petai and fruits. The jambu air are huge and juicy. I wonder how much pesticide and chemicals they have used to make them so big.

After the grand makan, we headed for Cameron Highlands. On the way uphill, I was beginning to feel a little bit queasy. I could feel the partially digested duck leg and wan tan mee; coupled with the durians from the night before, swimming ecstatically in my stomach. Geez. I tried to sleep to avoid thinking about vomiting, but it didn’t help much. It was a good thing that I told them to stop to view the waterfall along the way to get some breather. The waterfall along the way uphill used to be cleaner. It is sad that nobody maintain the place. It looked like a dumpsite.

When we reached Ringlet, just a few kilometers before Tanah Rata, where we stayed, we stopped by at our site office and greeted the colleagues there. Everyone seemed to know each other and the reception was welcoming (with the funny part of a manager actually asking us whether anyone of us puked in the car?). I was already nauseous and quickly find a place to sit down. Being new in the company, I was introduced to fellow colleagues. I was looking a bit sickly when I was introduced to Alex, a gentleman of Chinese-New Zealander parentage. Omigod! He is so gorgeous!! (Scenes from Superman Returns; a movie I watched the night before – suddenly clouded my mind. It is indeed a multiple orgasm movie! Not much of action – but Brandon Rough is drop dead gorgeous! Nose bleed).

I managed to maintain my composure and shook his hands firmly; and immediately felt better. Menggatalling lah tu… hahaha! Sigh. Too bad I didn’t take a pic of him.

3 tastes toufoo, herbs pork knuckles, seaweed soup and Indonesian curry fish

We had lunch at this restaurant that fellow colleagues used to frequent at Tanah Rata- Yoo Hoo restaurant. It wasn’t a fantastic meal but; there was nothing much to complain about apart from the slow in cooking – which was ideal; as I need time to recuperate from the long journey. The Indonesian curry fish was okay – if only the fish was fresher.

Cactus Farm

After dumping our luggage bags at our rented apartment, we headed to the main tourist attraction like everyone else – the cactus farm, the strawberries farm, the market and the pasar malam. The farms are nothing to shout about. They indeed have variety of cacti and flowers on sale – but I have somehow lost my interest in gardening since I left college. I am happy enough to take pictures instead – no need watering.

Flowers at the market

The local market is more or less the same as Bedugul, Bali, which I went earlier this year, if not more colorful. They sell mainly fresh produce – fruits, vegetables, potted plants, flowers and there is a handful of shop selling souvenirs. It is nice not to sweat while shopping in a market for a change! (Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur, Chak-tuk-Chak in Bangkok, Central Market and Russian Market in Phnom Penh are freaking hot!).

Everything Strawberries

A thing that one should not miss while being in Cameron is – to try to strawberry milkshake at Strawberry View – at the local market. The milkshake is not to DIE For, but the experience of having a strawberry milkshake, eating strawberries together with strawberries with cream with the chilly wind blowing in your face is priceless.

After a steamboat dinner, we head back to our apartment to freshen up. Being unwell, I decided not to go out again to yak the night away at Strawberry View. I guess I had caused my digestive system a major damage with all the food. I chose to read some books and watch some lame show on tv (In this apartment – we have only two channels – RTM 2 showing Citra warna – what a waste of tax payer’s money!) before calling it a night. Oh boy.. it was so bloody cold and I was freezing my ass off!! Big mistake for thinking Cameron Highlands is like Genting Highlands, no longer cold.

The monks at the temple

The last day was spent visiting the Sam Poh Chi temple and tea garden. We were shocked to see a beeline of people going to the temple. The queue – mostly elderly people, with umbrellas and folded chairs, waited to be blessed by a monk whom was said to have healing powers. This news had traveled all over Malaysia, and there were bus loads of people coming to visit the monk. The queue and parking were horrendous. We managed to find a spot at the nearby housing area and walked uphill to pay some respects at the temple.

Here, I saw two other monks, doing their regular ritual of kneeling at every step they take and walking up the temple (I am not sure what is it for) – donations poured in for the monks. Sometimes, I wish I could tell those people to give the donation at the donation box of the temple rather than disrupting the monks from their daily ritual.

The green land

As we made our way to the tea plantation, the images of the old man sipping Boh Tea and saying – Boh ada OOMPHH!!! ran randomly in my mind and was excited to see the whole stretch of tea plantation. However, I was quite disappointed that it was just a small plot of land for tourists to take photo with a café by the side. I was told that the previous plantation in Blue Valley had been shifted to this small plot of land. I didn’t ask the reasons – I was just trigger-happy and snapped away.

Little house on the Hill

We stopped by a fellow colleague’s house to have lunch and to visit his humble home. Lum’s house was a small, but nevertheless very cozy and surrounded by farm; which his father managed; filled with flowers, fruits and vegetables. Have you ever seen a maroon guava before? My fellow colleagues decided to help themselves with the maroon guava without being invited. How shameless! We were thrilled that each and every one of us was given two huge lettuces to bring home!

After bidding the Lum’s family good bye, we made our way back to Kuala Lumpur, but made a brief stop for some colleagues to buy pamelos and biscuits.

It’s cool to have colleagues from all over Malaysia. We were received very well by them. I felt instantly home when I am with them; mostly because I have my sister and cousin sister to share this with me – since we are all colleagues. Family indeed is the most important.. they would buy all things for the family without you forking out a cent. Hahahahah!!!!

Gosh, I am tired. This is quite a lethal post eh? I guess I won’t be blogging till I return from my Siem Reap trip this coming Friday. Be good everyone and take care.

All pics were taken using Canon Ixus 50. Please click on pics for bigger view.