Heard of Cameron Highlands but don't know mush about it. This is the place to start before anything else
Cameron Highlands is the smallest district in Pahang which is located in the north- western corner of the state. One of the most popular hill resort in the country, this highland destination still retains much of the charm of an English village. Although massive development in the last decade has changed the landscape of the highlands, it remains a popular destination for those who wanting to escape the hot weather of the lowlands.
Being the primary agricultural region of the nation, you will find an abundance of vegetable farms dotted all over the highlands. Cameron Highlands is also the leading producer of flowers and tea in Malaysia. Be prepared for a lovely sight of tea plantations and beautiful flowers you won’t see flourishing elsewhere in Malaysia.
Located on the Titiwangsa Range at about 1500 metres above sea-level, the temperature here can drop to 16 ˚C or lower at certain times. The weather here remains at the lower to mid 20′s most of the time. Cameron Highlands is made up of 4 main townships followed by smaller settlements at different elevations. The first town from the south is Ringlet, followed by Tanah Rata, Brinchang, Kea Farm, Tringkap, Kuala Terla and Kampung Raja.
If you’re taking the old road via Tapah, this is the first town you will reach after the 1 hour drive through the rainforest. Located at an elevation of 1,200 metres above sea-level, Ringlet is one of the main agricultural hub for the highlands. There is nothing much to do here for the typical tourist besides stopping for fuel as this is one of the towns with petrol stations. Bertam Valley which is located about 5km away is one of the main flower and vegetable producers in Cameron Highlands. The new road from Sungai Koyan and Raub which opened in 2012 goes through Bertam Valley and ends up here in Ringlet. The nearest hotel is the LakeHouse which is less then 5 minutes drive from here.
The heart of Cameron Highlands is indeed its administrative township called Tanah Rata which is highly popular among the foreign tourists. Nestled at an elevation of 1,440 metres (4,720 ft) with a daily temperature range from 19 to 26 degrees Celsius, the development in this area has been under control until the recent years where you can see more buildings coming up.
The name “tanah rata” actually means flat ground in the Malay language and it refers to the relatively flat area on which the town is located amidst the surrounding hills and mountain peaks. Being slightly laidback but with access to everything you need, this is where most of the guesthouses which caters to backpackers and the yuppie crowd are located.
Tanah Rata has banks, bars, money changers, sundry shops, cyber cafes, tour counters, restaurants, fast food outlets and even a Starbucks cafe. Visitors often choose to explore the surrounding sub-mountain forest here as there are numerous jungle trails with varying lengths and difficulties conveniently accessed from this area.
Some trails that are popular include the Trail Number 4 from Parit Falls among others leading to mountain peaks such as Gunung Beremban (1,812m), Gunung Mentigi (1,535m), Gunung Perdah (1,551m) and Gunung Jasar (1,670m). All jungle walks here are numbered and can be easily referenced from tourist maps available from shops, cafes and hotels around town
Brinchang which is a bustling township in Cameron Highlands is located five kms from Tanah Rata. It is the second largest township of Cameron Highlands but it is the busiest attracting a large number of local tourists on weekends and public holidays.
The popular night market is located here and its open on weekends, school holidays and public holidays. You can get highland produce, non-highlands produce, local street food, soft toys and fruits from the night market. The town has a numerous restaurants serving Chinese, Malay and Indian cuisine and a range of budget and medium ranged hotels. Being located slightly higher and close to most of the attractions, Brinchang has become a popular place to star for mostly local tourist.
Many vegetable farms, flower nurseries and fruit orchards are located close to this town and some popular tourist spots here include Cactus Valley and the Big Red Strawberry Farm.
Beyond Brinchang, you will see a lot of tourist attractions like the Time Tunnel Gallery, Markets, FLower Nurseries and Fruit Stalls along the road to Kea Farm.
Kea Farm which used to be a small farming village and the only vegetable market used to be located here in the 80s and early 90s. In the recent years, this area has seen a lot of big developments like the Aranda Nova Shopping Centre. More developments are making its way here and it is starting to become its own township. The Copthorne Hotel is located here and it can be considered the highest elevation of any other hotels in Cameron Highlands.
The road to the Sungai Palas tea plantation also branches out from here and you can take this small road all the way to the factory while enjoying the breathtaking view of the plantation.
Tringkap, Kuala Terla & Kampung Raja
Beyond Kea Farm, the elevation drops all the way to Blue Valley. Most of the tourist spots are located around this route. This is where you will find the markets, vegetable farms, flower gardens, bee gardens and butterfly gardens.
The first town on this route is Tringkap which is a small farming community where you can see lots of pickup trucks and old land rovers parked along the road. A few restaurants and shops catering to the local community can be found here.
Fifteen minutes away is Kuala Terla, another small farming community with a similar look as Tringkap. Kuala Terla is one of the big Agricultural regions of the highlands after Bertam Valley and Ringlet.
Kampung Raja is the last town on the map and this town is getting its share of development. This is also a primarily an agricultural town and most of the businesses here cater to the local residents. Since the opening of the Simpang Pulai road, this town has become the gateway to the highlands from the north.
Blue Valley which used to be at the tip of the highlands and was the most remotest area before the 90's is now accessible via the two new roads to the highlands. The Simpang Pulai Road takes you to Ipoh while the Gua Musang Road takes you to the East Coast.