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A popular weekend getaway in Malaysia, the Cameron Highlands area is known for its tea plantations, rare flora and fauna and abundance of strawberry farms. Nestled in the Titiwangsa Mountains, the region has a year-round cool temperature and is a nice respite after visiting the steaming jungle or the hectic streets of Kuala Lumpur.
The collection of towns in the Cameron Highlands used to be a hill station in the 1930s, developed by the British to escape the sweltering heat of the lowlands. You can still see their Tudor-style buildings and army jeeps everywhere, but the area is now full of resorts instead of barracks.
In Brinchang and Tanah Rata, the larger towns in the Highlands, there are restaurants, Internet cafés and tour agencies everywhere you look. Start with the Time Tunnel museum in Brinchang, and learn a little local history through photographs and cultural artifacts.
Book a combined tour to a tea plantation, fruit farm and butterfly aviary. The scenic drive through the hills is an experience by itself and guides often stop at roadside stalls so you can buy souvenirs or try some “nasi lemak” or other Malaysian food.
Another popular day trip is visiting Malaysia’s native people, the Orang Asli. Listen to the nose flute or try your luck at shooting an arrow. Your guide will try to locate the rare, stemless Rafflesia arnoldii. The world’s largest flower blooms for just one week, so seeing its massive petals is very special.
Keen hikers will also enjoy the Mossy Forest Walk on the misty Gunung Brinchang mountain. Afterwards, take your off muddy boots to view the Sam Poh Buddhist Temple in Brinchang.
For dinner, visit an Indian curry house or order a “steamboat” and boil your noodles, vegetable and seafood on the spot.
The Cameron Highlands are about 200 kilometers (120 miles) north from Kuala Lumpur. If you don’t feel comfortable driving the winding mountain roads, you can take a bus from Kuala Lumpur to the highlands.
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