Chilling out with cream teas and strawberries

Trip Start Sep 02, 2007
Trip End Feb 28, 2008

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Well Mark had finally started to turn a shade of brown and we had been in South East Asia for 2 and a half months, so we decided it was about time we cooled down.

We headed for the Cameron highlands, and the town of Tanah Rata, which Lonely Planet tells me is 1600-1800m above sea level. As soon as we stepped off the bus we felt the chill! Which was nice.

The chillier climate of the area means that fruit and veg grown here are more like those at home rather than tropical. It is the only place in Malaysia where you can buy strawberries!

At the bus station an army of guesthouse men, tried to get us in their minibuses. We just jumped in the van of the first man who tried to help Theresa with her rucksack. He took us to the Cameronian Inn, which was pretty pleasant and we got quite a big bedroom with an attached bathroom. A welcome relief from the hustle of Penang.

The following day we went on a tour of the area. The tour included lots of places we weren't really that interested in, but we were both keen to see a tea plantation which was included in the tour.

Our first stop was the Rose Centre. We were expecting this to be maybe a centre with Roses, but what it actually seemed to be was a garden centre with a rose section! Cant believe we paid to get into a garden centre!!!

Next we went to the strawberry farm. Where they actually let you walk up and down one row of strawberry plants...hmmm having seen plenty of strawberries in the past we weren't sure what exactly the appeal of this was....especially as we werent allowed to pick any! But plenty of people were arriving to look at the strawberries growing (not a patch on what Uncle Rob's pick your own used to be). Perhaps this is more for Malaysian people who have never seen strawberries grow?!  We were able to grab a strawberry milk shake and strawberry icecream in the shop though. Yummy! (maybe we are biased but we still think English Strawberries are the best)

After the strawberry farm we were whisked to the butterfly and insect centre. Here they had loads of insects and lizards in tanks, which they kept making people hold. Theresa wasn't having any of this, but Mark kept obediently taking the sticks with the massive beetles on!
We also saw frogs and some pretty nasty snakes.
Then we went through into the butterfly area, where there were many butterflies including the black and green butterfly featuring on most of the Cameron Highlands' postcards. We were a little sad to see many of the butterflies had damaged wings, and that many of the visitors were catching them and touching them which seemed to be making things worse.

Next we went to the 'BOH' tea plantation, which is really the place we wanted to see out of everything. At the centre there was great view across the plantation and a cafe to try the produce. Theresa had a pot of tea which was very nice. 
We then read about the plantation which was started by a Scottish man, who noticed that tea kept its value well. It was really interesting. We didnt get to see the factory which was shut due to a refurbishment and nor did we get to see the video about the factory as a Malaysian man started talking to us about the Premier league (something that happens all the time) in particular he was keen to talk about Liverpool, Manu, Chelsea and Arsenal...we'd have prefered to see the factory!

Afterwards...a little disgruntled at being made to leave the plantation so early, we went to the apiary. This was really rubbish, as we came in they made us drink some awful honey water drink (which apparently cures everything??) and then we were allowed to walk round but there was nothing to see. We were then made to walk around a fruit and veg market where people tried to get us to buy carrots, broccoli, and a whole host of stuff that is everywhere back home.

We did really like the Cameron Highlands though. Due to the tea and strawberries growing here, most cafes and restaurants served scones and cakes with strawberries and tea. We went to one cafe at the end of the street in Tanah Rata called T-Cafe, a couple of times. They did nice food and the cakes were great! Strawberry cheese cake, moist chocolate cake, and strawberry scones to name a few. Our trip to the Cameron highlands was definitely worth it!

Love Theresa and Mark xx
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