Bee Maze: Mission Accomplished

Trip Start Oct 31, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Malaysia  , Pahang,
Monday, November 15, 2010

Yesterday it was wet. There was a huge storm through the night, the thunder was so loud and the lightning so bright that even being in bed with the curtains drawn and my eyes closed it still felt like someone was shining 'a torch with the power of a million candles' in my eyes. The lady in the room next to ours told me she wrapped a towel around HER FACE to stop it from waking her up.

Because it was wet we decided to skip doing one of the harder trails, as being inexperienced hikers it could've ended in disaster. Instead we chose to visit one of the tea plantations, Sungai Palas Boh Tea Estate. The hostel we are staying in were selling tours at 5 a person to take you to the plantation and some of the other attractions around but we thought we'd do it ourselves to try and save a bit of money. There is a local bus that can take you up the road, it's hourly but unreliable so we had to get our first taxi of the trip, annoyingly, as we were trying to avoid this as much as possible. We paid 3 for a taxi to take us to what is basically the foot of the plantation and then we walked the rest of the way. Apparently it is a 2km walk but it definitely felt a lot longer! I am so glad we did it this way, as if you just got driven to the plantation you wouldn't have been able to enjoy the scenery as much and you would've only gotten to see one point of the plantation properly. Once we reached the estate we had a walk around the factory and got to see tea being made, and then we sat and had a cup of Earl Grey and a scone with strawberry jam. There are lots of strawberry farms nearby so I was expecting some delicious local jam, but it was just a little sachet of Heinz jam. Disappointing!!

As we started our 2km walk back the heavens opened and the rain was torrential. You could barely see in front of yourself, the clouds were incredibly low and the roads were very narrow (no pavement, of course). We were barely ten minutes into the walk when two guys from KL pulled up next to us and offered to drop us down the road, which we immediately took them up on, in fact I think Mark was sitting in their car before they had even offered to take us anywhere! People in Malaysia are so friendly, helpful and kind. They dropped us off right in front of a BEE FARM. Now if you know me, you know I love bees and it was free to go in so we cracked on with that. The rain had turned into a drizzle by the time we got there, but as it was wet there weren't as many bees around as there usually would be I imagine. I still got to see a fair amount though! There was a massive one too that was so big I could actually make out it's facial features. They also had the 'largest indoor maze in Malaysia' there, which I think is possibly the only indoor maze in Malaysia, so also the smallest, the best and the worst. It was called a 'bee maze', but it was basically a load of white corridors and some shower curtains and it got darker the further into it you got (I don't know if that was intentional though). It cost 60p to do it and you got a free strawberry keyring at the end. Great.

As the rain had subsided a bit we decided to walk 3km to Brinchang and then get a taxi back to Tanah Rata from there. On the way there we saw a massive snake by the side of the road but I'm pretty sure it was dead. Or asleep. But probably dead. As soon as we reached Brinchang the taxi driver who dropped us at the plantation drove past, thank goodness, as the heavens had just opened up again! He only charged us 1.20 to take us back to town.

Last night we sat in the bar at the hostel again and chatted to a couple of guys from England and a girl from Spain and it was really nice. Today we intended to do one of the harder walks but the rain just wouldn't let up so we did one of the other easier trails (Trail 4). We booked our ticket to Ipoh today and will arrive there tomorrow, the tickets were 2 each.

So to sum up costs in Tanah Rata as we prepare to move on. Each day accommodation was 3.50 each and food, soft drinks, coffee and water came to around 4 a day each. We ate mostly South Indian dishes, each dish coming in at around 1.20 each (and that's being lavish, you could just have Roti Canai each day if you wanted which cost about 40p!) So that's 7.50! Getting a taxi and having a few beers will basically double that price, so you're looking at 15/16 max for a day like that. One night we even splurged and had a steamboat dinner which added an extra couple of quid to the budget.
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