Exploring the Cameron Highlands
Trip Start Dec 26, 2005
289Trip End Jan 25, 2009
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This morning, I would tour with Moneyen from CS Travel and Tours SDN here in Tanah Ratah. Moneyen, or 'money' as he prefers to be called was an elderly gentlement in his mid 60s who takes the money for being the most unbelievable guide I've come across. Joining me on this 5 hour tour of the Cameron Highlands were Jane and Mike from Cambridge and Isabella from Vienna
The tour gave me an excellent overview of the Cameron Highlands. Included in the tour cost of $15 each was a visit to one of the tea plantations, a drive up to Binchang Hill (which unfortunately was covered in cloud... if not, we might have been able to see a city two hours away... Ipoh), a 2 hour trek to see a wide assortment of unique flowers and insects, a visit to a beautiful tea house overlooking the tea plantation, a visit to a tea making factory, and a visit to a snake/butterfly/insect house. Talk about unbelievable value with impeccable service.
The tea plantations are absolutely phenomenal, extending over many hills in the area. During the tour, I learnt that the tea leaf pickers earn 20 sen per kg. For 20kg, that equates to about 2 aussie dollars. But the workers attract other benefits such as free housing etc. Talking about wages, there is no minimum wage here in Malaysia. I have since learnt that some workers in KFC, for example, are earning 2RM per hour (less than 1 aussie dollar). I have also learnt that Australian teachers earn 15 times that of their Malaysian counterparts
Having satisfied my interest in visiting the tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands, I am now ready to move on to Penang. I've resorted to booking my accommodation online because the popular places in Lonely Planet always seem to be booked! I plan to stay 3 nights in George Town, Penang and then on to Langkowi. I'm already running short of time... I have Thailand and Laos to see before starting my 3 week tour in Vietnam on 20 February. As I write, I have a couple of local boys watching me type... they are intrigued by my 70 word a minute typing speed:)