Cameron Highlands

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Mar 16, 2009

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Sunday, March 30, 2008

A long and slow bus ride from Kuala Lumpur brought us to Cameron Highlands (made-up of 3 main townships at different elevations), 1500m above sea level among the peaks of the main range of Peninsular Malaysia, which allows for more forgiving temperatures.
Cameron Highlands was named after William Cameron, a British surveyor who stumbled across the plateau in 1885 during a mapping expedition. Failing to mark his discovery on the map, the location of the plateau was a finally confirmed by subsequent expeditions.
In 1925, Sir George Maxwell visited the highlands and decided to develop it as a hill station. The winding road up to the highlands (adding many hours to our bus trip) was constructed and this enormous task was done entirely by manual labour.
Once the road was constructed, wealthy residents and British government officials started building retreats on the slopes of the highlands. Later some settled here permanently and a business community developed. Farming was the main activity at that time. A permanent British army base was also established soon after that.
In 1929, John Archibald Russell, who was the son of a British administrative officer started a tea plantation which is now the famous Boh Tea Plantation. Development continued even after the independence from the British in 1957. The British influence remains visible in the architecture and food on offer - tea and scones.
We only spent one night there, but really enjoyed the hospitality of the people and the ambiance the area provided. We were luckily able to fit-in a half day tour of all the natural splendours the area offers before departing again by bus for Penang.
We started off at the Rose Centre, where many different rose varieties amongst other exotic flowers, such as the Lady's Shoe (some type or orchid), could be enjoyed. A strawberry smoothie made a perfect "elevensies" snack at the Strawberry Farm, which grows strawberries only for local consumption. Unfortunately all the tea factories were closed as it was a Monday, but we were still able to appreciate the lovely terraces and sat in awe looking at the biggest Malaysian tea growers' plantation (Boh Plantations).
A visit to a honey farm was next on the agenda, followed by the Butterfly Farm. The most beautiful butterflies are hosted in a big enclosed area, covered in fine netting. We weren't sure what the reason was for them landing on your shoulders or head occasionally -   if they were just used to people or landed there by accident. We were told that the big black butterfly with the green strip is Malaysia's national butterfly. In another area several insects and reptiles, found in the surrounding forest, were kept I cages or terrariums. I was brave enough to touch most of the ones we were allowed to touch, Ryan was a less willing to get involved in the handing and stuck to taking the photos as proof.
Out tour ended at the biggest Chinese Temple in the area and were able to enter all the rooms and take photos of the different gods they worship.
In my mind, Cameron Highlands is a must stop in Malaysia, together with Borneo.
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