Cameron Highlands

Trip Start Sep 11, 2008
Trip End Jun 05, 2009

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Flag of Malaysia  , Pinang,
Saturday, November 29, 2008

We got a free ferry across to Butterworth on the other side of the narrow straits between Penang and the mainland. Found the hectic long distance bus station under a flyover and found our bus. We had booked tickets at the guesthouse and were told to go to Butterworth but when we got on the bus it was full of people who had come from Penang so Mr Loh was blatantly on the blag somehow. The bus was crap too, the station was full of shiny VIP buses and ours was a small rickety old thing which did about 40 on the motorway and was passed by every single vehicle. After Ipoh halfway into the 5 hour journey the road became single carriageway, nice and smooth though, but the bus did about 10mph all the way as it was uphill for many miles. A good coach could probably do the whole trip in half the time. Once we got to Tanah Rata it was grey and actually cold as it's where the Brits used to come for a bit of respite in colonial times. We checked into our hotel and put trousers and fleeces on straight away. The town has a wierd Alpine feeling as lots of the buildings look like chalets and several mock-tudor buildings too.
Next day we went on a guided tour which was cheap and good for 4 quid. We went to a rose garden with tons of other flowers as well, I dragged my feet round this part of the trip with all the other guys while the ladies all took loads of photos. Great views over the veggie terraces though. After that we went to a Buddhist Temple, the BOH tea plantation, a strawberry farm, a butterfly farm where they put a scorpion on me, and a honey farm. The scorpion wasn't scary, I volunteered, but it was facing down my body on my chest, then it turned around and I will admit to being a bit scared. Well more than a bit.
We went on a jungle trek on our own, the tour cost too much money and theres lots of marked trails anyway. We didn't go and see the Rafflesia flower which is the worlds largest as that cost loads too. The guide the day before told me the hardest trails (which I didn't tell Lucy til we set off obviously) and we had a great time. Until it rained. And got steep. Very steep. So steep we had to scramble up using our hands too. It was fine though, the only danger was getting a muddy arse. We climbed to the top of Gunung Berembung and down another trail to the Robinson Falls which was even muddier and slipperier with fallen trees and landslides. We had tea and scones when we got back to the village which is the thing to do there.
We got the cheap bus to Kuala Lumpur after 2 days there and we got delayed by a landslide having brought a massive tree down over the road. It was half cleared in a proper dangerous way by a JCB and 2 guys with chainsaws, all just hacking randomly at the nearest bit, and we got back on the bus after watching it all happen. Our bus driver nearly drove off the edge of the cliff trying to get round. Full size coaches made it round no worries but our half size one somehow didn't then got stuck in mud and slid towards the edge. We all got off obviously and had to push it back after about 20 minutes of stupidity by the locals trying to get it out.
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