I think Cameron Highlands is not a very popular tourist destination in Malaysia. At least, it didn’t seem, judging by the number of western tourists I saw. However, there are plenty of things to do in Cameron Highlands.
The highlands are home to beautiful places and verdant nature. It rains here almost every day of the year, that’s why the vegetation is so lush and that’s why you will find one of the most beautiful mossy forests in the world here. I was here only two nights, so I signed up for a tour to see the various attractions in one day.
Cameron Highlands is home to teas, strawberries, lavender, butterflies, a wide range of farms for observing local produce. But most of all, Cameron Highlands are strawberries. Strawberries everywhere, strawberry souvenirs strawberry socks, strawberry pajamas, hats, cakes, coffee… Strawberries, strawberries and more strawberries. Here there are several strawberry farms that tourists can visit and pick their own strawberries. However, visiting strawberry farms is not the more fun thing to do on this land.
So, that’s one of the things included in the tour, a visit to a Strawberry farm. I booked a full-day tour, but a half-day tour would be perfectly fine. In the morning we visit the tea plantations and the factory, as well as the Mossy Forest and a butterfly farm. In the afternoon I visited Cactus Point, a temple, the museum and we were supposed to go to a cascade but it was raining and the driver said it’s better not to go as it is very slippery. In that same day, after the tour that ended earlier than expected, I ended up going to that same cascade I previously mentioned and it was totally ok, so I guess the tour guide just wanted to finish his job earlier… and that’s why I don’t like tours, but here the things are so far from each other to walk, and there are no public transports. I don’t see any other way to see all these things besides doing a tour…
Cameron Highlands is recognized by the tea fields that shape the landscape with geometric patterns and a breathtaking view of the mountains covered with various shades of green, denouncing the younger leaves of tea. Tea from the highest points of the mountain tastes different from the lowest points. On the highest points, it has a softer flavor. They are acres and acres covered with black tea and I went to know how it is produced. The view across the mountains is enchanting as the tour jeep bumps along the rough roads. A fun trip. The view is fabulous here!
Another major attraction of Cameron Highlands is the Mossy Forest. Here the landscape is lush and nature seems almost untouched.
Entry into the forest requires payment, but it was not worth it. I confess that I was a little disappointed, not because of the view, but because the visit is limited to a few meters of walking. In 15 minutes I reach a point that cannot be crossed. I was hoping I could walk through the mossy trees, but that’s not what happens here. Everything is prepared for tourists with wooden walks placed among the trees. Now the whole fun of such a forest is lost. Seeing how the ground is fully covered by moss and how fluffy it feels while walking was one of the things that I was really willing to see and feel, but here it was not possible.
However, it is still magnificent to see those trees with many years full of green moss that still drops of moisture that is felt here. It’s a movie-worthy setting, with trees of all shapes. Therefore, if the intention is to walk in the forest this is not the place to do so and I have also heard that to enter the forest special permission is required. It is best to venture alone through the many surrounding forest trails that you can see on the App MAPS.ME.
The visit to a strawberry farm was not interesting at all. We just looked at a bunch of strawberries and we were able to pick up our own, but I didn’t… we spend not more than 10 minutes there and it was because there were some shops selling strawberry delicacies and we couldn’t resist trying some. I like strawberries!
The visit to the butterfly farm was actually interesting. I have never been to one before, so for me, it was fascinating to see so many butterflies flying around. Some of them are so big and colorful, genuinely beautiful! Pity that people were catching them by the wing just to strike a pose with one of these magnificent insects. The problem is that once you touch their wing they can’t fly anymore… so I saw many butterflies left to die on the floor or on the plants. They couldn’t fly and their wings were shaking. I wasn’t understanding why they were like that but once I saw a woman catching one I realized the reason why… At the butterfly farm, you can also see other animals besides butterflies including spiders, reptiles and even stick insects that aren’t easily spotted.
In the afternoon we visited a local market in the open air, but that’s exactly when it starts to rain, so the walk didn’t last long. After that, we went to Cactus point that is basically a huge shop with many many different kinds of cactus. This was nice cause there were some really beautiful plants to see.
The Time Tunnel Museum is also an interesting place. It tells the story behind Cameron Highlands and the Westerners that came here to plant tea. I read almost every information and spent there for about 1 hour. The museum also has a lot of vintage stuff. Really cool!
At last, we visit one of the few temples in the area. It’s a normal temple, not special…
So, the things I saw in the afternoon weren’t that exciting, besides the museum that tells a lot about history. This to conclude that if you do a half-day tour you are perfectly fine.
Forest treks in Cameron Highlands
The next day I venture myself alone in the forest. This is not the mossy forest, but these forests around have plenty of moss and are very thrilling to hike.
Here I am walking in the pure forest, without artifacts, with fallen trees blocking the way, stairs made with tree roots and ground that looks like cotton when stepped so much is the moss that covers it. The trees exhibit various delicate and scary shapes. They are covered by moss and are clearly being decomposed naturally. It’s all so green around me.
It is undoubtedly the most beautiful forest I’ve ever hiked. The sounds of birds and insects give this trek a character that cannot be described in words. I was in the forest for about 4 hours and I did treks 4, 6, a bit of 3 and continued to 7. Trail number 6 was the best one. There are several trails in the forest and some are not so well maintained so it is best to follow with the application MAPS.ME not to get lost. That’s what I did.
I only come across a couple with a dog and another hiker during this 4 and a half hours in the woods. The dog appeared well before the owners and so silent that it gave me a death scare as soon as it made the first moan. I don’t know if it was because I had the dog around or not, but I could see a Gibbon high up in the trees making noises that I had never heard before. I didn’t know what animal it would be until I followed the sound and could locate it. How breathtaking to see that animal in the forest. I spent long minutes staring at the Gibbon and being thrilled by the moment. I wasn’t expecting to see a Gibbon here at all. It was magical!
Depending on the forest trails, the difficulty of making them is different. I did part of trail number three that is between the number 6 and 8 and this one was particularly difficult as I spent well over half an hour always climbing and sweating. My forehead looked like a waterfall! It is smart to carry plenty of water, repellent and little skin on display. If I stop, I’m attacked by mosquitoes, but I have to think for a moment before deciding where to put my foot next. There are also some waterfalls that can be visited between trails. I rushed a bit as I wasn’t expecting to take so long in the forest and had a bus scheduled for Penang to 1 pm. At the end of trail 7, you will find a strawberry farm. The most beautiful trail is number 6 as the trees are very mossy and the groud too. Just like walking in a fairytale scenario. I was surprised by the beauty of this place
The city center is pretty small and not very busy so this is a cool place to relax. Cameron Highlands is well worth a visit.
The hike in this forest that looks enchanted and out of a movie was very worthy. I had never been to a forest of this kind, and it is now one of my favorite places. If I knew it, I would spend longer here and explore more forest trails.