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Imagine standing in the middle of a mountain-side forest as the mist slowly descends in the cool air. Add tea plantations, biodiversity and waterfalls – welcome to Cameron Highlands. And here’s how to spend 48 hours for hiking, culture and tea.
Cameron Highlands offers countless hiking trails, tea plantations and Malaysia’s first memorabilia museum. The colder climate and pollution-free air creates a major tourist hub. Culture Trip explains how to spend 48 hours in Cameron Highlands for hiking, high-tea and the best restaurants.
Morning: A trip to BOH Tea Plantation
Most hotels in Cameron Highlands are near either Brinchang or Tanah Rata. Start the first part of your 48 hours in Cameron Highlands with a strawberry pancake at Yong Teng Café. Take a 20-minute taxi ride to the nationwide-famous BOH Tea Plantation. Rolling green vistas and orderly terraces greet visitors inside this 8,000-acre estate. Stroll through the fields, take a factory tour and drink a fresh cuppa in their Tea Room.
Pro tip: Arrive early to beat the noise and chaos of the late morning crowds.
Afternoon: An easy hike to Parit Waterfall
Get a taxi or the shuttle bus back to Tanah Rata for a light trek to Parit Waterfall. A boardwalk leads along the murky river towards the gentle roar of the cascades. Use the path directly behind Century Pines Resort, which takes approximately 20 minutes to reach the waterfall. Pack some snacks and have brunch in this serene location near Tanah Rata.
Pro tip: Grab a roti canai to go in Tanah Rata and snack on it at Parit Waterfalls.
Evening: Explore Brinchang and the Time Museum
From Tanah Rata, make your way to Brichang town (take a taxi or the shuttle bus). Culture Trip recommends resting your feet at Mr Aisu. The dessert shop serves dozens of sweet treats including more than 20 flavours of ice cream. After a drink and snack, explore the town. First, walk up the hill to the Buddhist Sam Poh Temple. Check out both Kayangan Brinchang Mosque and Sri Tehndayuthapany Swamy Hindu Temple too.
Walk northwards along the main road to Malaysia’s first memorabilia museum: Time Tunnel. Eight galleries with more than 4,000 relics make up the displays, which range from an old-fashion barbershop to descriptions of Malaysia’s aboriginals (Orang Asli).
Pro tip: Take the time to read about Malaysia’s Orang Asli indigenous peoples, many of whom work in the tea plantations.
Night: Dinner at one of Cameron Highland’s oldest restaurants
The invitingly named You-Hoo Restaurant in Brinchang has catered to tourists for more than three decades. With a mid-range price range, customers can order a variety of Chinese-inspired dishes, steamboat and bottled beer. Culture Trip recommends ordering the hotplate tofu and curry fish.
Pro tip: The restaurant gets busy and it’s a good idea to make a reservation.
Morning: Climb Cameron Highland’s tallest peak
The second morning of our 48 hours in Cameron Highlands itinerary involves a trip up Brinchang Mountain. Standing at 2,032 metres (6,667 feet), it’s Cameron Highland’s tallest peak. Trail one (moderate difficulty) leads from Brinchang town to the summit taking approximately two hours. Hikers can look forward to passing through thick vegetation and moss-covered trees. But finding the start can be a challenge in itself. Follow the main road from the town approximately 300 metres (984 feet) north and make a left. Continue for 10 minutes to Mama Mountain Cottage. Trail one starts near here.
Pro tip: Bring packed lunch and have a picnic at Brinchang Mountain’s observation deck.
Afternoon: Hike in the spooky Mossy Forest
After reaching the summit, follow trail 14 through the 200,000-year-old Mossy Forest. A two-kilometre (1.2 miles) boardwalk penetrates this eerie mist-filled woods. Thick green moss, creepy-looking ferns and descending mist create the sense of being in a horror film. But persevere and find yourself in an environment found nowhere else in Malaysia. Keep your eyes open for orchids and the bell-shaped carnivorous pitcher plants. Expect to spend four hours on the trails. If money isn’t an issue, hire a guide. The experts can point out and explain the plants and animals in the forest.
Pro tip: Adverse weather (heavy rain and mudslides) can close trails overnight. Double check before planning an epic day of hiking.
Evening: Malaysian hotpot in the cooler mountain air
Malaysian hotpot (known as steamboat) consists of a flavoured soup with slices of meat, vegetable and tofu. When the broth boils, pour the sides into the soup. This is a Malaysian favourite made even better in the refreshing evening air. Culture Trip recommends OK Tuck in Brinchang, which serves two or three people for RM50 ($12.20 USD).
Pro tip: Vegetarians can dine at Cameron Organic Produce Steamboat. This restaurant uses organic vegetables picked from their gardens offering pure vegetarian broths.
Night: A tipple at an English-style country pub
And to finish off your 48 hours in Cameron Highlands, head for a drink at Smokehouse Hotel. The hotel bar exudes the flair of an English-style Tudor bungalow with a wooden fireplace, antiques and leather sofas. Despite the relatively high prices, it’s a favourite spot for an evening drink. Order a pint of draft beer or a gin and tonic and let your mind wander back to life in British Malaya.
Pro tip: Despite Smokehouse Hotel’s location near OK Tuck, it’s advisable to take a taxi. Dark streets lacking adequate street lighting can make walking dangerous.