Malaysia’s highlands offers a respite from the stifling heat and has done since British colonial days. Culture Trip explores the best things to do in Cameron Highlands including where to pick strawberries, drink high tea and learn about an almost forgotten culture.
Tea plantations dominate the rolling hills which surround Cameron Highlands. Stunning vistas combine with lush green mountains creating a smooth harmony expanding in all directions. The almost century-old BOH plantation covers more than 8,000 acres. Explore the fields, learn about the local tea industry. But the real highlight is tasting a fresh cup of tea in their Tea Room overlooking the almost never-ending blanket of terraced green.
Cameron Highlands is the only place in Malaysia where succulent strawberries grow. The year-round temperate climate creates ideal growing conditions. Fruit-lovers can pick fresh sweet-sour tasting strawberries at either Big Red Strawberry or Raju’s Hill. Grab a basket and pick to your heart’s content. Or indulge in their strawberry-themed snacks inside the farm’s café (we recommend their homemade strawberry ice cream, jam and milkshakes).
Few travellers take the time to appreciate Cameron Highlands’s religious diversity. A Buddhist temple, Hindu temple and mosques sit almost side-by-side in Brinchang town. Head up the hill towards Sam Poh Temple. This is both the main Buddhist temple in Cameron Highlands and one of Malaysia’s largest. Bright yellow walls surround the red-dominated decorations. Hundreds of ceramic statues and icons sit inside. Blends of incense and chanting monks produce a hypnotic air. Next head over to Sri Tehndayuthapany Swamy, a colourful Hindu temple catering mostly towards the local Tamils. The simple, yet elegant, Masjid Kayangan Brinchang sits in the town centre.
If the weather is dry, hike out to one of Cameron Highland’s many waterfalls. The more popular include both Parit Waterfall and Robinson Waterfall near Tanah Rata. Step away from the town’s bustle and enter the peaceful world of the wilderness. Follow the almost-empty jungle trail through spooky woods to these little-visited natural treats. Imagine the gentle roar of the cascading falls surrounded by verdant greenery. Add views across the valley and forests from above. Trekking to the waterfalls consistently features among the top things to do in Cameron Highlands for outdoor enthusiasts.
The Mah Meri indigenous peoples of Selangor’s Carey Island use wooden masks to represent ancestral spirits during ritual dances. Mah Meri Art Gallery in Tanah Rata has more than 300 masks carved from mangrove hardwood in one of Malaysia’s most extensive private collections. Guided tours of the gallery offer both historical and cultural insights into this little known indigenous culture. Despite its steep RM37 ($9 USD) admission fee, Culture Trip recommends it with the top things to do in Cameron Highlands for an unparalleled cultural experience.
Cameron Highlands once housed a British hill station. The cooler mountain climate resembled more what the Brits were used to. Apart from the small reminders of the highland’s colonial past (think the occasional black and white mock-Tudor architecture), the Brits also left another legacy: high tea. A handful of tea rooms (we recommend Jim Thompson Tea Room and Cameron Highland Resort) litter the landscape serving creamy tea with British scones.
The wilderness allures nature-lovers to Malaysia’s central highlands. Colour-coded trails transverse the impenetrable forests to stunning vistas and summits. Hikers can choose between dozens of routes of varying difficulty. Keep your eyes peeled for white throated fantails soaring overhead. Lucky hikers might even glimpse the rare mountain peacock pheasant and threatened Sumatran serow. Add in waterfalls and the world’s smelliest flower (Rafflesia). Whether you want a leisurely morning stroll before high tea or an all-day trek, hitting the trails is among our favourite things to do in Cameron Highlands for all travellers.
Thick wooded areas and slimy green moss blanket much of Brinchang Mountain. Fortunately, the peak of this mysterious environment is accessible to enthusiastic hikers by following trail one. A two-kilometre (1.2 miles) boardwalk penetrates the dense foliage and towering trees called Mossy Forest (trail 14). Descending fog mixes with the low clouds creating an eerie atmosphere that can make even the toughest feel uneasy. Apart from the sweeping views on a clear day, keep your eyes open for colourful orchids, carnivorous pitcher plants and otherworldly photo opportunities.