Situated at a height of over 1000 meters, the Cameron Highlands is Malaysia’s most popular hill station and a classic stop along the Malaysia-truly-Asia trail. Temperatures are surprisingly low, so you’ll need a sweater in the evening. The 2 main towns, Tanah Rata and Brinchang, have little charm and are just places to find a decent guesthouse. In between Tudor kitsch and tacky ‘pluck you own strawberries’ farms, there are 3 fantastic things.
Oh My! The Boh tea plantation
Big time touristic but drop dead gorgeous, the Boh tea plantation is the postcard perfect highlight of the Cameron highlands. On weekends, expect big traffic jams along the small winding road to the BOH headquarter. From Tanah Rata, you can take the cheapo bus (leaving the station at 8 and 10 am – 5 RM) that drops you off at the junction. From here it’s a lovely 2.5 km hike to the visitor center with many photo opportunities along the road. The visitor center is a top-notch designed pavilion overlooking the valley. Enjoy a cuppa-tea with cake, the free factory tour and the gift shop (but beware that prices and products are same as in your local supermarket).
Mist, Mystic, Mossy
The mossy forest seems to come straight out of a surreal Tim Burton movie. The high altitude covers the forest in a mysterious mist, which in turn covers everything with moss. No need to book a cheesy tour (50 RM) or pricy taxi (150 RM) to go up Gunung Brinchang. Most Malaysian families are happy to give you a ride. On the road to Boh, there's a junction with a sign 'mossy forest' (can't miss it). If you want to walk up, watch out, bit further the road splits again, so make sure you turn left (follow the sign: 'strawberry farm'). After you spend time on the mossy forest boardwalk (super!) - just walk the 8 km back - it's downhill and there's little traffic. Might not sound very Indiana Jones - but your legs will still hurt anyway. Adventurous hikers can check out more challenging hiking trails in the Cameron Highlands.
Meet the Beetles
There are 2 butterfly gardens in the Cameron Highlands. And to make it even more confusing, they’re situated right next to each other. The one on the left (when facing the building block) is extremely depressing – while the one on the right is good fun and good value for 5 RM (1.25 euro).
The term ‘butterfly garden’ is a vague term for a collection that includes snakes, beetles, frogs and scorpions. The only butterflies on display are the Raya Brooke and Golden birdwing, 2 of the most spectacular species in Malaysia. The real highlight is the beetle collection. Don’t miss the spectacular rhinoceros beetle that can grow up 15 centimeter.