Although the map is marked with 14 trails, nobody really hikes in the Cameron Highlands. Most Malaysians just come here to pluck strawberries, drink tea or get stuck in traffic jams. Hiking seems reserved for courageous foreigners with a naïve, romantic vision of the jungle. I’m one of them. And as a result, most trails are badly marked, badly maintained but badass beautiful.
My favorite combination: trails 7-3-5
Both trail 5 and 7 start at Agro Technology Park in MARDI - just walk through the Institute (no need to buy a ticket) to the other side. There you'll see signs of trail 5 and 7. I suggest to start with TRAIL 7, as you'll need all your energy. The path is steep, partly overgrown but fairly indicated. So don't worry, you won't get lost.The trail starts on a little hill with young tea plants. Soon after, the path is really overgrown for about 250 meters. Then you'll get into the forrest. As you get higher, the path gets steeper and steeper. Progress is slow as you constantly need to figure out how to climb big natural steps created by tree roots. But temperatures are mild and there's a constant breeze. After 1.5 hours, you reach the top of Gunung Berembun. Don't expect much of a view.
Keep walking and you'll automatically get on TRAIL 3 - the descent is steep and hard - with many fallen trees blocking the path. But there are long bamboo stick ropes to help you through the hardest parts. When you reach the Rain Shelter Cross Junction (an ugly concrete building) - take TRAIL 5 to get back to Mardi. After the hardship of 7 and 3 - this trail feels like a walk in the park. Easy-peasy. The last bit goes through a veggie farm. Then via Mardi, back to Tanah Rata for a well deserved drink and meal.
Count 5 hours of trek (breaks included) - so make sure you have plenty of water (2L/persoon), some snacks and insect spray. Also, you'll meet very little other trekkers - so tell your hotel about your plans just in case. Warning: Avoid trail number 9 as there have been many reports of robbery.
Also check out: 'The Highlights of the Cameron Highlands'