So after months of pink eye, fat finger , sweaty back and now hob along nagging me to write a blog I have finally given in and so here it is.
Our final stop on this whirlwind tour of Malaysia was the Cameron Highlands, and we knew it would be more our cup of tea, and with the vast tea plantations surrounding this place it just had to be. And there sure were a lot of tea plantations, hills on hills of bright green rows of tea bushes as far as the eye could see.
Our 7 hour bus journey turned in to 9 hours which is to be expected, so when we arrived in the Cameron Highlands (after a few hours of winding mountain roads and a moaning, green faced, pink eye, fat finger , sweaty back and now hob along) we were not really in the mood to trapes around looking for accmodation so we went in to the first hotel we saw and booked to stay 3 nights. A nice room, tv, shower all good.
So the Cameron Highlands is said to have its own climate and it certainly does. As we arrived it was raining and the temperature was much cooler, a very much needed break from the heat for me. Plus I also thought we may get to use our South face, sorry North face jackets or the umbrellas I have been so longing to hold on to for 4 months, but no it stayed ok for our time here, sunny but nice and cool.
So having travelled to Penang and Melacca and having sampled all the foods they have to offer we were in need of something which didnt resemble an indian or chinese. what we wanted we werent sure but it wasnt that. So when we searched for something to eat that was slightly less asian and all we found was a street lined with indians and chinese restauraunts, great. so it was another indian for tea for us, but on the plus I had the luxury of watching a football match yes a football match. Everton vs Fulham. Sophie went upstairs and I stayed down with a few beers, pure heavan.
So we booked ourselves on to a day trip, a day of visiting a tea plantation, strawberry farm, going to the highest point in the highlands and other activities. The driver pulled up in a rusty old 4x4 land rover and we started to think, what we had booked on to? A little fact for you that we learned, aparently that there are more land rovers 4x4 in the cameron highlands than any other part of the world due to the terrain here.
So our driver was Mr Mongey or Mr money as he liked to be called, a very charming and knowledgeable man. He has lived here since he was a child and he told us many stories of his childhood from working on the golf course collecting balls and swimming in waterfalls which were no longer there due to development and construction. He mentioned how construction and money has ruined the cameron highland beauty in places, but we struggled to see it as what we saw we thought was stunning.
our first stop was the butterfly farm and reptile house, a nice 30min stop looking at the butterflies and reptiles, after that we went to the tea plantation and we finally found out why we needed the 4x4, up and down hills, hitting your head off the ceiling, great fun for me and sophie but a Saudi women on the trip wasnt too pleased, holding on to her boyfriend for deer life, holding her arms as they were banging off the windows. Very funny for me to watch.
So they grow the tea leaves just for distribution around malysia. Cameron highlands tea and it is said that they pick so many leaves in one day there is enough for around 5million cups of tea. unlike other parts of the world they dont pick with there hands anymore they use a machine now which makes for easier work, the tea leaves themselves dont smell of anything when you pick them, its not until they go to the factory and go through 4 stages of breaking them down that they pick up the tea smell or the added flavour like strwberry etc.
After the tea plantation it was up to the top of the hill 2000m above sea level and if it wasnt for the cloud it would have been a great view. oneside was half ok you could see to the bottom but the other was just cloud. we were meant to see as far as Ipoh, a place 60 km away but hey never mind.
Then it was off to the jungle, or the mossy forest as its known by the locals. Here Mr money took us for a little walk explaning all about the different leaves and fruits you could eat to help with poorly stomachs and poorly bones, I should have picked some up for old sicknote here but im sure they sell that sort of stuff in boots. He also mentioned about the tigers and the look on the Saudi girls face was a picture.well they used to have tigers and monkeys he said but the construction and noise has driven them away. The mossy forest was like something out of a movie, really eary looking but it was a great walk.
Then off the strawberry farm something I had been looking forward to, here it is said they do the best strawberry milkshake around, So go on then we had to try. Be silly not to and yes it was really good. The sight of any cake gets sophies mouth watering so we had to sample a slice of strawberry and banana cake aswell. The cakes all look good but when it comes to taste it never matches up to the same standard as the uk.
Our afternoon ittinary was a time tunnel, a tunnel showing the time span of the cameron highlands, then a buddihst temple and a rose garden. All in all it was great day and we were pleased to have done it even if we were a little tired when we got back.
So our hotel had a bit of a water pressure problem so no hot water and the toilet wouldnt flush. Something they could have mentioned before we payed for three nights. we were told on our first night it would all be sorted, but in the morning still no toilet flush or hot water we werent happy and anyone that knows Sophie or a Peakman you dont want things lingering in that trap for too long! So we hoped by the time we got home from the trip the water would be ok, but no, and we were literally told to vacate the hotel and go look for another one. Not what we wanted to do after a long day out. I have never packed a bag so much, not even when I was in the military.
So we eventually found somwhere, our plan was always to stay 3 nights in the Cameron Highlands but when the new hotel said the first night would be 65RM £12 and then our second night 125RM almost double we said we sod it, why not leave a day early and get to that beautilful thai island and start soaking up the sun earlier than we planned.
So Malaysia has been a short sharp and an unexpected trip but one we are very glad we have done. The food has been amazing and the politeness and road manners of the people here is something we had not expected but a welcome change from the rest of asia, people actually stop and let you cross the road!
So I hope you have enjoyed a welcome break from sophie, So I will say bye for now. Or until the next time.