To sum up the Cameron Highlands up in 3 words it would have to be; cool, green, English. The minute we pulled up into the Cameron Higlands area it was like a breath of fresh air litterally. 0% humidity as we were 1,500 feet above sea level so we were in our element and up for a non-sweaty adventure. 1st stop as ever was to find a hostel, the cheapest we found was for 20RM a night for the 2 of us (4pound) an attic room with a window and only a matress could fit into the tiny, slopping ceiling, midget room, (check out the pictures). The area was a built up town much like any town in Malaysia; resturants, tacky junk shops and the like. However is was the countryside with it's rolling hills and it's replica tudor buildings that gives the Cameron Highlands it's charm and a place on the tourist map. The CH (Cameron Highlands) are known for it's tea, that is why it has an English ora about it. So we went to find a motorcycle rental so we could scope out the area.
Daniel who had never ridden a motorcycle before looked like a young boy at christmas. I could not shake the grin from his face all day! One supervised test drive around the block and we were off on the road again 'Top Gear' style. Elated finally that we had our own means of transport, we didn't have to wait for a bus or pay a taxi, just us and the road. It was the typical cliche image, Daniel: the handsome man riding up front and me, the damsel with flowing golden hair in the rush of wind! It was such a nice feeling, the sky was blue, we were so happy and hardly no traffic to be seen as we winded our way through the country hills of the Cameron Highlands.
Fist stop on our retro motobike was the local tea plantation/factory called, 'BOH'. as we were winding up to the shop and museum we saw thousands of what looked like very well trimmed hedges, little did we know that this was not part of the entrance garden to the shop it was the TEA! These lush green hedges were fresh tea leaves being picked by the local people. We had a scone with jam and cream and of course, we both had a cup of tea. Yes Daniel drank tea without complaint, in fact he rather enjoyed it. We then had a guided tour around the tea factory where they steam the leaves, break up the leaves, seperate the stem and leaf and finally dry the tea to its black state. It was a free guided tour and a lot to take in considering there were hundreds of screaming school kids all battling each other to look through the factory windows. I never knew tea was that interesting!
After afternoon tea we headed off on our retrobike to the pokey butterfly farm that an extremely old lady was running. 5RM entry (1pound) there were lots of big black and green butterflies but that was the only dominant species in there! We saw a few smaller beautiful different types which we took photos of but some had broken wings and looks like they were sunbathing but most probably couldn't fly. After less than half hour we decided to get back on the road, Oh the joy of your own transport!
Strawberries!!!! Everybody loves a good juicy strawberry in a picnic on a summers day. Well, our next stop was a strawberry farm. What looked like a garden centre of strawberries, growing in rows upon rows. We bought 2 packets of freshly picked strawberries! It was awesome!!
Winding through the country roads once more we decided to visit the local Buddist temple. This was quite a small temple with monks and nuns roaming their home freely. We entered to the sight of grand golden statues and Buddah. The main temple was free, you could light a candle for a donation but instead we chose to buy incense sticks and lit 2 at the temple entrance. The temple was quiet with little to no tourists which was nice. We took some pictures and we even picked up a Buddhist book, 'The Way of Mindfulness,' It's all about being content and using your mind more than what we normaly do! So for a 5RM donation we took a little piece of the temple with us!
We had started to feel tired and dehydrated although it was cool in CH it was still hot weather. The sun had been beaming on us all day and we were to call it a day, but for our last stop we were visiting a Bee farm!
Well you couldn't really call it a bee farm, just one guy and his open bee hive that people could see. They also had a little shop selling honey, pollen and prawn crackers (crazy, I know)! But it was fun all the same. There wasn't a crazy amount to see but it wasn't the bee farm that made this part a visit to remember...
After only just a few hours of riding a motorbike for the first time Daniel had done really well. But the time had come for our little bit of luck to run thin. As we went to leave the bee farm we had parked our bike next to a big black 4 x 4. Upon leaving the bee farm i comment on how we would get through the gap between the metal fence and the (what looked like new) car. I told Daniel I would stay off the bike until he edged forward away from the car, but he assured me it was fine. How could I not trust Daniel who had been driving a car for 6 years and has not crashed once! So with this knowledge and trust I jumped on the back. As we slowly edged forward on the uneven gravel/concrete Daniel had lost balance, trying to not scrape past the black 4 x 4 he tried to physically pull the bike away back towards his chest. But in doing this he had turned the throttle (which was on the right handle) full force. In consequence the bike flew forward at full force and Daniel of course flew with it. Where was I? do you ask? I had slid off the back from the force that propelled Daniel forward. Over the bikes handle bars Daniel's face embedded in the floor, it was a sorry sight to be believed.
We really enjoyed the Cameron Highlands and we both agreed it was one of our favourite destinations in Malaysia.