The Cameron Highlands adventure started with a 6am departure from Penang via Minivan. Two hours of highway followed by two hours climbing twisting roads. The scenery was breathtaking! Luscious green mountains and hill sides covered in tea plantations with rising morning mist and waterfalls cascading near the road. I found the journey adventurous but Lil was nauseous.
We had reached our destination and felt the cooler air straight away, I started wishing I'd kept a coat with me. The minivan tried to off load people at numerous guest houses, but all were full. Twin pines guest house next and Lil jumped out before anyone else to see if they had rooms. For 30RM (£6) we had lovely Hot showers, comfy beds (though the pillows smelt of cheese), on site cafe, internet, TV room and a lovely garden with some exotic insect eating vampire plants.
We had noticed that everyone here was prepared for trekking, they were all wearing zip off cargo trousers, walking boots, waterproof jackets, scarves and gloves. We looked a bit out of place in our Tiger beer vest tops, shorts and flip flops. We had a look at the activities and excursions available for the area and booked onto a trek for the next day. We went for a walk around the small town and Lil bought a hoody which was good as her chattering teeth were starting to get on my nerves. We had a mid afternoon dinner of tandori Chicken and Naan bread. We headed back to the guest house and logged onto the internet for a bit of a catch up.
After a good night's sleep we woke up feeling refreshed. We were off on our Rainforest adventure hike to see the Rafflesia Flower. It is a huge flower and apparently it grows for 10 days and then only flowers for 7 days, and it is seasonal so it's good were here at the right time of the year. The minivan arrived and we piled in. Our hiking team for the day were I, Lil, Hannah and Yosef from the UK and Tess from Holland. Within one hour we were at the Orang Asli village where we saw the Blowpipe hunting demonstration. We all had a go and did quite well, don't stand in the way of Lil when she's behind one of these though as you don't know where it's going to go.
We began our trek to the flower which was to take about two and a half hours total. We finally reached the flower after two hours then had two hours walk back, something about walking time had got lost in translation. The highlands have unpredictable weather, it can be wet and cold or wet and hot, but on good days it can get dry and hot. On this day it was dry and warm, but wet under foot from the rain the night before. We had equipped ourselves for wet weather so the long sleeves and trousers were soon rolled up. The first hour of the trek was up a dirt track, then into the jungle. At the end of the dirt track were four 4x4's parked up, why didn't we come this far in a 4x4?! After crossing rivers and streams on rickety old bridges, ducking under fallen bamboo, and passing the lazy (lucky) b*****s who took the 4x4's, we made it to the flower! 'Is that it? We came all this way and sweated for a flower that looks like it's made out of red tofu' I thought to myself. Smiling through clenched teeth "oh wow look at it" I said, whilst Lil just blurted out "it's friggin ugly aint it!".
The walk was a workout but it allowed all of us to get to know each another better. Hannah was still finishing university, Yosef is a pharmacist, and Tess was a cocktail waitress in an exclusive bar for the celebrities of Holland. "I work in a Factory and Lil is a Bum!" we told them. We were starving so it was off to the lunch location. Curry! Just what we wanted when we were already sweaty. It didn't last very long though, it was lush!
Next was the Sunghai Palas BOH Tea Estate. When we got there we all seemed to come down with bad headaches, we put it down to the altitude. BOH is a Scottish family run multi million pound business exporting tea all over the world. It was interesting to see the process of tea making but we were more interested in drinking it and eating some cake! We all sat in the cafe that overlooked the BOH Tea plantations, it was a lovely rest while sipping a brew! We had green tea with Jasmine which was delicious, and so was the strawberry cake.
Next stop was the Butterfly and insect Farm. They had all sorts of bug's and creepy crawlies, snakes, spiders, lizards and some pretty butterflies for the ladies on the trip. Lil held a massive dung beetle and I held a lizard.
Our last stop off was well deserved, The Strawberry farm! We scoffed ice cream and Strawberries until we were ready to pop. We squeezed ourselves back into the minivan and got dropped back at twin pines. That night we all got food from the market together and ate it in the Garden of our guest house. After dinner we all played s***head which is a card game played a lot by travellers. We all exchanged emails and went off to our rooms.
Saturday we slept in, rested our aching bones and filled our faces. In the evening we were taught how to play wist by Yosef and Hannah. Sunday we have the bus booked to Kula Lumpur.