Cameron Highlands – Central Malaysia

Leaving intoxicating and bustling Kuala Lumpur to seek serenity in the beautiful Cameron Highlands – I hear this is a gorgeous part of central Malaysia…

Getting there

The KTM train from Sentral Kuala Lumpur leaves at 13:00hrs and arrives at 15:20hrs, but our train is late.

Kuala Lumpur, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia

If you’re not staying in Ipoh and catching a connecting bus to the Cameron Highlands, then take the 11:00hrs train, so you arrive in time for the 15:00hrs connecting bus to the Highlands.

Otherwise, you have to hang around for almost 3 hours for a connecting bus, which leaves at 18:00hrs – there isn’t much in Ipoh.

Although the cost of the bus is at a tourist price, the locals take these buses and pay the same price, as I don’t think there is a cheaper option.

Tips:

  • Discover the hard way that travelling on this bus in the late afternoon on a Friday (or Saturday) is a really bad idea. This is when the night market in Brinchang is held and very popular with locals. So, expect traffic jams to add another 2 hours onto the 2-hour bus trip. Today, it takes almost 2 hours to travel the last painfully slow 5 kilometres.
  • Check out Foreign Lemonade’s Travel Packing Tips for more advice on planning your travel, transport, and packing for a trip.
Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Market mania

Sights

Loads of activities await travellers when arriving to the Cameron Highlands of which many involve food, of course.

Trekking, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Stunning canvas

Big Red Strawberry Farm

From the Brinchang main town centre…

Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Balcony art

…walk north for 10 minutes and the sign for this strawberry farm is on your left. Pass the Cactus farm before walking up the hill to your Strawberry Delight.

Pick your own strawberries but you must pick the kilo and not eat any along the way – supervisors watch. The café here serves scones, jam, cream, and tea amongst the usual fair.

The best place for scones is the café next to the Brinchang Hotel (owned by the same hotel) and very reasonable for 2 good-sized scones, real cream, jam, a pot of tea (with fresh milk), and very authentic. This café offers much better value and quality than the scones and tea at the Boh Tea Plantation. Although, if you trek or travel to this plantation, it’s lovely to sit in the café, sip plantation tea, and watch the spectacular ever-changing panorama of the plantation fields with the unfolding weather. Take a raincoat as it rains hard in the afternoon.

Boh Tea Plantation

From Brinchang, take the local bus and ask to stop at the Boh Tea sign (Vegetable Market, down from the Honey Bee farm) on the highway.

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Hidden gem

From the sign, the easy walk to the Boh Tea Plantation provides stunning scenery and well worth the 6 kilometre round-trip walk. You may even catch the Indian tea pickers in the fields – very picturesque.

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Picking tea

Have a spot of freshly brewed leaf tea and delectable cake at the Cameron Valley Tea Shop

Tea plantation, Trekking, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Tea with a view

…which offers a scenic vista of the plantation and a great vantage point for photos.

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Vivid greens

A souvenir shop also awaits as does a hallway explaining the plantation’s history.

Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Rolling tea plains

Trekking in the Highlands

Many guided treks and tourist trips are on offer in the Highlands, which bus you around in a mini buss and include lunch and sets you back a small fortune.

You can enjoy most of the treks, if not all, independently at only a cost of a local bus fare, your own water, and food.

Gunung Beremban trek

If you feel like a hike to Gunung Beremban, then from Brinchang walk through the Sam Poh (Buddhist Temple).

Stop by for some exquisite sculptures…

Sampoh Buddist Temple, Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Sampoh Buddist Temple

Before heading on your trek.

Sampoh Buddist Temple, Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Dragon urn

At the back of the temple, take the stairs leading up to a house then walk around the house until you see a goat track with a white triangle sign. Along the path, there is another sign that shows you the way. A trekker also added the time left to finish. This is where you start the trek that takes you scrambling over gnarly exposed tree roots and climbing up and down hills. This is a difficult trek.

trekking, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Trekker’s time to go – sign along the G. Berembun path

After a 2-hour hike, take a right at the T-junction, walk back around the Gold Course and into Brinchang again. This takes around 3.5 hours.

trekking, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Same trekker added times for second G. Berembun trek

Gunung Brinchang trek

An arduous trek to Gunung Brinchang starts beyond the Night Market area and JBA Quarters, with the Path 1 sign.

This path is sporadically marked so keep an eye out for markers to the top, which takes a couple of hours of hard climbing. When you arrive at the top, you pass a fenced-in transmitter tower and besides this, stairs lead up to a viewing tower.

trekking, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Signless path

If the weather is kind, expect a great view, otherwise, enjoy the clouds!

Trek back the way you came or take the tarred road, which is not so arduous. This road takes you past vegetable farms and eventually past the Boh Tea Plantation path (leading left). The round trip is about 12 kilometres.


Where to sleep

The Jasmine Hotel (No.29-32 Brinchang) has great friendly staff, clean large rooms with a private bathroom, and slow Wifi in the room. You don’t need an air-conditioner as it is chilly of an evening in the Highlands.

The Jasmine is a great location. With the added bonus of only a few minutes’ walk to the Night Markets, which serves up some of the best food yet that I have tried in Malaysia and at cheap hawker prices.

Tana Rata is where most travellers (especially backpackers) seem to stay as loads of cheap Hostels grace this town. The restaurants are a little more expensive in Tana Rata, offering much more western food than in Brinchang.

I much prefer Brinchang for its accommodation, local restaurants, and especially the night markets.


Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Roti chef – Brinchang

A local bus (around every 2 hours) runs between the two towns and beyond. Opting to use our legs everywhere or a local bus, we bypass taxis during the 7-day stay.

Taxi drivers here can get quite pushy and nasty. The word is that they rip tourists off severely – no surprise.


Where to eat

Food glorious food!

There’s a plethora of inexpensive restaurants just outside the Jasmine Hotel.

For breakfast, venture to the Indian restaurant (next door to Jasmine’s), which serves amazing Roti Canai Telur (Indian flatbread cooked with egg and onion) and wash that down with a cup of strong black brewed coffee. Think this is the cheapest find anywhere in Malaysia.

night markets, Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Wok-up special

If breakfast is anything to go by then dinner at this bustling restaurant bursting with locals is sure to be luscious and inexpensive served by friendly staff. The golden rule when choosing somewhere to eat is if locals are in the restaurant, then this will be a great dining experience.

Steamboat dish

Brinchang is famous for its wonderful Steamboat dish and prices vary greatly.

You must try this deliciously fresh dish, which is a pot served up with a spicy (or non-spicy) stock on a gas cooker in the middle of your table. Around 3 plates full of greens, noodles, seafood, chicken, and more, are laid out and accompanied with small dishes of sauces and spices.

Throughout this dining extravaganza, you place in the boiling stock whatever you wish to eat next. Cook this for a few minutes and continue to graze perpetually and as long as it takes to finish all the dishes. Typically, this takes a couple of hours or more…

The Wy Att restaurant just up from the Jasmine Hotel is reasonable and the quality is excellent for a steamboat.

Night Markets

You must try the Brinchang market just up from the Jasmine Hotel, which is held each Friday and Saturday night from 18:00-22:00hrs.

night markets, Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Brinchang Night Market

Very popular with locals, the deliciousness that is cooked in front of you at the cheapest of prices, makes your mouth water and arrests all your senses at once.

night markets, Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Scrumptious Murtabak

You can’t but help want to try everything. Scrumptious chicken-stuffed Murtabak, many types of Mee Goreng, Nasi Goreng, Malay muffins – more like heavenly delicate crepes with crushed nuts and a dab of creamed corn – roasted chestnuts, fresh strawberries, massive apples, and a selection of fresh produce – divine!

Loads of clothes and trinkets are also on sale.

night markets, Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Waiting for the hoards

Stay here long enough and your waistline rapidly expands – just like mine is already!

night markets, Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Enticing crepes

Fresh strawberry juice is the specialty of the Cameron Highlands as of course, strawberries are grown in this region. Most restaurants serve delightful fresh and wholesome strawberry juice.

night markets, Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Nasi Goreng

You will gorge yourself in the Highlands for ridiculously cheap prices…


Leaving the Cameron Highlands

Very sad to leave Brinchang as this town is proving to be a favourite so far, for its serenity but especially the wonderful food.

Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Takeaway lunch

Need to press on with Taman Negara next for a spot of jungle trekking…

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more images. More blogs on Malaysia at Image Earth Travel.

Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, SE Asia
Contemplation

34 thoughts on “Cameron Highlands – Central Malaysia

Add yours

  1. Ahh, I’m hungry … from the moment I’ve read about the strawberries until the end where you’ve described all of that amazing food (those Murtabak looks really nice) 😋.
    The views of the Boh Tea Plantation is beautiful and so are your photo of the little girl at the end of your post 💌.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, all is well here in The Land of Oz.
      I love Penang also and have a post coming out later. Spent almost a couple of months in Malaysia in 2014, but I had visited the country in 1985, then 2004 – what changes!
      How are you?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. From 1985 to 2014. 30 years. It must have changed a lot. We stayed in Georgetown in a renovated Chinese shophouse owned and reahabed by the family who own the Blue Mansion. We also had dinner with a Peranakan friend at the Marina. Clearly many of the buildings there were not 30 years old.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Whoops, meant 198 (then 2004) and 2014, still decades apart and loads of changes. The major change I saw was the natural jungle and rainforests replaced by hours and hours of palm oil plantations – tragic – it’s not even healthy for humans.
      Passed through Georgetown a few times en-route to Penang. Sounds as though you had a great time, regardless of the architecture. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    4. We did. We lived in the old town of Georgetown. Old shophouses restored one after the other. A lot of good work is put in to preserve tradition. I feel like I could stay a while in Georgetown.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. We’re as good as can be than you. Waiting for our 2nd shot. In the hope to get some mobility back. Still dreaming we can fly to Paris in July. Though right now I would say it’s a 50/50 chance. Europe is not handling the thing well. We’ll see. You must be itching to travel again I suppose?

      Liked by 1 person

    6. Good to hear and hope that the 2nd shot goes smoothy without any adverse reactions.
      Now that would be great – think you mentioned you booked for Paris this July. Australians are still not able to travel overseas, only for compassionate grounds. On returning, we still need to self-isolate for 14 days at an exorbitant cost! The government is forcing Australians to remain here and spend their money here…
      Definitely itching but don’t want to go anywhere until the vaccine.

      Liked by 1 person

    7. Some seem to have reactions. daughter #1 the MD, felt a bit down for a day. No big deal. It’s just lottery.
      I can see what your gvt is doing.
      And no, not w/o vaccine. Even so, it will depend on the situation in France just a few days before we leave. I can read the charts. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    8. No. I’m reading an old Sci-Fi book by Jack Vance. In French. I did read a few ago, a fun book by Chesterton: “The man who knew too much”. (No relationship whatsoever with the Hitchcock film with Jimmy Stewart). Book was written in the 30’s. Delightfully British. I could smell Earl Grey Darjeeling tea wafting through the pages. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    9. Sounds like a great descriptive book!
      Started reading “Wolf of Wessex” by Matthew Harffy a couple of nights ago and it’s got me hooked already. Was reading “Red Rabbit” by Tom Clancy but found it hard to get into so kept getting side-tracked, as you do… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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