Famous for its tea plantations and strawberry farms, the Cameron Highlands is a reprieve from the hot and sweaty temperatures of the rest of Malaysia.
When we arrived for instance it was pouring down with rain and I actually put my one and only jumper on. Crazy! It was like being back in the UK.
It was a pleasant change to be honest, to spend 10 minutes outside and not to feel the need to take another shower!
Unfortunately this forest haven is suffering – deforestation is everywhere, with land being cleared at a frightening pace for agriculture.
We spent two days here, and enjoyed a six hour trek through some beautiful ancient forest. We had a guide for the six hours, who was absolutely fascinating and had so much knowledge of the ecosystem of the forest, and the politics of protecting it. He voiced his concerns about the rate of deforestation in the area, and said that he struggled to see an end to it. He actually used to be an environmental lawyer, but he lost faith in the system and actually had to the leave the country for a few years as he had too many enemies after him! That’s what happens when you speak out against back handers and corruption!
The trek was brilliant and very tough as there were many steep inclines. The forest floor literally bounced underneath you, as there was so much moisture and intertwining root systems it made for a natural trampoline!
We came across many unusual and fascinating fauna along the way, including carnivorous plants and wild orchids.
We also came across a centipede. These guys are very angry little beasts, and will give you a nasty bite and sting if you’re not careful. Usually nocturnal animals, we were very lucky to have seen this one during the day.
It was wonderful to be in the middle of nature and not hear anything remotely ‘human’ except from our own chatter.
Once we came to the outskirts of the forest we could see the Highland’s oldest tea plantation which was spread out over the rolling hills.
Since the British colonisation tea plantations have been big business here, primarily due to the cooler climate. Alot of the hard manual labour is now done by Bangladeshi immigrants, and the tea standards have dropped somewhat due to the lack of handpicking now that machines have taken over. Still, the tea produced here is still very high quality and draws in a huge crowd of tourists every year.
So, what do you do after a day learning about the most popular English drink? You go strawberry picking of course!
How very British of us!
And what do you do after sampling some lovely strawberries? You go for English tea of course!!!
This was at a beautiful house dating back from 1937, and for the hour or so we were there, we had a little taste of our motherland! Tea, smoked salmon and cucumber sandwiches, fruit cake, and of course scones with cream and jam. It was bloody lovely!