After leaving Kuala Lumpur on our express bus with a driver on his cell phone that stopped every so often to drop off or pick up random people and pass vehicles like he was in a car, we arrived in the tea-producing mecca of Cameron Highlands. There are many options for accommodation, most of which didn’t look very good, but thanks to Simone’s research skills, we found a quiet, clean guest house called Arundina with a friendly staff that was just a couple of blocks off of the main street. We went to Cameron Highlands for the tea, but first we had to eat, big shock. We had heard that the area was known for its “steamboats” (or Hot Pot), which is a metal pot placed on a burner in the middle of the table with a simmering soup stock in it that you add ingredients such as vegetables, noodles and meats to as you like. We got a half and half pot at the Mayflower Restaurant so that Simone could have her veggies and Jason could have his meat. It was a great new food experience and was an absolute ton of food that could have fed four people and only cost a little over $7 usd. The owner had been there for the past twenty-six years and was in the retiring but still monitoring stage after passing the business on to his sons. If you are in the area, we definitely recommend this friendly place that serves up a delicious meal. There are many Indian restaurants around town as well and we enjoyed a few meals from them too, like tandoori chicken with naan bread that was cooked in a clay oven over an open wood fired flame.
Cameron Highlands is known for producing tea, so we headed out on a tour with our wonderful guide Apu from Eco Cameron in a Land Rover up into the hills. We started off our tour by going to the Boh tea plantation and learning about the tea leaves, harvesting process and even getting to see some harvesting being done. We had a great group of people in our tour and even ended up having dinner with one of them later that night when we ran into each other.
Then we went up to the summit of Gunung Brinchang, one of the highest peaks in the area where we climbed up an observation tower and took in the scenery of the valley below. It was pretty hazy, but we still got a decent view of the tea and strawberry fields that line the valley. Gunung Brinchang is also known for its lush mossy forest that is home to a number of different floral species and beautiful moss-covered trees and roots, so we went on a small walk through the “Mossy Forest” to learn about some of these.
Before heading back to town, we had one last stop at the Boh tea factory where we learned a bit about the company’s history before buying some refreshing iced tea and enjoying the scenery. Our guide Apu was a wonderful guide that was very passionate about nature, has a wonderful sense of humor and whose life dream is to travel. So to him and anyone else out there that dreams of travel, we say do it, make it happen and Live The Dream.
We’re not sure what Tea’rea is, but we think you get it from drinking too much tea.