Tuesday, August 15, 2017

[Malaysia 2017] How I Spent 3 Days 2 Night In Cameron Highlands

Photo By: Elin Chow

Early last month, my husband planned a family weekend getaway to Cameron Highlands. Located about 1,500 metres above sea level, Cameron Highlands is home to a plethora of agricultural farms and tea plantations. Due to its high elevation, Cameron Highlands enjoy a cool climate all year round.

Cameron Highlands is a popular getaway destination in Malaysia, located just a relaxing 4 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. We took the Simpang Pulai route rather than the Tapah route because it is wider, less steep and less winding. Driving uphill turns out to be a much more pleasant journey than we actually expected.

Bharat Cameron Valley Tea Plantation

After a 4 hours drive, we stopped by the Bharat Cameron Valley Tea Plantation for a short toilet break.

The Bharat Cameron Valley Tea Plantation is located along side the main road in Kuala Terta, a village township nestled between Tringkap and Kampung Raja. It is the first tea plantation you will see, whether you are travelling to Cameron Highlands via the Tapah or Simpang Pulai route.

The Bharat Cameron Valley Tea Plantation is the second largest tea producer in Cameron Highlands (the largest is BOH Tea). Their trademark brand is the Cameron Valley Tea. There is a cafe and a souvenir shop where you can purchase tea-related products.

Aranda Nova Highlands Resort and Residence
Official Website: Aranda Nova Highlands Resort and Residence

We checked in a 2-bedroom studio suite at Aranda Nova Highlands Resort and Residence, which is located within walking distance to Butterfly Garden and Kea Farm. The resort offers a wide variety of room types to suit different needs, ranging from 1-bedroom suite to 3-bedroom executive suite.

Nova Highlands sits atop Cameron Square, the only shopping mall in Cameron Highlands. The 3 storey shopping arcade is a popular tourist attraction, offering various dining and entertainment options. There is a double storey car parking within the complex, providing ample of parking spaces for all guests.

Our 2-bedroom studio suite is spacious, fitted with wooden parquet flooring, featuring a living room, 2 bed rooms, a kitchenette, attached bathroom and a balcony that overlooks the main road and a cabbage field.

The living room comes with a 4 seater sofa, coffee table, a TV with satellite channels and a fan. Free WiFi is provided but connection was very poor and slow. There was no air-conditioning in the suite as the natural air is more than enough to keep you cool. In fact, there was no need for us to on the fan at all.

The suite comes with two bedrooms, and both are fitted with king/queen sized beds with large built in wardrobe offering plenty of storage space. The beds were comfortable and had really nice beddings. We enjoyed really good night sleep throughout our stay.

The kitchenette is equipped with a mini fridge, microwave, water boiler and basic utensils. Complimentary bottles of mineral water are provided in the room as well.

Basic toiletries such as disposable toothbrush and toothpaste, soap and shampoo are provided in the bathroom.

However, the suite was very dusty due to construction works the residence. It was so dusty and we were constantly sneezing throughout our stay. Service is almost non-existent and well below expectations at the residence.

With time to kill in Cameron Highlands, we decided to take a nap. The cool climate made us pleasantly feel sleepy.

Steamboat Dinner @ Cameron Organic Steamboat Restaurant

As the temperature drops at night, a nice steamboat dinner warm you up. After a nice nap, we decided to visit Cameron Organic Steamboat Restaurant for dinner.

Cameron Organic Steamboat is a steamboat restaurant in Brinchang, opposite the entrance of Rosa Passadena Hotel. The restaurant serves purely organic vegetables right from their own organic farm.

The restaurant uses traditional charcoal stove instead of gas stove or induction cooker. Charcoal stove (steamboat pot with a chimney in the middle) is believed to be a healthier way to cook the vegetables and meat. 

Minimum order is 2 pax, with the choice of pork, chicken or seafood set. We ordered a set of each for 3 pax. Our order was served promptly and the ingredients were very fresh. Serving size was decent, with lots of vegetables .

However, the taste of broth was not particularly spectacular. The broth is a little bland and does not taste salty. It is prepared without MSG in order to emphasize the freshness of the ingredients. I would not recommend this restaurant to anyone who loves rich and thick broth.

Brinchang Night Market

After dinner, we decided to visit the Brinchang Night Market to grab some snacks.

Brinchang Night Market is a popular shopping attraction in Brinchang town. It is affectionately known by the locals as .'Pasar Malam". Normally, the night market only operates on Friday and Saturday, from early evening till midnight. It will operate everyday during school holidays.

The night market is located beside Star Regency Apartment Hotel, along both sides of the main road. Parking is a little to find in this area, which often causing traffic congestion. However, with a little patience, you should be able to find a space to park you car eventually.

The night market is lined with numerous stalls selling native produce of Cameron Highlands such and fresh fruits and vegetables, bottles of honey, potted plants and souvenirs.

Opposite side, you will find rows and rows of stalls selling a great variety of local street food. Some of the common street food that you find at the night market includes: fried seafood in batter, steamed sweet potatoes and corns, strawberry dipped chocolate, Apam Balik, fried sweet potato balls and BBQ meat.

I never really like the night markets in the Malaysia because they are often crowded, hot and stuffy, but I actually like this one. The cool weather makes the night market pleasant to stroll through. It was nice to stroll through the bustling market, taste delicious street food and buy some souvenirs for family and friends If you want to experience the true local culture, the Brinchang Night Market is just the place to go.

We went a little crazy and bought a lot of strawberries at the night market. Generally, I found the produce sold here much more cheaper than many other markets in Cameron Highlands. 

BBQ Lamb & Deer Chop
Fried Prawns in Batter
We also bought BBQ Lamb and Deer chops and Fried Prawns from the night market and brought them back to our hotel to enjoy. The rest of our night was spent eating and watching TV in our suite room. 

May Flower Restaurant

The next morning, we visited the May Flower Restaurant, a chinese restaurant located in Tanah Rata for lunch.

The restaurant is frequented by local Malaysians, so you will see very few tourists eating here. During lunch and dinner time, the restaurant is usually packed with people. 

Fried Tofu
Venison with Ginger & Spring Onions
Steamed Fish
Stir-Fry Water Cress
Steamed Herbal Chicken
We ordered 5 main dishes for 4 persons. All the dishes were very delicious. Prices were very affordable and reasonable, but serving size was a little small.  We especially love the stir-fry water cress and Venison so much that we ordered the same dishes the next day when we visited the restaurant again for lunch.

Big Red Strawberry Farm 
A trip to Cameron Highlands is never complete without visiting a strawberry farm. The cool climate in Cameron Highlands makes it suitable for cultivating strawberries all year round. There are plenty of strawberry farms in Cameron highlands, but we have chosen to visit the Big Red Strawberry Farm (also known as Taman Agro Tourism), which is located on a steep hill slope overlooking Brinchang Town, right beside Cactus Valley. 

Opens from 8.30 am to 6.00 pm, the Big Red Strawberry Farm is one of largest strawberry farm and most popular tourist attraction in Cameron Highlands.  Admission is free and there are ample of parking lots available to visitors. However, the entrance to the farm is very narrow and the road leading up and down the hill is very steep. Please be careful if you drive.

The farm houses a cafe and souvenir shop within the complex. The cafe offers a selection of strawberry-based pastries, waffles, ice cream and drinks. 

The farm was very clean, well-maintained and easy to navigate. Walking down a paved path, you will find rows of lettuces on the right and strawberries on the left.

Both the lettuces and strawberries are hydroponically grown. There was a small counter where you can buy fresh lettuce directly from the farm and bring them home.

Other than that, the Big Red Strawberry Farm also offers strawberry picking by weight. You can pick your own fresh strawberries from their farm and take them home. It costs RM 25 for half a kilogram per person. It was not cheap, but the strawberries were very fresh. There are fresh strawberries sold at the counter daily as well. It is cheaper to buy strawberries from the farm or any markets in Cameron Highlands than picking them right from the farm.

My mother-in-law and I have never try strawberry picking before, so we decided to try it out this time. After paying a RM 50 deposit, the staff provided us with 2 pairs scissors and a basket.

All the strawberries are planted in pots using hydroponic method. To pick the strawberry, you have to cut the stems with the scissor provided. Remember to leave the stems on to ensure the maximum shelf life of the berries. Also, please be careful not to damage the plants when you are picking the strawberries.

We picked exactly half a kilogram of strawberries., which costs RM 25. All picked strawberries will be weighed at the counter and the deposit will be refunded to you accordingly.

Other than that, the farm also offers an extensive range of potted plants for sale.

Boh Tea Plantation (Sungai Palas Tea Garden)

Leaving Big Red Strawberry Farm, we drove to our next stop - the Boh Tea Plantation. I have visited the plantation 3 years ago, but I did not get to visit the Sungai Palas Tea Garden at that time. So I am determined to visit this place this time round. The Boh Tea Plantation is certainly one of the main tourist attraction in Cameron Highlands.

The entrance to the plantation is nothing spectacular. The road leading to the plantation is very narrow and winding, allowing only one car to pass at a time. Occasionally, you would need to stop to let the cars on the opposite side pass through first. At some corner, you would need to honk to let oncoming traffic know there is a car coming.

After a series of sharp turns, a magnificent panoramic of vast green fields greeted us. With 8000 acres of land planted with tea, the BOH Tea Plantation is the largest tea plantation in Southeast Asia. Putting the narrow road aside, the view of green rolling hills and neat regular rows of tea plants is truly breathtaking. There were many moments when we want to stop the car and take plenty of photos of the beautiful sights that surround me. But we could not because the road is too narrow.

Along the way, you will be able to see workers plucking fresh tea leaves by hands. At the end of the road, you will reach the Sungai Palas Tea Garden.

Admission is free and there is a free open car park with ample of parking lots, surrounded by rolling green hills.

The Sungai Palas Tea Garden is a modern and sleek building perched on a small hill, and can be accessed by a flight of wooden stairs. It is not a difficult or tedious climb, but people with mobility problems might find the climb challenging and impossible.

Opens from 9.00 am to 4.30 pm daily, the Sungai Palas Tea Garden consists of a cafe, a gift shop, a gallery and a Tea Factory. Please note that the Tea Garden will be closed on Monday.

Featuring ceiling to floor windows, the cafe offers a panoramic view of the lush green tea plantations. It is very popular among visitors, and can be very packed during weekends and public holidays. The cafe offers a selection of pastry cakes and teas. You can enjoy the cool air and picturesque view with a cup of tea and some cakes.

Scones with butter, strawberry jam and whipped cream

The cafe is famous for their scones. So we ordered two to try. But unfortunately, the scones were a little disappointing. They were dry and tasteless, even with butter and whipped cream. Prices were not cheap.

Sardine roll

Chocolate Cheese Cake

Other than that, we also ordered a Sardine Roll, Chocolate Cheese Cake and tea to try. The taste of the pastry cakes were pretty average, nothing impressive. Overall, I feel that the cafe is a little overpriced. But it provides a very nice environment to relax in, even though it was packed with people. 

At the back of the cafe, there is a small verandah where you enjoy a panoramic view of the tea fields and mountain fresh air. The verandah is packed with dozen of picture crazy visitors, thus it can be difficult to take a nice picture . Everyone around us is fighting for the best spot to take the best selfies with the lush tea fields. 

Next to the cafe, you will find a gift shop where you can purchase varieties of tea to bring back home, and a gallery where you can read more about the history of BOH Tea. 

We probably spent an hour eating at the cafe, enjoying the cool mountain air and a great view of the tea fields below. The BOH Tea Plantation is certainly my most favorite place to visit in Cameron Highlands. It was so beautiful and relaxing. Definitely a must see!

Kea Farm Market
Kea Farm Market is one of the most popular and biggest fruit and vegetable market in Cameron Highlands, located along the main road between Tringkap and Brinchang, near to Copthorne Hotel and Nova Highlands Resort. The market is filled with plenty of stalls selling locally made and grown vegetables, fruits, flowers, potted plants and honey. 

Parking space are scarce in this area. As a result, many visitors usually park their cars by the roadside, often causing traffic jam along the main road. For those who drive, you might have to park your car further away and walk to the market.

Cactus Point

Leaving BOH Tea Plantation, we drove on to Cactus Point. Admission is free with plenty of parking spaces available.

Cactus Point offers a large variety of potted plants and cactus for sale. You will be able to find popular flowers such as orchids, ferns, pitcher plants, as well as exotic ones like venus fly trap. The cactus comes in various shapes, sizes and colors - sure to delight all cactus fans.

Water Cress Valley

Leaving Cactus Point, we headed to Water Cress Valley for dinner. 

There are many strawberry and vegetable farms in Cameron Highlands. But water cress farm? I believe the Water Cress Valley is the only water cress farm you will find in Cameron Highlands.

All the water cress here are hydroponically grown using the water that flows from the mountain range. 

Admission to the farm is free of charge if you are having a meal at their restaurant. Otherwise, the admission fee is RM 1, which is also cheap.

Perched on top of a hill, the restaurant overlooks the water cress farm and surrounding hill. The restaurant offers charcoal steamboat with a herbal soup base and an array of water cress dishes. For those who are having steamboat, you will get to choose vegetarian or non-vegetarian set. 

We chose non-vegetarian set for 2 pax. Serving size was generous with a lot of vegetables (especially water cress). The vegetables were very fresh and sweet. However, there was nothing special about the broth. Just like the steamboat we had at Cameron Organic Steamboat Restaurant, the broth was very clear and light. Price was a little on the expensive side, but still worth every penny. 

Lunch @ May Flower Restaurant

The next morning, we visited the May Flower Restaurant again for lunch because the food were really good. 

Fish Fillet with Ginger & Spring Onion 

Stir Fried Black Pepper Venison 

Sweet Sour Pork

Stir-Fried Water Cress

We ordered 4 main dishes and again, it did not disappoint. The food were really delicious. I would really recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting Cameron Highlands.

After lunch, we departed for home via the Tapah route. As expected, the Tapah route is really winding and narrow. At some corner, you would need to honk to let oncoming car know there is a car coming.

If you are taking the Tapah route, you will find little shacks dotted the roadside where Orang Asli (indigenous community) sell bottles of honey, fruits and Patai beans (or smelly beans). We randomly stopped at one of the shack along the way to buy some Petai beans.

The Petai trees grows wild in the forest and has become a source of income for Orang Asli. Prices were not cheap.

Cameron Highlands is great place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and seek respite from the heat in Kuala Lumpur. There are much to see and do in Cameron Highlands. Even if you do not want to do anything touristy, the cool climate itself is rewarding enough.

Be sure to follow me on my Facebook or Twitter to get the latest updates on my travel adventures! Also, do not forget to share my blog posts with your family and friends if you find them helpful. In the meantime, you might also want to check My Wanderlust page for some of my other travel adventures.


  1. Hello i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting
    anywhere, when i read this piece of writing i thought i could also make
    comment due to this good paragraph.

  2. Hello Elin, I have compile a list of homestay cameron highlands.

    Hope that it will help others who read your blog and planning to visit cameron highlands.