Oct 6-11th, 2009
Cameron Highlands. My favorite place thus far. Tea plantations, flower and strawberry farms blanket this area. Their economy is based on flower exports, tourism and tea exports. It's a cool area...no sweating continuously...which was nice. It has a peaceful vibe...very easy going...take a load off and have a cup of tea vibe.
I stayed at this great place called Father's Guest House. It looked like an old colonial home on a hill. Down from the hill they had old English War Barraks...it was so cool. That's were I stayed...in the barracks...nice and cheap. The gardens and landscaping were beautiful and well kept. The staff were warm and welcoming. I stayed there quiet a while...and I had a really hard time leaving.
We did a full day tour...best so far. We were up bright and early and climbed into 4x4 landrovers...and off we were. We did some off roading...I was afraid for my life. I was certain that we would roll...but we didn't. We got stuck in mud...and even had to all pile out at one point to get the truck out. We then trekked 1 1/2 hours to get to our goal, the Rafflessia flower. The 3rd largest flower species. It's parasitic. It takes 2-3 years to mature and then only flowers for about 7 days. It looks fake...like a plastic flower and sticks out in the jungle when you see it. It was so worth the trek. Afterwards, we hit up a waterfall and then went to a very small village containing a small settlement of the Orang Asli. A blowpipe demonstration took place and we wandered around the area. I felt out of place. We then left and had some grub and then went to the BOH tea plantation...a beautiful estate. The trees cover the rolling hills creating a maze of paths. We then ended the day trekking through the mossy forest high up in the hills. A protected area. It was spooky and the ground was soft. Francis, our guide, was amazing. He filled our minds with so much information...I really shoulda been taking notes...and you could tell that he was passionate about the environment. It was a fabulous...exhausting day.
I did another tour...half day...visting various other places in the Highlands. The strawberry farm was interesting. They do not grow their strawberries on the ground. They are placed in coconut tuff filled bags on top of wooden planks. Perfect. No need to bend over...less back injuries. There are less issues with insects and disease...and if so, they are quickly dignosed. It was interesting to see. We also checked out a bug sancuary containing local bug species...scary. For some reason I was holding a prying mantis. Let's just say I was taking a pic and then it climbed onto my camera and I freaked out. We hit up a honey farm and a veggie market. The tour was OK...but nothing could beat the one from the day before.
I did a couple of trekks...including one that resulted in me being covered in mud:) and I spent time reading and relaxing in the gardens...I had a good life in the Highlands:)