Malaysia, February 2019
While in Malaysia, I heard many people talking about how nice Cameron highland is… But the way people talked about it, it sounded to me more like a giant strawberry farm. Truth is, it is; but not only.
On my way there, I saw what I was kinda fearing: farms everywhere and a landscape that was made bland thanks to them, I was feeling that this place was just meant to produce and sell strawberries and other types of fruits/vegetables that cannot be produced in other places in Southeast Asia. Why here and not anywhere else? Because of the microclimate that gives this specific area temperate wet weather that can be compared to the costal Atlantic climate in Europe. Most of the tourist activities are centered around the strawberries and such, which was absolutely not what I wanted to do. So I picked the tour that was avoiding those places.
The mossy forest
The first stop was the mossy forest. To get there we had to take quite a few small roads on the side of the mountains. The roads leading there are quite dangerous and not well maintained, so if you want to go there, expect it to be quite bumpy.
I was expecting something nice to watch and wander in, but the fact is, it was not at all like I expected. Starting with the downsides: The difficulty of access it by yourself, which means it is highly advisable to book a tour around 50RM) to get there because even if you have a car, you have good chances to deteriorate it. On top of that, you may only use a single wooden pathway that goes in the forest for about 2km with no option to wander off or anything; at the end of it you have a sign that forbid the entrance to the next part. So I was quite disappointed by that.
However… on the plus sides: The entry to the forest itself is free (which is always a good point). But most of all, this place is just stunningly gorgeous!
If you make abstraction of the people around you (and if you choose your time right, there shouldn’t be too many), you can definitely fell like you are in a dream. It is not like the fancy shiny beauty you can get from Buddhist temples or the stern one from cathedrals or deep cliffs; it’s a quite rare ethereal kind of beauty that is mostly due to the constant presence of a thick fog which makes the place very wet and therefore favorable to the development of mosses. The whole place feels like out of time and space and, as a matter of fact, it is also the oldest forest in Malaysia.
If you wish to go there, make sure not to throw your trash in the forest, not to leave the wooden pathway and to never touch the moss as it damages it.
Boh tea plantation
For those who don’t know, Boh is the main brand of tea in Malaysia and you can find it everywhere. I don’t like that tea much, to be honest; it is better than Lipton but it still is the low grade for people who really enjoy tea, they do have higher grade tea but I kinda still feel it’s far from what’s best.
Anyway, back to their plantation, we got a small sample on our way to the mossy forest but the place is quite nice. Endless fields of tea everywhere covering the hills of Cameron highland is quite a nice sight. We, however, got instructed not to wander too far as there might be snakes in the bushes.
We then went to the factory/museum; which mostly felt like the Guinness museum in Dublin: a temple dedicated to the glory of their brand… I really don’t like when people obliterate part of history because it doesn’t suit them… Not even one dark spot in the history they display… But if you ask locals, their behavior toward their employees was not beyond reproaches, far from it. And, as a matter of fact, we saw on our way the workers themselves… definitely not a job that you do for pleasure (or that is even well paid).
This background is quite a shame really, as the plantations are quite a nice place to see…
While you are in Cameron Highlands, try their strawberries and strawberry shakes… it really is good.