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Hotels in Cameron Highlands

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Exploring Cameron Highlands

Known as the ‘Camerons’ since Malaysia’s British colonial days and set in the lush, tea-growing region of the Titiwangsa Mountains, this string of small, hill- station settlements is divided into three districts. By far the largest is Ulu Telom, set in stunning natural beauty, along with neighbouring Ringlet and Tanah Rata. Reminders of its colonial past in the form of mock-Tudor heritage homes, former missionary posts, pretty townships and extensive tea plantations are here, and life is still lived at a slower pace.

The Cameron Highlands’ ecosystem is unique in Malaysia and supports many hundreds of rare floral species. Nature-lovers will love exploring rivers, waterfalls, ancient forests and jungles, and the region’s ethnic villagers still live as they always have. More a retreat destination than a full-on tourist hub, the Highlands offer accommodation from budget through mid-range to luxury resorts and spas set in heritage mansions or modern properties. A touch of stylish English ‘county’ life is offered by the Heritage Hotel and the Smokehouse Hotel, and the Cameron Highlands Resort offers restorative tea-based spa treatments.

Sights nearby

Natural beauty and colonial architecture are the highlights, but the must-see is the world’s largest flower, Rafflesia, made famous in Malaysian tourism adverts. The hills are perfect for hiking, trekking and walking, with trails varying in difficulty to suit all levels of activity.

Rafflesia Tour
The only way to see this monstrous bloom is by a guided tour as it’s set deep in the rainforest, but it’s well worth the effort. The endangered plant itself is parasitic with no roots, leaves or stem, and has a very distinct smell said to resemble decaying flesh. A feature of this tour is a visit to an ethnic, hill-tribe village.

Palas Plantation and Boh Tea Centre
Breathtaking views across the rolling hills and a tour of a working tea plantation gives a glimpse into the history of colonial development in Malaysia, as tea wasn’t grown here before the British arrived. The scenic drive up to the plantation may not be for the nervous passenger or driver, but the unique beauty of the forested hills is worth the trip.

Rose Valley
The three estates here, the Rose Centre, the Valley estate and Robinson Rose Garden are all dedicated to the art of rose growing. The climate and soil are perfect for roses and, even if you’re hopeless at gardening, you’ll be amazed at the variety and beauty of the blooms.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

The Cameron Highlands offer a great choice of Western, Chinese, Indian and Malay restaurants in all the towns. The all-time favourite, the ‘steampot’ is a bowl of rich, bubbling soup in which diners cook meat and vegetables to taste. Tanah Rata, the region’s largest town, has the best choice, and Brinchang has night and day markets with street stalls serving typical, authentic Malaysian dishes. The fruit grown in the Highlands’ agricultural areas is delicious, especially the strawberries, and is used in a variety of desserts. High-end dining is found in the luxury hotels, and is a mix of Malay, Western and fusion dishes. Tanah Rata has just one pub, and what nightlife exists centres on expat bars and the larger hotels. ‘Shop local’ is the motto here, with the local markets the best for souvenirs, organic local produce and honey.

Public transport

Roads here are generally good, if narrow, and buses run hourly from Tanah Rata to most attractions. Taxis are available, and vans can be chartered for group travel. For trips off the beaten track, a hired 4WD car or a guided tour are the best options.

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