I first heard of the Cameron Highlands in the back of a rather dodgy truck whilst David and I were travelling from Chiang Mai to Pai in Northern Thailand. We had been travelling Asia for about 3 months and had a rough plan for the next 3, and well, the Cameron Highlands weren't in it.
But as luck would have it, I started chatting to a fellow traveller in the back of this truck. We exchanged all the normal questions, "where have you been?" and "where are you going?", "how long have you been travelling for" and "where are you from" etc. This guy (who's name I never actually found out) was travelling north from Malaysia, he had just spent a week hiking through the Cameron Highlands.
"Are you going to the Cameron Highlands?" He asked me.
"No" I replied "I've never heard of it to be honest, but we won't be making it to Malaysia on this trip"
He smiled "Do you want me to show you a photograph which will completely change that?"
"Go for it" I answered, fairly certain that I would be sticking to my original plan regardless of whatever photograph he showed me, but I was happy to entertain the idea.
He pulled his laptop out of his backpack and powered it up.
Then he turned the screen to face me.
5 days later David and I travelled for over 35 hours straight in the direction of Malaysia.
I mean, would you just look at that?!
Have you ever seen a landscape like it?! I certainly hadn't.
As soon as we seen that photograph on the laptop we knew we had to go here. It just looked so.. unreal. It was everything he had described and more. It was lusciously green and vibrant, the hills did have a unique print unlike anything I had ever seen. But there was so much more. There was hidden tracks which took you past cascading waterfalls and through jungles. It is an absolute hikers paradise, with dozens of trails leading to the most picturesque viewpoints. You will be in awe as you wander through the tea plantations and beautiful landscapes of this region. Coming to Malaysia opened a whole new realm of Asia to me. And Malaysian food, WOW! Laksa and Roti and Mee Goreng.. where had all these dishes been all my life?!
It was also here we decided to climb Mount Kinabalu in Borneo, so the Cameron Highlands was the perfect practice ground, and it's really here that my love of hiking began to grow. Although gruelling at times, this area ensures that the view at the top is always worth it.
We stayed in Tanah Rata, which is a little town made up of guesthouses and restaurants. Getting to and from the hiking trails is easy enough as hitch hiking is really popular in Malaysia, and Malaysians are super friendly! We hitch hiked on a few occasions and were always picked up within about 5 minutes, and even when we weren't looking for a ride, cars would stop and ask if we wanted a lift to where we were going!
Whilst in this area of Malaysia you can also visit the strawberry farms and visit the various tea plantations. We managed to find the prettiest little tea shop in the middle of the hills which sold Scottish shortbread which went wonderfully well with a cup of strawberry tea!
So, to the guy in the back of truck who's name I never got to know.
Thank you for showing me the Cameron Highlands and enabling me to discover the wonderful country of Malaysia.
Vietnam: The Ultimate One Month Itinerary.
Thailand: How to visit the Land of Smiles on a budget.
My Big Confession: Feeling disappointed in Maya Bay.