5 Attractions In Cameron Highlands For People Who Don’t Like Crowds

Once a pristine mountain retreat, Cameron Highlands is a far cry from how it used to be 20 or 30 years ago. Vast swathes of forest have been cleared to make way for hotels, farms and tourist attractions. It isn’t even cold anymore in the daytime, and god forbid you go on a weekend, what with the hordes of tourist buses unloading at the flower farms and strawberry plantations. If I wanted to push and shove among a crowd, I’d go to a mall in KL – at least those are air conditioned. 😦

Depressing points aside, there are a couple of spots in CH still worth visiting, and where you are less likely to get trampled in case of a stampede.

LATA ISKANDAR 

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If you’re travelling up from the Tapah-CH side, you can’t miss the Lata Iskandar waterfall, located just by the side of the road. Comprised of several tiers, the water cascades down into pools where one can bathe and cool down from the intense heat. Despite being a public recreational area, it’s surprisingly clean, and the waterfalls are flanked on each side with lush greenery. More seasoned hikers might want to go on the trail to see unique flora and fauna in the area. There are also some shops selling local handicrafts from the Orang Asli, jungle produce and souvenirs.

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CAMERON VALLEY TEA PLANTATION 

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CH has a couple of big tea plantations, including the Boh and Bharat plantations. Cameron Valley belongs to the latter, founded by migrants from Uttar Pradesh.

Boh is popular for their jam and scones, which is served at a picturesque little cafe overlooking the valley. As such, the place can be slightly more crowded. CV also has a lookout point, but you can opt to walk down to the plantation to take pictures, or take a buggy down to a spot where they have a bridge and a small garden. PS: Entry is RM10 per pax, which is overpriced imo.

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Sam Poh Temple at Brinchang is a Buddhist temple dating back to the 1970s and is well worth a visit if you’re into culture and architecture. While not very large, the temple has intricate decor, a grand prayer hall housing various Buddha statues, and is well maintained and upkept.

CACTUS POINT

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Perhaps it is due to its location which is a few kilometres away from Brinchang, but Cactus Point is less crowded than other nearby attractions, and the spacious layout makes it easier to navigate and browse through as well. As the name suggests, the place is dedicated to various species of cacti both large and small. In fact, we were surprised by the variety of different types they have on display, from tiny ones that could fit into the palm of one’s hand, to giant ones that tower as high as an adult. They also carry a smaller selection of garden plants and flowers, and you can even buy them to take home.

BUTTERFLY FARM

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One of CH’s oldest tourist attractions, the Butterfly Farm is home to hundreds of butterflies within its enclosed gardens. It also has enclosures for live insects, reptiles, scorpions, small mammals and an aviary. The place is in need of an upgrade, as the interiors are old and dated, but since most tourists will prefer going to shiny new attractions, it means you get the whole place all to yourself! 🙂 Despite its age, the gardens are still well maintained and you can get up close to the butterflies (they have a large collection of Rajah Brooke Butterflies) while taking a leisurely stroll and admiring the garden’s pretty blooms.

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Review: Kea Farm Homestay @ Brinchang, Cameron Highlands

N was in town recently, and the fam and I thought it’d be perfect to show him some of our local sights – so we booked a short weekend getaway to Cameron Highlands. It has been five years since my last trip, and boy oh boy has the place changed. Even back then, it was losing its charm because of the huge influx of tourists – but now it’s just super commercialised, the hills have been stripped bare to make way for development (they’ve even got a shopping mall now. Good news for locals, I guess?) and it’s BLOODY HOT IN THE DAYTIME. We talk about going up to CH for some ‘fresh air and greenery’ but it’s no different from being in KL these days. Sigh.

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It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to CH at all – you just have to plan your trip carefully. I suggest going on a weekday to avoid the insane crowds, and you’ll have a lot more time to explore the attractions comfortably. As for accommodation, there are plenty at Ringlet, Tanah Rata and Brinchang, CH’s three main towns. Staples would be Copthorne, Avilion, and if you’ve got money to splurge, one of those fancy English-style cottages – but this time around, we went for an Air BnB; and a pretty unique one at that. It doesn’t even have a proper name other than ‘A Rustic Wooden House on Hillside’ – which is exactly what it is.

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To get to the place, drive through the Kea Farm market and make your way through hilly roads until you reach a cluster of homes at the top of the hill. The rundown-looking wooden house (complete with slanting roof, lol) is situated right at the end of the road, close to the edge of the slope. Don’t be fooled by appearances – despite its deceptively small-looking exterior, the inside is extremely spacious, able to accommodate up to 10 guests at a time.

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We’ve seen pictures of the property from the website, but were still blown away by the interior (the owner, Tony, is an interior designer). Like most traditional village houses, the walls, beams and flooring are all wood, paired with modern touches such as block colour furniture and tasteful paintings. I think a lot of effort has been put into giving the place a ‘vintage’ element, from the display of old household items to the old flip-style light switches.

The living area is also extremely cosy, and the best part for me was the large selection of comics and books stuffed into shelves underneath the seats. Now all I need is a hammock and I won’t even need to go out exploring.

Oh wait, they have one of those too lol.

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The dining area at the front is equally cosy, with a long wooden table and benches to comfortably seat a large party. The glass roof provides plenty of natural light in the day, while at night, a warm glow emanates from the light bulbs, hung from the ceiling in glass jars.

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For those who wish to prep food, the place has a kitchenette with a fridge and microwave, as well as cooking and dining utensils.

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As for rooms, there are three – two on the ground floor and a ‘loft’ accessible via a ladder. The beds are equipped with mosquito netting. You’ll want to use these – I foolishly thought mozzies won’t be active in cold weather, and woke up in the middle of the night itching all over lmao.

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The back room.

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N and I immediately called dibs on the loft, coz it’s something I’ve only seen in Western films and I really wanted to experience sleeping in one. The two queen-sized mattresses up here are soft and comfortable, as are the pillows and comforters which kept us warm and snug throughout the night. There are more books up here if you want to do some bedtime reading.

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Millennials, fret not – the place has WiFi!

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As the sun sets, so does the temperature, plummeting to below 20 degrees. And what better way to warm up than with a hotpot?

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Time to unpack the ingredients we brought up from KL  – simple fare like fried fuchok, noodles, cheese balls and meat balls and pork belly. The veggies and corn we got fresh from the nearby market. Feel free to utilise the portable stove available here to make your hotpot! 🙂

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Evening view from the house.

One thing to note is that sounds carry easily here. Someone talking next door sounds like they’re talking right next to your ear, so you might want to keep it down after dark.

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Before checking out the next morning, we went for a morning walk around the vicinity – only to be greeted by a friendly, enthusiastic doggo. He sprinted up and placed his front paws on my chest, wagging his tail furiously. When I didn’t pet him (didn’t want to wash my hands again) he gave a most heart-wrenching whimper 😦 But then he perked up and decided to give us a ‘tour’ of the village, following us as we made our way around the houses.

The view is beautiful in the morning, especially on one side where you can see a quaint wooden house in the distance which was used as setting in a local film.

Pros

  • Clean, amazing interiors
  • Cosy and spacious
  • Beautiful views
  • Books everywhere
  • WIFI
  • Kitchen facilities

Cons

  • -Far from most attractions, difficult to get to unless you have your own car
  • -Lots of mozzies, make use of mosquito netting
  • -Very poor sound proofing

You can rent Tony’s Kea Farm Homestay for RM300 per night.