This weekend is a long weekend in Malaysia for Malaysia’s Independence Day – 31 August 1957 marks the day that the Federation of Malaya gained its independence from British colonization, forming what we know of today as Malaysia. This day is also known as “Hari Merdeka” in Malay and that is why the celebration of Independence Day is incomplete without the seven shouts of “Merdeka!”.
To escape the chaos of the Kuala Lumpur celebrations, Kerrie and I left the girls at home and headed to Cameron Highlands. If we expected to escape crowds and have a relaxing weekend we were wrong as Cameron Highlands was completely packed.
Tea Plantation – One of the things Cameron Highlands is known for
Luckily for us our itinerary kept us ahead of the crowds, not that hard when you get up early as Malaysians don’t really get going until after lunch.
As an indication of the crowds, we measured the traffic queue to be bumper to bumper for over 8km’s coming up the mountain Sunday afternoon as we headed down. It was crawling and we estimated people will be in traffic for several hours. We did pity all those stuck in traffic but also struggled to think of where they could be going as it would be late before they arrived at Cameron Highlands.
I do want to mention Gerard’s Place, the guest house we stayed at. At RM 100 fore the two of us, it was very comfortable and clean with great hospitality. Basically it is a set of 3 bedroom apartments and so you share the bathroom, kitchen and lounge. It is well located in Tanah Rata and easy walking distance to the town.
I was also impressed with Lord’s Cafe in Tanah Rata where we stopped late Saturday afternoon for apple pie and tea. A hard to find place, above a Mary Browns. It was a quirky little cafe with homemade style fare and as we left we had to walk around a chair placed on the steps with a sign saying, “Sorry Closed as Sold out of Food”.
Driving up we stopped at one of the many little stalls so that I could have some local Durian. It was not that fleshy but was strong in flavour. Kerrie snacked on mangosteen’s and also checked out the GinSeng – there were a few varieties as you can see from the picture below.
We took it fairly easy in the Cameron Highlands on the Saturday having afternoon tea at Big Red Strawberry Farm and then spending the evening having a massage and then dinner.
Sunday we spent on our Mossy Forest Trek before driving out the back approach to Ipoh. It was worth the extra distance to see more of the Cameron Highlands landscape and to take in all the tea plantations, strawberry farms and many market gardens.
Cameron Highlands still needs a lot of development to cater for the huge increase in tourism. Roads are very narrow with constant gridlock and facilities are relatively poor quality. Since we last visited a few years ago we can see a huge increase in numbers of people but no increase in investment. The sign below says it all – would you invest!!!
The kids also had a good weekend – Molly drove her and Emily down to Desa Parkcity Shops, her first time driving solo and of course she only rang to ask for permission after the fact. Fights were at a minimum with only one big bust up over when to cook the pumpkin.