We escaped from our exile in Spain when the state of emergency was lifted. We found a circuitous route to Malaysia. After quarantine and four covid tests, we had a short stay in Kuala Lumpur. Then, we fled the heat of the city for the slower rhythms of Cameron Highlands arriving the first week of October. This is just a few hours bus ride north of KL, but contrasts with a cool wet climate. Highs around 23º C (75ºF) with mist and rain everyday. After sweltering in the Spanish summer and then in Kuala Lumpur, it took a little time to acclimate.
Our place is halfway between the two main cities of Tanah Rata and Brinchang. What is unique about our month stay is that we have no car. We actually thought we were booking a place near the center of Tanah Rata. As it turned out, this location we have is ideal for walking as we are just 2 km from each city, about 30 minutes walk along paths through villages, beside the Bertam river, along the golf course, by All Souls Church. Wife grew up just 65 km (less than 50 miles) from here. Although the schedule is curtailed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Regal bus still runs from Tanah Rata up 20 km to Kampung Raja.
We are near to several jungle trails that lead up to the mountain peaks around the area. Historically, this is the area where Jim Thompson disappeared in 1967. Some of the trails (specifically the one to Parit Falls) are closed due to maintenance and Covid concerns for the wardens. We were able to follow trail 9 to Robinson falls which was quite impressive. Our journey on trail 3 became an adventure when we chose the 1 km trail 2 back to Brinchang. It was 90% vertical climbs through fallen trees and thick brush, real jungle trekking. Thoughts of Jim Thompson crossed our minds.
The Rose Valley Garden provided a nice surprise on one of our outings. We expected to see a few rows of cultivated flowers with a gift shop and then move on. Instead, we spent most of our morning there following trails up the hillside, visiting several different flower displays including cacti, and comparing notes with staff about the tulips in the Netherlands.
Here is the gallery of photos that capture some of our sojourn. Click thumbnail to see full size.
Here are some places we liked with a link to Google Maps (no particular order).
- Restaurants (with the Covid-19, schedules of many establishments are flexible)
- Tong Yeng Cafe – Interesting and organized Food Stand, Unique ordering and lunch experience in Tanah Rata
- Bliss Coffee – Oat Toast with Kaya jam in Kampung Raja
- Sri Brinchang Curry House for breakfast and Banana Leaf Rice in Tanah Rata, even had vegetarian chicken curry
- Lord’s Cafe – Scones, small place in the back, upstairs. Friendly and well organized in Tanah Rata
- Cottage Delight – Our go to place for breakfast noodles before shopping at Brinchang Wet Market.
- Warung Ikat Tepi – A simple little Malay eatery with delicious real food beside the touristy alleys of Kampung Taman Sedia village.
- Rose Valley Garden – Trail and an international mix of flora near Tringkap village
- Brinchang Wet Market – Our weekly trip to stock up on fresh local produce
- Bus Station Tanah Rata – Regal bus departs after 8:30 10:30 1:30 4:30 7:30 (Times are for boarding, actual departure is usually 5 – 15 minutes later.
- Smokehouse Restaurant – British Colonial Experience and Garden
- 200 Seeds Restaurant (Abang Strawberry) – Nasi Lemak with Strawberry Sambal. This is in the heart of Kampung Taman Sedia, a touristy village with many homestays, restaurants, strawberry themed experiences. There is a shortcut from the Desa Anthurium Apartments beside Building B.
- Golden Hills Weekend Night Market – Very popular for strawberries and white corn but not that unique experience. Out of the way for us so we only visited once.