The Cameron Highlands (Malay: Tanah Tinggi Cameron) is Malaysia’s most extensive hill station. It occupies an area of 712 square kilometers (275 sq mi). To the north, its boundary touches that of Kelantan; to the west, it shares part of its border with Perak.
The Cameron Highlands can be accessed by road via Tapah, Simpang Pulai, Gua Musang or Sungai Koyan. Tapah and Simpang Pulai are the two approaches from Perak. Gua Musang and Sungai Koyan are the entryways from Kelantan and Pahang, respectively.
The towns lie in a string of settlements approximately 25 km long. From north to south these are:
- Kampung Raja – one of the larger towns; close to the roads to Ipoh and Gua Musang
- Taman Tringkap
- Kea Farm
- Tanah Rata – the main town of the Camerons
- Ringlet – one of the larger towns; close to the roads to Tapahand Kuala Lipis
- Bertam Valey
There is a boardwalk at the top of Gunung (Mount) Brinchang which takes you through the Mossy Forest. This reserve is unlike any other in peninsular Malaysia: its base is covered with a thick carpet of moss. Most of the trees here have remained untouched for centuries. Be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time exploring this place.
The mossy forest is a natural environment that grows only at the highest elevations of Cameron Highlands and other mountain ranges across Malaysia. At such heights, low-level clouds in the sky driven by winds, blanket the forests with constant mist and moisture – creating an ideal biotope for moss, ferns, lichen and orchids. This moist tropical evergreen forest is also a rich repository for a varied set of montane creatures, encompassing insects, snakes, frogs, birds and mammals unique to this chilly atmosphere. Visitors can explore the mossy forest through a boardwalk 2km before the peak of Gunung Brinchang, beginning from a clearing along the main road.
The series of wooden platforms winds for about 150m through the mossy forest, but is slippery when wet, though there are rope railings for a light measure of safety. In this chilly environment, stunted stumps, wrinkled leaves and gnarled branches of oak trees clump together, forming dense crowns that portrude furiously from the ground like mushrooms. As you turn around, look at the rich layers of moss that drape the tree trunks and butteresses, infusing them with a soft, green appearance. Meanwhile, vines, orchids, pitcher plants and other fascinating epiphytes hang loosely from the canopy, perched silently on branches and stems in this chillingly quiet labyrinth. Venturing below the boardwalk to step on the forest floor, visitors will soon discover its moist peat-like texture, each step leaving deep water-filled imprints on the soil. At the end of the walk, a trail starts towards Gunung Irau, the highest mountain in Cameron Highlands.
MARDI Agro Park
MARDI Agrotechnology Park is an agricultural research station at Tanah Rata, open to public and managed by a government institute for such developments. Within the 42-hectare expanse of the park, visitors can explore various flower gardens, crop houses, plant nurseries, farmlands and even a small tea plantation with factory. There is also a small hotel in the form of an English cottage, providing boutique accommodation with meeting facilities. To get to the park, take the slip road at right behind the bus station at town, then follow it until the signboard to MARDI appears at left. Open daily except Mondays, entry tickets are priced at MYR5 per adult and MYR3 per child.
Opened in 2013, Lavender Garden which is Cameron Highland’s newest attraction is located just before Tringkap town when travelling from Simpang Pulai. s a floral themed park with cemented terraced hill slopes where ascending row upon row of flowers are grown, offering a dazzle of colors for visitors to admire and photograph.
The lavender itself isn’t as plentiful as one may expect with artificial lavender scent permeating the air at the entrance but live lavender plants can be seen planted in a large plot at the center of this park.
There are also many types of flowers grown here such as gerberas, camellias, roses, peonies and yellow daisies.
An apiary and a small gift shop selling lavender products are among the other offerings while potted lavender plants are sold for RM15 each. Visitors can also self-pick daisies for RM2 per stalk or 6 for RM10. There is a gift shop selling lavender products and a cafe offering good strawberry milk shake, and Lavender ice cream for RM5.50
Boh Tea Centre and Sg Palas Plantation
Sungai Palas Garden is a tea plantation located in Brinchang about 5km north from town or 2km away from Kea Farm Market. Owned and managed by Boh Tea, it complements their main estate at Habu in Ringlet, featuring its very own tea center, visitor gallery and show factory. Likewise, the Sungai Palas tea garden is also shut up within its own isolated valley away from the main road, with access by a narrow route pass bungalows, forests and farms. The road in begins at left after the Butterfly Garden, with a large signboard that clearly indicates the way. After short but windy stretch, the view breaks into a magnificent panorama of vast tea fields stretched across the valley and slopes.
Follow the road right from the signboard until the end; the Sungai Palas Boh Tea Center is perched on top a small hill. Visitors can park their car and then walk up by paved road, or trail through a tea garden that climbs across the slope. Facing the tea center is a garden area planted with lillies, cannas and flowering shrubs; visitors often relax here under the shade of small oak trees. The tea center itself is a spacious complex with fancy bits of modern architecture and design. From the entrance, a cafe sits left with an overhanging platform for viewing scenery, while right leads through through an exhibition gallery, past the Boh’Ria tea shop, next a video room, and finally ending at a small museum and garden area. An old factory for tea production still functions at the back; it’s open to visitors just like the main Boh tea estate. Sungai Palas Tea Center is free to visit and open daily from 9am to 4.30pm, but closes on Mondays.