Cameron Highlands: Tea

The day began with a delicious English breakfast – tea, bacon, eggs…the works. This prepared us for a day of walking ahead. It was significantly cooler in the Cameron Highlands and our hike began in the rain. (FYI still yet to pull the sun cream from my bag….!)

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The rain had been so heavy over the last month or so that just a week before, a huge landslide had occurred, sending this unfortunate vehicle sailing into the side of a hut.

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We were trying to find a jungle walk to the tea plantation, but struggled to even find the start of the route, as our map was just a few unnamed squiggles for roads. We went up and down hills, back and forth down little streets, retracing our steps after about 10 minutes each time realising it still wasn’t right. Eventually returning to the centre of town with a puzzled look on our face, we admitted defeat

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Even the locals couldn’t work out the shoddy map we’d been given so we decided to get a taxi to take us to the Cameron Highlands tea house. After a few minutes we hailed one down and jumped in, only to be told that he would charge us 20MYR to get to the base of the road we’d need to walk down. We were suitably outraged. £1 each. Yes, one pound. One whole, fine, hard-earned, English pound. We made a huge song and dance of it, huffing and puffing in disbelief before climbing back out the car. In hindsight, we thought, as we stood there for another 5 minutes without seeing a taxi, we probably could have afforded his fare, but we were being stubbornly British about his “tourist rate”.
With further hindsight this turned out to be a terrific decision. Hitchhike-Holly flagged us down a truck and we hopped in the back amongst his crates. With wind in our hair we breezed our way up the winding hill, grinning at how clever we’d been. He wouldn’t even accept a tip for his troubles, and left us at the base of the road to our tea house. Oh the things we Brits will do for a cuppa, hey!

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It was a lovely 3k walk through tea plantations, with stunning views across the rolling hills.
Less than an hour later I had my Earl Grey and cake, hurrah!

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For dinner we walked from our hotel in Brinchang to the next local village, Tanah Rata. We realised we’d totally taken for granted how un-touristy Brinchang was, highlighted by Tanah Rata’s ‘Starbucks’. Nevertheless we continued into town to the Mayflower Restaurant, which had been recommended as one of the best places to experience the local speciality, Steamboat.
A steamboat is a big bowl of hot, bubbling soup. The restaurant provide raw meat and veg that you cook in the soup.

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There were mixed feelings about it. Jen thought it was great and that the food was ok. Us 3 thought the experience was definitely a fun, different one, but cooking food in simmering water does make you think about whether it’ll turn your stomach. We agreed we probably wouldn’t do it again in a hurry. And I certainly won’t be going back for seconds on jellyfish, which has much the same flavour and consistency that the name dictates. Euuugh.

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