The Cameron highlands are the perfect destination for most locals that want to escape from the warm temperatures of the cities. In the mountains they can enjoy 20 degrees and the fresh clean air. This is the reason why now a days is actually a very touristic destination. Don’t expect to see only nature, there will also be big buildings and tourist traps. But don’t let this stop you from going!
Cameron highlands by motorbike.
While travelling around Southeast Asia we always rented a motorbike to get around. This time, we wanted to rent a motorbike in Kuala Lumpur and drive all the way to the highlands. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a rental place so we decided to go by bus.
We wish we would have had a bike, and if you have the chance, we would really recommend it. The road is in perfect condition, only be careful with the buses and the curves. The last part before arriving to Ringlet (the first town) is so beautiful surrounded by the jungle!
If like us, you couldn’t rent a motorbike from Kuala Lumpur, you can go by bus and rent a motorbike in the highlands directly. However, it is very overpriced! During our trip we’ve always rented motorbikes for 6-8€ per day. Here, they were asking for 7€/5hours or 18€ per day. The reason, they say, is that the motorbikes need much more maintenance when you ride them on mountain roads. Yes, it’s true, but that shouldn’t triple the price.
If you’re not on a budget, renting the motorbike is probably the best way. We didn’t do it, but we saw the rental places and the bikes were in great condition.
Weather in the Cameron highlands
The temperatures are lovely, during the day it can get to 25 degrees and a bit chilly at night. Bring long trousers and a jacket if you want to be out during the evening or early morning, and a rain coat. During the beginning of the rain season (April) it can rain hard for an hour and then it will stop for the rest of the day. The last months of the year the rain may not be as heavy but more continuous.
Where to stay in the Cameron highlands
There are a few towns in the highlands, of which Tanah Rata is the main one. Here is where most accommodations are and where we recommend to stay. All buses from Kuala Lumpur stop in Tanah Rata.
Ringlet is the first town you will pass when driving from KL. The busses stop here as well. Brinchang is a few kilometres further from Tanah Rata and hosts a famous night market.
What to see and do
There’s plenty of activities you can do around the highlands, and travel agencies where you can book tours. Among these, the most famous activities are the strawberry picking farms, and of course the tea plantations. There is also honey farms, a lavender garden, butterfly farm… but you must know that all those are touristic attractions made to get your money. Anyway, they may be nice and fun as well!
On the other hand, you can also enjoy the free stuff that nature has to offer. Enjoy the vegetation of the jungle and go for a trek. They say Maps.me is best to follow the trails in this area. Always ask a local about the conditions, as some trails may be closed because of the rain or other reasons. You can also walk to the tea plantations without any tour! And if you fancy a more adventurous experience, you can hire a guide to take you on a jungle hike. Those trails are not marked so you do need a guide.
Our experience in the Cameron highlands
We usually don’t like tourist tours where you are taken from A to B to C. Although they may be handy and save you time, we love being free and going on our own even if we miss out some interesting points. Our preferred option would have been renting a motorbike, but we travel on a budget. We were frustrated about the prices, and we started looking at the map to realize that the route mostly wanted to explore was a “only” 15km. So, we decided to walk!
From Tanah Rata we headed to the highest point of the highlands, which is entrance to the Mossy park. There is a hike trail but it was closed, so we just walked on the road. It was nice anyway, since we walked past all the “attractions” such as the strawberry farms, cactus shops, etc. During most of the way there are stands, markets and villages where you can have snacks, lunch and drinks. We stopped a few times on the way, to buy some strawberries and corn.
The last 6km are really steep. We were quite exhausted towards the end, but any person in a normal condition can make it. Just take it easy! When we were walking up, a car stopped and a friendly couple offered to take us to the top. We thought we were already very close, so we rejected their offer. But we regretted when we realised, we were still an hour far and it was about to start to rain!
Heading back to Tanah Rata
When you reach the top, you’ll be at the entrance of the Mossy forest. The entrance fee is 30 RM (6€). We actually didn’t go in as we considered that it was not worth the price, since we were already seeing the vegetation of the forest while walking. We were really lucky to meet the same couple on the top, and they offered to take us down, saving us 6km of walk. Perfect!
The rest of the way back to Tanah Rata was rainy, but we could stop every now and then to get lunch, or a juice of sea coconut which we had never tried before!
Of course, we could have taken a bus or a taxi, but is that even fun?
After all, these are the days that we’ll remember!