We’re all almost at the finishing line of 2014, and if I allow the year to end without at least travelling somewhere for a holiday, I’d say my year would feel awfully incomplete.
Well, I did travel all the way to Borneo a few months ago, albeit being for work-related reasons. That doesn’t exactly count as a holiday, does it? Also travelled to the usual Penang & Ipoh for short retreats with the family but then again, neither would I consider going back to both my hometowns a ‘holiday’ per se, either.
Moo and I are most probably heading to the Philippines next year (for our 1st anniversary!) but we figured hey, why let this year pass without a holiday too?
So here we are, ending our year with a roadtrip up to the hills of Cameron Highlands!
Evidently all pumped up for our journey: Fuel? Check. Snacks? Check. Rave playlist? Check. Sunnies? Check and check!
We hit the road just before 11AM from Kuala Lumpur.
Sunny skies and pretty clouds ahead!
The weather was absolutely perfect and inviting; almost as if today was destined for a roadtrip!
Traffic was pretty heavy on the North-South highway, considering that it was already the school holidays. (Not in the picture above… the gridlock started an hour after this picture was taken)
Before we knew it, our bright & sunny journey turned into a gloomy thunderstorm.
It certainly did not help as the temperature heading up to the highlands began to drop rather quickly. Brr!!
My parents were horrified upon learning that we took the Tapah exit route up as it was known for its narrow and winding road up the cliffs. Moo was extra cautious with his driving and he did a swell job at maneuvering up the slippery terrains!
I too, was a little worried when I saw several landslide areas, fallen trees & branches as well as flooded sections on our road. One wrong move and anyone would plunge into the ravine. Certainly a very dangerous route!
No photos because our eyes were fixated to focus on the road but it looked a little like this:
Imagine this + thunderstorm + foggy windows + slippery muddy ground
Pro-tip: To anyone heading up to Cameron Highlands, please do yourselves a favour and avoid the Tapah exit route up at all costs.
Use the Simpang Pulai exit instead! (We used the latter on our way down)
After 4 hours (Geez! I didn’t know it would take THIS long! Must’ve been the storm + heavy traffic!), we arrived safely at the first township called Ringlet. It looked like a little ordinary, small town, with banks, markets, retail shophouses and the like.
Looking for Heritage Hotel was an uphill task (haha! Geddit, geddit?) as neither of us were familiar with Cameron Highlands and I didn’t have reception to get directions on Waze.
A quick call to hotel got us there in no time.
We proceeded straight up to another town called Tanah Rata, which was about another 10KM up another inclined route.
The Tudor-revival architectural style of Heritage Hotel made it a breeze to spot the moment we arrived Tanah Rata.
It was so Christmas-themed already! Love it.
Merry early Christmas!
Glancing up to the ceiling gave me a fuzzy, familiar feeling of Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station.
Checking in was a breeze and the hotel staff were friendly and accommodating.
The bellboy ushered us to our deluxe room on the 5th floor too.
We were happy with our room – it was clean, spacious and well-equipped!
So what’s the first thing you do upon entering a hotel room?
Check out le springy bed! Haha. I’ve done this on every holiday this since I was a kid capable of jumping.
After settling down, we took a moment to enjoy the tranquillity of our surroundings from all the way up here.
The breeze and the misty, still air amidst the lush greenery of hills, mountains and nature were what we sought after on this trip after all.
After settling down, freshening up and watching PIXAR’s A Bug’s Life on FOX movies (moo hasn’t watched it before and I insisted he did because it was one of my favorites as a kid! I was so glad he enjoyed the movie too), we headed downtown to see what Tanah Rata has to offer.
Just as we were about to adjourn, I took a nostalgic reflection of my surroundings.
The moderately chilly climate with a wind so mild yet cool and comforting.
The trees. The gloomy weather that never seems to see the light of day.
It made me smile in recollection of my stint in Melbourne.
Oh, how I miss thee.
Off to town! We wound down the windows and switched off the air-conditioning.
Who needs the A/C when you have the natural, cool air all around you? Haha.
Arrived Tanah Rata township!
Oh there’s a Starbucks here too!
So… what’s for lunch/tea/dinner?
I excitedly led us to Lord’s Cafe for their scones and chicken pies.
After perusing the menu, moo didn’t exactly consider pies and scoes a ‘proper’ heavy meal… especially since we haven’t had our breakfast nor lunch yet. It was already 5PM! 🙁
So we had to awkwardly shift ourselves out the door and told them we would come back later for dessert or a snack. (More of this later and why I got extremely upset)
We walked a few doors down to another cafe – My Cake House.
As I’ve always been a fan of al-fresco dining, I especially loved the ambiance surrounding Tanah Rata’s restaurants. It was breezy, open-aired and overlooking the roads below.
Here’s what we ordered. Don’t judge.
We were starving.
Some starchy mains… oh god why.
Oh hello beautiful flower sitting right beside me!
No, you do not make me feel better.
Who goes to a cake cafe without eating… of course… cakes?
Being chocolate fanatics, moo and I ordered the chocolate cakes variants.
Coffee flavoured cheesecake
Compared to everything we’ve ordered, the brownie with ice-cream takes the cake!
Oh and btw, it doesn’t come with ice-cream. Moo had to request with additional charges.
After a heavy meal, chilling out and much chitter-chatter, we were *still* too full to eat at Lord’s Cafe.
Decided to go for a foot massage (reflexology) instead.
It was a rather enlightening session as my masseuse was very friendly, intelligent and speaks fluent English & Chinese.
That dude in blue in the picture above was moo’s masseur. Quite a grumpy fellow but he sure knows his technique!
Apparently, there are many massage parlours in town with illegal immigrants/foreign workers without permits that offers dodgy, and ‘extra services’ for a fee. Well, I’m glad that Palace Reflexology Centre is a legit and decent one!
The massages were of skillful techniques, very hygienic and professionally done.
We’d definitely vouch for it.
Even after all that, we were still full to the brim and didn’t feel like stuffing in any more food for the night. I guess we’ll save Lord’s Cafe for the next morning then. (Got upset again for having to postpone it! )
A little bit of gallivanting around town later saw us shopping at the night markets too.
We bought an adorable fluffy husky snowhat (for me obviously!) and a berry-flavoured cigar, before deciding to head back to the hotel.
We were greeted to a magnificent view when we pulled up on the driveway of Heritage Hotel. Gee, doesn’t it look beautiful by night!?
It was all lit up and driving into the private, open carpark made it feel really surreal.
Pictures do it no justice I swear.
Cosy little lounge of the hotel – with a fireplace!
Made myself feel right at home.
We were also amused with the school of the huge Japanese koi fishes in the pond.
There were so many of them! Not sure why they all decided to dart away to the other side of the pond when I took pictures. Bleh. Maybe they’re camera-shy HAHA
Seeing that they had a snooker table, a foosball aka table football table in their games room, we were really up for a challenge!
We’ve been talking about challenging each other in this for quite a while now – I guess here’s our chance!
Unfortunately, they didn’t allow us to… as guests were only allowed to play during the day.
Heritage Hotel also had a mini indoor playground for children and a convenience store/mini mart but what really intrigued me was their library.
Oh my goodness.
There were so many books, novels & magazines to read!
So much so that I felt like Belle from Beauty and the Beast
If that didn’t impress me enough, all the trees in the hotel were draped beautifully with Christmas fairy lights and oh my, did it really set the mood for evening.
Back at the hotel, we got the hot tub ready for a nice warm bath but ended up falling asleep while watching ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ on FOX movies.
Personally, I think the Cable TV channels that Heritage Hotel has in line for us was just about right! News channels, movie channels, info-tainment channels and more. Perfect for a lazy night in.
The very next morning, we arose at about 9am and were all ready to see what Cameron Highlands had to offer.
First up: the view outside our balcony!
So breathtaking. I spent about half an hour just admiring it while he was fast asleep.
We roughly planned our itinerary for the day the night before – lots of strawberries, bees, tea plantations, cactus, scone-hunting and more!
But first… BREAKFAST!
The breakfast buffet was a fulfilling one, with local and Western delights to appease our morning appetite.
This chef makes superb eggs!
We excitedly chose the balcony seats as we were both very fond of the breezy, cool weather and the stupendous view of nature.
And good morning to you too, morning glory.
After breakfast, we bid goodbye to Heritage Hotel.
But not before we took lotsa selfies and goofed around the hotel vicinity!
Thank you, Heritage Hotel, for the memorable stay and the wonderful service!
Adjourning uphill to Brinchang was such a fun ride. It was not only extremely breezy, but the strong winds had a chill to it too.
We first made a pit-stop at Lord’s Cafe (finally, yay!) but IT WAS CLOSED ON SUNDAY.
ROAAAARRR!!! And I never got to go there in the end… that’s why I was so disgruntled about the entire issue. LOL.
Arriving Brinchang felt very familiar. It gave me a vibe I could remember on my first trip here as a teenager. It was a small, quaint yet extremely busy township.
Personally, the hustle & bustle of the tiny town felt a little too congested for its own good.
Our first stop was the Central Market!
I fell in love with the strawberry plushies and the strawberry ear muffs there.
They were oh-so-adorable and cuddly!
There was a huge array of cactus, vegetables, fruits and colourful roses too. I was so fascinated by all these pretty and happy sights!
They were really a fresh look away from the computer and gadget screens I stare at working all day. I’d love have a beautiful mini-garden on my terrace when I move into my new home!
I bought a lil cactus to place onto my desk at work too.
Hey it was only RM2 so why not? 😀
You can tell that I was intrigued by the cotton candy too.
Didn’t have any for obvious reasons LOL.
En route to the next stop!
We continued with our journey up the hill and stopped at Raaju’s Strawberry Farm.
Apparently, they serve the “best strawberry milkshakes” according to some reviews but unfortunately, moo and I beg to differ.
It does look pretty gorgeous though!
We make our own strawberry milkshakes at home all the time so you could possibly imagine how much we were anticipating our first sip! 🙁
Don’t get us wrong, their strawberries were delicious as it is on its own (especially with whipped cream!) but I guess the way they made the strawberry milkshakes wasn’t exactly our cup of tea.
It felt very… rough, tasteless and chunky instead of the creamy, milky thick shakes that we’re all used to making from scratch and drinking from restaurants.
Their homemade scones were delicious and it was served with freshly made strawberry jam! It was warm, fluffy and had just the right texture.
Cakes on display.
And now comes the best part – picking our own strawberries for ourselves! 😀 😀
Couldn’t help sneaking in a bite!
The farm gates open at about 2pm so it’s best if you arrive on time.
The farm worker guided us around the strawberry plantations and we were given a basket and a pair of scissors each.
There were plenty of huge, red and ripe strawberries!
Pro-tip: Walk further into the farm to get the bigger ones.
It costs RM30 for 1KG and the farm worker (a very pleasant and helpful Bangladeshi worker!) showed us approximately how many strawberries would amount up to 1KG as we didn’t exactly have any indication on the number of strawberries to pick. Thank you!
The creative farm worker also snapped this picture for us!
Loved how he played with perspective.
Moving on, we stopped at at the Bee Farm.
We only got to witness the bees from afar lest they might sting us!
Along the way, I had my eye on a strawberry plushie at almost all the markets and stalls we zoomed past. A girl can never get her eyes off cute or adorable things – at least I can’t!
But moo said I had way too many soft toys at home and the idea of getting a strawberry pillow was frowned upon. Shops after shops later, I was still being an incredible sulk LOL.
In the end, he relented since I “liked it so much”. YAY!
Whilst on our way up to the tea plantation, we drove past the lavender farm.
It was a beautiful sight of purple, red and yellow blossoms all in a row. The entrance fee was only RM5 but we had other plans ahead of us – no time to waste!
We were extremely excited upon arriving Bharat Tea Plantation in Kuala Terla.
My parents were being very paranoid and kept warning us against driving up to the BOH Tea Plantation near Gunung Brinchang as it was apparently very steep, slippery and winding – let alone with the rain!
So we settled for the former and we were happy regardless.
We took in the magnificent sight of lush tea leaves and bright green hills of our surroundings.
Its neatly terraced rows fascinated us too!
The hills are alive! With the sound of music….
Indeed, I felt like Fraulein Maria sans Captain Von Trapp’s 7 children LOL.
Living in the big city surrounded by concrete jungle does that to you, really.
So after frolicking in the meadows like the silly peeps we are, we took our much deserved rest in the cafe overlooking the same enchanting view that we’ll never get tired of.
It’s definitely a sight to behold! Yes, we’re nature-loving people like that.
Had we paid BOH Tea Plantation a visit instead, we would have been spoiled for choice with the lavender puffs, strawberry tarts, scones and other freshly baked pastries. Oh well. Maybe next time!
Anyway, our orders were placed and within minutes, a pot of rose tea, milk tea and a chicken & mushroom pie was served.
We adjourned back to KL soon after. On our way down, we spotted a brand spanking new mall!
Didn’t even get to pay a visit.
We also spotted lotsa natives selling raw honey, fruits & vegetables in dilapidated wooden sheds under the rain. That kinda broke my heart. Sitting there for an entire day just hoping someone would stop and buy their harvest.
How much money are they even able to make from doing that?
Do they really think people would stop on a dangerous slope in the middle of the road whilst driving down (or up) and obstruct traffic?
Sorry for digressing.
Anyway, that concluded our weekend getaway up on the highlands!
Should’ve stayed for another day – making it a 3Day 2Night stay instead.
I was given the impression that Cameron Highlands was a really boring sleepy town with nothing to do, but it guess what? It turns out that 2Days 1Night wasn’t enough for us at all; especially if we were to explore everything we had initially planned but didn’t get the chance to.
‘Till next time, Cameron! Experiencing a splendid and enjoyable weekend up there is enough an incentive to return!