3.3: The Cameron Highlands

Day 123: Lankawi to Tanah Rata

After spending the last few days being lazy around beaches I was now keen to do something more active so I headed back inland to the Cameron Highlands where I would be able to do some hiking. I was up at 8:00 and got a taxi to Kuah town where I bought a ferry ticket to Kuala Kedah on the mainland. From there I got a taxi to Alor Star where I got a bus to Ipoh. I arrived in Ipoh at about 16:00 and had a few hours to wait before my next bus to Tanah Rata in the Cameron Highlands. While I was walking around town it started to rain heavily so I went back to the bus station where I met an English girl called Rosie who was also going to the Cameron Highlands. By the time we arrived in Tanah Rata it was dark but we were met at the bus station by a guy who worked at Father’s Guesthouse. This was the guesthouse that I was planning to stay in anyway since I’d heard many good recommendations for it since I’d been in Malaysia. We were shown around the guesthouse and I got a bed in the dorm. I checked in and then had dinner with Rosie and a Swiss couple called Daenni and Nica who were also on the bus from Ipoh. We were later joined by an English guy called Dan who was traveling overland from England to Australia. He had come through Turkey, Iran and Pakistan and it had taken him about 9 months to reach Malaysia.

Day 124: Tanah Rata

While I was having breakfast this morning a girl called Laura arrived. I’d met her before in Udomxai, but I didn’t recognize her at first. She remembered me and joined me and the Scottish girl I was chatting with for breakfast. It was quite a surprise to see her as the last time I saw her she was headed for Phongsali in the far north of Laos. After breakfast I bought a map from the guesthouse and went hiking along some of the trails and to the top of a hill called Gunung Jasar. The path was very steep and poorly marked but it didn’t take too long to reach the top where there were some nice views across the Bharat Tea Estate to the south.

124.1. View of the Bharat tea estate from the top of Gunung Jasar.

I tried to find the trail leading to another hill to the north-east but all the paths I found lead to dead ends. Instead I followed a path down to the tea estate. The map claimed that it was difficult to follow but it was fine since there were electricity cables heading in the direction of the tea estate which I followed when the path wasn’t very clear. It was quite a tough walk though and very steep downhill. The plantation was beautiful with lots of little blue flowers amongst the tea plants. I spent an hour or so walking through the plantation and eventually came back to the road. I stopped for tea and cake before walking back along the road to Tanah Rata. In the evening I met an Irish guy called David and we played a few games of chess.

124.2. A walk through the Bharat tea estate.

Day 125: Tanah Rata

Today I did another walk. I first headed towards a hill called Gunung Beremban along a path which lead from the roadside in town and took a while to find. The trail went uphill until a junction where I followed another trail that was very steep uphill and seemed to go on forever. Just before I reached the top I met a German guy who was coming down who said that I was nearly there. The path coming down from the top was very tough to follow. It went through very dense jungle and I couldn’t even see the path at some points. I began to think that I’d gone the wrong way but the path eventually began to open up a bit and it became easier though it was still very steep downhill. At one point a snake dashed straight across my path and stopped motionless in the leaves to the side of the path long enough to get a photo of it. I didn’t know whether it was poisonous or not so I moved on quickly afterwards. The last bit was also quite tricky with wet and slippery rocks leading down to a stream and then a waterfall.

125.1. Path leading up through the jungle; A snake in the undergrowth.

125.2. A hard path to follow and the waterfall at the end of it.

From here the next path was thankfully much easier. I soon reached the road and walked back to Tanah Rata. I stopped again at the Bharat tea estate for tea and cake. In the evening I had a couple of beers with Daenni and Nica. Daenni showed me a video that he made and had put on YouTube. It depicts the life of a person filmed under a bed and had come 9th out of about 300 in an online video competition.