Friday, May 19, 2017

A Night in Cameron Highlands

I have been to Cameron Highlands like 10 times in my life but this was my maiden overnight trip.

So how was it?

The entire Cameron Highlands was dead silent at night like those quiet neighborhood in the horror movies. Well, the local folks had dinner at 6 pm so you would expect what time they slept.

You could own the roads literally at night since there weren't any cars around. But I must say I really like the cold chilly at night in Cameron Highlands. The cold breeze in 19 degrees Celsius weather blowing onto your face was simply refreshing.

My partner and I went on Sunday so we missed the Brinchang night market on Friday and Saturday.The only hangout spot at night in Cameron Highlands for us was Starbucks in Tanah Rata - so typical. 

Let the pictures below narrate my trip over there.

Lavender at Cameron Lavender

Lavender Ice Cream - smell like floor cleaner liquid

The steady windmill at Cameron Lavender

Cameron Lavender  - Located in Tringkap along the main road, this is the among the first attraction if you're coming from Ipoh. For me, Cameron Lavender was like a scam to me. You see, the entrance was RM 8 and what I have got in return - lavender farm which wasn't picturesque, flowers and more flowers, flies, possessed minion and whole lots of pop up stores selling honey, strawberry and its jam, flowers and fruits. Please don't expect the extend of lavender farm like in Hokkaido.

It was very challenging to take good pictures since the pathway there was pretty narrow and the place was crowded most of the time.

Not only Cameron Lavender, my entire trip in Cameron Highlands was infested with flies, they were like the pest all throughout Cameron Highlands. I even had problem to eat as the flies kept buzzing around my food. I guess the mama fly queen lives there.

Sungai Palas Boh Tea Plantation
The queue was endless and there was not any seat available

Sungai Palas Boh Tea Plantation - If you've been there, you would know the road heading up there is dangerous but the road heading up to its nearby attraction Mossy Forest is even more dangerous - suicidal but let tell you more later. 

Back to this plantation, my two cents is avoid weekend; it was so crowded. We could not get a seat and the queue to purchase food and beverages was long as shown in the picture. We wanted to take the breathtaking view from the viewing platform was also marred by the crowd. It was rather disappointing experience and we spent merely half an hour there.

As the night fell, it was time for food hunting. Initially we wanted to have steamboat at Taman Abang but we were afraid that they would serve only vegetables which he hated  and frozen which I hated. So it wasn't justified to pay something that we did not like. We opted something flavorful  at Malay stall just opposite of Starbucks in Tanah Rata. It was good, the tom yum was excellent remedy for the cold weather there.

Starbucks in Tanah Rata
3 dishes with one tom yum - all worth it at only RM 21.
Starbucks - The only hang out spot at night in Cameron Highland. Located along the main road in Tanah Rata, this Starbucks is just your typical Starbucks. But I loved it since it was just so nice to have a hot drink in a chilly weather.

Mossy Forest - The highlight of my trip since it was my first time to visit this forest. The way leads to Mossy Forest is the same way as the way to Sungai Palas Boh Tea Plantation, however, once you see the signage Gunung Brinchang, turn left.

How to get up to Mossy Forest?

There are couple of ways actually - hiking, take the four-wheel drive or drive your car up.

Hiking up - I am not sure the routes to do hiking over there but I overheard the conversation of the hikers that they started the hiking at 5 am and they only managed to reach Gunung Irau, another mountain nearby Mossy Forest, at 4 pm. But be prepared - the trail is very muddy, avoid white shoes if possible.

Four-wheel drive - I believe it cost around RM 50 per person since I saw the flyer somewhere. The fare is inclusive of the tour.

Driving up - Think twice if you plan to drive up. The route is the scariest and the most terrifying experience ever. The road is narrow, is curvy and steep. Since it is a long and winding road, you have no visibility on the vehicles coming from opposite direction most of the time. And yes, the road doesn't have the safety mirror that should be located at the sharp corners. 

Haunted by the sharp corners,  this road even scarier as you would frequently encounter the four wheel trucks that plying the way. They drive very fast - so you are literally risking your life of being hit by them. Honking at the sharp corners is your only way to keep you alive.

Though it was terrifying but it was worth it as the foggy forest was a whole new experience for me. It was like the Twilight movie in which Edward jumping around from tree to tree with Bella.

In addition to the foggy and misty atmosphere, what awe-struck me was the roots and the branches of the trees that covered with moss. It curled up and down as if defying the gravity that set the landscape into a misty and fairyland adventure with the grasp of cool crispy air.

Unfortunately, the boardwalk was pretty dirty as the snack packets and drink bottles were thrown everywhere along the boardwalk. Can't really blame those litter bugs since there wasn't any dustbin in sight. Maybe the authority wanted to discourage visitors to consume anything at Mossy Forest. 

You could go use the boardwalk or further your adventure by hiking a little to get closer to the mossy-laden trees. The trail would lead up to the peak of Gunung Irau. It was challenging since the trees were curvy along the trail and it was very muddy. I wasn't sure I was standing on a solid ground or on a solid mud since as I stepped on it, it was hollow underneath. It was like standing on a hollow platform.It was bit terrifying as I was afraid the hollow ground would give way as I stepped on it.

The view taken from Mossy Forest 
After 30 minutes of terror ride, we have reached Mossy Forest 
Thou shalt not pass 
Apparently Mossy Forest separates Perak and Pahang. Some said that if the forest is not misty, you could view Ipoh from there 
The Mossy Forest moss encroaches the trees and even the ground 
Enjoying the picturesque trees while grasping the cool crispy air at Mossy Forest  
Just like the movie scene from either Twilight or Lord of The Ring

Before we left Cameron Highlands, we stopped by at a shop to have a drink and the shop aptly named Pokestop. It was around 6 pm and the family next to us was already having their dinner. Seriously, I would be in the office at 6 pm. I guess the folks in Cameron Highlands are leading a simple life. Waking up at 6 am and sleeping around 9 pm since there is no nightlife in Cameron Highlands. Though I would like to have simple kinda life but it is not simple as this. As fated, I would like my life to be colourful and exciting with whole lots of daily activities until 2 am. Yes, I sleep around that time everyday which it's bad for my health. It is my yearly resolution to sleep early but I fail to materialize it every year.

That's all folks. Hope I will have a travel entry very soon.

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