Asia

6 Recommendations for a Relaxing Getaway to the Cameron Highlands

April 2, 2017

I was told that this place is dull as there is not much to do. Indeed, I was looking for a place where I could do Nothing. A spur-of-the-moment decision brought me to Cameron Highlands in the Pahang state of Malaysia. I was tired of keeping up with the ‘must-do’ in the small towns of Malaysia and was looking for a comfortable getaway.

Cameron Highlands draws a parallel to the likes of Darjeeling and Nuwara Eliya where British found their summer and left their mark for us to reminisce about the English past of these places. An English plantation town, this place hasn’t lost its English weather, Ye Olde charm and Classic tea. To make it even more interesting here is where Jim Thompson – the Silk Man, disappeared into thin air in 1967.

The place is not entirely devoid of things-to-do, there are enough strawberry, bee, cactus and rose farms to keep people engaged. There are few hiking routes also for an outdoorsy, but I had no interest what-so-ever in any of the sightseeing.

I wanted a lazy holiday where I can read a book; look out the window every now and again and soak in the inspiration that the place has to offer. And I found everything here by doing nothing.

 

Tudor-style English stay

For me the “character” of a location is everything. Staying at the right place enhances the travel experience.

The vestiges of colonial architecture from the British era are still visible here and there. Clearly, some of them are atrocious imitations, but few like The Bala’s Holiday Chalet (aka Planter’s Country Hotel) has withstood the test of time. It is a pre-war building which started as a boarding school by a British woman catering to the expatriate kids in 1930s. The ambience of the place befits the clement weather. This unpretentious stay made it simple for me to relate to the Ye Olde’ disposition of the town.

relaxing getaway to Cameron HighlandsPhoto Credits: Aditi Mittal

Also Read: Planters Country Hotel Review: An Affordable English Stay in Cameron Highlands

 

Stop for Classic High Tea

As English as it can get. Being a tea plantation town, the English tradition of High Tea is well-kept-up. British or not, once you are in this aura, the air of sophistication catches you. A pot of fragrant Highland tea served with fresh scones brushed with clotted cream and strawberry jam. British had the way of life!

Relaxing getaway from Kuala LumpurPhoto Credits: Aditi Mittal

I recommend to try out a set of Highland Tea at The Smokehouse Hotel & Restaurant, another British Tudor-style boutique hotel.

 

Amble through the maze of Tea Gardens

One recommendation that I got from people was to visit the café at Boh Tea Factory which boasts stunning views of the tea gardens. The estate is another legendary example of the colonial past of Cameron – founded by an English businessman in 1920s; the ownership has stayed within the family.

The route to the factory is through the scenic landscape of verdant tea plantation. The frequent light showers bring out the dark green colour of the gardens, and the non-rainy days give it a veil of fine mist.

The stunning view from the café goes well with the tea and scones. Unfortunately, the presence of too many people made it a chaotic affair for me. I assume it is a better experience on a weekday otherwise, prefer ambling amidst the misty tea gardens.

relaxing getaway from kuala lumpurPhoto Credits: Aditi Mittal

Tip: The café closes at 4.30 p.m. It shouldn’t stop you from taking a leisure walk in the tea gardens as they are spread all the way to the entry gates.

 

Loosen up with a Massage

I wasn’t expecting massage services in this little town. Though I had heard of the luxury Spa Village, I wasn’t ready to splurge on wellness, at least, not this weekend. Then, my eyes discovered the neon sign boards for Thai massage and Foot Reflexology illuminating in a small lane. Again, without any anticipation, I booked for it. It turned out to be the most effective massage I had in a while. A great pocket-friendly way to relax in the Cameron Highlands I would say.

relaxing getaway from Kuala LumpurPhoto Credits: Aditi Mittal

Tip: There are three massage places in a lane near Hotel Copthorne offering the same services at similar prices. I recommend Fucon reflexology for its space and staff.

 

Sample food at the Night Market

Having learned a few words in Malay has only helped me in reaching the right place. In Malay, Pasar is Market, and Malam means Night, and it brought me to the weekend Night Bazaar of the town. The local markets are always interesting to walk down. You can sample the variety of food here, especially, chocolate fondue with strawberries. Or just play with your camera. I did both.

relaxing getaway from kuala lumpurPhoto Credits: Aditi Mittal

Do you know how to select strawberries, I got only the sour ones?

 

Consider visiting impressive Barracks Cafe

If you have time, do visit this interesting restaurant in Tanah Rata that is housed in a military barrack built by the British during World War II.  The owners of the place have a penchant for the history of the region. The cafe has many old pictures from the time of the Japanese occupation, including a map which depicting the various routes the Japanese army took on their way southwards to Singapore. The owners are also collectors of Land Rovers, old and new, and these beautiful machines can be seen housed in a shed at the back of the cafe.

relaxing getaway from kuala lumpurPhoto Credits: Aditi Mittal

The cafe boasts of a charming garden – with passion fruit trees – and serves a mix of Indian curries and British tea time favourites including scones and cakes.

relaxing getaway from kuala lumpurPhoto Credits: Aditi Mittal

 

For those who haven’t been to Cameron Highlands yet, it is a good option to consider for your next escape. And those who are not new to this place, need to revisit to experience doing nothing.

 

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