I went to Cameron Highlands on my last trip to Malaysia mainly because my mom was very close to beating me up for not exploring the world enough and repeatedly getting lured back to KL because food is my life. She insisted I go to some beaches and islands in Malaysia at the very least, but as soon as I read that Cameron Highlands have tea valleys, I knew where I needed to be.
It was truly a wonderful experience, to be surrounded by lush green tea valleys and to be breathing such clean, fresh air. There is so much more to Malaysia than just the food, and in case you’re thinking about going to Cameron Highlands yourself, here’s pretty much all you need to know:
- They don’t have an airport, so you’ll need to take the bus. Tickets to the buses that take you to Cameron Highlands are sold conveniently in malls and online. Bus tickets are cheap, I believe we paid RM. 75/pax , and spent another RM. 100 for the private taxi that took the four of us to the tea estate and back to the bus stop.
- The bus ride is 4 hours long. Your bus will depart from and arrive back to KL TBS bus station.
- Pack snacks because the pitstops don’t have many dining options (I was thrilled to see Baskin Robbins though). In Cameron Highlands, there was only local food –just F.Y.I– so be smart like me and take Oreos with you just in case you’re not feeling very daring.
- Make sure you keep a warm hoodie or light jacket with you because the bus can get very cold and if your luck runs out like ours did, you might end up with a mean old bus driver who absolutely refuses to turn off the air-conditioning despite your repeated pleas and warnings of untimely death by freezing.
- Take anti-nausea pills in case you get motion sick like I do. The road up to Cameron highlands is steep and curvy and is enough to make just about anyone queasy.
- Wear joggers because if you choose to descend into the tea valleys on foot (and you should, because why wouldn’t you??), it can feel like a bit of a hike back up. There is no way you can pull this excursion off in heels or even wedges.
- The entrance fee to the Cameron Valley Tea Estate (the one we went to) was just RM. 2; so basically negligible.
- Book a hotel and spend the night there. We (and by that I mean I) miscalculated and decided to make a day trip out of this. Our bus was due to leave KL at 7am, and leave Cameron Highlands back for KL at 4pm. I thought that would give us ample time to explore a tea valley and a strawberry farm. I was wrong. I suggest you spend at least one night in Cameron Highlands and let all that greenery and fresh air calm your tired nerves and exhausted souls.
- Buy a lot of tea and honey from the souvenir stores at the Tea Estates. I didn’t realize at that time, but the tea and honey being sold there are an absolute steal. We got some Durian Honey for M’s parents, and I regret not getting more while I had the chance.
- Make the most of it and take lots and lots of pictures because if you’re like me you might not want to go again. Don’t get me wrong, it was breathtakingly beautiful, but the time spent on the bus just wasn’t worth it for me. If you’ve got a stronger stomach and can actually enjoy the ride and the scenery, then I highly recommend this, but I had to sleep on the bus both ways so for me it was quite a waste of vacation hours.