Full of rolling hills covered in beautiful tea plantations and strawberry farms, the Cameron Highlands is one of the most extensive and famous hill stations in Peninsular Malaysia. Tucked away right in the northwest corner of the state of Pahang at between 800 and 1,600 meters above sea level, its cool climes and stunning scenery have long attracted visitors to its charming estates, towns, and villages.
Named after Sir William Cameron – an explorer who mapped the region – the highlands have a distinctly British look and feel to them, with quaint cottages lying next to lush, landscaped gardens. This is because the highlands were developed during colonial times as a retreat from the sweltering climate of the lowlands.
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Tucked away among traditional English villages are pockets of thick jungle for you to explore, as well as some lovely hiking trails that wind their way around the many mountains and hills. The wealth of incredible natural tourist attractions, and endless tea plantations provide enough things to do in Cameron Highlands to keep you busy. With its fascinating mix of British and Malay influences, the serene and scenic Cameron Highlands make for the perfect quiet getaway.
10. Cameron Butterfly Garden
One of the most famous farms in the region, the Cameron Butterfly Garden is a delightful place to visit, with hundreds if not thousands of butterflies flitting to and fro. Awash with color, its large greenhouse has lots of beautiful flowers and plants on display, while a myriad of different butterflies of all sizes and colors flutter past your ears.
Besides the main attraction, after which the farm is named, there is also a small tortoise enclosure for you to check out, as well as cages full of beetles, bugs, and stick insects. The Cameron Butterfly Garden is located just under ten kilometers from Tanah Rata. It is well worth asking a member of staff to take you around, as they will explain all there is to know about their colorful residents.
9. Robinson Falls
Tumbling down the mountainside in a deep ravine, Robinson Falls certainly makes for a spectacular sight and is just a short walk away from Tanah Rata. To get to the falls you hike along Cameron Highlands Trail No. 9 and this takes you through some thick jungle before you arrive at the first of the series of cataracts.
While it already looks quite impressive, it is the main waterfall that really is the show stopper. Coursing its way down the rock face, the white jet of water stands out delightfully against the lush jungle that at times threatens to engulf it and you can snap loads of great photos of Robinson Falls from the path.
As the waterfall is inaccessible, you can’t go swimming in the pool below and probably wouldn’t want to either as lots of farms lie above the falls on the mountainside. After having enjoyed the view and lovely scenery, you can always continue on your hike as the trail takes you to the summit of Gunung Berembun.
8. Time Tunnel Museum
Although it is billed as the first memorabilia museum in the country, the Time Tunnel Museum is more a collection of displays on different objects, antiques, photos, and furniture from Malaysia and the Cameron Highlands’ past.
Its eight galleries look at everything from the region during the Second World War to the impact of the disastrous 1962 landslide. Some parts show you what hairdressers, kitchens, and the towns and villages themselves once looked like in the past.
In addition to this, there is also an exhibition on the life and culture of the Orang Asli – or ‘original people,’ as it means in Malay – an aboriginal group that can still be found living in the region. Perusing its fantastic collection of over 4,000 artifacts is loads of fun and will take you back to a time you’ve only seen in the movies.
7. Sam Poh Temple
Perched upon a hillside overlooking Brinchang Town, the colorful and elaborately decorated Sam Poh Temple is one of the Cameron Highlands’ most impressive buildings. Built in 1972, it is remarkably the fourth-largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. Its pastel yellow and bright red exterior houses some fantastic icons and statues within.
While some may be surprised to find a Buddhist temple tucked away amongst the British-looking towns and tea plantations, it actually highlights the region’s religious diversity and tolerance, as mosques and Hindu temples can also be found here and there.
6. Cameron Highlands Trail No. 10
As already mentioned, the Cameron Highlands are crisscrossed by a fabulous array of hiking paths. Trail no. 10 to the top of Gunung Jasar is one of the most scenic of them all. The trail begins right next to Tan’s Camellia Garden in Tanah Rata.
It takes you through a spectacular ancient mossy forest on the way to the summit of the mountain, which towers to a height of 1,696 meters.
Moderately difficult, the hike should only take around two hours to complete there and back, and the wonderful nature you pass on the way means it will go by in a flash. From atop of Gunung Jasar, the views of Tanah Rata and the Cameron Highlands spread out below are simply breathtaking, and make this one of the best trails to hike in the region.
5. Gunung Brinchang
Towering to a height of 2,031 meters, Gunung Brinchang is the second-tallest peak in the Cameron Highlands and is a very popular draw due to its astounding views, beautiful nature, and easy accessibility.
While a number of delightful hiking trails snake their way up the side of the mountain, there is also a hair-raising road you can take to the summit, so many people only hike the way back down.
Gunung Brinchang boasts incredible views out over the Cameron Highlands. One of the best panoramas is from its observation tower, which juts out from a clearing on the mountainside. The lower slopes of the mountain are equally bewitching in terms of what they have to offer. Lots of fantastic fauna and flora can be found lying alongside its paths and trails.
4. Cameron Bharat Tea Estate
Stretching endlessly towards the horizon and covering every hill and mountainside they come across, the Cameron Bharat Tea Estate’s plantations certainly make for a spectacular sight. Established in 1933, the company is now the second-largest tea producer in the whole of Malaysia and exports its delicious brews all around the world.
At the estate, visitors can enjoy an audio-video presentation on the history of Bharat, as well as learn how the perfect cup of tea comes into being. In addition, you can go for a lovely stroll around its scenic grounds and snap photo after photo of the picturesque plantations. Cameron Bharat Tea Estate also has a charming little cafe for you stop off at and enjoy a delicious cup of tea with cake and a scone.
3. Mossy Forest
A very atmospheric place to explore, the mist-shrouded Mossy Forest can appear slightly spooky or even eerie; a twisted mass of lichen-covered trees and plants threaten to engulf the path from all sides. Lying on the slopes of Gunung Brinchang, the forest is renowned for the carpet of thick moss that coats the floor and covers the surrounding trees.
The unique look and heavy, oppressive atmosphere within the forest makes it a fascinating place to go hiking. It really does feel as if it has just sprung up out of a children’s fairy tale. Over the course of a few hours, you can easily explore the mossy forest to your heart’s content and even make your way up to the top of Gunung Brinchang and back again.
2. Raju Hill Strawberry Farm
Tucked away in one of Cameron Highlands’ many misty valleys, Raju Hill Strawberry Farm is renowned in the area for its delicious berries. It is one of the best places to pick as many of them as you like to take home.
As well as being a fun and relaxing activity for all the family, picking the sweet-tasting strawberries allows you to bask in the breathtaking scenery of the farms and fields all around you.
If working in the fields sounds a little like too much hard work while on holiday, then the farm also has a fantastic little cafe for you to try out. Both its strawberry jam and strawberry milkshakes are divine.
1. Boh Sungei Palas Tea Estate
Founded all the way back in 1929, Boh Sungei Palas Tea Estate lies in the hills to the north of Brinchang. It is the largest tea plantation in the whole of Southeast Asia. As such, it really is not to be missed out on. Here on the estate, you’ll be able to enjoy some of the best views and scenery in the Cameron Highlands.
Once you arrive at the estate, you can take a free tour of the factory to learn all about how the plants are harvested and turned into tea. A short film will tell you all there is to know about the company and how it was founded.
While this is all well and good, the undoubted highlight has to be Boh’s Tea Center. The cafe boasts a fantastic veranda that juts out from the top of a hill. From here, you can bask in some of the most beautiful views imaginable of the plantation-covered hills and mountains before you.
Additionally, the teas which Bong Sungei Palas Tea Estate are so renowned for aren’t bad either. You can even buy some of its delicious brews to take to friends and family back home.
Best Time to Visit the Cameron Highlands
Very mild for Malaysia, the Cameron Highlands average temperatures of around 27 to 29°C (80 to 84°F) the whole year round. Evenings are fresh and cool, offering up some welcome respite from the rest of the country’s steamy, tropical climes. As it gets a bit chilly, you’ll need to bring a jacket with each month seeing from 12 to 25 days with at least some rain.
As many people come to trek or enjoy all its picture-perfect landscapes, the drier periods of January to March and June to August are the best times to visit. In general though, the roads and towns are busier almost every weekend, particularly around public holidays.
Peak season is around Chinese New Year’s and the school holidays with hotel prices rising as a result. The Hungry Ghost Festival and Flower Festival in August and September also entice lots of people to the highlands. During these relatively dry months, you can tour all the pretty tea plantations and go strawberry picking.
April and May and both September to December see a massive amount of rain tip down with many staying away. If you don’t mind getting a bit wet, the hills look particularly vibrant and green. An umbrella is an absolute must, however!