With the rain still coming down, we headed off towards Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. This iconic bluish building was built in the 1890s, but was fully restored only in the late 90s before earning an UNESCO award in 2000. If you want to have an insight into how the rich used to live back in those days, this is the place to visit. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed and there are only tours at certain hours. The other alternative, is to stay a night in one of the rooms.
Located further down the road is the St George’s Church. Unfortunately for us, it was raining at that time and we could only take photos of it from the outside.
The church was built way back in 1816 and is the oldest Anglican church in South East Asia.
We headed to Fort Cornwallis which is now a paid museum, but since the weather was acting up, we decided not to pay a visit, however, we did drop by the War Memorial located next to the park, at the edge of the river.
The plaque commemorates the dead veterans of World War I and II, the Siam-Burmese Railway, the Malayan Emergency and the Re-Insurgency.
Sungai Palas BOH Plantation
Cameron Highlands is not complete without a visit to the famous BOH Tea Plantation at Sungai Palas. To complete the tourist walk of fame. Anyhow, there is a lesser known and easily accessed Tea Plantation, if you want to give it an authentic try.
The one at Sungai Palas is located deep in the mountains and the only way to travel is on a one-way narrow strip of road. This will become grid-locked in a matter of hours. So be there early.
The only ‘wow’ factor is the overhanging eating/dining area which is sometimes closed off for special functions. If not, you will get to stand at the edge of the overhang and take photos to your heart’s content.
Breakfast is served based on a menu which will be accompanied by any of BOH’s array of teas. From the thick to the thin, to the diversely flavoured ones. You make your choice. These are accompanied by scones and cakes.
The price is a little steeper here as compared to those in town but you do get these views:
You can hike here if you want to or cycle. And you get follow their tour guide which will give you a detailed insight into the production of tea. You could also go down into the plantations and touch the tea leaves or take some home with you (secretly).
This concludes our tour of Cameron Highlands.
You might be wondering why I didn’t mention the strawberries. The month that I was visiting (May) is not their season yet although you still get to buy them from the stalls, they aren’t the sweet and juicy ones. So do your homework before traveling if you intend on harvesting your own strawberries for consumption.
Following our hot and sunny outing at the MARDI Research Centre, we decided to retire for some scones and tea at the Smokehouse. The Smokehouse is a British-era remnant, built in the same way that most British houses were built back in those days, you can’t find anything similar nowadays. It might not be the best place or the most affordable but the ambience and setting is next to nothing. Do note, that you could also stay here if you want to. They have hotel services too.
Finally, we were able to go on a trip, albeit a local one. We had a long weekend and decided to go to Cameron Highlands, 300km away from our hometown.
Cameron Highlands is famous for its tea and vegetable/fruit plantations, although unscrupulous developers and farmers are fast ruining the pristine ecological system there, and yet locals still flock there during the hot summer months.
Tip: Try to stay around Brinchang and Tanah Rata areas
There are plenty of hotels, B&Bs and inns to choose from so there is no lacking of place to stay. All you need to research is, where you want to stay at. Cameron Highlands in the name of the whole place, much like the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland.
We ushered in the Year of the Monkey with a sumptuous reunion dinner. May the new year bring you prosperity, wealth and a healthy being.