The Cameron Highlands hill station grew to prominence during the 1920s, when its refreshing mountain climate and scenic, fertile landscape first seduced Malaysia’s British Colonists. Tea grows beautifully here, and temperatures rarely stray outside 18-25 degrees C - very tempting to a suit-wearing Brit, no matter how much they might relish the tropical heat and humidity of lowland Malaysia. Now, the region offers beautiful trails, forest walks, local traditions and superb old boutique resorts with plenty of history.
The Cameron Highlands region still produces a great deal of high quality tea, so plantations are a huge feature of the landscape here - rolling, green and pastoral, yet suspended 1,000 metres above sea level within a cradle of jagged peaks.
Hill stations, far from being the basic outpost on a distant slope you might imagine from their name, are large areas of fertile land at cooler altitudes in the tropics. In Colonial times these seemed ideal to the overheating Europeans, who used them as healthy retreats as well as excellent places to grow tea, coffee, strawberries, and other desirable crops.
In ‘the Camerons’, plantation tours are popular - one of our favourite parts of these informative visits is when you get to taste the tea, which is amongst the finest tea worldwide.
Walks and treks are available to suit almost all abilities - you can explore diverse landscapes on foot, from peaceful tea slopes to the high-altitude forest that covers over 70% of the hill station, and the area’s eight mountains.
The region’s ecosystem is so different to surrounding Malaysia that you’ll find hundreds of flowers and creatures here that aren’t seen elsewhere.
Amidst all the agriculture and Colonial influence - rather remarkably - survive the Orang Asli people, whose ancestors arrived in Malaysia around 10,000 years ago. They spent the subsequent millennia perfecting traditional survival techniques like hunting with blowpipes - this can still be seen on a visit to Orang Asli villages in the Cameron region.
Another highlight has to be the well placed Colonial properties that have been converted into boutique hotels and retreats - we love the sophisticated 90 year old Cameron Highlands resort with its tempting spa, and the beautifully restored Lake House with its excellent views over nearby plantations.