Cameron Highlands | Three Days Trekking and Hitchhiking

After hours of motorway driving from KL, we began climbing the mountains of the Cameron Highlands despite a bus that clearly couldn’t take the weight against the gradient. With ourselves and all our belongings sliding around it felt like a scene from the Italian Job. Disaster! We soon arrived in Tanah Rata, a small town in the Cameron Highlands which looked and felt more like Canada than the tropics. It was covered in pine trees and surrounded by hills that reached past the clouds. As we discovered shortly after our arrival, the Cameron Highlands almost religiously rains after 3 PM so we were greeted with thunderstorms and torrential rain until the next morning. This left us a good few hours to explore the closer amenities the town had including its large selection on Indian restaurants. After a curry reminiscent of the Indians back home we decided on hanging out in the hostel we stayed in, Map Travelodge. Unlike most places we’ve stayed so far, this one was kitted out with a cinema, board games and travellers avoiding the rain so there was always things to do. 

The next day we enjoyed a breakfast roti which after KL had become a firm favourite of us as a breakfast meal before hitchhiking to Cactus Valley. Cactus Valley’s a never ending Garden Centre set into the hills attached to an abandoned play area where the music still sings. Jess was in her element being able to see so many Cacti without the responsibility of trying and failing to keep them alive. We then climbed the hill further to reach the strawberry farm which stunk of clutch fumes, where cars had struggles (and often failed) to reach the top; with a car graveyard at the bottom to match. The strawberry farms were a great place to watch people who clearly weren’t warned just how steep this trip was, but maybe not to try the fume covered fruits. Jess then insisted we took the trip up to the Time Tunnel Museum based on a recommendation she’d seen online. What was advertised as an interactive history museum was actually a shed in the middle of nowhere, Sam found this ‘slight’ error highly amusing.

On day 2 we got up bright and early to being Trail 10 of the Cameron Highlands. Trail 10 is more like GoApe without the harness than a trek. It included tree climbing, rock climbing and clay mounds on steep and sometimes narrow platforms. With much of the climb being the same height to step up as Jess’ legs we had to try and work out footholds and handholds in the sheer mud faces that the trail had thrown up for us. This all added to the fun and by the time we’d reached the viewpoint at the top we were both muddy, sweaty but amazed with the sight that greeted us. The trek took around 4 hours plus another hour walking in the now rain along a road from the exit back to Tanah Rata. I don’t think we have ever been so grateful to have walking boots with us!

The following day Sam did trail 6 with a friend we’d met in the hostel and a dog that tagged along since breakfast. Jess sat this one out due to sickness. After trail 10, trail 6 felt like it offered far less of the Cameron Highlands majesty and was more on par with a Sunday stroll through the New Forest. The views were far less impressive too and the dog being able to run most of it clearly gives an idea as to how easy the walk was after the previous days adventure. We spent the evening organising how we were getting to our next destination of Penang and chatting to people in the hostel from all around the world, two of which we ended up travelling with the following day. All in all the Highlands were a beautiful area to visit and somewhere which given the opportunity we will be going back too before we leave South East Asia!

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