Friday, March 18, 2016

Escape the Heat @ Cameron Highlands

It's probably the hottest month we ever had in KL for years. Then sun was scorching and all I wish is to stay indoor and enjoy some cold air conditioning.

Since the kiddos are having a 1 week school holiday break, we decided to take them for a short vacation, something of a 3D2N so we only need to take 1 day annual leave from work.

Randomly, we've chosen Cameron Highlands, the popular holiday destination that Malaysians, Singaporeans and foreigners flock to due to its pleasant weather and beautiful landscape.

After nearly 3 hour of drive, we arrived at our home for the 3 few days - Strawberry Park Hotel.

• Strawberry Park Hotel
The hotel was built many years back (something like 20 years?!) but it was refurbished not long ago, the deluxe family suite we had was spacious and more than enough for the 4 of us. We got a really good discount from the March's Matta travel fair, the room was at nearly 45% discount from the online published rate ;)

The Tiago family suite is located on the first floor and facing the lushy green, so relaxing to enjoy a cup while admiring the tropical forest. At night we just kept the window open and cold air will circulate the room.

Breakfast was included in our package @ RM25/pax, there was a generous selection of local (nasi lemak, noodle soup, roti canai, porridge), American style breakfast (sausages, toasts, baked beans, hams, pancakes) and vegan (salads, grilled veggie, local fruits, oats)

While it does not has the vintage feel like the Lakehouse that we used to go (which has colonial style room and a real fireplace at the cozy common room), the prompt service, convenient location, spacious room and reasonble price had made this a worthy hotel choice.

• Food Hunt @ Brinchang Friday Market

The night market (or better known as Pasar Malam to the locals) opens on Friday and Saturday where locals gathered to sell their products in a large open space. It's located directly opposite the Brinchang Police Station and operates till late. Just come with some cash and that shall do (seriously, your credit cards are useless here) 

Fresh strawberries coated in chocolate. 3 sticks for RM5.

The well-known Cameron Pearl sweet corn 珍珠玉蜀黍 with its distinct signature appearance - mixture of yellow and white bits. This stall sells the freshest sweet corn (the juice actually splashed onto my face as I took a bite) for RM4 each. 

My favorite char kuey teoh stall (炒粿条, stir fried flat noodles) in Cameron, you can ask for egg only, egg with prawns or egg with cockles, price between RM5-6.50 each). Friendly owner with really fast hands.

Deep Fried Veggie
These are not to be missed, fried mushrooms, fried broccoli, fried taro balls (sweet potatoes)... We got mixture of 4 different variety for only RM15.

Cotton Candy 
Kids' favorite, obviously :)

Apong balik, a traditional Malay food with flour mixture and crushed peanuts sprinkled in the middle. You can find this in almost any Malaysian night market, Malaysians of all walks eat this. ;-)

Bee wax and honey.. The seller was giving a demo on his products.

Fancy more? There are lots of variety to offer, from sea coconut drinks, grilled lamb, BBQ chicken, roasted nuts, dried fruits, fresh vegetables & flowers.... With just under RM50 you get to enjoy a huge variety of food!

However I really think the local council should do something to improve the surrounding condition instead of leaving it covered with sands and pebbles.. Definitely not the most hygienic market comparing to many of the local and foreign open markets we had visited. The very minimal they can do is to provide some dustbins to avoid litters everywhere. :(

Attraction: Food & Souveniors
Entrance fee: None
Wheelchair & Stroller friendly: No (bumpy and dusty, otherwise is flat land)
Accessibility: Public transport or private car

Day 2... Adventure Continued!

• The Big Strawberry Farm

Our first stop for the day- plug some fresh strawberries! We paid RM25 for a basket and off to search for strawberries in the hydroponic farm. The kiddos had so much fun hunting for big strawberries (and mommy too! Lol...)

We got 2 full baskets and that cost us RM75, not exactly cheap but freshness guarantee! 

There are plenty of plants and veggie on sale too. The farm is huge and as it's mostly cascading steps, please take extra caution when you have young kids or old folks with you.

Million flowers

I could not resist but to take a picture with it..

Attraction: Straberries & Plants
Entrance fee: None. RM25/2 pax for Straberries plucking
Wheelchair & Stroller friendly: No
Accessibility: Coach bus or car

• Boh's Tea Plantation & Factory 

Cameron Highlands started because of the tea plantation - back in the British colonel days where the British introduced tea planting and processing technique up on the mountain of Pahang, which used to be a tropical forest and is the estate we visited today. There are few plantations on the Highlands, but we had chosen this for the factory - so the duo get to see how the tea is processed, from fresh leaves to dried and shredded tea leaves.

A stroll amongst the tea plantation was simply calming... This is also one of the popular walking trails with the tourists as we met quite a lot of youngsters hiking in their backpacks.

The hills are surrounded by beautiful (yet poisonous) Angel'sTrumpets. The entire tree is poisonous so please don't let your little ones or pets touch them or pluck the leaves.

The factory that started its operation back in the 1930s..

Took a rest, had some tea at the tea house admiring the lush hills.. (Sorry but they don't serve coffee here, and it's understood!)

Attraction: Tea, Plantation & Souveniors
Entrance fee: None. 
Wheelchair & Stroller friendly: Yes (except the viewing point or plantation area)
Accessibility: Walking, coach bus or private car

• Honey Bee Farm

This farm is located after Ringlet and before Tanah Rata (slightly after the Lakehouse hotel). Although it's a bee farm, the entire farm is surrounded by colorful, enhancing flowers. They offer strawberries plucking too, this is the right place to get the vast variety of honey, from wild honey, raw honey to Royal honey and more.

Bee houses on the hill.

Bachelor's Buttons blooming..

HUGE sunflowers all around.

Don't forget to get some honey home after you've sampled them..

Attraction: Honey, Strawberries & Souveniors
Entrance fee: None
Wheelchair & Stroller friendly: Yes (drive up hill and park next to the souvenir store)
Accessibility: Coach bus or private car

Plants Shopping @ Fragrance Nursery

We had a coffee break in town before continued to plants purchasing. The duo happily doodled and played their own games while we just chilled out and enjoyed our lattes.

E designed his games on paper and was so into it that he designed them in different level of difficulties. :)

Visit to Cameron is incomplete without taking a tour to the many flower nurseries around. Being a plant lover, I really had a hard time trying to stop myself from lugging those beautiful flowers onto our car..  We picked this Frangrance nursery nearby to Kea farm, which has a wide selection of plants at reasonable price (but their workers were not the most friendliest we have encountered...)

Cosmos in abundance..

Succulents, tons of them! Any 3 for RM5.

One of my latest acquire - Fuschia. Was told it may not survive KL's hot weather but I still wanted to give it a try...

Attraction:Plants & Pots 
Entrance fee: None
Wheelchair & Stroller friendly: Semi 
Accessibility: Public transport or private car

• Steamboat Dinner @ Brichang
It's a must to tryout the steamboat when you are in Cameron, in fact the choices are abundance that you may find it hard to decide. We picked this organic steamboat that is located behind the SRJK(C) Brinchang school, 10 selection of fresh veggies and meat for RM23/pax. Portion for 2 is just enough for all 4 of us.

A hot steamboat on a cool evening, just perfect.

Day 3

Well, it's time to check out from our hotel and depart for home. We had a big breakfast before leaving for final round of shopping - this time for the vegetables to bring home!

At the hotel restaurant, again we picked the balcony seat facing the greens. Little C was feeling artistic again, drawing non stop before she decided to do some reading. I let the duo packed their own backpacks so they can keep themselves entertained during the trip. As much as possible we practice a gadget-free outing for the kiddos. 

Our breakie.. I love my colorful breakfast and big guy enjoyed his East meet West breakfast combo.. :)

We left early around 930am, and headed straight to the vegetables stall before the jam began (there was a long car queue heading towards the Kea Farm morning market as we leaving the place). Our strategy was simple, just go to a single stall that offers the most variety and bargain for best price. We were at this stall 168 located right opposite of Frangrance nursery, operated by a family and they had a wide range of organic vegetables.. 

Baby carrots, too cute!

4 packets for RM10 with some rare choices that we don't usually find in KL.. Other stores maybe selling 6 for RM10 but did not looked as fresh and came in smaller packet size. I got 8 packets and was offered a free rock melon, haha. 

• Handicraft by the Aboriginis

The Malaysian native, or commonly known as Orang Asli, had long settled in this land. Their villages are still very much untouched in the forest, but they learnt a make a living buy selling some handicrafts and wild plants or honey to the tourists. 

We made few stops to some of the huts selling rattan handmade and did some purchases before we continued our journey. The kiddos were happy to learn about the Orang Asli and admired their handmades in awe. We got them some rattan stools and a 3-tier rattan storage for myself.

Did the trip ended here? Well.. Not quite.

I've did a search before the trip and decided to bring the kiddos to the waterfall. Instead of Robinsons Waterfall located at Brinchang, which requires quite some hiking and it's actually quite a small one, we decided to stop by at Lata Inskandar Waterfall which is located on the way down from Ringlet (or up towards Cameron). It is popular with locals so expect huge crowd during weekends, but it was not too crowded when we were there, E enjoyed to dip and splash in the cold water. Too bad that C fell asleep and missed the fun.

With that, we ended our family trip and all went home with wonderful memories and beautiful souvenirs (and mommy got car-load of plants... Yay!!)

Important to Know..
• there are other tea plantations in Cameron highlands, such as Bharat and the newer Sungai Palas Tea Estate which is located at the hill top of Brinchang & offers some magnificent view of the hills. Personally we like Sungai Palas (we are not new to Cameron) and would avoid Bharat as it's always crowded with tourist buses.

• the drive up the highlands is winding and can be difficult for little ones or adults who suffer motion sickness. Get ready some carsick pills to avoid the giddiness and throwing ups. I got ours from the pharmacy, Veloxin 25/50gm tablets which does not cause drowsiness. E took 1/2 pill (1 pill for me) an hour before we depart and we managed to enjoy the road trip without any problem.  

• if you have older kids or teenagers, you may want to consider more adventurous routes such as going hiking to the waterfall / mountain or a visit to the Mossy Forese which has many good reviews.

• Do look up the weather before you come, as there were several cases is landslides along the routes that lead to Cameron Highlands. Do avoid coming here on a rainy season if possible. 
• You may find more interesting Cameron Highlands' attractions & places of interest here, most importantly, have fun and stay safe!

That's all folks...
But WAIT... IF you like this post, please do "like" the Facebook page FunWithLittleOnes and "Share" it on your page so your friends and family will benefit from our current and future postings too. Thanks! ;-)


Copyrights © Pui Hua and Fun With Little Ones, 2012 - present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any materials/photos within this website without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pui Hua and Fun With Little Ones with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

No comments:

Post a Comment