Are you planning to visit magical Cameron Highlands? Perfect, I’ve got all the information you’ll need! Situated in Malaysia’s beautiful Northwest, halfway between Kuala Lumpur and Penang, this famous getaway destination is for sure worth a stopover. It is home to emerald tea plantations, strawberry orchards, hiking trails, museums and much more.
In this detailed travel guide, I’ll show you where to eat, stay & hike and give some useful tips for an unforgettable 2 days trip surrounded by mother nature.
Until coming to Malaysia, I haven’t even heard of this place. Shame on me. But literally every traveller I met would highly recommend it. So I had to go! The Cameron Highlands are the perfect getaway from the bustling cities in Malaysia and everywhere in Southeast Asia.
Green, lush hills, tea plantations, fresh air and a tranquil atmosphere (outside of the main season) will slow down your travel speed.
Are you ready to explore rural Malaysia? Then let’s go!
THE BEST 2 DAYS IN CAMERON HIGHLANDS – WHERE TO GO & WHAT TO DO
How to get there
You can visit the Cameron Highlands either coming from the north via Ipoh, from the east via Taman Negara National Park or directly from Kuala Lumpur. There is no other option than taking the bus (or a chartered minivan), since the roads are too narrow for train tracks and there’s no airport either.
There are different bus companies to choose from, I used Unititi Express both times and was very happy with the service. The ticket prices start from 38 RM for the route KL – Tanah Rata and 20-25 RM coming from Ipoh.
Since visiting Cameron Highlands’ tea plantations is a very popular activity for locals and travellers alike, I highly recommend not to travel on a weekend or public holiday if you don’t want to get stuck in a traffic jam.
Either way, you’re better off booking your ticket in advance with easybook.com. You can even choose your seat for free.
Travel Tip: If you suffer from car sickness like me, it’s best to take an anti-sickness tablet before you get in. I’ve seen many people not handling the winding road very well. So thank me later! 😉
When to visit
With an altitude of 5000 ft above sea level, Cameron Highlands is the highest region in Malaysia and the climate differs from anywhere else in the country.
It’s usually humid, cool and rainy with approximately the same temperature all-year round.
Thats why there’s no “best time” for a visit!
At daytime it can get sunny with an yearly average temperature of 23 degree. At nighttime it’s a chilly 10-12 degrees, so bring some comfy socks and long pants or leggings for the evenings.
And definitely prepare for some heavy rain, as it can start very suddenly on your hiking trip.
Travel Tip: It normally starts to rain in the afternoons, so you’ll better off getting up early for some hiking and relax in the afternoons.
Where to stay
There are three bigger towns in the Cameron Highlands that are worth mentioning: Ringlet, Tanah Rata and Brinchang.
I personally stayed in Tanah Rata, which offers the biggest variety of accommodations and restaurants. Also, the bus station in Tanah Rata is right in town, so you can easily walk to your hostel within 10 minutes.
If you want to stay in Brinchang, which would be closer to the Mossy Forest for example, you’ll need to ask the driver to drop you off on the way when coming from Ipoh/Penang.
Cameron Highlands: Hostels, Hotels & Guesthouses
- Traveller’s Bunker Hostel: ($) This is where I stayed and I highly recommend. The vibe was fantastic, staff is super friendly and it’s an easy place to get to know people. It’s right in Tanah Rata and easily accessible from the bus station. Offers half-day tours to tea plantations & guidance for hiking trails. – Find it on Booking.com!
- Bricks Backpacker Hostel: ($) Ive also heard good things about this one, which is situated in Tanah Rata too. Here you can also book half-day tours to BOH tea plantation, Mossy Forest etc. – Find it on Booking.com!
- Sleepbox Hotel: ($) This hotel is Tanah Rata based and very close to the bus station. It’s more quiet than the other two hostels, but offers all the amenities you’ll need for a good nights sleep. – Find it on Booking.com!
- Gerard’s Place Roomstay: ($$) Your home away from home, south of Tanah Rata! In this clean, budget guesthouse you’ll find cosy twin rooms, double rooms & 3 bed dorms. The owner gives travel trips & helps to book trips. – Find it on Booking.com!
- Zetter Suites @ Cameron: ($$) In need of a little bit of luxury & privacy? This clean budget design hotel between Tanah Rata and Brinchang offers fully-equipped units, ideal for couples or families travelling with their own vehicle. – Find it on Booking.com!
What to Do
Cameron Highlands is famous for two things: tea plantations and hiking. So in your perfect 2 day itinerary those activities shouldn’t be missed.
I spent in total 3 nights and 2 full days in Tanah Rata and still think it was the perfect amount of time to explore everything I wanted to see. Of course, you could also spend a week or longer and have a relaxed staycation.
But here, I’ll show you my perfect 2 day itinerary.
Day 1: Half-Day tour to BOH tea plantation & Mossy Forest
If you arrive the night before, make sure to book the half-day tour (50 RM) for the next morning at the reception. Its worth the money and a very good overview for your first day.
Cameron Highlands Half-Day Tour: My personal experience
The tour with Discover Camerons was organized through the hostel and I had a great experience! The people were very nice and our driver and local tour guide Isma was just adorable. I highly recommend doing it.
At 8 am a group of travellers met in front of the hostel and our friendly driver Isma was waiting for us in his 4×4 drive. He took us directly to the BOH tea plantation, where he told us more about the different kinds of tea the café has on offer.
Luckily, we had the whole café to ourselves. When we left about one hour later, it filled up very quickly.
So we’ve spent a perfectly relaxed morning at the newly built plantation, tried the recommended BOH Supreme tea, enjoyed the beautiful view and watched a film about the history behind their business. All in all, it was very interesting and the ideal setting to start the day.
The price for a teapot varies between 4-6 RM. They also sell cakes, scones as well as lunch (no vegan options available.)
Our driver then brought us up on a hill for a little walk overlooking some more pretty tea plantations before heading to our hiking trail for the day.
Normally, the tour consists of a tour to Mossy Forest (you’ll most likely do it), but in our case it was closed due to heavy rainfall the days before. It was still a “mossy forest” and according to our guide it’s an even longer trail. It wasn’t just long, it was muddy and very adventurous, haha. But we all loved it!
In the afternoon I was happy to have a hot shower and play some card games in the hostel. If you’re in a hurry, you could join the 2 pm hiking team in the hostel on the same day. In my case, it was raining anyway, so I gladly did it the next day.
Day 2: Jungle Hiking Trail #10 & Cameron Valley Café
On day two, around 15 people from the hostel teamed up for another excursion of the beautiful surroundings. You can join two tours along the hiking route 10 at the Traveller’s Bunker Hostel, one at 9 am and one at 2 pm every day.
Because of the spectacular views, jungle trail number 10 is the most famous one in the Highlands. It starts directly in Tanah Rata, so there’s no need to drive anywhere.
We walked a total of 5 hours including (a lot of) photo stops in the middle of tea plantations, on top of the Cameron Valley Tea viewpoint and lastly at the Cameron Valley Tea House, which awaits you at the very end of the trail. The café offers a variety of cake (no vegan options) & tea specialities and a stunning view to go with it!
Some parts of the trail were very steep and narrow, so be careful especially when it has rained the day before (as per usual).
Other activities in the Cameron Highlands
- Strawberry Farms: The area is also known for its strawberry fields. You’ll find many farms, where you can pick your own fruits, for example Big Red Strawberry Farm or Raju’s Hill Strawberry Farm. I wasn’t really keen to go there, since strawberries are very common in Germany aswell. I did try some on the market, but they weren’t very sweet at that time. It’s worth checking out though!
- Lavender Garden: Take some pictures of bright purple Lavender & other flowers or try their lavender ice cream. The centre is north of Brinchang (SEE MAP). Entrance fee is 20 RM for an adult, 15 RM for a child.
- Butterfly Farm: Have a look around in this zoological garden and watch butterflies, snakes, lizards and other reptiles flying and crawling around. (SEE MAP)
- Massage: Treat yourself with a nice reflexology foot massage after strenuous days of hiking. There are a few massage salons around Tanah Rata & Brinchang that offer good value for money.
How to get around
One thing at the start: There is no Grab available in Cameron Highlands. But actually you don’t really need to go anywhere as long as you stay in walking distance to Tamah Rata or Brinchang.
Tamah Rata is the biggest town in the Highlands and offers everything you’ll need from supermakets, restaurants, cafés to different types of accomodation in walking distance.
If you do feel like exploring the area more and don’t want to rely on an organized tour, you could rent a scooter at the hostel or at a rental service in town. If I remember it correctly, it was 75 RM for one full day at the Traveller Bunker Hostel or 40 RM for half a day.
Another option would be a good old taxi. I haven’t used it, so I can’t say anything about the price. But negotiate before getting in and you’ll be fine.
What to eat
Hot Pot! If you’ve never tried this fun way of eating out you should give it a go. You can find Hot Pot restaurants, also known as Steamboat, everywhere throughout Malaysia, they just insanely love it!
This traditional chinese cooking method consists of a big pot of simmering, flavourful soup broth in the middle of the table. Now cook your prefered food, such as pieces of tofu, spinach, mushrooms etc. as you like it.
As a vegan, double-check the ingredients of the broth. The place where we went to, May Flower Restaurant right next to Traveller Bunker Hostel, had two different kinds – one chicken and one vegetarian so called Tom Yum broth without meat or seafood. They can fill the pot with both broths, so that you can enjoy your tofu & veggies in one side while other people can dip their meat & seafood in the other one. Good stuff, right?
Besides Hot Pot, there are a lot of Indian as well as typical Malay restaurants around Tanah Rata. Our hostel recommended Kumar Restaurant, one of the oldest Southern Indian restaurants in town and we weren’t disappointed. Like almost every Indian restaurant, they offer a few vegan options, like curries, stir-fries and Masala Dosa. It’s located on the main road, SEE MAP.
I hope you enjoyed reading it. Feel free to contact me on Instagram (@eat.travel.flow) if you have any travel related questions or simply leave a comment below. 🙂
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