Monday, September 26, 2011

The Cameron Highlands

Last weekend, Eric and I traveled 4 hours down the coast and inland to the very touristy and cool (weather wise) Cameron Highlands.  For those of you who may be wondering, we did not visit the Cameroon Highlands which are in Africa.  Eric and the rest of the country had Friday off for Malaysia Day, meaning we had a long weekend! This was our first Malaysian "Road Trip" where we truly experienced the mainland. First, I need to say that I grew up driving on 696 in Metro Detroit and hot damn, the North/South Highway is the closest rival I've seen to my hometown autobon.  I'll just say that the speed limit was around 110 km/hr and I was being passed at 130 km/hr!  It was nuts!  Then Eric took over behind the wheel for the twisty mountain road that lead us 2,000 m in the the Highlands.

As we drove, the temperatures gradually fell from 31 degrees C to a comfortable 18C in about thirty minutes.  Just think Fall Malaysia style. Like most other tourists, we traded in our shorts and t-shirts for pants, socks and jackets. This was a welcome respite from our daily tropical heat and humidity.

We stayed at an historic school transformed to a hotel, Bala's Chalet.  It was charming but smelled like a musty basement and served overpriced afternoon tea and scones.  Meh.

The "thing" to do in the highlands is to visit Tea plantations, eat strawberries, hike, drink tea and visit the farms where most of the produce is grown.  We weren't really interested in seeing how hydroponic strawberries are grown or buying strawberry paraphernalia but we did buy some "homemade" strawberry jam.  Other highlights of our trip to the CH include a visit to the BOH tea plantation, butterfly farm, a quick trek in the mossy forest, beautiful mountainous views and lots of traffic!

Since traffic was so bad in the highlands, we decided to hit the road early and drive back to Penang.  On the way we stopped at the Perak Tong temple in Ipoh.  Perak Tong is a Buddhist temple that is built inside of a large cave.  There were several different Buddhas and the cavern was painted with murals.  This was a great find and very impressive!

We arrived back in Penang early Sunday afternoon and we were welcomed by a beautiful rainbow!

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