Green Bowl of Malaysia

by Audrey Lim, Mar 21, 2001 | Destinations: Malaysia / Pahang

One of the country's premier hill resorts is located in the state of Pahang. Tucked away in a serene location amidst fluffy clouds at 1829 meters above sea level is Cameron Highlands. Cameron Highlands is also popularly known as the "Green Bowl" of the country. It earned its name for supplying local produce of cabbages, tomatoes, lettuces, and green peppers to many major cities in Malaysia and Singapore. British surveyor, William Cameron, first discovered the lush hill in the year 1885. At that height, the resort is cooling and refreshing - a nice retreat for city dwellers who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

As you drive along the winding road to the three main townships of Ringlet, Tanah Rata and Brinchang, you'll be greeted with young tea plants and leafy green hillsides. The fresh mountain air and the greens will rejuvenate just about anyone! Cameron Highlands used to be a favorite amongst the British during the British colonial rule. To them, this place resembles England with its old English country inns, chalets, and government rest houses in the form of quaint bungalows. These beautiful buildings still dot the rolling countryside to this day. Others love the misty mountaintops and green terraced slopes. Cameron Highlands has come a long way since then with many people (honeymooners and holiday seekers alike) flocking to the highland to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of this captivating plateau with its blue skies, clear streams and an outburst of colorful flowers.

One of Cameron Highland's main potential is its ability to grow tea. Its fertile mountain slopes and cool, frost-free climate is most suitable for tea plantation. Ever since that discovery by the British planters, Cameron Highlands has been well known for its cultivation of tea and has established a reputation for quality comparable to the best varieties around the world. Here, tea plantations spread out as far as the eye can see and is definitely the main source of economic activity for this highland. A visit to the tea plantation is also an interesting experience not to be missed. However, you need to wake up early should you wish to catch the action. Early in the morning, you'll see young women walking between rows and rows of tea bushes, picking the tender young tea leaves and throwing them into baskets that are strapped to their backs. You'll be amused how accurate their aims are. To learn more about the finer aspects of tea leaves, you may visit the tea factories to check out the way tea are graded. Watch also the tea blending and processing method. Visitors will also get to enjoy a cup of freshly brewed tea, courtesy of the management.

Cameron Highlands is also a fantastic place for nature lovers. You won't be able to resist the unspoiled and natural beauty of this hill where you'll get to feast your eyes on a variety of beautiful flora and fauna. It is however advisable to hire the services of a guide who can lead you to other more interesting places such as Robinson Falls and Parit Falls, the two most popular and breathtaking waterfalls in the area. These places are perfect for a little picnic lunch.

Of course, not to be missed are the strawberry farms. Previously, Malaysians can only get strawberries through imports, but thanks to the lovely climate on Cameron Highlands, the fruit now grows abundantly on this hill station. Here's your chance to view how these highland strawberries are cultivated as well as purchase these freshly plucked sweet produce with thick delicious cream at reasonable prices.

To get to Cameron Highlands, you can travel by road heading towards north from Kuala Lumpur to Tapah, which is the main entry point to the highland. Tapah is located about 60km drive away from Kuala Lumpur.