The Cameron Highlands is the name of a scenic hill station in the state of Pahang in Malaysia which dates from the 19th century. The highlands were founded by a British colonialist named Sir William Cameron and were named after him, and were modeled on a traditional English village. The aim of the Cameron Highlands was to provide residents in the lowlands with some respite during the summer months and allow them to enjoy the cooler climate here, and you will find English influences all over the region.
Just some of these include unusual attractions such as rose and lavender gardens, and one of the big draws here is the chance to go strawberry picking. In keeping with its British history, you can stay in traditional style colonial buildings here as well as enjoy typical treats such as English cream teas. If you are looking for the perfect drink to go with your tea, then the Cameron Highlands is known for its sweeping tea plantations.
The Cameron Highlands span some 71,000 hectares of land, so there is a huge amount to do here, especially if you are a nature lover and fancy jungle trekking or scaling the most famous peak in the area called Mount Brinchang.
Let’s explore the best things to do in the Cameron Highlands:
1. Tour the Boh Tea Plantation
The Boh Tea Company was founded in 1929 and is one of the most famous brands of tea in Malaysia.
As such, one of the highlights of a trip to the Cameron Highlands is the chance to visit the source at the Boh Tea Plantation where you can enjoy the lush green terraces and learn how the tea is harvested and grown.
There is also a delightful tea shop here where you can sample some of the signature brews for yourself and also pick up a few packets as a souvenir of your trip here.
The vistas across the plantation here are simply stunning and this is one of the best places to check out the scenery that the Cameron Highlands is so famous for.
2. Smell the roses at Mrs. Robertson’s Rose Garden
The Cameron Highlands is famous for its flora and, as well as tea and strawberries, you will also find a huge number of species of roses here.
If you like flowers then one of the best ways to see the roses is on a trip to Mrs. Robertson’s Rose Garden which is located on a scenic hillside and will give you pretty views over the valleys below.
Some of the species that you can admire here include Pink Queen Victoria and Maid of Hearts and don’t be surprised by the large size of some of the flowers, as they thrive due to the higher elevation of the Cameron Highlands.
As with many attractions here there is also a pretty little cafe and gift shop attached.
3. Climb Mount Brinchang
One of the main peaks in the Cameron Highlands is Mount Brinchang and the main way to get to the top is to take a drive along a winding mountain road which is as hair-raising as it is exciting.
Once you get to the summit of the mountain you will find an observation tower where you can enjoy the gorgeous scenery and breathe in the fresh mountain air.
Some of the sights to look out for include the lush valleys covered in tea plantations as well as forest lands filled with wild flowers.
The mountain stands at a height of 6,666 feet above sea level and also has the claim to fame of being the highest parts of Malaysia that is accessed by cable car.
There is also the possibility of trekking to the summit through the forest if you are feeling active.
4. Tour the Orang Asli Villages
Orang Asli means ‘Original People’ in Malay and refers to the various indigenous groups that live in the Cameron Highlands.
To that end, you will find a number of traditional Orang Asli villages dotted around the area and many of them are located on the main road that leads up to Tanah Rata, the central town in the Cameron Highlands.
There are also a number of villages that are still found in the middle of the jungles here, so if you want to really see a traditional working village then you can take a tour with a guide who will take you out into the more remote areas.
5. Pick some strawberries at Raaju’s Hill Strawberry Farm
Raaju’s Hill Strawberry Farm is known for having some of the juiciest strawberries in the Cameron Highlands.
One of the reasons for this is that the farm is strategically located in a misty valley, but whatever the reason, this is one of the best places to pick strawberries in town.
This is a great activity, especially for anyone who is travelling with children and you can pick half a kilo of strawberries that you can then take home and savor.
If you prefer to just admire the strawberry fields but still want to sample some of the delicious fruit, then you can visit the onsite cafe where you can enjoy a full English cream tea with strawberry jam as well as their signature strawberry juice.
6. Visit the Time Tunnel
The Time Tunnel is billed as a museum although you will find less of an organized gallery here in favor of a series of displays that hark back to a different time in the Cameron Highlands.
The aim of the Time Tunnel is to look back at Malaysia’s past and to that end you will find old curios such as vintage signs, postcards, photographs, and even a barber’s chair.
This is not one of the largest museums in Malaysia but it does provide an interesting insight into the history of the Cameron Highlands and its environs.
7. Go jungle trekking
Anyone who is interested in the flora and fauna of the Cameron Highlands needs to get out and about to experience it firsthand, and there is no better way to do this than by trekking through the lush jungles that abound here.
There are jungle tracks all over the region that will take you up forested hills and down into sweeping valleys and there is also the chance to enjoy mist topped mountains and scenic waterfalls.
One of the best things about the trails here is that they are well maintained and are given a classification from 1-10 depending on their difficulty so you know what you are letting yourself in for before you start.
8. Admire Sam Poh Temple
Visitors may be surprised to see a Chinese temple on a hillside in the Cameron Highlands but that is exactly what you will find at the Sam Poh Temple.
This colorful building is dedicated to Zheng Ho who was a famous admiral and also a eunuch, and the structure houses what is said to be the fourth largest Buddha statue in Malaysia.
The temple sits just one kilometer away from the top of Brinchang and offers a wonderful glimpse of imperial Chinese art work and history.
9. Sample the Steamboat
The Cameron Highlands is known for its Steamboat cuisine which is said to have been inspired by European fondue in the days of old.
Steamboat is the name for a large bowl of bubbling broth set over a burner to which visitors can then add their own raw ingredients.
Some of the items that you can choose from include meat, vegetables, noodles, fish balls, and tofu, and this is the perfect way to warm up after an afternoon trekking over the misty peaks of the Cameron Highlands.
10. Enjoy the buzz at Ee Feng Gu Honey Bee Farm
When many people think of the Cameron Highlands they often think of the famous strawberry farms here, but if you are looking for something a little different then consider a trip to the Ee Feng Gu Honey Bee Farm.
This is a traditional apiary which is still in operation and has some interesting attractions inside include an indoor maze.
This is a particularly good choice for families as younger visitors can enjoy admiring the colorful bees and there is a gift shop with a wide assortment of honey-related souvenirs.
11. Spend the morning at Pasar Pagi
Pasar Pagi literally means Morning Market and this is the place to come if you are looking for a toothsome breakfast in the Cameron Highlands.
You will find the Morning Market in KEA Farm Town and as well as some delicious street food and other local breakfast bites you can also expect to find other items for sale like souvenirs and handicrafts.
12. Trek to the Thompson Falls
One of the jewels in the crown of the Cameron Highlands is the Thompson Falls which will take you out of the city center to the environs of Tanah Rata.
There is a short trek to get to the waterfall which will take your through lush forests and you can swim in a pool at the base of the falls, although bear in mind that due to the elevation it is likely to be extremely cold.
You can also climb up a staircase in the mountainside that will take you to a vantage point on top of the falls where you can look down at the rushing water from above.
13. Visit the Mah Meri Art Gallery
Anyone who wants to experience some art in the Cameron Highlands should make their way to the Mah Meri Art Gallery.
Here you will find a wealth of interesting art works such as intricate wood carvings that were made by the Mah Meri people who are one of the indigenous tribes in the Carey Islands in Malaysia.
As well as wood carvings you will also find statues, masks, and ornate and eerie sculptures that are crafted using mangrove hardwood.
14. Explore the Agro Technology Park
One of the big highlights of the Cameron Highlands is the Agro Technology Park at MARDI (the Malaysian Research and Development Institute) which is a must-visit for anyone interest in agro technology.
The park is divided into different areas such as a fragrant Herb Garden, a manicured English Garden, a heady Rose Garden, and a colorful Orchid Garden.
There is also a research center here that is focused on agro technology techniques and you can explore the gardens that spread over 42 acres and take in 100 different species of citrus fruits, 10 types of strawberries, and 40 different kinds of roses.
15. Wander around the Lavender Gardens
Another one of the big natural highlights of the Cameron Highlands is the Lavender Gardens which is a wonderful place to come to take in the aromatic air and the pretty purple vistas.
On a trip here you will find gorgeous landscaped gardens that are bisected with walkways which means that you can walk through the lavender fields and check out their beauty up close.
As you would expect, the flowers attract a range of insects and there is a bee history gallery here as well as a cafe where you can relax with a drink and take in the views.
16. Visit the Sri Thendayuthapani Swamy Temple
For something a little different in the Cameron Highlands, consider checking out the Sri Thendayuthapani Swamy Temple which is a Hindu temple.
This is an important place of worship for the local Tamil community in the Cameron Highlands, many of whom work as tea pickers on the plantations.
As with all Hindu temples, expect a riot of color here and some exquisite reliefs that tell the stories of the Hindu epics in the Tamil Nadu style.
17. Have dinner at the Night Market
As well as having a Morning Market, the Cameron Highlands also helpfully has a Night Market which sets up as the sun goes down.
If you want to visit the Night Market you will find it in Brinchang and it sells a selection of goods like souvenirs, clothes, and local products and crafts.
You will also find street food like toothsome barbecued meats so if you want to sample a range of the local delicacies cheaply then this is not to be missed.
The Cameron Highlands also doesn’t have too many shopping venues compared to other places, as it is essentially a hill station, so if you do want to grab some gifts then this is one of the best options.
18. Check out the butterflies at the Butterfly Farm
Another one of the most famous farms in the Cameron Highlands is the Butterfly Farm which is also one of the oldest institutions in the area.
If you love butterflies then you will have certainly come to the right place as there is an array of colorful species here as well as some other attractions.
These include a tortoise section as well as an insect house, and all the butterflies are free flying so you will get to see them in their natural environment.
One of the best things about the butterfly farm is that you can take a guided tour of the facility and guides will explain all the different kinds of butterflies on show here and give you information on their habitats and life cycles.
19. Admire the cacti in Cactus Valley
Located close to Brinchang on a forested hill is the gorgeous Cactus Valley, which has a fairly self-explanatory name.
The valley is known for its many varieties of cacti and you can check out a plethora of colorful species as well as towering specimens and small, spiky plants.
This is a great place to see some of the more unusual flora in the Cameron Highlands and you can spend time taking pictures with the other-worldly plants, as well as admire other kinds of flora in the form of apple orchards and wild flowers.
20. Play a game of golf
If you like golf then the Cameron Highlands is one of the most scenic spots to squeeze in a game.
Located between the main town of Tanah Rata and Brinchang, you will find a vast 18-hole course here which has some challenging areas that will take you over rugged terrain and past scenic streams.
You don’t need any equipment to play here as you can hire your own clubs and the club house also has some dining options if you fancy a bite to eat and a drink at the end of a game.
21. Go bird watching
Anyone who is a keen birdwatcher will not be disappointed at the Cameron Highlands thanks to the huge selection of species that you are likely to see here.
The rainforests that cover the highlands are known for being the perfect habitat for a plethora of avians and you can expect to see some gems such as Mountain Peacock Pheasant, Yellow Breasted Warblers, and Silver Eared Mesias.
Many of the guesthouses and hotels in the Cameron Highlands will organize a bird watching tour so that you can go out with a guide who will help you to spot some of the species, or you can go it alone and hike up into the mountains solo.
22. Check out the Mossy Forest
As the name suggest, the Mossy Forest is an area known for its moss, lichen, and gorgeous ferns.
It is also one of the highest points of the Cameron Highlands and you can expect to see trees here that tower to a height of up to 10 meters.
The plants thrive here thanks to the low lying mist that blankets the area and you can observe lush green vistas as far as the eye can see.
To get to the forest you can walk along a handy boardwalk that stretches for two kilometers through the greenery and starts at the main road in the Cameron Highlands and takes you all the way up to the summit of Mount Brinchang.
23. Visit Big Red Strawberry Farm
One of the other famous strawberry farms in the Cameron Highlands is the Big Red Strawberry Farm.
It is one of the largest in the area and sits close to the Cactus Valley, so it makes sense to visit both locations at the same time.
The farm grows strawberries as well as other items like organic salads, but the big draw here is the cafe.
Once you have toured the farm, you can settle down in the cafe and enjoy a dish of delicious strawberry ice cream made on site with the juicy red gems that grow here.
24. Have tea in a Tudor mansion
The Cameron Highlands came about during the British colonial period so it stands to reason that you will still see a huge amount of British influence here.
Just one example of this is in the architecture, and if you want to get a look at a mock-Tudor mansion then you are in for a treat here, with places such as the Smokehouse Hotel which was built in 1937. Another building also constructed in the same style is the Lakehouse and you can either check them out from the outside or venture inside and have a delicious traditional cream tea.
25. Check out the Rafflesia flowers
The Rafflesia flower is famous in Malaysia as it is known for being the biggest flower in the world.
To call it a flower is something of a misnomer as it is actually a parasitic plant which doesn’t have external roots, but it is still impressive whatever its name.
The flower is also sometimes called the ‘Corpse Flower’ which is an alarming moniker given to it as a result of its rather pungent odor, but if you want to see one of these amazing specimens up close then the Cameron Highlands is a great place to do it.
The flowers grow in the Blue Valley which is around an hour away from the main town in the Cameron Highlands but it is worth the trip to see these flowers in full bloom.