Cameron Highlands: A Walk in the Clouds
The trip was coming to an end after a visit to Cameron Highlands, a hill station located 150 km north of Kuala Lumpur. I was excited to go to a hill station and be closer to nature, since we had stayed in Kuala Lumpur for 6 nights, which is too long to stay in a CITY.
I checked out of my room and went across the road to a shopping centre to purchase a memory card as my 2 GB card was full and I wanted to take more pictures. A 1 GB card cost me RM100 (approx Rs 1200) which is slightly cheaper than Mumbai.
The journey was going to be long, it takes around 4-5 hours by road to reach Cameron. So we made two stops on the way to freshen up and grab a bite. I didn’t waste any time to use my new card.
Cameron has an interesting history. It was discovered by a British colonial government surveyor – William Cameron – in 1885 when he discovered the plateau during a mapping expedition. He described the place as, “a fine plateau with gentle slopes, shut in by lofty mountains.” The place was eventually named after him.
The journey was good, except when we started mounting the hill and the zig-zagging roads made me feel a bit giddy, that usually doesn’t happen to me, but yes, the roads are not bumpy at all, unlike in India. On the way you will come across several trees of Durian, Malaysia’s King of Fruits, a large brownish-green fruit about the size of a football, and is extremely hard with a spiny casing. The local Aborigines were found selling these fruits on the road.
The road is very scenic, there is a clear change in the climate from moderate to cool, and at night chilly, so temperature is generally between 8 degrees C to 25 degrees C. When we reached Cameron, around 1800m above sea level, I understood what Mr Cameron said about this place. There lot of tea plantations here, in fact Cameron supplies vegetables and legumes to Malaysia and Singapore. We reached Hotel Equatorial, a 5-star property offering amazing view of the place. Before checking in to the room, we had to rush for lunch as the kitchen closes down by 3.30 pm. We had a pre-decided menu and this time I had lot of choices.And the desserts to make it a wholesome meal. My favourite caramel custard was served.My room with a balcony. The view from the balcony was amazing. Lush green mountains surrounded the hotel with mist slowly covering the top of the mountains.Dark clouds hovering above the mountains. This place kind of reminded me of North India, when me and Clyde went trekking to the mountains, and the climate was so similar to this place.By 4.30pm we headed out to see the flower nursery and the strawberry farms. There are plenty of nurseries around Cameron and some farms sell vegetables as well as garden plants.
Different kinds of flowers are cultivated in the highlands. I went absolutely berserk at the nursery, different types of flowers with different colours all around, I didn’t know where to start from. I’ve always loved violet-coloured flowers, and it was in abundance at the nursery.Elongated cup-shaped plants, which is often used by birds to drink water that collects inside.Pretty pink Camellia flowers
Plants and flowers are for sale, but you have to keep the climatic condition in mind for them to grow.
It just keeps getting better, the rain outside, mist-covered hills and valleys and in the middle a total floral splendour.
Chrysanthemum are very popular flowers in Cameron. That is because they are round like a ping-pong ball and quite big in size.Gerbera is a genus of the family of sunflowers, daisies and asters. Through hybridization, Gerberas are available in a massive array of colors. They are most popular florist flowers, after roses and carnations.One section of the flower nursery was a kaleidoscope of colours. These are hybrid flowers.
Flower Power, the colours are spread far and wide, and I couldn’t get my eyes off this. Unbelievable!
At first glance they look like umbrellas swaying with the wind. I would have loved to get these flowers home, and i would have been in a bright mood everyday.
Purple bell flowers.
Red DahliaCamellia colour varies from white to pink and red, and yellow in a few species.
Not just flowers and shrubs, but you find varieties of cacti. They are often used as ornamental plants, but some are also crop plants. This looked like dreadlocks, but its a type of cactus.A selection of succulents and cactus.
There were coloured ones too.Blooms like roses, carnations, fuschia, gladioli are some of the other flowers grown at the nurseries.
We proceeded to Strawberry Farms. Well, it didn’t turn out to be the way I expected. I thought it would be strawberry fields, but this place was a small nursery where strawberry plants were grown hydrophonically so the plants use mineral nutrient solutions instead of soil.
Strawberry plants adapt well to the cool tropical highlands weather of Cameron. Over 40,000 pots are grown here in the Big Red Strawberry Farm.Hydroponics has its set of advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are that it eliminates soil borne diseases, such crops stay fresh for a longer time, fewer pesticides may be required, this method is also 20% cheaper than other ways for growing strawberries, and many hydroponic systems give the plants more nutrition while at the same time using less energy and space. However, if the electric pumps fail or the system clogs or leaks, then plants can die very quickly in many kinds of hydroponic systems. And due to the technical expertise used in growing this way, the cost of such crops is higher. Lettuce is grown hydroponically on this farm as well. In fact lettuce when grown in this manner can be packaged and sold while still alive, which increases the length of freshness.
Some farms allow customers to pluck the strawberry themselves and then pay according to the amount they plucked. We didn’t go to one of those farms. Here they ahd a small souvenir shop and a cafe, where they sell strawberry and cream, icecreams, milkshakes etc. I had strawberry and cream, it was mixed with fresh pieces of strawberries and big chunks, it was delicious. At the souvenir shop you get strawberry related items. I bought couple of things, jams, strawberry cookies, biscuits, tea, and a small strawberry-shaped pillow for a Clyde’s 1-month old niece. I was quite happy in the end with the stuff I bought.
The cafe also served fresh salad and sandwiches. It’s a different feeling when you eat something freshly made.The different stages of growing lettuce. Varied forms of Cacti, different shapes and sizes. One place I really wanted to visit was the Cactus Valley, which has variety of cactus plants, some as old as 60 years. But we couldn’t go as there was no time. However, I did get to see some of the species here.
As fog slowly covered the mountains, it got quite cold. We went back to the hotel, relaxed a bit. I got an opportunity to do some yoga and meditation in the calm environs of the hotel. It was so peaceful, the silence echoed through the hills, gave me peace of mind and felt very happy at that time. After that it was time for dinner. I wasn’t too hungry. I was served rice with salad, spinach and fried tofu. It was a decent dinner. Plenty of choices for the non-vegetarians. Malays eat lot of sea-food actually, prawns, shrimps form part of their regualr diet.I called it a night after a drink at the hotel’s Sports Bar.
I ordered for Blue Lagoon and it tasted more like a lemon drink, minus the Vodka. I was tired and exhausted and had to head back to my room to pack my bags.
It was eventful day and satisfying too. The next morning we go to The Tea Plantations and Waterfall, and then back to the pavilion.
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