“Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”
These words of wisdom by Ibn Battuta echoed in my continuously as I traversed through the winding roads of Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. To be honest, I wasn’t sure of including the Malaysian highlands in our maiden roadtrip across the country. It was just our sheer love for exploring beyond the normative travel routes that had us exploring this part of the world – and glad we did so.
Regarded as Malaysia’s most extensive highlands, Cameron highlands is a serene gateway from the cacophony of the urban lives nestled in the border of Pehang and Perak states, which also serves as a summer gateway to the locals. Although there are hotels in the most-loved hill-station of Malaysia, to experience the highlands at its pristine best, we would recommend you on staying at one of the two major campsites located in the area. One is Sungai Pauh Campsite near the Forestry Department, which is the more famous one, and the other one is the Brinchang campsite. Although the latter campsite offers you more pristine viewpoints but the lack of proper basic amenities makes people choose Sungai Paug over Brinchang. Enjoying an annual temperature of 25oC, the Cameron highlands is the perfect place to beat the otherwise humid Malaysian heat.
Since childhood, I have had immense fondness for forests dipped in mists, acres of tea plantations rolling out along the hilly terrain, and an imposing silence prevailing all over – broken only by the melody of the birds. As our car made its way through the hairpin bends of the hills, Cameron Highlands slowly unfurled itself to be the exact picturesque hill station that I envisaged in my dreams – and perhaps a bit more.
One of our most memorable experiences in Cameron Highlands was the trek through the Moss Forest. Although I haven’t trekked extensively yet, still I have had my short climbs and treks through the hills and plains. But wading through the Moss Forest in the dead of the night just to catch the resplendent sunrise was an experience to behold. As the name suggests, the Moss Forest isn’t our regular trekking routes through the hills – the muddy terrain makes it exceedingly difficult for the trekkers to climb their way up or down the hills, and you have to traverse through the unscrupulous branches of the trees to reach your destination. But, believe us, it may sound exceedingly difficult but there’s this intense purity and vibe about the place that will recharge you every time you lose a breath till you reach your destination.
While our days would just be spent just frolicking around the woods and the tea estates, evenings were relegated to meeting the locals at the local tea salons. I feel that’s the best part of travelling – you meet so many people from so many backgrounds, some of whom have left all their families behind to earn money for their well-being while some others who have left all their worldly possessions to quench their eternal thirsts for travelling. And as for us – people who try relentlessly to mingle their desires and wants – we try to seek refuge in the benign warmth of the night ardently only to return to our daily struggles once the night is over.